"We are threatened once again by international agencies that want to roll back the gains that we have made over the years,” Danny David warned.
During a ceremony in honor of the 85th anniversary of the 1937 Barbadian protests, Danny David, the secretary of the Caribbean Movement for Peace and Integration (CMPI), criticized the current situation of trade unions and called on workers to return to their revolutionary roots.
“One of the major developments that came out of the struggles of 1937 was the trade union movement but, to my mind, that labor movement is weak today," David pointed out at the St George Parish Church, which houses the remains of Israel Lovell, a Pan Africanist who was a leading activist for social, educational, and economic change in the 1930's.
"We need a revolutionary trade union in Barbados now that will agitate on behalf of the working classes because we are threatened once again by international agencies that want to roll back the gains that we have made over the years,” he added.
In explaining the reasons for the need to radicalize the labor movement, the CMPI leader recalled that the challenges posed by contemporary neoliberal capitalism require more determined attitudes.
ON THIS DAY Today marks 83rd anniversary of 1937 People's Uprising in Barbados; national hero Clement Payne agitated for black Bajans to rise up against white plantocracy; his deportation led to 4 days of riots- 14 persons died; led to improved conditions for working class Bajans pic.twitter.com/7Z4G1OeyJn— Kevz Politics (@KevzPolitics) July 26, 2020
“Because of the agreements we have made with international agencies like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and others, we are now facing challenges with pensions in both the private and public sector, as well as the growing incidence of working-class people having to resort to contracted labour," David said.
"We believe that a day like today should be celebrated by all trade unions in Barbados, as well as the credit unions, the agricultural community, and all working-class people,” he added.
Also present at the ceremony was Cuba's Ambassador to Barbados, Sergio Pastrana, who recalled the history of the Barbados labor movement and stressed that "the struggle continues, waged by those of us who believe that the North cannot continue to oppress small underdeveloped countries and extract the best of the South's riches.”
On July 26, in the "Day Of National Significance," Barbadians remember 14 people who were killed in the 1937 protests. Their sacrifice, however, spurred Grantley Adams to found the Barbados Labor Party (BLP) in 1938.