Labor Union "Patria-Rodina"
We are currently in a deep socio-economic crisis. The production is still in decline, and so are the budget revenues, and the negative commercial balance is on rise. Whatever balance we manage to upkeep, it is at the expense of foreign and domestic loans, and the cuts in investments and social expenditures.
The fall in the purchase power of wages and pensions is alarming, and so is the yearly drop in the real incomes of the majority of population. The living standards are so low that Moldova is now included in the category of countries with the most strenuous economic situation in Europe.
In contrast to the rampant poverty, certain individuals have accumulated huge incomes, especially on the account of the redistribution of incomes of the majority of population and the state sector. Widespread corruption has played a special role in this process of polarization.
State power is ever more distant from the current problems of ordinary citizens. These problems are not wanted but nonetheless regarded as inevitable in a transition economy. Yet the state power is pressured to compensate for these problems at least partially. The citizens, in their turn, are ever more distant from the state and its policies. The economic, moral and spiritual decay has reached the limit and is endangering the very biological and spiritual existence of our people.
The short-lived Moldovan governments to-date have lacked a coherent strategic program, and counted principally on the instructions from the international crediting organizations. The parliamentary parties that are directly responsible for the current disaster are denying any political responsibility, and rather than look for material solutions are engaged in endless inter-party struggles, nurture a leftist ideology which fuels nostalgic feelings for an epoch with no return, and use a quasi-patriotic populism that has nothing to do with our national interests.
Aware of the need for a new economic and social policy in Moldova, and the fact that such a policy can only be accomplished by a new political class free of shadow economic interests, we have founded the Labor Union, which has the following aims:
- To promote an economic and social policy which would meet both the specific conditions of our country and the objective requirements of the world economy, and to render people the belief in themselves and in tomorrow;
- To launch in the foreground of the political life a new political class morally supported by its professionalism and commitment to national interests;
- To inject in the political life of our country a new political style based on balance, realism, competence and the will to build.
From the ideological point of view we are a left-wing party and see ourselves on the left side of the Moldovan political spectrum. At the international level we are affiliated with parties and social-political movements associated to the Socialist International whose members we aspire to become.
The LU sets itself the objective of turning into a political organization that promotes and defends the interests of the working class and the political structure of the worker movement. In our activity we will provide political support to all forms of self-organization of the working people aimed at improving the living, working, study, health and other standards.
We address this program to all citizens of the Republic of Moldova who want to get familiar with our views on various socio-economic and political problems, and in particular to those who believe in the values of social justice and are ready to contribute to their application.
I. The impact of economic developments
The economy of our country is facing serious economic problems. The calls for credits to cover the budget deficit, fix the commercial balance, and fund consumption needs and unproductive objects have brought us to the verge of an economic crisis.
The financial-monetary stabilization at the expense of the drop in living standards has resulted in the massive impoverishment of the population. The decline in national production, the consequence of the economic policy of the state, has turned our country into a market for poor quality imports and cheap labor force for developed countries.
The absolutisation of the model of the International Monetary Fund and its recommendations on economic policy completely ignorant of our peculiarities and national socio-economic interests have resulted in the reduction in output, increase in foreign debt, serious social problems, which in all are a threat to the economic security of our state.
Economic reforms have become a goal in themselves, a revolutionizing and politicized solution in support of market economy rather than national economy. An alarming contradiction has emerged between the proposed economic schemes and the peculiarities of our historical evolution, the specifics of our economic and social conscience, our national traditions and values. Under these circumstances no reform regardless of how noble its intentions are will achieve success.
We travel round the world to learn from the experience of others although no one has had the experience of passing from socialism to communism. The state economic policy should not and cannot be a selective improvisation of solutions borrowed from other countries, however economically developed they were. The market is a national phenomenon. Every state has its own regulation mechanisms, which establish the competition rules and the financial bodies, fulfill such functions as stabilization, insurance schemes, redistribution, aid and other social mechanisms, regulate the functioning of the market according to such social values as the balanced distribution of risks and profits.
The attempts at substituting by revolutionary way and automatically one economic system for another, without paying attention to the fact that the western societies have reached the current level of developed in the result of a long historic process, confronts us with certain types of behavior by our citizens which is totally inconsistent with the western standards.
Thus the grip that our citizens tend to have on their jobs, despite the low wages, is commonplace. Although the living standard of the majority of population has dropped in a dramatic way, few are willing to take risks and start their own business. Positively regarded are not so much personal success and material wealth, but rather the socially useful work. Preference is given to the principle of mutual help and not individual freedom.
The culture of our people, including the economic one, has evolved over history, and maintained certain stability, permanence, and uniqueness in conditions of different transformations of the economic and political orders of which one needs to take account.
II. The economic policy
Economic problems cannot be solved through mere market mechanisms. To solve our economic problems we need to start with the principle of economic rationality and use diverse leverages - market, planning, and mixtures of the two approaches. It is necessary to reconcile the microeconomic market mechanisms with macroeconomic planning. We need a long-term strategic program, one that ordinary people could understand. The economy needs to have clear and defined purpose, expressed in appropriate indices. Then and only then will it be possible to regulate with the help of financial-crediting and fiscal leverages.
Regulating demand and offer is not a procedure to ensure overall economic stability. External markets have exerted an active influence on the production costs, prices, competitiveness of goods, economic structure and efficiency, and the fragmentary character and unvaried production of our economy have resulted in low stability with regard to any internal deregulating action, as well as external ones.
Only through a revived investment process, rationalized economic structure, upgraded technical and material basis for the production will it be possible to ensure support for and growth of the competitiveness of our national economy. As the experience of developed countries has shown, the state sector improves the investment climate and facilitates the capital formation process.
Hence depending on the dimensions of the export sector, whose sales ensure the supply of fuels and power, raw materials necessary for the normal functioning of the exports sector, and pay for the population's basic needs, we need to sustain a high quota of state property in the sphere of material production, as a basis for accumulation and renovation of fixed assets. State ownership should be preserved over part of the low-productive organizations and institutions that cater services to the population. Otherwise, the level of accessibility of these vital services will keep dropping for most citizens.
State planning should comprise at least the exports sector, the structural reorganization, the technological upgrading and the technical and scientific development.
Economic development planning by the state does not necessarily mean a slide back into the past. Nor is it homage paid to the vogue in global economy, but a reasonable solution to our current circumstances.
Stabilization is not a mere technical issue; it is a general political and economic problem. A sound financial situation cannot be achieved unless the general economic policy facilitates an optimum production level, which is to result in a positive balance of our accounts abroad. Moldova is currently in a three-fold crisis, economic, financial and monetary, but the first thing it needs to do is to revive its economy - the only way to sustain public finances and the national currency.
We need to use skillfully tariff and non-tariff tools to stimulate economic agents to improve their activity and increase competitiveness and to protect certain national strategic branches from the aggressive foreign competition. In commercial and other ties, the countries with a higher economic potential stand more chances to shift balance to their side, obtain non-justified advantages over developing or transition countries and perpetuate forever their underdevelopment.
Generally, relations between states are built on interests, and, first of all, the economic interests of the big and mighty. Therefore, countries like Moldova should watch for their interests to be taken account of by their more powerful partners. We have the duty to use the tools we have been endowed with through the international treaties to which we are signatories, especially in such exceptional cases as the economic situation of our country, to reduce imports that are not really necessary either for our industry of for general consumption.
In any case, the imports of goods that do not meet the real needs of our national economy are to be cut off because this requires foreign loans to upkeep the commercial balance, which increases Moldova's foreign debt; generate the devaluation of the national currency in relation to other currencies; exert negative influence over the public financial balance due to the fact that they put a burden on the state budget through the expenditure incurred as a result of foreign loans; generate unemployment given that foreign exporters engage in unfair competition with the local producers eliminating them from their own market.
To sum up, the state has multiple tools at its disposal to protect our national interests in our foreign trade, including to improve the commercial balance. All that is needed is political will and skill for these tools to be operatively activated when necessary.
Our main policy should be industrial development, the crafting of a national industry with the help of protectionist, diverse, rational and timesaving measures. At the same time, a protectionist policy is justified economically and is to be carried out until industry grows roots so that later it can be exposed to the test of competitiveness with foreign producers. Maintaining a protectionist regime after a certain level of development has been reached in industry hampers progress and hence the need to liberalize foreign commercial exchanges.
Our only viable way to financial and currency stabilization is economic and social development within a balanced financial framework with limited or no credits for current consumption. The contraction of foreign loans should be made with maximum prudence and only for productive objectives, which could later produce resources to pay these loans back. Direct foreign capital investments are preferable to loans provided that they are made in branches of interest for us, they facilitate technical progress and stimulate exports.
We need a policy centered on development and able to create the premises for the economic growth of enterprises. In this sense we need a new fiscal regime to meet public financial needs without discouraging or undermining economic activities. We need not overlook the fact that without accumulation no economic growth can be achieved and the living standards may not be upgraded. We need a policy as part of the measures taken to bring prices below the market price, so that the economy can survive either as an industry or as a modest agricultural exploitation.
As for the agricultural issue, the Labor Union considers this is a sector of strategic importance for Moldova's economy. The dimensions of land lots of new farmers do not allow for the organization of a profitable family business. We believe that in our country the future of agriculture will largely depend on the creation and efficient functioning of various agricultural cooperatives capable of ensuring an efficient economic activity by implementing modern production technologies.
III. Social policy
The major objective of the Labor Union is to build a socially oriented state, whose politics would be oriented towards creating the necessary conditions for a life in dignity and the free development of people. We reject the attempts to institute in our country market relations of the liberal-monetarist style whereby social problems become of secondary importance.
The transition to market economy should be accomplished based on an integrated conception whereby every single step taken in the reform process is deemed to contribute to the overall socio-economic climate in our country. The state should ensure real opportunities for the self-assertion of every individual, equal opportunities for the realization of professional, labor and socio-economic rights, as well as the minimal social insurance.
In circumstances when for most of Moldovan citizens the wages, pensions, or stipends are the only sources of living, we believe that one objective of primary importance is the fight of chronic delayed payments. The state bodies and employers should be forced to pay material and moral damages for late payments.
The retribution of the labor of employees, pensions, allowances and stipends should become a priority above all other types of payments and expenditures, a principle that needs to be translated into law, and the responsibility of the Government and the employers should be materialized. At the same time, the mechanism of indexing wages, pensions and stipends according to the inflation level needs to be applied urgently, the value of the minimum salary needs to be brought in line with the minimum cost of living and gradually altered up to a reasonable consumption level.
We believe that the state should get involved actively in the establishment of the labor market with the aim to ensure the right of every citizen, through labor and his/her own entrepreneur spirit, to cater for their families. For this purpose, the following needs to be done:
An economic policy to encourage balancing the demand of offer on the labor market needs to be accomplished, and the following economic tools need to be used for this purpose:
- preferential prices, credits and taxes, state orders;
- developing and implementing a program of placing in the labor market of the youth, women, socially vulnerable categories and counteracting any form of discrimination on the labor market, ensuring them with new jobs, especially in the social infrastructure.
We need a policy to stop the process of impoverishment of the majority of population and to endow the country with a real middle class. In this sense, we need a new tax policy, one to be founded on the principle of social solidarity. The taxes need to be looked at not only in financial terms, but as a social concept too, as it is through taxes that difference among various social categories is leveled down and the social produce is distributed fairly. Taxes are not just a means of covering expenses but also a means to correct the incomes generated by free competition.
We believe that this is possible to achieve only through political interaction with the trade unions, and the real functioning of the system of social partnership, whose major resource are trade unions. We will actively support the trade unions in their effort to defend citizen's rights to the minimum social protection of the people unable to work.
Our party will make efforts to pass laws to guarantee the trade unions the possibility to exercise in an efficient way their social functions. We plead for giving the trade unions the right to initiate legislation. Within the current legislative framework, we will cooperate with the trade unions as much as we can, including with a view to join action.
Social protection needs to have a directional character, and target specific categories and individuals. There is an objective need to develop and apply the Code on social legislation to guarantee the right of every individual to social protection in critical situations, stipulate the obligations of the state with regard to ensuring the necessary minimal social guarantees for different social categories.
To our mind, education and science are two major fields for the present and future of Moldova. Every child or youth, independent of the material situation of their family, must have equal access to education, including the prestigious one. Now all institutions of education, from kindergartens to universities, have found themselves practically separated from the state whose protection and support they have lacked. Therefore it is necessary to restore the responsibility of state power bodies for education, for the realization of every individual's right to quality and free education at all levels.
The state needs to guarantee and ensure the activity of scientific investigation and training of scientists. In this sense, we will advocate for the allocation of a fixed share of national incomes to be spent on funding scientific projects and train scientists as of primary importance for our national interests.
IV. Fostering statehood and the rule-of-law state
We are aware of the entire complexity and the contradictory nature of the history of our state building, of the process of fostering the political independence and the polemics on the future of Moldova. Hence the Labor Union considers that at the foundation of any option there should be the will of the people of Moldova, expressed through the agency of some intrinsically democratic procedure and in conditions of respect of human rights.
The Labor Union believes that the existence of the democratic and independent state of Moldova is a sufficient guarantee for individual freedoms, maintaining the balance and harmonizing the interests of various ethnic, professional, cultural, religious, territorial and other social categories and groups.
We believe that the multi-party system is a way of harmonizing social contradictions and a guarantee for the permanent upgrading of the state structures, and we are aware of the fact that such a system can only function where there exists a civil society. That is why we further support the existence of such a system in Moldova but at the same time believe that one of our major tasks is to breed in our citizens the conscience of citizen rights.
The current state structures in Moldova are structures of transition from the old Soviet establishment to a democratic one. Despite the fact that we have a new Constitution, the principle of separation of powers is till being breached in Moldova.
The current constitution has failed to create the mechanism of protection of the ordinary citizen against the free will of the state. It is necessary to clarify and extend those provisions of the Constitution that define the relations between the state and citizens. The Constitution needs to envisage not only the duties and responsibilities of citizens towards the state, but also the responsibility of the state for any moral or material damage caused to the citizens. The courts of justice, in their turn, need to examine the actions of citizens against state institutions and organizations, including those that are responsible for the late payments.
The Labor Union pleads for the organization of referendums on key social issues, including the adoption of constitutional laws.
The Labor Union pleads for the institution in the Republic of Moldova of a presidential system, and free and democratic elections to guarantee an executive institution capable to give political expression to the program that voters support in elections.
The Labor Union believes that the practical implementation of the principles of rule-of-law is only possible provided that the judiciary is guaranteed real independence from the other power branches. In this sense it is necessary to create the adequate legislative and technical and material conditions for the judicial system and for the protection of rights.
The Labor Union pleads for granting local governments actual autonomy, including in the financial-economic and culturally and linguistic spheres. We believe that a clear delimitation of competencies based on the territorial principle would not only democratize the state administration but also eliminate secessionist trends and consolidate the state.
The Labor Union believes that the Republic of Moldova can assert itself as a democratic and rule-of-law state only if the international documents on human rights are carefully respected. In this sense, our party will advocate the protection of minority rights, be they ethnic, political or religious, and will act towards passing legal guarantees for the activity of the opposition, seeing the opposition not just as an element of democracy but also an important factor for a sound development of our country.
The military-political cooperation of the Republic of Moldova with other states should be organized as a rule on bilateral basis. The security of our country should be ensured through a system of international treaties. The military doctrine of the Republic of Moldova should include an army with few but mobile troops that in case of military attack would ensure the defense of the country until the international security guarantees are activated.
We believe that the existence of the Republic of Moldova, a state with no aggressive intentions towards others, is a guarantee of peace and security in the north-west region of the Black Sea, and we emphasize the importance of the evolution of the Republic of Moldova as a democratic and rule-of-law state.
V. Political ethics
The cult of fear and force cultivated in the Soviet society as state policy has led to the emergence of some abnormal methods and forms of political activity. At present there are dangerous trends of reverting to the old political methods of imposing certain positions at any price and reducing the role of the opposition to a symbolic one.
A part of voters are ever more nostalgic after the "good old times"; these feelings have been generated largely through the mistakes of previous governments. Things get even worse due to the fact that some parties often act against their own electoral promises and so abuse the trust of the voters.
The Labor Union does not approve of the behavior of those political parties that act according to the principle "the goal justifies the means". The Labor Union while fulfilling its objectives will be guided by the principle of consistent reformism. Reformism excludes all forms of violence, social cataclysms or revolutions, which, in their turn can lead to the breach of human rights, dictatorship and totalitarianism. At the same time, the Labor Union does not rule out the recourse to such forms of protest as strikes and mass meetings.
In our activity we will be led by the following fundamental principles:
- responsibility for the political actions both of every member and the party;
- negotiations will be the major form of solving conflicts, and the aim will be dialogue based on equal rights, responsibility and mutual respect;
- overcoming disagreements through dialogue and consensus;
- aiming at a reasonable compromise by showing tolerance for other positions and in particular the position of minorities;
- when in power, aiming towards cooperation with the opposition; when in opposition - towards a constructive cooperation with the power;
- acting exclusively through legal and civilized methods;
- aiming towards constructive alternatives.
We are aware of the fact that only through common efforts of all democratic forces we can create a democratic society and a rule-of-law state. We are open to cooperation with other parties, whose activity is guided by the norms of the democratic, rule-of-law state.
Labor Union "Patria-Rodina":
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