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(en) Cuba Libertaria, No.2: A view of independent syndicalism today in Cuba (ca)

From GALSIC <cesamepop@noos.fr>
Date Sun, 27 Jun 2004 19:47:17 +0200 (CEST)

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If a lack of freedom is responsible for the growing political, social
and ideological opposition to the Castro régime, the deepening economic
crisis and the lack of interest by the authorities in the fundamental
problems that affect the workers is responsible for the emergence and
development of independent syndicalism. In other words: this
syndicalism would not exist without the inaction of official
syndicalism and its compromises with the government. The CTC has lost
all credibility in representing the genuine interests of the working
class, serving only to endorse the expulsion of a great number of
workers from their respective unions for differing with the established
official line or for supporting different or opposed ideological or
political approaches to the Castro régime.

Syndicalism in the countryside:

Since theircreation in 1997, the Cooperativas Campesinas Independientes
[Independent Rural Co-operatives] have not been well-considered by the
power. Nevertheless, they do not hide themselves and in 1999 even
called the First Congress of the Alianza Nacional de Agricultores
Independientes [National Alliance of Independent Farmers - ANAIC] to
deal with their main concerns: the living conditions of rural
producers, the transportation of products and their sale in the legal
framework imposed by the Government.

It should not be forgotten that the Cuban agrarian reform transformed
73% of all agricultural land into State property and that the remaining
27% was distributed to co-operatives supervised by the State and to
minuscule individual holdings. According to official figures, 120,000
small landowners (less than 5 Cuban "caballerías"; that is to say:
6,715 areas). This is why independent co-operatives are claiming the
right to organize autonomously and to put their own projects into
practice in order to compensate for the lack of fuel, fertilizer,
insecticides, etc. They are not directly political demands: they only
claim the right to organize outside of the official Asociación Nacional
de Agricultores Pequeños (National Association of Small Farmers - ANAP)
because they consider it simply a government tool and not an expression
of the interests of the sector.

Nevertheless, and although their project is "strictly economic", the
latest wave of Castrist repression has also fallen on them. The
"reason" is that, by claiming the right to sell their products freely,
these co-operatives are in effect questioning state control of the
economy and society.

Syndicalism in the towns:

In 1996, after the foundation of the Colegio de Pedagogos
Independientes [Association of Independent Educators - CPI], a number
of other small initiatives began to appear (groupings of Doctors,
Engineers and Architects, the Self-Employed, independent press
associations, independent libraries, etc.) that had and still have in
common the fact that they are opposed to the monopoly exercised by
organizations linked to the Communist Party and the CTC. Above all with
regard to the CTC, since most Cuban workers today consider it to be the
mass organization which is most closely linked to the government, which
in turn uses it exclusively to orchestrate the workers and to put into
practice the directives of the Communist Party. It is not then
surprising that some of those initiatives were and are still linked
with political dissidence, and that they demand as a priority the
recognition of union rights, above all for unions whose membership is
free and voluntary and who are prepared to strike against the
deficiencies and abuses of the boss-State.

It is true that quantitatively their representativeness is for the time
being modest, but the simple existence of these organizations
demonstrates that, in spite of the repression, Cuban society is on the
move and that union pluralism will be the social expression of
tomorrow's Cuba.

The road which independent syndicalism is travelling has been long and
difficult; working-class syndicalism, above all, has always been the
most emarginated (also by reason of its own political dissidence
against the class positions and parties) and, up to now, the most
ephemeral, as has been the case with libertarian-inspired syndicalism.

For purely informative reasons, here is a list of the best-known
"independent union organizations" connected with political and labour
dissidence in Cuba at the moment:

* CONIC (Confederación Obrera Nacional Independiente de Cuba -
Independent National Workers Confederation of Cuba)
* CUTC (Consejo Unitario de Trabajadores Cubanos - Unitary Council of
Cuban Workers)
* USTC (Unión Sindical de Trabajadores de Cuba - Cuban Labour Union of
* CSC (Central Sindical Cristiana - Christian Labour Union)
* CDTC (Confederación Democrática de Trabajadores de Cuba - Cuban
Democratic Confederation of Workers)

For more information: http://www.cubasindical.org


Contact and information:

MLC: movimientolibertariocubano@yahoo.com.mx
Solidaridad con Cuba: cubava2003@yahoo.com.mx
El Libertario: ellibertario@hotmail.com
GALSIC - France: cesamepop@noos.fr

Websites with information on Cuba:

El Libertario: http://www.nodo50.org/ellibertario
Cubanet : http://www.cubanet.org
A-Infos: http://www.ainfos.ca

Our address:
Tribuna latinoamericana,
145 Rue Amelot,
75011 Paris,

>From Cuba Libertaria, N°.2 - May 2004
Published in Paris by GALSIC (Support Groups for Libertarians and
Independent Syndicalists in Cuba)

Translation by nestor mcnab

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