…without first crawling
The RUSAL issue illustrates one of the challenges Guyana has to confront, since it’ll determine whether we’ll all sink or swim. There are many folks out there who’re totally oblivious – some deliberately so – to what it’ll take to really DEVELOP our country, even with oil money flowing. The country with the largest oil reserves in the world, Venezuela next door – and its refugees now swarming among us — should remind us oil doesn’t guarantee development.
The unions who’re “talking fat” – along with the Minister of Natural Resources, Trotman – about throwing out the Russians for “exploiting” bauxite workers, should remember that Russia supposedly led the world for not exploiting workers. As the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, all businesses – including mines – were owned by the state, supposedly on “behalf of the people”; so how could the workers exploit themselves??
But we know where THAT experiment went, don’t we? The same place where Burnham’s flirtation with non-exploitative cooperativism went – into the dustbin of history. It’s real ironic that the Russians of RUSAL, inheritors of the longest workers’ state in history — are being accused of practising “capitalist” exploitation of workers. The point of the matter is that our trade unions – and some of our leaders – forget that even Karl Marx, the fella who literally wrote the book on not exploiting workers – insisted that before you can practise socialism, you HAVE to pass through capitalism!!!
And of course he pointed out that capitalism meant exploitation. After all, he said, if capitalism depended on profits, and businesses followed the law of the jungle, where only the most profitable survived, then, OF COURSE, there would be exploitation!! The profits have to come from squeezing something more than your competitor – and that mostly means workers!! But no…these worthies, like Burnham, want to forget what their master taught them was the LAW of development and bypass the capitalist stage.
Your Eyewitness would like them to point out A SINGLE COUNTRY that is now “developed” – say, China, Singapore, S. Korea, etc. – that didn’t pass through a stage of “capitalist exploitation”. So back to RUSAL…they’ve got to compete in a global bauxite market against producers in Guinea and Australia, where, because the bauxite ore is practically on the surface, it is cheaper to mine because they don’t have to remove all that overburden.
So RUSAL has to squeeze somewhere, don’t they? Meaning they can’t afford to have workers just walk off their jobs and halt production.
And shouldn’t the bauxite union have cleared up that ambiguity in its recognition to represent the workers?? Or should RUSAL not’ve used the “technicality”?
Why then not protest the Government claiming that 33 isn’t greater than 32??
Trotman couldn’t have mouthed off about “throwing out” RUSAL without it being cleared by the PNC power brokers. After all, it was PNC General Secretary Amna Ally who started talking fat, wasn’t it? Now, this isn’t just an academic matter – it might just signal that the PNC are going back to their roots and are again willing to kick out all those “capitalist running dogs”!! PNC leader David Granger has sworn to fulfill the “legacy” of “Founder Leader” Forbes Burnham, and surely it is no coincidence that Burnham’s first act after Republic Day was to nationalise the Canadian bauxite operations at Linden and the American’s in Berbice!
As union leader Lincoln Lewis indicated, bauxite workers are mostly African Guyanese, and the PNC feel they’ll support them in any (mis)adventure. But the PNC should look at the big picture – even as Granger as a historian should know — that history might just repeat itself.
After nationalising bauxite, the PNC couldn’t sustain production of even our unique calcined bauxite.
The industry crashed and 5000 workers lost their jobs.