Report to GLI Board Meeting, 17-18 November 2017, covering the period from March to November, 2017.
France: The French union support organization ReAct, represented on the Board by Adrien Roux, initiated contacts to establish a GLI in France (GLI Paris). The CGT, SUD-Solidaires (an independent Left confederation) and FSU (teachers) have agreed to support the project. Its first activity will be an autumn school, on the model of the GLI Summer Schools at Northern College, on 20-22 November, near Paris. It is intended to be open to other francophone countries, and there will be participants from Belgium, Switzerland, Morocco, Tunisia, Canada. The structure of GLI Paris is still under discussion; it will have a Board with members representing organizations and an elected secretary. The GLI Geneva has assisted ReAct throughout this process, through correspondence and meetings.
Russia: An agreement has been reached this year to reconstitute GLI Moscow on a new basis: Center Praxis will be joined by the trade union confederation KTR, the Social-Democratic Party and other socialist groups to collectively re-launch GLI Moscow. It is intended to create a Board where the participating organizations will bee represented and to elect a co-ordinator. DG has been invited to attend a meeting in Moscow on November 26 which will finalize the project.
In the course of the year a team of translators, editors and graphic artists, including Kirill Buketov, Masha Kurzina, Alexei Gusev and Julia Guseva, has been working on an expanded Russian version of DG’s books Solidarity and Fil Rouge. The book launch of the Russian edition will take place in Moscow on November 28 with the participation of DG. The book (291 pages) is called Krasnaya Nit (Red Thread).
Georgia: From September 12 to16 DG was in Tbilisi to participate in the launch of The Experiment, Eric Lee’s history of the Menshevik democratic republic of Georgia (1918-1921). DG wrote a review of the book which the Board members received on October 25.
Tunisia: DG attended the annual summer school of the ACMACO Association Club Mohamed Ali de la Culture Ouvrière) at the end of July, in Tunis. ACMACO is the educational arm of the CGTT (Confédération Générale Tunisienne du Travail), an independent trade union center which will hold its second congress in Tunis from December 1 to 4. The GLI has been invited to the congress and will be represented by DG.
GLI Website: Gary Herman, a journalist with experience of websites based in Manchester is working on a new GLI website. DG and Dave met him first in Manchester and he spent a week in Geneva in October working on the site with DG. The new site should be in place before the end of the year.
Conference on Political Resistance: An attempt to launch an international meeting to discuss a trade union response to the threat of authoritarianism had to be abandoned because of lack of adequate response.(see Notes to the Agenda, Item 5).
Denknetz: A think tank established by the Swiss Federation of Trade Unions (SGB/USS) called Denknetz (Thought Network, in French Réseau de Réflexion) held a meeting to commemorate the Russian October revolution, on November 10 and 11 in Bern. One of the speakers invited was Boris Kagarlitsky, a former Russian dissident (in Soviet Russia) who has since become a supporter of Russian government policy, in particular in the war against Ukraine and in the occupation and annexation of Crimea. For this reason K. is shunned by the independent Left in Russia. DG and others protested and DG asked Denknetz to cancel the invitation. Denkntz refused to do so and justified its decision in a public statement playing down the evidence of K.’s support of Putin and his links to far-right Russian groups.
For the same reasons as stepping down as Chair of the GLI, DG has resigned from all positions of responsibility in other organizations: the Organization and Representation Program of WIEGO, as advisor to the International Domestic Workers’ Federation, the Editorial Committee of Pages de Gauche, the Board of the Collège du Travail and the Board of Solifond.