National Forum of the Salaried Workers of Benin DECLARATION ON THE OCCASION OF 1 May 2011
Like the other workers of the world, those in Benin, for the purposes of taking stock of claims and to consider prospects, commemorate this day, International Workers Day. May 1, 2011, a day of demands from U.S. unions in 1884. Adopted in France by the Socialist International in 1889, it became a legal and public holiday in 1947.
As everyone knows, in fact, May 1 as a cause for celebration and festival is first and foremost a dedication to a great struggle conducted since 1886 by the workers of Chicago. This struggle has left important gains for generations of workers one hundred twenty to five (125) years later, such as the eight (8) hour work day.
In respect to that part of history, and in order to glorify the significance of past struggles and sacrifices, it is customary to celebrate May 1 as a day of struggle by active events such as marches and rallies, or the worker’s forum today under the theme: “Understanding how and why we must organize resistance to the new autocracy and pave the way for the power of the workers and peoples.”
In this sense, and to raise high the demands, the struggles and sacrifices made by workers of CHICAGO, workers in Benin and elsewhere have a duty to rise without restraint today against the constant manifestations of the cruel confrontation between capital and labor, and the hands of the imperialist powers through the channel of their multinationals (Bolore, Bouygues, Monte Santo etc.) Bretonwood and institutions (IMF , World Bank) and WTO. They want to maintain their hold on the neck of the oppressed by all possible means in order to preserve the chain of domination that is perpetuated as smoothly as economic exploitation and cultural alienation.
This, the source of colonization is also that of the neo-colonization and the most brutal attacks of imperialist re-conquest observable here and there, everywhere in the world today with the English, French and U.S. imperialists in particular at the head. For them, the economic re-conquest is almost complete regarding the essential states, especially holding a big reserve of raw materials, especially energy. It must be brought to an end by taking the top political leadership of these countries by force if necessary.
Looking back a little, (1990 for example), we can realize that the IMF and World Bank have prepared the groundwork by requiring disengagement of the state from activities of production and trade, consequently ushering in the all-out fire sale of state enterprises for the benefit mainly of multinationals retained either directly or as strategic buyers.
Thus, in West Africa for example, from Senegal to Benin through the Ivory Coast and Ghana, Bolor is the master of transportation, Bouygues that of telecommunications, the CFDT cap most of the cotton sector, etc. Coffee and cocoa in Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana are the preserve of American and French companies.
No state budget is made or adopted by the National Assembly without the express permission of the World Bank and IMF. There is no sectoral policy adopted without the agreement of the imperialist powers and their pharmacies discreetly arranged recently under the title of technical and financial partners (TFP). Even the constitution of Benin is without the sovereignty of the people, the agreements signed with foreigners by these institutions. It is well-known that since colonial times, the currency, the CFA franc, was already firmly hitched to the French Treasury by its management.
It is clear that with all these tricks on their robust hand, they only needed a firmer hand on the heads of state, whether those hands are much more visible than Focart or Françafrique.
The U.S. has given the ultimate in arrogant and crumbling pretexts, such as Afghanistan, Iraq. SARKOZY joins them after the bitterly-contested elections in helping to install a son of a personal friend, Ali Bongo Ondimba, a son of Eyadema (Faure); There is ferocious force, under the cloak of United Nations here or NATO there, by installing the friend whom he performed the marriage as mayor in Côte d’Ivoire. With its American, British and Italian allies, it takes part in LIBYA as everyone knows, since energy issues, including oil, are great.
The brutality of the reconquest is even stronger than the competition from emerging countries grouped under the acronym BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa).
Similarly, to stem the financial crisis in the United States triggered in 2008, caused by the colossal benefits, fraudulent practices and huge profits that arrogant leaders of banking and financial institutions, has expanded rapidly in Europe. The victims are all designated workers, including Turkey, Spain and elsewhere in the world to take the bitter medicine of layoffs, restructuring, etc.
It is therefore clear that the greed and cynicism of capital in the service of imperialist powers have never let gains of the workers become or remain permanent unless constantly backed up and maintained in struggles.
In Benin, the recourse of Boni Yayi to tyranny, fascist methods and his own personal references for the management of political power will be seen sympathetically by SARKOZY and other masters as he continues to provide proof of security for the interests of French multinationals Bolor, Bouygues and others. The new autocracy takes its source of justification of this particular provision of security from the growing awareness of the people of Benin, who are likely to struggle in many areas to extract the necessary subsidies for survival. It shows its teeth and claws at the slightest unfavorable event, it banned all public demonstrations about the CEN-SAD, DANGNIVO affairs and the presidential election; it stops and beats peaceful demonstrators. This will not cause any commotion from his masters. It protects and incorporates into its ranks criminals known for dirty work underway or planned. The court and the lower court of Yayi multiply initiatives in order to maintain of power in their hands.
The 2011 presidential election has been an opportunity to demonstrate the strength of these initiatives (vote without voters’ list, no list of polling, the fraud of all kinds of pre-stamped ballots etc.) and logically led to unprecedented results in Benin, an electoral coup that reinstalled the power-hungry autocrats.
At the head of demonstrations relating to these elections, then the electoral hold-up, the labor organizations including in particular the CSTB and FESYNTRA-FINANCE, organizations of Human Rights, ODHP, political parties, including the PCB and many other organizations have rightly called for resistance and have established a committee for this purpose.
To complete the building of the new autocracy, the actors of the coup election have been campaigning during the general election being called for a comfortable majority in the National Assembly.
The people of Benin who experienced the horrors of autocracy will not allow themselves to be new victims.
Workers, better than other classes, have by their experiences of the past six months, given the evidence of their rejection of the decadent power of renewal and change along with their desire for their own power and that of the peoples from which they come.
Those who by this new misfortune happening to our people, those who went for making Boni Yayi President of the Republic, are, even if it could be a calamity for the country, going for a new trap for the people in an attempt to legitimize him, his court and his courtyard, after the robbery of political power in broad daylight from which he can neither win nor draw any glory.
It is for these reasons that the only response that such a deal, this new trap deserves is the firm rejection without appeal.
It should be remembered for those who have forgotten or pretend to have forgotten that political struggles are declared as such, are not painted or hypocritically masked under terms such as “citizen control” triggered at various moments in the history of the peoples and especially the workers, which have in turn led to the advent of the “Democratic Renewal” and “change.”
Workers, in tandem with all other strata, will fight through the necessary resistance to the new autocracy in order to pave the way toward their own power and the satisfaction of their basic demands. Meanwhile, they require:
- enjoyment of fundamental freedoms and the broader union;
- the removal of NPE in accord with the sentiment of the majority of the people, education in our mother tongues;
- stopping the incessant insults made to workers, the dictates of imperialist institutions to justify the non-satisfaction of claims;
- the election and the revocability of the managers o services and public enterprises (DG, DT, Directors and Project Coordinators, Heads services etc..) for an effective fight of the people against corruption;
- the halting of the privatization of Benin Telecom SA Sonapra, OCBN, Port, Sobemap, SBEE SONEB and all other public utilities;
- halting of layoffs in the public and private companies;
- recovery and publication of audits of departments of all companies and state institutions;
- shedding light on the current scandals (Cases of DANGNIVO, CEN-SAD Presidential Plane, agricultural machinery, ICC Services, not to mention the no less important deeds of the previous governments) and punishment of perpetrators;
- guaranteed freedoms, the judgment and punishment of perpetrators of violations of freedoms, the rehabilitation of victims;
- halting the infringement of gains in bonus and other benefits;
- the end of impunity for political crimes of blood (murder of Judge Coovi, the Commissioner of Police and Tossou Koundé) and economic crimes, including main leaders in government or the National Assembly.
- the development and rapid implementation on behalf of workers of the MEF, of all the achievements of recent union negotiations Confederation / Government and the wider wage Coëffic (at least factor 2) to all state employees on active duty or retired (pension).
Workers from all walks and backgrounds must reinforce confidence in ourselves for our major achievements and victories of the past.
Contrary to false propaganda networks developed by unscrupulous authority among workers, Treasury securities to pay back wages, the coefficient of 1.25 on the salaries of Teachers, the repayment of the contract are far from the results of the magnanimity of the power of Yayi Boni. In the minutes of the working meeting chaired Friday, March 7, 2003 by Kerekou, he said to save the academic year. It noted prominently:
- the lifting of the suspension of payment of financial effects of promotions, reclassifications and promotions, which give rise to Treasuries;
- lifting the hiring freeze imposed by PAS since 1987 and a rapid offset staffing, which will end the recruitment dropper according to retirements;
- the “dropping out of sectors on the Training of Public Service” which will give rise among other things to the coefficient of 1.25;
- the “contractual issues” which then lead to the reversal of the decrees;
- “problems of pay structures” the result of which consists of the institution of certain bonuses which are then removed.
Moreover, as workers and peoples of other countries, workers in Benin fought the PAS and contributed to to end it;
Workers have fought and prevented the application of merit-based promotion;
Workers have fought and prevented the enactment of Act 98-035 intended to modify the general status of APE for promotion on merit;
By their vote, workers were cornered, beaten and inflicted shame upon by opportunists by electing twice successively already CSTB as the most representative trade union confederation.
Similarly, in response to the multifaceted assaults and organized attacks of imperialist institutions, it is imperative that workers in the West African region, Africa and the world adopt appropriate crucibles to dispel these harmful actions, to incapacitate them and spawn in each country the way to revolution, the true power of workers and the peoples. The Forum of Workers in Benin launches a solemn appeal to workers of all countries.
STOP THE NEW AUTOCRACY!
VIVE LA DETERMINED RESISTANCE AGAINST THE YAYI BONI AUTOCRACY!
FORWARD TO THE BATTLE OF THE GENERATION, THE EMPOWERMENT AND THE MEETING OF THE DEMANDS OF WORKERS!
FORWARD THE POWER OF WORKERS AND PEOPLE!
LONG LIVE THE WORKING CLASS OF BENIN!
Cotonou, May 1, 2011
The Workers’ Forum