Interview: With Director of international Relations of the Sandinista Workers Confederation - CST
Exclusive Interview with Francisco González, Director of international Relations of the Sandinista Workers Confederation (CST), May 21, 1982.
Question: As a workers’ confederation, how does CST view the mixed economy as the principal basis for the Nicaraguan government’s economic project?
F. González: Looked at from our class-based positions, the CST thinks the Nicaraguan mixed economy, if it’s in the hands of honest private producers and owners, is undoubtedly profitable, necessary and justifiable. That is to say, the CST never proposes tasks nor fights which would go against a mixed economy; nor against a Nicaraguan-based business which wants to participate in Nicaragua’s economic development and reconstruction; nor against businesses which support the process, especially as regards the fulfillment of workers’ claims. But we are against those businesses that would use or participate in the structures and possibilities of the mixed economy to decapitalize, drain the country, or set themselves in opposition to the worker’s interests.
However, history shows that there is very little willingness on the part of the private business owners to act in good faith. There is an interest to boycott the economy. Thus we cannot renounce our struggle and we will not yield to these economic aggressions. We will pressure so that businesses that are being decapitalized will be confiscated.
Question: In other words, do you think that there is a tendency towards more state ownership of certain means of production?
F. González: That is the tendency. We have not forced that tendency but we will in order to correct the abuses of the private business owners. If a mixed enterprise, to give you a concrete example, is being used by its owners for personal well-being exclusively or to decapitalize and create economic problems, we will demand that this individual’s property be nationalized. But if the owner is contributing to Nicaragua’s reconstruction and economic development, the only thing we demand is that the collective-bargaining agreements and the workers’ claims be fulfilled.
Question: Isn’t there a certain contradiction between the mixed economy program and increased worker participation in the administration of private firms?
F. González: Yes. Under capitalism, social production is handled by a certain class or group. Traditionally, they have not wanted to be watched over by the workers. This opposition will weaken as the workers sharpen their administrative abilities. As long as the worker movement lacks competence to participate in production programs, budget planning, or administrative management, the owners have the capability to oppose us or “tie us up”, as we say. But to the extent that the workers becomes familiar with all these mechanisms it is easier to propose programs of struggle and work. The union leadership should establish appropriate mechanisms so that the workers can have a greater participation in administrative matters. This opposition does not exist only in the mixed enterprises. Even in the state firms there are at times managers with this kind of thinking who oppose worker participation. Therefore, in these cases it is not just a matter of whose property it is, but rather of the administration’s notion of worker participation. So it is up to the workers to show either the owner, the administrator of the director that he/she is capable not only of managing, but also of increasing the production.