• Fair World. Belarusian Party of the Left
  • Speech of Pavel Katarzheuski, Member of the Bureau of the Minsk municipal Committee of Fair World, at the Bilbao European Forum

  • Par Pavel Katarzheuski | 25 Nov 18 | Posted under: Bélarus , Europe centrale et orientale
  • Dear comrades! Dear friends!

    At first, I would like to convey to you the warm greetings from the Belarusian party of the left “Fair World”. Our plenary session is held under the title “New Europe for a new World”. Our country, Republic of Belarus, is the geographical center of Europe and participates in world economic and political processes, as globalization influences even the most closed economic and political systems. There is a stable stereotype that Belarus is completely under the influence of the Russian Federation and this is partially true since Belarus and Russia have an open border and Belarus exports goods for 28 billion US dollars, Belarus also conducts military-political cooperation with Russia. However, the European Union is no less significant economic partner for Belarus and at the end of 2017 the trade turnover between the European Union and the Republic of Belarus amounted to about 15 billion US dollars.

    Despite this, all political parties in Belarus, including left-wing parties and progressive social movements, are work in completely different conditions than in the European Union or even in Russia. Since 1996, an authoritarian capitalist regime has been established in our country, which calls itself “socially oriented”. Some left-wing forces, including some left-wing parties in Europe, believe in this illusion, but the Belarusian system is neither socialist nor social. Every day social guarantees are destroyed, the number of paid services in medicine and secondary education is growing, which are free in accordance with the Constitution. 

    According to official statistics, unemployment in Belarus is 0.5 percent of the working-age population, but actual unemployment is 12 times higher. The government recognized this figure when a presidential decree was adopted, which obliged every unemployed person to pay the state 200 euros per year just for the fact that the person does not have a job. As a result of social protests in the spring of 2017, this decree was modfied, but not canceled completely. Now the unemployed are obliged to pay more than other citizens for services that previously was subsidized by the state. At the same time, the average benefit for one unemployed person is less than 12 euros per month.  In Belarus, according to official statistics, about 1.2 million inhabitants have incomes below the officially established minimum consumer budget. In other words, these people do not have the means to meet basic physiological and socio-cultural needs.

    According to statistics for 2017, more than 1.5 million Belarusians work abroad, mainly in Poland and Russia. And this is despite the fact that the number of the working-age population in Belarus is about 4.4 million people. Belarusians are forced to leave their families and go to work abroad to survive and many EU citizens are forced to do the same. The vicious circle of labor migration generated by social inequality makes Belarusians go to Poland and Lithuania, and the Poles and Latvians to more economically prosperous EU countries.

    At the same time, there are no free and fair elections in Belarus and all power is concentrated in the hands of one person - the President. His decrees are higher than the laws. Parliament, the government and local governments actually perform the function of democratic decoration in autocratic Belarusian state. Even the head of the Central Election Commission states that the parliament in Belarus can be abolished because it does not decide anything. Local authorities have limited powers and their decisions have de facto consultative status, and citizens cannot elect heads of cities and districts, they are appointed by the bureaucracy or personally by president Lukashenko. Lukashenka also appoints judges of all levels personally. The trade unions are fully monopolized by the state and perform the functions of controlling workers, but not protecting their rights. This situation exists because the workers are alienated from the decision-making process, and the state has turned into an apparatus serving the interests of capital. And when some leftists who believe official Belarusian propaganda and support the Belarusian model tell us that all conditions have been created in Belarus, we answer: “Yes, all conditions have been created in Belarus for capitalist exploitation.”

    Our party, together with independent trade unions and other left forces, is fighting for the return of Belarus to the socialist path of development, the restoration of liquidated social guarantees and the rights of citizens. To do this, we interact with independent trade unions and the labor movement to organize mass social protest rallies.

    At the same time, we are well aware that, despite the fact that dominates the modern world. It is possible to overcome the present situation only by the joint efforts of all progressive forces.

    The “Fair World” party is actively participating in the activities of the Party of the European Left, striving to establish new contacts and establish interaction with other progressive movements.

    We are convinced that only by maximally uniting the efforts, the left will find solutions for building a peaceful and united Europe.

    Today the slogan is as relevant as ever: workers of all countries, unite!

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