Workers’ movement adopts CWI programme

THE NET result of the state of emergency called by the Mayor of Alma Ata to defeat organised crime was that by the end of the week over 120 policeman had sold their machine guns to the crooks!

This was one of many examples of the corruption and collapse in the former soviet republic of Kazakhstan – under the capitalist rule of Nursultan Nazarbayev – given by delegates to the Congress of the Kazakhstan Workers’ Movement held in Chelyabinsk, Russia, at the beginning of July.

Rob Jones, CWI representative at the conference

30 delegates attended the conference, whose aim was to re-establish the movement throughout the country. It has suffered from the repression meted out by Nazarbayev’s regime.

Many of the delegates had spent months in prison, suffered beatings or been forced into exile. The fact that they managed to gather together was a testimony to their courage.

All the delegates were workers’ leaders. Genaddi Nikitin led the hunger marches of the miners of Kentau a couple of years ago. The President of the Karaganda Independent Miners’ Union said he wanted to make his union a stronghold of the Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI) in the region. Many of the delegates had been elected by regional conferences. That in Ust Kamenogorsk, for example, was attended by 200 people.

A programme for the Movement, written by Ionur Kurmanov was accepted unanimously. This programme, which opens by saying it is based on that of the CWI provides a firm platform for taking the struggle forward in Kazakhstan. It sets the strategic aim of the movement the formation of a genuine workers’ party based on “struggle, solidarity and socialism”, to quote Madel Ismailov, newly elected Joint President.

The only real disagreement was over tactics for the formation of the workers’ party. Delegates from the miners in Karaganda were arguing that a party should be announced immediately. But most delegates argued that as the workers were currently not very active, the current task was to prepare. This included continuing with attempts to win over the best people from the communist party.

The Workers’ Movement of Kazakhstan is already an associate member of the CWI. It strengthened its links with the election of three members of the CWI amongst its six joint presidents. Now preparations are well under way for a delegation of trade unionists from Belgium to visit Kazakhstan to see the conditions at first hand.

Usually, the most controversial debates are over the constitution. Not here, however. It was unanimously agreed to adopt the International as the official anthem of the movement.