Solidarity is the key to victory!

Executive Committee of the Central Council of the “University Solidarity” Trade Union

Summary: Labor dimension of the protests in Belarus against a fraudulent election and the longstanding authoritarian regime of Alexander Lukashenko — Editors

As expected, the extremely dubious electoral procedure, misnamed “elections”, caused mass indignation among the citizens of the Republic of Belarus to which the authorities have responded with widespread violence and repression against many protesters.

There is every reason to believe that the real results of the “elections” in Belarus are completely different from the officially announced figures. A clear proof of this, in particular, are the spontaneous strikes and actions taking place at numerous enterprises. The mass protest movement is caused not only by brazen falsification of the presidential election results by the authoritarian regime of Lukashenko who has been holding power for 26 years. Popular protests also reflect a widespread discontent with the antisocial policy of this regime hiding behind the populist demagoguery.

We stand in solidarity with the position of the country’s independent trade union movement, the Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions, which has strongly condemned the repressive actions of the authorities and called on workers to fight for the lost rights and liberties. We support the demand of the academic community, scientists and teachers of the Republic of Belarus to put an end to the violence of the authorities against peaceful citizens and to free all political prisoners.

In this situation the actions of the state “trade unions” of Belarus (FTUB) – whose leadership has taken a completely anti-people position, de facto supporting the repressions and violent crackdown on peaceful protests – are outrageous. The increasing degree of violence is on their conscience, too. We believe that in this situation the first action that every decent person in Belarus should take, irrespective of their political views, is to leave all these loyalist organisations that act as parasites on honest workers, and to join one of the democratic trade unions operating in their industry, or to create new ones where no such unions exist.

We believe that the current leadership of the Republic of Belarus, who with full confidence can be considered as having illegally usurped power, bears entire responsibility for the situation. We are confident that the fraternal people of Belarus will be able to achieve justice and return the power in the country to their lawful representatives. We believe that the main tool in this struggle should be solidarity among all those who value the future of independent and free Belarus. We hope that the independent trade union movement will play an important role in this struggle. We are convinced that it is the actions of solidarity, including a general strike, that can pave the way for a democratic and socially just future.

We wish our friends and colleagues good luck and fortitude in their struggle and are ready to help them in any way we can.

We think it should be noted that the events in Belarus tragically resonate with events in Russia, in particular with the ongoing protests in Khabarovsk Krai, as well as with the recent demonstrations for free elections in Moscow and against the pension “reform”. Citizens’ aspirations for free elections and real representation of their social and political interests is a universal unifying force in the post-Soviet states today.

We call on the international workers’ and trade union movement, especially the international trade union centres, to expel from their membership all “official”, authority- and employer-dependent organisations disguised as trade unions that have completely discredited themselves. We call for a boycott of all Belarusian organisations and institutions that have been tainted by supporting the anti-popular actions of the current government.

Long live Belarus! Through struggle we will attain our rights!

15 August 2020

Executive Committee of the Central Council of the “University Solidarity” Trade Union

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