CSP-Conlutas is a new kind of organization in Brazil, as it brings together with an independent and democratic method both labor federations and popular and anti-oppression organizations, under a common strategy to fight united and stand in solidarity with each other.
CSP-Conlutas is a labor and popular federation. Student’s unions and organizations against oppression combined shall be at most 5% of votes in any decision-making body of the Federation.
Both student’s unions and organizations against oppression may take part in the National and State Executive Secretariats and in the National and State Coordination of the Central with the right to speak and vote to the limit of 5%.
In 2012 CSP-Conlutas held its first and in 2015 its second national congress gathering 250 organizations representing around 3 million workers in Brazil, from industrial sectors (auto, metal, chemical, printing, textile, oil, mining), construction, transport, sanitation, mail, public education and healthcare employees and civil servants and bank employees, etc. It has become, especially throughout the political crisis initiated in Brazil in 2013 a national reference for all the sectors that want to organize democratically to defend their rights against the attacks of multinationals and the Dilma/Temer administration.
The third congress will be held on October 12-15, 2017 which will be followed by a Meeting of the International Labor Network of the Americas against neoliberal reforms on October 16-18, 2017.
Principles, Strategy and Program
(Passed By Working Class National Congress, 2010)
Overcoming Capitalism and Building Socialism! Fighting Back Corporativism and Economism!
Labor and popular movements that intend to fight in a coherent way in defense of the interests of the workers and other exploited and oppressed sectors of our society must have as strategy to overcome capitalism the construction of a new society on socialist bases.
Capitalism, in its phase of decadence, has already proved incapable of improving the lives of workers. Every little conquest obtained through struggle is soon taken by the numerous instruments that Capital has at hand, as it holds the economic and political powers in this society.
This does not mean that CSP-conlutas must move away from the daily struggle in defense of the economic and specific demands of each sector, but to fight every struggle with the understanding that all of them will only lead to a definitive solution, to the liberation of the workers, through the end of capitalism and the construction of a classless society, a socialist society.
The Federation shall carry out, in every concrete mobilization that we have in our union or movement, the denunciation of capitalism and the questioning of the institutions of that society, as part of raising the political consciousness of the working class and its education for the coming struggles for the transformation of this society.
Corporativism, which limits the action of labor exclusively to the immediate issues of a given sector and economism, which dissociates the specific claims of a sector from the general claims of the working class, must therefore be challenged by the Federation since it leads to a reformist practice and this type of action is not able to defend even the most basic claims and rights of the workers.
Centrality of the Working Class
The unions are the most important means of mass organization in the country, bringing together the portion of the working class that, due to their number and socio-economic location, has more weight in the struggle against capital.
In this context, the industrial working class is the most important sector in the struggle for the transformation of the society in which we live due to its position in the production of commodities.
Contrary to the analyzes that foresee both the end of labor as a source of wealth production and the decline or even extinction of the working class, we see the growth of the working class globally, in particular with the incorporation of the Chinese proletariat into capitalist production in recent decades.
In the same way, the reestructuring of labor processes, including both waged-labor or not, with multiple forms of casualisation together with structural unemployment which creates a legion of dispossessed in the peripheries of the great urban centers of the country poses the challenge to bring all of them for the struggle, within a working class perspective.
This reality demands the alliance of all sectors of our class around a workers’ and socialist perspective with emphasis on the more exploited and oppressed sections of the workers, often not protected by mainstream labor organizations.
Rank-and-file Enrooted Organization (OLT)
A militant, working class oriented and socialist action demands overcoming workplaces current situation where there is no labor organization on the floor.
There are objective difficulties, such as employer’s repression and the dismissal of activists, as well as subjective ones such as lack of political understanding about the need for grassroots organization.
This task should be understood as a permanent priority for the Federation which shall carry out specific policies for the organization of clandestine grassroots groups, trade union oppositions caucuses, Cipas (Safety and Health Committees), union delegates, workplace committees, etc.
It requires a political campaign for job security (adoption of ILO 158 Convention on Termination of Employment) and also for the right for labor organization inside the workplace (OLT in Portuguese).
Defense of Direct Action Allied to Other Means of Secondary Action (Parliamentary, Legal, etc.)
The Federation understands that true social transformation passes through direct action and adopts it, therefore, as its permanent strategy. Institutional disputes can and should be used as long as they are subordinated to this strategy.
We defend the direct action of workers as a privileged way for the struggle. This does not mean disregarding the importance of other means such as acting in parliament or legal struggle; Nor does it mean to stop using negotiations and agreements when necessary.
However, the negotiation processes are the result of the relation of forces existing at a particular moment or concrete struggle and, therefore, should always be based upon the mobilization of the rank-and-file.
Therefore, the Federation efforts should be placed in the permanent construction of mobilization and struggle, rejecting the prevalence of negotiation over workers’ mobilization.
Even when the mobilization is not possible, the Federation and its affiliated organizations should guide their action within the framework of a correct education of the workers in the struggle against capital.
Defense of Unity of the Federation and Working Class Struggles
The Federation strives for the unity of workers in the struggle to defend their rights and interests. Unity is critical to strengthen workers in their struggles, but it can not be used to sacrifice workers’ class independence.
The Federation shall provide the means for a rich internal debate, ensuring democracy, respect for diversity and the expression of minorities in all its bodies.
The decision-making processes of their policies shall be based on broad participation of the organizations and the rank-and-file. All affiliated organizations must enjoy complete independence, whether ideological, organizational, programmatic or political.
Organizational, Political and Financial Independence Vis-à-vis the State, the Bourgeoisie, Governments and Other Political and Religious Institutions
The Federation shall have complete independence from any government, employers and State institutions, whether in the political or financial issues.
The Federation shall not use resources from the State or employers to maintain and carry out its activities. Organizational, political and financial independence should not be confused with neutrality vis-à-vis governments and the state.
In this class society there is one side that exploits and oppresses: the bourgeoisie and its institutions (governments, parliament, State, etc.); And there is the exploited and oppressed side: the workers and other exploited sectors of society.
Neutrality in such a situation implies into support for the stronger side. The constant and systematic struggle against the bourgeoisie, its governments and its state is the only way to make labor independence effective.
Fighting Back Labor Tax
The labor tax is the economic basis for linking trade unions to the state, in the model conceived and implemented by Getulio Vargas.
It is necessary to reaffirm the struggle to end this excrescence, opposing all compulsory deductions and State funding to unions (FAT, agreements with state-owned companies, ministries, etc.).
We must take the challenge to seek other sources for funding democratically defined by the workers in order to set labor organizations free from any dependence and give coherence to our struggle to end all compulsory deductions.
The affiliated unions shall fight back the labor tax and seek self-funding convincing the workers about the need to support their organizations themselves.