3 IMCWP, Contribution of Algerian Party for Democracy and Socialism

6/22/01 12:58 PM
  • Algeria, Algerian Party for Democracy and Socialism [PADS] 3rd IMCWP En Africa Communist and workers' parties

Algerian Party for Democracy and Socialism
by Abou Karim


For the last few weeks, workers and popular masses from a
region of our country, (Kabylia), massively started to
fight the power and its antinational and antipopular
policy, the consequences of which have become dramatic for
the huge majority of our people. The youth of this region
express the exasperation of the youth from all the country,
and especially from the poorest one. This is the reason why
these fights are considered with sympathy by all the other
regions of the country. Of course, many attempts exist to
throw confusion on the signification of these fights. Some
forces only see in these demonstrations the request for
Tamazight, whereas others deny that the demonstrators also
request for the recognition of their language and their
cultural specificities. For us, the key-words shouted by
the crowd in the popular demonstrations, which have
sometimes gathered hundreds of thousands persons, are
clear. They shout : "no more contempt, no more injustice,
authoritarianism, repression, unemployment, corruption",
while they affirm their attachment to Tamazight. These
key-words implicate clearly all the politics of the power
and especially the economic and social policy which leave
to the young people the only prospect of unemployment and
exclusion. In front of these fights, the authorities have
choosen a ferocious repression and tens citizens,
especially among the younger ones, have died. Hundreds are

These fights are the extension of these which are engaged
by the workers all over the country, especially to oppose
the destruction of the public sector. One month before
these events, the action day of 20th of March, against the
project of oil and gas denationalization had mobilized all
the sector workers, with the solidarity of the other
workers and of the public opinion.

In our declaration, the 30th of May 2001, we analyse all
these fights as "skirmishes announcing a first big class
clash between on one side, the workers and the popular
masses, and on the other side, the fractions of the
bourgeoisie under the IMF domination, which have laminated
the national and social acquirements."

The governing classes, which do not intend to change their
policy, want to contest all the freedoms and especially the
press freedom, snatched after the events of October 88,
during which hundreds persons were killed. Through the
preparation of the penal code modification, and pretending
to punish defamation and offence and protect the
institutions of the country, the authorities foresee heavy
pains of jail and fines for any defamation, in fact for any
information or criticism affecting the action of the
government or the corruption of the leading classes. The
fines foreseen by the penal code, which would be applied to
the press for so-called defamatory writings, could be so
expensive that they could lead to its failure and therefor
to its disappearing. In front of these attacks against
press freedom, journalists, different progressist and
democratic forces, simple citizens gather, manifest and


Union and organization of all the exploited about clear

In such a context, where the fascist danger which has not
yet disarmed, is always present, the communists draw
attention to the necessity of union and organization of all
the exploited about clear objectives such as struggle
against repression, islamic terrorism and its ideology,
stop of the policy of public sector destruction, withdrawal
of petroleum denationalization project, for a social policy
in favour of workers and popular masses... These objectives
are resumed in our declaration of the 30 th of May.
For their carrying into effect,we propose the action unity
with all the forces desirous to have them fulfilled.

Face to authorities which are always seaking to realize
what they call the "national concord", which is nothing but
the union of all the bourgeoisie, modernists or ilamists,
including those which have perpetrated so many crimes
against our people, the only issue is united action of the
workers and of all the victims of the crisis to counteract
such an objective. If the current resistance of the workers
and popular strata succeed in that fight, if the youth
struggles in Kabylia compel the RCD to leave the
government coalition, this will not mean that Bouteflika
has abandoned his project, supported and even demanded by
the imperialist circles. A power which have considerably
strengthen its links with NATO, which is on the way to sign
an association agreement with European Union in the worst
conditions and which wants to rapidly adhere to the Mondial
Organization for Trade (OMC), although our country
practically only exports oil and gas, such a power needs to
gather all the antipopular forces to face the resistance of
our people and apply its dangerous projects.

Algeria adhesion to OMC would lead to a competition with
foreign products, which could not be endured by the
national industry products, either public or private, and
would conduct to the increase of unemployment and poverty.

The leading classes are always pretending that this policy
is intented for modernizing our industrial firms,
increasing our agricultural productions, increasing
non-hydrocarbons exportations, preparing the "after oil".
As a matter of fact, the plans of structural adjustments
they have applied docilely have received the
congratulations of IMF and Mondial Bank. They have closed
more thand a thousand firms and sacked more than 400000
workers, often among the most experienced. They have
stopped all the public investment et decreased drastically
the social budgets. These orientations have led to extend
in outrageous proportions poverty and misery. Unemployment
is evaluated to 30% on a national basis. Millions of our
compatriots suffer lack of housing. A big part of people
children no more go to school and health has become a
luxury for many Algerians who cannot face to many deseases,
eradicated by independent Algeria, which are coming back
now because of the poverty.

In parallel with this situation, social groups of
speculators and corrupted, especially those who do business
in importation, in connection with the opening of the
frontiers, are protected by the authorities and their
fiscal liberalities.

For the last two years, financial inputs have boldly filled
the coffers of the State, due to increasing in oil prices.
At the present time, our country dispose of 15 milliards
dollars as change reserves. The Treasury is also fully
provided. But this situation does not keep the authorities
from going on objecting any support to strategic public
firms, and repeating every day that there is not another
issue. In front of such a class policy, workers have never
stopped resisting but a serious handicap, constituted by
the central directorship of their main trade union
organization, has to be pushed aside to reach the success.


A veritable trade union organization is a vital demand


In order that the struggles, which are growing and are most
likely to increase in the next monthes, come to a
successful conclusion, we attract notice of all the
conscious workers on the necessity to make the
indispensable efforts to reinforce their trade unions at
all levels. As a matter of fact, and as the experience of
these last years has amply prooved, the workers resistance
to the policy of destruction has often been hypothecated by
the union leaders, especially those who have monopolized
the central leadership of the UGTA, who have always braked
the fights, sometimes at decisive moments. Officially,
UGTA is independent from the parties and the authorities,
but in reality, the same methods, notably at times of
national congresses, to impose men from different circles
of the power, are always in use. These practices serve to
maintain orientations and methods which prevent the workers
class from disposing of a veritable class union, gathering
the salaried workers on the basis of their interests,
democratically functioning, and truly independent from the
power, the public or private patronate, and all the
political parties.

During the last national congress in October 2000, these
leaders have used every endeavour to refuse any real
discussion on the very orientations of the union. In the
base conferences, normally in charge of going into details
concerning the workers claims, discussing the means to
bring them to a successful conclusion, the necessary
reinforcement of the unions, the election of the congress
delegates, some regional leaders have left information leak
out to the members for them to think that there was an only
objective : either reelect the secretary-general or replace
him by another member of the directorship. These
conceptions are extraneous to an union and they weaken the
workers organization.

In some cases, delegates to the national congress, who had
been democratically elected, have been replaced by selected
delegates. From the opening of the congress, the two clans
have come to blows and a pitiful show has been offered to
Algeria by career unionists, ready for anything to maintain
themselves at the head of the organization. These
conceptions are fighted by honest unionists, linked to
their base and struggling every day especially in their
federations, to snatch their claims, to save their firms
from destruction and to block the reforms which reduce to
nothing the conquests of our people. Many combative
unionists have been sacked and even put in prison. Some of
them have not found an employment in spite of justice
decisions demanding their reinstatement.

UGTA has always been bound to the power


This trade union organization, founded in 1956 during the
war of independence, has always been bound to the power. In
spite of the power globally progressist orientations till
the President Boumedienne death, the Prussianizing methods
used by the only party, have never allowed it to become a
trade union organization where the members freely choose
their leaders. Even worse, with the arrival of Chadli to
the power, the reactionary forces have evicted the
communists and the progressists, allegeing that they were
not members of FLN. The article 120 voted by this party
central committee demanded the appurtenance to FLN for any
responsibility inside the union or youth organizations. In
the practice, this article has been used even against
members of this party, attached to progressist ideas.

All this explains that, in spite of the complete change in
the very nature of the State power, now dominated by
different fractions of the bourgeoisie which apply docilely
the diktats from the international financial organizations,
these false unionists are still acting as if nothing had
changed. Some of them have become deputies or senators,
members of FLN or RND (National Democratic Rassemblement),
that is the two main members of the power coalition.Thus,
they support in the Parliament the very policy they pretend
to fight in the unions!

They always make believe that it is possible to find an
agreement without mass struggles. The central leaders of
the organization are not unaware of the dissatisfaction and
the workers anger. But instead of acting, they make
statements, often in contradiction one with the other,
sometimes merely lying ones, spending time justifying
themselves. During a long time, they have justified their
attitude because of the necessity not to do something which
could disturb the struggle against terrorism. On the IMF or
the privatizations, their contradictory statements did not
prevent the former president of IMF Camdessus from
congratuling them for their support to the structural
adjustment plans in Algeria.

At the time of the last presidential elections, they did
nothing to help the emergence of a candidate of union of
democratic and workers forces as we wish. On the contrary,
they have publically supported the Bouteflika candidature
by a statement of the executive commission which has been
rejected by only 6 members. They have even participated to
the electoral campaign. During a public meeting, the
secretary-general of UGTA had then declared to the workers
:" Bouteflika will give us work and bread." The UGTA
leaders had already had the same attitude at the time of
presidential election. They had appealed to vote for
Zeroual, the power candidate, and this at the first turn.

If they happen to criticize the action of such and such a
minister, they carefuly avoid to implicate the President or
the power policy as a whole.

On the international plan, these "unionist" leaders look
at themselves as veritable official representatives of the
power, in charge of supporting the internal and external
policy, while trying to deceive the progressist foreign
unions on their veritable positions. Handling demagogy and
lie to delay the political emancipation of the workers
class, the responsible leaders of UGTA avoid any serious
conflict with the authorities. They are dependent on the
State for their wages of professional unionists.

In front of the workers dissatisfaction, these leaders
often use demagogy. This demagogy consists in making
statements like : " we are going to launch a general
strike" at the very moment when the conditions are not
suitable, then rapidly forsake such key-words and play the
firemen, recommending "composure" and "wisdom". The
recourse to this stratagem aims at the demobilization of
the workers and make them lose their confidence in their
action and their force.

UGTA leaders are the objects of a particular ideological
survey from reformist unions like CISL. By a former US
ambassador admission, the American government finance
training programs for UGTA unionists, to familiarise them
to "market economy".

Beside UGTA, there are different unions so-called
independent, in public administration or in education.
These unions often rule very hard fights, sometimes in
unity with base unions of UGTA. They complain about
shackling by the power against their deployment, which does
not allow them to organize their action in eonomical firms.
Thus, these unions are influential only in some sectors
like superior education. It is too soon to foresee how the
union lanscape will progress in our country. For the
moment, we note with interest that the workers movement
begins to unsettle the UGTA apparatus.


The effervescence which is prevailing in the workers class
is such that brigading is no more sufficient to stamp out
the fights. The consciousness of concerted international
actions necessity is ploughing its way among the most
advanced elements. The workers easily see the link between
the deterioration of their situation and the jointed grasp
on the country by the domestic bourgeoisie and the
international capitalism through the institutions which
represent it, IMF, Mondial Bank,...

This is the reason why they follow very thoroughly the
anticapitalist movements all around the world. In spite of
themselves, the leaders, at different levels of the union,
are compelled to echo the workers dissatisfaction, and to
go into contradiction with the governmental authorities.
This is what happened on last 20th of March when the
workers anger constrain the union directorship to support
the protest against the project of oil and gas

In our strategy, tending to build in the fights a powerful
antifascist democratic and popular front, we grant a
special importance to the reinforcement of our party, but
we also appeal the workers to make patiently and firmly the
necessary efforts to their irreplaceable union organization
by isolating the false unionists and fighting for righteous
unionist conceptions.