"KIM IL SUNG and WFTU"
KIM IL SUNG AND
THE WORLD FEDERATION OF TRADE UNIONS
(Written by Debkumar Ganguli,
Deputy General Secretary, WFTU)
Next Year – the year 2002 the Korean people and democratic mass organizations all over the world will celebrate the 90th birth anniversary of great leader President Kim Il Sung – one of the most distinguished and respected political leaders of the toiling millions in the 20th century.
On this occasion many articles and writings commemorating the birthday of President Kim Il Sung will come out in the press written in language journals and newspapers in countries of all continents.
On this great occasion of the commemoration I write this article, based on my own knowledge and acquaintance with the great leader President Kim Il Sung with particular reference to his personal relation with the WFTU and its activities.
The history of the WFTU activities will reveal, since its foundation, how on various situation time and again President Kim Il Sung himself was concerned and involved with the WFTU by offering his advice, assistance and cooperation in solution of the problems thereby ensuring further development of the WFTU. Not from the book of the history but I can claim to be an eyewitness of all these because I have been in the senior leadership position in the WFTU and TUIs for decades.
I began my trade union activities in India at a very early age and then was elected to the position of International of Transport Workers (TUI Transport). The TUI Transport is one of the most important International Industrial Federations within the WFTU family. Since 1985 I am Secretary and then now the Deputy General Secretary of the WFTU.
During all these years, at the invitation of the General Federation of Trade Unions of Korea (GFTUK), I visited this beautiful country of the DPR Korea several times, during which I had the honour and privilege to meet President Kim Il Sung.
President Kim Il Sung was one of the most respected, beloved and active patrons of the WFTU from its very foundation. He continued to be so till his sad death.
All along during its activities – both in ups and downs, the WFTU had the privilege to seek and get most valuable advises from President Kim Il Sung. As a matter of fact, whenever the WFTU delegation or its leaders met and spoke to him, many of us were astonished and happy to find that President Kim Il Sung always had the updated knowledge of conditions of the WFTU – both its activities and problems. That is why on every occasion his advises to the WFTU were always precise, precious and far-sighted. Therefore, our meeting and exchange of talk with him always gave us strength, hopes and impetus.
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For the benefit of the readers I may briefly introduce the WFTU so that they understand why and how important was Comrade Kim Il Sung's involvement with and guidance to the WFTU. This also shows the depth and spirit of his commitment to proletarian internationalism.
In February 1945, while the last gunshots of the Second World War were still being heard, the London Conference laid the foundation of the United World Federation of Trade Unions and then convened the first congress in October same year in Paris.
The vast majority of trade unionists and present readers are unaware of this great historical course that the WFTU, as an international working class organization, has traversed since the end of World War II. During this long half a century the organized working class in all continents came forward with a common programme and charter whose aim was to defeat the exploitative power of capitalism, to establish firmly the roots of democracy to act as a grave digger of colonialism and imperialism, and to march forward national independence and socialist transformations of the system inherited from the ashes of World War II. Backed by the firm support of the socialist countries and with overwhelming involvement of developing countries' trade unions the WFTU was coordinating class struggles against manoeuvres and disruption caused by the US imperialists and their fellow travelers in the NATO.
It may also be recalled that immediately after its foundation the United WFTU started organizing intense solidarity campaign in support of the anti-fascist forces in Spain, Greece, Iran, South Africa, Vietnam, Korea, and other colonial territories.
The veritable democratic upsurge and the victory of national liberation movements in the colonies in the post-second-world-war period were marked by an active role of the working people and their trade unions in these great struggles for human progress. The WFTU and its affiliates were in the forefront in these national liberation movements and the struggles against military and fascist dictatorship.
In the context of these struggles supported by emerging solidarity as the democratic upsurge of the people advanced, asserting their right of association and united action for their economic and social demands they were faced with staunch resistance of the imperialist and reactionary forces.
The imperialist countries could not tolerate this growth and ever-advancing activities of the powerful United Trade Union movement led by the WFTU and its affiliates and as such they were finding ways and means to break the anti-fascist unity and resistance of the working class spearheaded by the newly founded united WFTU.
In 1949, by withdrawal of several trade unions of those western countries including USA, Great Britain, Belgium, Holland, etc., the US imperialists succeeded in inflicting a split in the WFTU – the most militant anti-imperialist international working class organization.
In face of such attack for disruption and then disbandment of the WFTU in those difficult days in 1949, the then AUCCTU of the Soviet Union, CGT of France, ACFTU of China, CGIl of Italy, CTC of Cuba and the GFTU of Korea were in the forefront of the struggles to counter and foil the conspiracy of the disruptive forces within and outside the WFTU in order to defend the unity of the WFTU.
This time also Comrade Kim Il Sung's personal involvement and guidance was a great assistance and inspiration.
In 90s again in a different (round about) way the imperialist countries and the allied capitalist forces of the West, through dubious means and betrayals of some leaders of the then socialist countries in east Europe and former USSR, succeeded in inflicting another disruption in the anti-imperialist political camp and class-based trade unions organization, the WFTU in 1990s similar to the one in 1949.
it is still fresh in the memory of the people how grim was the hardship and ordeals in the early 90s when the Socialist System, the ideal and beacon of mankind, vanished from east Europe and former Soviet Union due to the betrayal of Gorbachev and his fellow travelers in the name of so-called "glasnost" and "perestroika".
The WFTU, which was founded after the Second World War with the trade unions of socialist and other progressive countries as an axis and was growing and developing in the midst of a fierce class struggle against the USA and other imperialist and their puppet trade unions, faced a crisis with the changes in the political situation in east Europe.
When socialism was frustrated in chain reaction in the east European countries including the former Soviet Union, a power that had maintained the existence of the two worlds, East and West, the imperialists, their fellow travelers, multinational monopoly capital and their patronized trade unions cheered, proclaiming the "end" of the WFTU. It is nothing but a wishful thinking and day-dream of the anti-working class reactionary forces. So long as capitalist exploitation continues, the class-based trade union movement cannot be killed or ended.
(To be continued)