Brazil: 5th Conference of the International Union Network of Solidarity and Struggles

By Guillermo Pacagnini

During the days 12, 13 and 14 of September, in São José dos Campos (São Paulo, Brazil), the fifth encounter of this international network of organizations and combative unions took place.

Together with trade union leaders from various countries, a delegation from the trade union currents Unidos Pra Lutar (Brazil) and ANCLA (National Classist Anti-bureaucratic Organization) (Argentina) took part in the debates, together with comrades from Revolución Socialista (Brazil) and the MST (Argentina), sections of the ISL.  Resolutions in support of various processes of struggle and a manifesto were agreed upon, which we share below.

What is the Network?

The Network was formed in March 2013, from basic agreements and common trade union practices of the trade union centers Solidaires of France, CGT of Spain and the CSP-Conlutas of Brazil. The Network raised the need to unify workers’, popular and social struggles in general against the attacks of governments and employers around the world, promoting militant and internationalist trade union actions, strengthening the bonds of international solidarity. And it has pronounced itself in favor of strengthening anti-capitalist, democratic, environmentalist, independent of bosses and governments, and internationalist trade unionism. Every two years, the Network holds international meetings and updates a manifesto built collectively by about 200 organizations and adherent trade union movements. During these years, several solidarity campaigns have been carried out.

Participants and topics discussed at the meeting

Delegations from Ukraine, Poland, France, Spain, England, USA, Angola, Guinea, Botswana, Togo, Italy, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Chile, Argentina and Brazil participated in this 5th Conference.

It began with a panel on Environment and Ecological Struggle, exchanging various aspects of the depredation of the planet, the common denominators and the particularities in each region. From our delegation we value the hierarchy of the point in a trade union conference and we contributed with our anti-capitalist and socialist vision.

Reports were made by countries and then sectorial commissions of health, education, transport, industry and other sectors of the labor movement, producing reports of each debate.

An important moment was the debate on Ukraine opened by the workers’ representation of that country, and there was a great coincidence in redoubling solidarity with the people who resist the invasion of Russian imperialism.

On the last day of the event, thematic meetings were held addressing the repression against the workers and popular movement and the struggle against the far right, the struggles of women workers, racism and migration and the ongoing pension reforms. 

In the final plenary, resolutions were agreed upon to support different struggles, against the criminalization of social protest and to deepen solidarity with the Ukrainian people.

An agenda of meetings through an online platform was also agreed upon to give continuity to the network, summoning other sectors to join and organize the next general encounter in Italy.

The fraternization with militant union leaders from such diverse regions, in times of capitalist crisis and severe attacks on our class, has undoubtedly been very valuable and raises the need to broaden and deepen these internationalist ties in order to strengthen the struggle and the organization.

Manifesto of the 5th Conference of the International Trade Union Network of Solidarity and Struggles

Representatives of various trade union and popular organizations present at the 5th Conference of the International Trade Union Network of Solidarity and Struggles reaffirm the manifestos of previous meetings and the principles that unite us:

1) Defense of the rights of the working class against the capitalist exploitation that leads to job precariousness, outsourcing, uberization, etc.

2) Combative unionism based on workers’ democracy. Unionism of social transformation and revolution.

3) Independence of the working class from all governments and employers.

4) Against austerity plans imposed by governments at the service of capital.

5) Opposition to all forms of oppression: male chauvinism, racism, lgbtqi+phobia, xenophobia and ableism.

6) Opposition to the destruction of the environment. In defense of life.

7) Against colonialism and neo-colonialism throughout the world.

8) Defense of self-organization, self-management, self-defense and other forms of working class power.

9) The struggle against the far-right. The struggle for democratic freedoms and against repression.

10) Against the criminalization of struggles.

11) Down with the imperialist arms race! No to war!

12) International solidarity.

In these ten years, since its founding at the Paris Encounter in 2013, the Network has become a fulcrum for workers’ struggles around the world, uniting different cultures and traditions of workers and trade unions.

One example of this was the international solidarity that the Network and its unions and organizations carried out with the major struggles that took place in the last year: the struggle against social security reform in France and Spain; strikes for better wages in the UK and Venezuela; the campaign to help workers in Ukraine; the defense of immigrant workers and refugees; indigenous peoples’ protests in Argentina, Chile, Brazil and Ecuador; Palestinian, Saharawi, Zapatista and Kurdish resistance; the Iranian women’s struggle; the struggle for the right to water in France, Uruguay and Mexico; and many other workers’ struggles around the world.

We reaffirm our collective will to strengthen the Network and the international solidarity. For that, we call upon the combative popular and union organizations that coincide with these principles to join the Network to fight for a world free of all oppression and exploitation.

São José dos Campos, September 12, 2023