[Marxism] Turning out like Walesa (was: Solidarity Center

Javier A javierunderground at yahoo.com
Fri Aug 11 13:04:41 MDT 2006

I had the same debate when I went to el Salvador and I made some comment about the Solidarity Center being reactionary to a Salvadoran trade-unionist, Gilberto Garcia the legal rep for Just Garments, and his arguement was that the Solidarity Center has played a very progressive role in the labor movement in Central America. I told him about Kim Scipes´article and how thorough it seemed in its argument. Months later he sent me a letter his friend sent to Kim Scipes, which is below. Perhaps there has been geographical shifts that has taken place, where exceptional progressive developments has taken place in certain places and campaigns (like Just Garments and perhaps the bus strike in Iran) which is overshadowed and dominated by the structure that Kim Scipes argues for. 
  Dear Mr. Scipes,
> I am writing because of your article "A Specter Is
> Haunting the AFL-CIO's
> Foreign Policy Program: The Worker to Worker
> Solidarity Committee" that
> makes use of my participation in the workshop on the
> history of AFL-CIO
> solidarity, that was held at the Labor Notes
> conference.
> I would like to reiterate that what I said at that
> workshop about the
> Institute for Free Labor Development during the
> 1980s in El Salvador is an
> honest account of the workings of that institution,
> and that I myself
> experienced the effects of its undercutting of real
> worker power.
> That said, I would like to add that I have seen
> changes to the AFL-CIOs
> foreign program after the 1992 Peace Accords in El
> Salvador and,
> specifically, for my union SUTTEL (Telecommunication
> Workers Union) after
> 1997. At this point, there has been real support
> from the AFL-CIO through
> their Solidarity Center for union-building in El
> Salvador.
> For example, when the government refused to grant
> legal status to SUTTEL -
> after an intense union-busting/privatization
> campaign - they accompanied our
> struggle through political pressure. We were
> finally granted legal status.
> Also, when different Salvadoran unions have been
> targets of repression by
> the Salvadoran government and transnational
> corporation, the Solidarity
> Center has provided moral and financial support. 
> When the electric public
> sector union, STSEL, was the target of union-busting
> by the government,
> AFL-CIO solidarity denounced the repression and
> financially supported the
> continued organizing efforts. In the cases of
> maquila sweatshop organizing,
> it has supported those efforts financially. 
> Specifically, the Solidarity
> Center was politically and financially involved in
> the organizing campaign
> of the Tainan factory. In the same way, they have
> accompanied the demands
> of the Central American people in our fight to
> reject CAFTA by lobbying
> congress in the United States and mobilizing
> protests.
> I hope that this addition to my participation in
> that workshop contributes
> to a better understanding and discussion within the
> In solidarity,
> Wilfredo Berrios
> Salvadoran Labor Leader

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