Final Declaration of the 18th Congress of the World Federation of Teachers’ Unions (FISE)
The 18th Congress of the World Federation of Teachers’ Unions (FISE) in Mexico City comes at the time of a deep crisis in the capitalist system of domination, which emphasizes mechanisms of control on dependent nations. Even in the imperialist economic blocs, there currently exists a restructuring that attacks universal human and labor rights, which are inalienable rights regardless of different national constitutions.
Another aspect that without a doubt characterizes the current world context are the coup d’etats, military interventions and CIA plots against countries with progressive governments. Today, the crisis of capital pushes the empire to intervene globally with plans to take over – military plans, and especially free trade agreements, which force nations to even modify their own constitutions to facilitate the ravaging of natural and human resources.
Nonetheless, the recurrent capitalist crises cannot be overcome with the privatization of national businesses and with the exploitation of the people — now they’re coming for the most elementary rights of humanity to turn them into services and products. Now healthcare, education, and work are not seen as human rights.
Opposing imperialist policies, the world is replete with popular resistance and projects of humanity that nurture historic memory and cultural processes for the development of humanity. The desire of the people of the world and of democratic governments are more and more taking the shape of struggles in diverse sectors of society and especially in the struggles and projects led by democratic labor unions.
In this period of political, social, economic, environmental, and cultural crisis we declare the completion of the 18th Congress as historic, being hosted by the National Coordination of Education Workers (CNTE), which has been a leader in the struggle for 38 years, and for the last 5 years has led a frontal battle against imperialist and fascist policies that intend to restructure Mexican society with totally regressive and detrimental laws.
In México, the so-called “Education Reform” introduced by Enrique Peña Nieto on September 11, 2013 attempted to force new labor regulations on teachers, following the trend of international monetary groups that push for changes in education matters. With this pretext, the Mexican government cracked down to eliminate collective bargaining agreements, and clamped down on union rights to their bare minimum, shrinking them into only service centers, including official and submissive unions such as SNTE. The negative consequences of this nefarious piece of legislation were 43 student teacher (normalistas) disappeared in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero; the state crimes carried out in Asunción Nochixtlan, Oaxaca and Arantepacua, Michoacán; the murders of teachers in Chiapas and Guerrero; and the political prisoners: Sara Altamirano Ramos, Leonel Manzano Sosa, Damian Gallardo Martínez, LauroAtilanoGrijalva and Oscar Hernandez Neri, locked up in maximum security prisons for defending public education and indigenous rights, and the firing of 586 education workers who opposed implementing a punitive evaluation.
We declare that we as education workers have come together at this Congress from different backgrounds, places, languages, races, concerns, dreams, and aspirations and with one conviction: to defend public education; to defend our rights as workers through truly grassroots unions; the defense of the inalienable rights of our peoples with national projects where education plays the key role in the decolonization of our thinking.
We accept the commitment to build continental and worldwide unity around our projects, and we work to consolidate an organic movement basing ourselves on the principles of democracy and mutual respect.
We conceive of education as a universal human right, not a service or a product. We strive for liberatory education to transform society, that respects and safeguards the cultural process of development of nations and the past, present, and future of the worlds’ societies.
We support peoples’ free-willed self-determination in the face of the processes of capitalism and the imperialist countries that are united in a policy of imposition, exploitation and looting of nations on the five continents and in almost every country in the world, where the politics of pillage remain a constant. We condemn U.S. intervention in Syria, Libya, Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan, and the imminent U.S. military intervention in Venezuela against the Bolivarian Revolution.
Today, March 5, 2018, we present this world manifesto in México, as a call to all unions and their members who are affiliates of the WFTU to contribute to the militant orientation of education workers: teachers, administrators, researches, logistical service workers, accepting a new vision of schools with a framework of emancipatory pedagogy for a liberating education. We push for more teachers’ unions to join the World Federation of Teachers Unions (FISE) and the WFTU. We want teachers to take on our role as workers and as critical teachers, not just as transmitters of information; to emancipate ourselves with class consciousness, bringing together class conscious unions to contribute to strengthening the class struggle. Even more importantly, with our struggle in the education system, to educate free minds with ideals and principles to create more militants that will defend the working class, in all of its shapes but with the similar interests of freedom and emancipation.
FISE, with it’s new leadership agreed on in this Congress, assumes the duty and commitment to promote these objectives on the five continents and regions of the world, with the eagerness to build a society free of oppression of man by man, where liberating education will have as its goal the wellbeing of society as a whole, and not the profiting and interest for just a few whose only desire is to accumulate capital and individualist separation. As in the past, today our people have the power to shape their future.
We call for political action worldwide to defend universal rights, public education as a right, labor stability, and adequate budgets.
FISE advocates that the citizen initiative “Public Education for All”, created by teachers in México and introduced into the Mexican Senate with more than half a million signatures in support, has a favorable ruling for the population.
We demand the ILO answer the complaint submitted by the CNTE in Geneva, Switzerland, and that FISE help assure an expedited response.
We declare that we are for the repeal of the criminal “Education Reform” and “Interior Security Law” in México. We support the demand that the 43 missing student teachers from Ayotzinapa be presented alive, and we support the definition of the four lines of investigation proposed by the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts. We reject the intentions of the Mexican authorities to close the case and we demand a definitive answer based on the truth.
We demand an end to the criminal and unjust economic blockade against Cuba, maintained by the U.S. government for more than 50 years, and an end to the U.S. military base in Guantánamo and the return of the land to its original inhabitants.
We denounce and condemn the Honduran government for ongoing repression against the Honduran people, especially teachers, after the recent electoral fraud. We demand unrestricted respect of human rights in Honduras.
We denounce and condemn the U.S. government’s meddling in Panama which violates the sovereignty of the Panamanian people by sending the military to their territory.
We repudiate the coup d’etat in Brazil, where a historic setback of more than 30 years imposed by the CIA has anuled basic rights to healthcare, education and dignified work by modifying the constitution. They intend to destroy Brazil’s internationalist work that has contributed to restoring the sovereignty of the Latin American people. We demand Temer leave office.
We energetically oppose the systematic violation of education workers’ rights in El Salvador with administrative actions such as violations to the educational career law, Article 33, related to salary increases. We oppose repressive practices and union busting by groups that attack the democratic representatives of the workers, and stand against management’s discrimination against them.
The leadership of the FISE
INVITATION for the 18th Congress of FISE. 4-5 March 2018 in Mexico City, Mexico.
To the teachers organizations
Dear fellow militants,
The global capitalist crisis, the imperialist wars, the international economic organizations and associations attack the rights of all the workers and, of course, also the rights of the teachers.
The problems of education and teachers are being more acute every day. Shrinking of school units, teachers’ layoffs, salary reductions, trade union and labour rights violations, limitation of trade union and democratic freedoms, police attacks against teachers who demonstrate, are some of the measures implemented by the most governments in the five continents.
The content of education at all levels is being adapted to the decision of the OECD that wants education to be a commodity. A commodity which gives money to the capital, but which primarily seeks to deprive the working class children of the formation of class consciousness and knowledge about the historical, scientific truth that inevitably reinforces the fight against the exploitation of man by man.
The progressive teachers in every corner of the globe we are worried about the low quality of education provided to the new generations of children. Parents are also understandably concerned about whether their children receive essential knowledge and useful qualifications in schools. Teachers and parents, we are both concerned about the continuous privatizations in education. The education sector is of strategic importance and the education should be free, public and compulsory for all.
In many corners of the five continents students and underage children are killed within the classrooms by the bombings and the military conflicts, thousands of children become immigrants and refugees to escape from the areas where the imperialists produce poverty and wars.
In these circumstances it is necessary to accelerate and coordinate the action of the teachers unions. To defend the labour, salary, social security rights of teachers at all levels and simultaneously to demand beneficial education and decent teaching conditions in safe buildings, with the appropriate logistic equipment. We want to teach the truth and scientific knowledge to children. To provide them with the tools to move forward in their lives. To teach them to respect the history of their country, the culture, the traditions and customs of other peoples. To teach internationalism, solidarity, collectiveness, the need for militant attitude in their life. To teach them to love the children of the world regardless of their colour, religion, sex and language.
After the successful and dynamic 17th WFTU Congress held in Durban, S. Africa, in which 1,300 delegates from 112 countries all around the world took part, we understand that it is necessary to have a better coordination, to share experiences, to strengthen solidarity among the unions, to increase militant initiatives, to organize and increase the fighting spirit of all sectoral organizations that belong to the big, militant and internationalist family of WFTU, like FISE.
We are organizing the 18th Congress of FISE on 4-5 of March in Mexico City, Mexico. In this congress we invite all teachers unions that defend the interests of our class, each union that opposes to the attack on education and teachers. The 18th Congress of FISE will be a democratic militant congress that will elect the new leadership. There, we will discuss about the serious problems of workers in education and we will decide the action plan and the strengthening of FISE for the next five years.
We invite all the militant teachers unions, regardless of their ideological and political position, to join us, to come along with the militant movement of the teachers, to fight for a better future for us all. For a future without wars and without the capitalist barbarity.
FISE, CNTE-SNTE and the WFTU invite you on the 4th and 5th March 2018 in Mexico City, Mexico, with its rich militant history through the centuries. We will try to be worthy of the hopes of the teachers and the needs of education in the modern world.
FISE FISE CNTE-SNTE WFTU
General Secretary President General Secretaries General Secretary
Orlando Perez Hassan Ismail Victor Zavala George Mavrikos