French unions offer solutions

The following is a statement by the Confederation Generale du Travail (CGT), the French trade union federation.

Our approach is based on values of solidarity, which are those of a trade union movement that brings together women and men, regardless of nationality, politics and religious beliefs.

The CGT condemned the barbarous acts on Sept. 11, which killed ordinary citizens and deeply affected all workers and peoples. These attacks represent neither a conflict between civilizations nor deviant reaction against oppression. They are the product of fanaticism that pursues dangerous aims. It must be firmly fought. Those, who are responsible, must be found and punished and their networks dismantled.

At a time when military intervention is on the horizon, the CGT confirms its rejection of reprisals or revenge, which would have repercussions for other peoples and workers. War cannot be a way of eradicating terrorism.

This is a crucial time in history, which should lead to building new political, economic and social responses. The international community should bring urgent help to the Afghan people and avoid another humanitarian disaster.

Our priority is recognition of the right of all societies to development. Urgent concrete measures must be taken to cancel the debt that weighs heavily on the peoples of the most underprivileged countries. This requires implementing social rights at the international level, challenging the domination of financial markets and multinationals, sharing wealth more fairly in such a way that opens up genuine prospects for young people, who, in the Third World, despair in the same way as those who are excluded in our societies.

Solutions must be found for the most urgent problems, especially in the Middle East. We support the demand for the creation of a genuine Palestinian state and mutual recognition of the State of Israel - both are necessary for the respect of the fundamental right to security and dignity for all those who live in the region.

Such an ambition justifies the creation of new international institutions that promote new relations between peoples and their states and ensure real possibilities of democratic involvement in the world situation regarding political, economic, social and security issues.

France and the European Union should demand democracy, social progress and peace even more strongly. On this basis, the CGT will organize many discussions in workplaces, develop its own initiatives and see what converging actions are possible. This also raises more strongly than ever the need to unite the trade union movement at national, European and international levels.