"KIM IL SUNG and WFTU"
KIM IL SUNG AND
THE WORLD FEDERATION OF TRADE UNIONS
(Written by Debkumar Ganguli,
Deputy General Secretary, WFTU)
It goes without saying that I was so excited to have met the great man, the great teacher and felt so responsible with the strategies he advised.
In the course of our subsequent activities we could find that his valuable advises proved to be so far-sighted, correct and fruitful.
It is worth noting by our friends and foes (those who are proclaiming the "end" of the WFTU) that the 14th World Trade Union Congress held in New Delhi (as advised by Comrade Kim Il Sung) on 23-28, March 2000, was attended by extraordinary large and broad-based 421 delegates from 65 countries representing 407 million workers of all continents, covering all Industrial Trade Union Federation, National and Regional Trade Unions. The participants included representatives from the ILO, World Confederation of Labour (WCL), International Confederation of Arab Trade Unions (ICATU), Organization of African Trade Unions unity (OATUU) and Confederation of Latin American Unity (CPUSTAL).
The Congress was presided over by Mr. Indrajit Gupta, M.P., President of the WFTU and was inaugurated by the Vice-President of India Mr. Krishna Kant. Messages of greetings were received from the President of India Mr. K.R. Narayanan, Prime Minister of India Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee, President of the Syrian Arab Republic Mr. Hafez Al-Assad, Prime Minister of Bangladesh Mrs. Sheikh Hasina and the Secretary General of the United Nations Mr. Kofi Annan. There were many other messages of greetings from numerous National Trade Union Centres and Industrial Federations from countries of all continents. The Labour Minister of India Mr. S.N. Jatia himself addressed the inaugural session.
In response to the call of the WFTU, trade unions of many countries, under the banner of independence, rose to commit themselves to the international cause of the working class and, in this course, a considerable increase was noted in their trust in and expectation of the WFTU, and the ranks were expanded and consolidated.
In Russia, Bulgaria and Poland, too, left-wing trade unions emerged to join the WFTU as member unions.
At the same time, we pushed ahead the struggle to fix the seat of Headquarters in Prague as taught by President Kim Il Sung.
The WFTU, while exposing and denouncing the nature and unlawfulness of the Czech authorities' attempt to unreasonably deport the Headquarters of the WFTU out of its country, called upon its members unions including the General Federation of Trade Unions of Korea, the ILO, UNO, human rights organizations, etc. to exercise their influence in this regard.
These activities produced an immediate world-wide response. The International Labour Organization, the WFTU member unions and outstanding international oawyers joined us in our righteous struggle.
In the face of the world public opinion, the Czech Government responding to world democratic public opinion withdrew its decision to deport us.
This incident made us realize how stupid it had been of us to be so scared by the anti-WFTU campaign of the Czech authorities and interested reactionaries as to consider the option of moving the WFTU's Headquarters to Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus, and how reasonable it had been of President Kim Il Sung to put forward the strategies for the struggle to keep the Headquarters in Prague.
It proved a first-hand experience to us in learning that no matter how hard the imperialists and reactionary forces tried, they could never check the working class struggling for justice.
As President Kim Il Sung advised us, we unfolded far-sighted activities aimed at convention of a WFTU Congress in New Delhi, India, an undertaking to demonstrate its strength and, through it, encourage its member organizations.
There was a great deal of discussion over the venue of the Congress. We finalized the venue of the Congress as New Delhi.
Recommendation of New Delhi for the Congress venue by the President in his lifetime reflects his political faith and far-sightedness. At the time of our meeting with him, he told us India, being a big country, was anti-imperialist, independent and non-aligned, and that since trade unionism was under progressive influence in this country, it was the most suitable candidate for the venue of the Congress.
His views and judgment were right. In March, 2000, the delegates of trade unions from various countries and international organizations including the International Labour Organization came to New Delhi from five continents to participate in the 14th WTUC (as mentioned earlier).
The participants stressed the need for unity and uniformity of actions based on the principle of independence in the international trade union movement, in the face of the imperialists' manoeuvres of "neo-liberalism" and "globalization", and expressed full support for the action plan of the WFTU in this regard.
The Congress approved of the application for affiliation of twenty-one trade unions from fifteen countries and formed a leadership of the WFTU comprising anti-imperialist and independent forces.
The course of the Congress and its results gave us strong confidence in possibilities of developing activities of the WFTU onto a higher plane, and enabled us to work out strategies and tactics for the implementation.
I always marvel at the greatness of President Kim Il Sung and his love, support and fraternity with the WFTU.
The success of the Congress testifies to this. The Congress was an effective occasion to restore and strengthen the WFTU. In this President Kim Il Sung's guidance was indeed a pathfinder.
If you can find an enchantingly great man even at the cost of your life that is the greatest happiness man can have in his not very long life time.
I think that people are enchanted by a great man, perhaps because he has great ideas and human qualities. If a politician has not good human qualities he cannot succeed in politics nor can he become a veteran in the world of politics no matter how good his political ideas may be. It is because a veteran of politics is elected first in the mind of people before he is recognized by the world of politics.
I twice met President Kim Il Sung, who had great ideas and human qualities, saw documentaries of him, and worked for years with the officials of the International Department of the General Federation of Trade Unions of Korea, who had been helping the WFTU, all of which gave me a three-dimensional understanding of his greatness. With all this in mind, I felt more deeply that he was a political veteran of our time and a true leader of the people.
The greatest politician of the 20th century, he never assumed an air; he was infinitely generous, simple living and caring, embracing us with warmth which was like rays of the sun. That is why I used to feel the kind of warm affection that is common between a teacher and a disciple or parents and children and above comrades whenever I met him; it was not an official meeting between a world-famous leader and a foreigner.
(To be continued)