Our union Luz y Fuerza de Mar del Plata celebrated its first 75 years of existence on October 8, 2018 . On October 8, 1943, a group of pioneering electricity workers from Mar del Plata presented to the authorities the documentation required to create the Union that would organize them in the defense of their rights, at the local level.
But that date represents not only the moment this Union was born, it also marks the conclusion of many years of previous work and preparation which had as an antecedent the history of the 1930s and the 40s. The first meetings of workers at the old power plant were held in hiding, with the aim of creating a trade union organization that would defend them from the abuses of employer companies at that time, which were of European and North American origin.
Today, as every year, we must remember the history that forged the identity this union has earned.
Transforming what has been established
75 years of existence are not few for a union organization. The situations we have gone through in the past decades were very diverse, which is characteristic of a country as changing and convulsed as ours.
We have lived through periods of economic growth, conquests of rights, upward social mobility and years of prosperity. But we have also had to go through and face dictatorial governments, repression, ideological persecution, dismissals, privatizations and attacks on the Collective Labor Agreement.
However, the beliefs and ideals of Luz y Fuerza de Mar del Plata in all these years have always remained unwavering, respecting the ideas and values with which this organization was born.
Defending the rights of workers not only involves fighting for better wages and working conditions. It also requires feeling proud to be working class. This feeling must drive us to fight for the demands of the working class as a whole, regardless of their sectors, whether they are precarized, unemployed, retired and so on.
Because what happens to others, also affects us. Fighting for what is ours as a class is nothing more than fighting every day to transform what is established.
Having memory of who we are and how we organize ourselves in the face of each struggle will allow us to continue advancing towards our objectives.
For an independent productive model
This October 8 we celebrate again our anniversary in a context in which there don’t seem to be many reasons for celebrations. A large part of society, victim of a model of exclusion and of the stripping of rights, has been hit hard by the onslaughts of the capitalist system. The advance of a neoliberal model of capitalism that is increasingly savage in Argentina and in much of the world, challenges trade union organizations to rethink themselves and try to coordinate together.
The powerful enemy we must face requires for workers’ organizations to have the greatest unity of action possible, because not only hundreds of thousands of jobs are at stake due to economic adjustment and job insecurity, but the future of the country is in danger due to the installation of a model based on indebtedness, subordination to financial institutions, loss of sovereignty, and the surrender of our natural resources.
From Luz y Fuerza de Mar del Plata we know what it is to fight and defend ourselves. That’s why we call to keep our heads up and not let ourselves fall.
As we always say “without unity we have no future”, understanding that our future and our goals are having the best living conditions, the best salary, the best purchasing power and the best working conditions. Our goal is to achieve an economic model that develops an independent production and industrial apparatus. It is a dispute in which we are not alone and for which we must build majorities and generate intelligent strategies as a whole.
Pride of being working class
In our 75th Anniversary, we call on the entire family of Luz y Fuerza de Mar del Plata to be protagonists, to organize and struggle to continue building the tradition that identifies us. We call to recover the memory of those who made of Luz y Fuerza Mar del Plata a national and international reference in the defense of workers’ rights, social rights, energy sovereignty and also in the defense of the peoples’ common goods and patrimony. Because energy is a human right and a social good.
We call to continue recovering our class consciousness and together with our peers, advance towards the future we dream of.
For the comrades who preceded us, for those here now and for those who will come in the future. Despite the fact that today we have to grit our teeth, we must be convinced that the workers’ movement has a heroic historical trajectory and that it has always had the ability to move forward. Despite all the attempts that sought to subjugate us and exploit us more, excluding and denying us as protagonists, if we are able to shake hands, to unite, to believe in ourselves, we are going to come through. Not without some stumbling, but we will be in a better position to value the organization, integrate it, participate and defend it.
Happy 75th Annyversary!
Steering Committe of the union of Luz y Fuerza de Mar del Plata