The CNT and the IWA, part 2: The crisis in the IWA as seen from the CNT

The CNT and the IWA, part 2: The crisis in the IWA as seen from the CNT

A map showing the IWA's presence in Europe. The sections which favor the refoundation proposal are in green, while those who are opposed or undecided are in red.
A map showing the IWA's presence in Europe. The sections which favor the refoundation proposal are in green, while those who are opposed or undecided are in red.

Continued from Part 1. Originally written by RABIOSO. Translated by Lifelong Wobbly.

Back to the beginning: From the CNT to the IWA

Historically, the IWA never played a relevant role in the history of the workers movement; the only exception, perhaps, was the Spanish Revolution of 1936, in which the CNT played a key role. After its defeat,  the rise of fascism and the second world war brought about the destruction of all of the other sections except one, the Swedish SAC, thanks to Sweden’s neutrality during the war. At first, the SAC stayed true to anarcho-syndicalist principles while the Swedish welfare state was under construction. The loss of members, and a fear of ending up totally marginalized, led the organization to embark on a 180 degree change at its 1942 Congress, in the middle of the war. It formed a part of the machinery of the Swedish welfare state, which supported it financially.

The first step was to accept a role in distributing unemployment funds, like the other unions. They created a fund for this purpose, with the generous  help of the State, which also generously supported the payments. This collaboration, apparently innocuous, has degenerated to the level where they accept police as members and have created a caste of functionaries. A good example of this is Arbetaren, the SAC’s organ, with a distribution of 3,500, which until 2010 had no less than 10 editors on a union salary, thanks to state subsidies, and which ended up criticizing some of the SAC’s own struggles for being  “radical.” To be fair, we should also mention that at its 2009 Congress the SAC radicalized its strategy, but not all the way: the majority of the organization still voted against a ban on cops.

In 1951, the IWA held its 7th Congress, the first after the start of WW2 (the last had been in 1938). At this congress they denounced the SAC’s activities. In 1956, the SAC ceased paying its contributions to the IWA, and in 1959 decided to leave the IWA after an internal referendum. Thus the IWA lost the last union worthy of the name, and became nothing more than a federation of miniscule propaganda groups scattered across the globe, without even the most basic workplace presence. The hardest years of the Cold War were a period of “wandering in the desert” for the anarcho-syndicalist movement, which also suffered various internal splits in the CNT-in-exile, its largest section by far.

The situation changed completely in the 70’s. The economic crisis and the CNT’s resurrection in 1976 cleared the path for the creation of new anarcho-syndicalist organizations: the German FAU, heir of the FAUD, founded in 1976; the Direct Action Movement in the UK (now Solidarity Federation), created in 1979; in 1983 the re-activated USI, the historical Italian section, organized its first congress; and at the end of the 80’s the French CNT-F had its first successes at building a workplace presence. Unfortunately, in a repetition of the myth of Sisyphus, the new organizations suffered similar problems to the ones that the CNT was just beginning to recover from.

A map showing the IWA membership in 20's.
[i]The IWA in the 20's, the swan song of a movement that would soon become history due to internal conflicts and the rise of fascism and bolshevism.

Return to the workplace, and the internal crises of the CNT-F and USI

First came the French CNT, at the start of the 90’s. After successfully starting a branch at COMATEC, a company involved in cleaning the Paris metro, and winning a strike, the CNT-F participated in the union elections in 1991. They did the same in STES, another workplace where they had created a strong branch. The participation in union elections in Paris and its consequences (subsidies, privileges for a caste of functionaries, etc) led to strong tensions in the heart of the organization, which finally split in November of 1992.

The CNT-F split into the CNT-F/Vignoles (Paris), created in a Congress of February 1993 and favoring participation in union elections; and the CNT-F/Burdeos, created in a Congress of 1993, opposed to participation. The division was stark: while Paris had the majority of the members of the old CNT-F, the majority of the branches went over to Burdeos, reproducing France’s structure, with Paris rising high above the rest of the country.

The biggest consequence of the CNT-F’s rupture was a change to the IWA statutes, eliminating the possibility of having two sections in the same country. This was the first change to the statutes since 1922, which says a lot about the organization’s lack of contact with reality for decades. Finally, the XX IWA Congress (Madrid, 1996) decided to expel Vignoles, and Burdeos became the French section. As far as the union elections go, despite assurances from Vignoles that these were exceptional measures, their 2008 Congress decided to make them one of their main tactics for workplace organizing.

Just as the French section had split over questions of organizing strategy, a similar conflict was brewing in Italy. Once again, the context was the beginning of real industrial activity and the need to define a valid strategy for workplace organizing. And once again, as in Spain and then in France, the debate centered around organizing strategy. In the USI’s case, the discussion centered around relations with other Italian rank-and-file unions, especially the COBAS (Rank-and-File Committees).

In the early ’90’s, after it had succeeded in becoming a real union, a conflict developed between its three wings (pure unionist, anarchist, and anarcho-syndicalist). The first conflict was with the anarchist wing, which left the organization in the mid-‘90’s after a Congress in Prato Cárnico (Udine). After this  a conflict between the two remaining groups developed around how to interpret an agreement made in 1993 about collaborating with other rank-and-file unions. In February of 1995, the majority of participants at a delegate meeting in Bari approved the establishment of “a federative pact with other unions.” The pure unionist sector (centered in Rome) saw this as a green light for fusing with other groups, which would have led to the dissolution of the USI.

When they realized what the pure unionists were planning, the coordinating bodies and the anarcho-syndicalists convoked another delegate meeting, this time in Milan, which reversed the previous agreement. This was the start of an open conflict between the two sections, which chose different paths. The pure unionists of USI-Rome didn’t take long to show signs of authoritarianism, with the same people remaining in coordinating positions, and they didn’t see any problems working with the fascist union HISNAL. Worse still, they refused to stop calling themselves USI-AIT, leading to confusion which they took advantage of to sabotage any strikes from the anarcho-syndicalist side. Italian law requires unions to communicate strikes to the government if they are to be valid – every time the anarcho-syndicalists called a strike, the pure unionists sent a letter to the government calling it off. At the same time, in 1995 the anarcho-syndicalists reunited with the anarchists who had recently left, and this unified group began calling itself USI-Prato Cárnico or just simply USI-AIT.

The conflicts in the CNT-F and the USI reached their high point in 1995-1996, which made the 1996 IWA Congress fundamental to the future of the organization. Both conflicts were resolved internally by the USI-Rome leaving voluntarily, and by recognizing the CNT-F/Burdeos as the French section. Sadly, the Congress took place in a very emotionally charged atmosphere. This marked the future of the IWA, which began a stage marked by conflicts and internal struggles.

The Sorcerer’s Apprentices

The 1996 Congress, which should have been the start of the IWA’s resurrection, ended up as the starting point for a hellish internal dynamic, and the CNT played a key role. The first step had been taken in the 1984 IWA Congress (Madrid), which approved a motion brought by the CNT – which had just suffered its worst-ever split – that prohibited the IWA sections from having any contact with the SAC. This was because SAC had given financial support to the split group (the future CGT).[ii] The agreement prohibited any “official” contacts, but permitted “unofficial” contacts, opening a dangerous space for interpretation.

The important thing about this agreement is the mental state which it reflects. After suffering splits in its biggest sections, the IWA ended up trusting nobody, like a wounded animal. Trust, the basis of federalism, was replaced by surveillance over member sections and the threat of punishment whenever it seemed useful. An agreement made in the following Congress (Granada, 2000) extended this logic by prohibiting sections from maintaining contacts with organizations in other countries without the approval of the local section, a logic that was more feudal than federal, and which would have important consequences. One important detail to remember is that this agreement was proposed by the NSF, the Norwegian section, which has no workplace presence.

Another important change that began in the 1996 Congress is that “Friends of the IWA” groups, which until then had only been able to participate in meetings by expressing their opinion, began to submit proposals and participate in voting. These groups, dedicated to propaganda and without any union activity, are tend to more dogmatic postures due to their lack of workplace presence. They have a similar mentality to their twins, organizations without union activity but which have nevertheless managed to become members of the IWA, as well as the sections which in the past were real unions but which today are mere fossils without any workplace presence.

Since the IWA makes decisions through voting, and each section has one vote, these phantom unions and groups, closer to the past and the history books than to the reality of workplace struggles, dominate the decision making in practice.

After the crises of the USI and the CNT-F, the ‘90’s saw several other truly surrealist events. One of these was the crisis in the WSA, the section in the US, in which a new local section (Minnesota), created in 1999, dedicated itself to expelling the “lifelong” members, changing the name of the organization and, finally, leaving the IWA at the start of 2002, complaining about its “lack of solidarity,” disappearing shortly thereafter.[iii] After it left, the old members of the IWA in the US reorganized as the WSA and asked to be recognized as a section, which the IWA Secretariat (in Granada) refused. They were then rejected at the IWA congress in 2004, despite the support of the FAU and the USI.

A similar event happened with the Czech section, admitted in the 1996 Congress. Despite its name (Anarcho-syndicalist Federation - FSA), this section was more of an anarchist federation than an anarcho-syndicalist union, as the USI complained in 2005. The FSA focused on attacking the USI and the FAU, two of the biggest IWA sections, while it lacked even the most basic workplace activity. In its 2004 Congress the FSA changed its name to reflect reality, becoming the Federation of Anarchist Groups, and finally in 2007 it voluntarily left the IWA.

Against the USI and the FAU

After the splits in the CNT-F and the USI, a witch hunt broke out inside the IWA. One of its victims was the USI, thanks to its participation in a union representation body (the RSU – Reppresentazione Sindicale Unitaria). After 2002, this became a chief topic in IWA discussions, and there was a growing clamor to expel the USI in the name of a supposed “orthodoxy.”  The fact that the Russian and Czech sections were most vocal for expulsion, while having no workplace presence, led the USI in 2005 to denounce the disastrous consequences of accepting anarchist groups as IWA sections. The discussion about the USI’s participation in the RSU ended after the Manchester Congress (2006), where the majority accepted that it was in line with the IWA statutes. Around this time, the Czech FSA abandoned the organization and became the anarchist federation that it had always been.

The FAU, which had opposed the separatist and emotional dynamic from the start, quickly became the punching bag. It refused to see the IWA become a mere forum for debate, without any contact with social struggles, and so it confronted the sterile line promoted by groups without any union activity. At the same time, it never ceased to defend its freedom of action as an organization, rejecting the paranoid line that preferred to see reformist conspiracies against the IWA in every corner. It shouldn’t come as a shock, then, that the most orthodox sector saw the FAU as its main enemy to beat on.

The Spanish section played a shameful role in all of this during José Luis Garcia Rua’s mandate as the IWA general secretary (a post which he’d also held for the CNT).[iv] It was the CNT which asked for the FAU’s expulsion, and due to the CNT’s pressure an agreement was reached giving the secretary executive powers to expel the FAU for the slightest infractions. The supposed conspiracies to create “parallel internationals” have all turned out in time to be hallucinations, divorced from reality, but the agreements preventing sections from working with other groups are still hanging like the sword of Damocles.

For its part, the FAU began discussing whether it would even remain in the IWA after the 1996 Congress. However, the two referendums on the subject (in 2001 and 2005) didn’t reach the majority that the statutes required. The second and last of these took place after the Granada Congress in 2004, which gave the IWA secretary the right to expel the FAU. Although the majority were in favor of leaving, some well-respected members (in Hamburg) announced that they would leave the FAU if that happened, which ended up tipping the scale to stay.

Beginning of the end for a dark age? Participants in the FAU Congress of May 2016, which applauded (textually) the CNT and USI's initiative to refound the IWA.
Beginning of the end for a dark age? Participants in the FAU Congress of May 2016, which applauded (textually) the CNT and USI's initiative to refound the IWA.

Beginning of the end, or end of the beginning?

It’s one of those ironies of history that the CNT is now confronting the IWA over the application of the 2004 agreement – which the CNT had proposed – allowing the secretary to expel the FAU. The current secretariat, in the hands of a miniscule and recently created section that is opposed to the FAU, has decided to use the executive power that it never would have had if the IWA had remained true to federalist principles.

Of course, this isn’t the only reason – this was just the straw that broke the camel’s back. There are others: the Polish secretariat refuses to give access to the bank accounts and email to the sub-secretariat named at the last IWA Congress (in Lisbon), which is in the CNT and has been waiting for over a year; the secretariat allowed groups which had been de-federated from the CNT to participate in that same Congress; and the secretariat is demanding that the CNT pay its contributions (which represent 80% of the IWA’s budget) immediately, when it has asked for more time due to having an unexpected bill for 500,000 euros related to an accident.[v]

However, the main reason for the radical change in the CNT’s posture is the internal change since the Cordoba Congress, which put an end to the power of the pseudo-unions. It was logical for the CNT to propose the same in the IWA, but failure was inevitable due to the power of the pseudo-sections: 30 in Poland, 15 in Serbia, 10 in Slovakia, 5 in Russia… with one vote each, the same as the entire CNT. Recognizing that the IWA as it is currently configured is a failed project, the CNT has launched a project to reorganize it, which was immediately supported by the USI and applauded by the FAU. If the only real section left – SolFed in the UK – decides to support this project, the current IWA would become an empty shell in the hands of the Polish ZSP, centered in Eastern Europe, dedicated to promoting splits, as the current secretary is already doing with the CNT.[vi]

[i] I met some members of the “radical” section of the SAC around 2007 and this fits with what they said at the same time. They even had a newspaper called Motarbetaren, “The un-worker”, which was named both as a critique of work and a jab at the paper. More information on the SAC’s “radical” wing can be found here. The Twin Cities IWW also hosted a talk from a long-time SAC member in 2013, who confirmed these problems as well as the SAC’s trajectory of recovering its radical traditions. This and all other endnotes are by the translator.

[ii] I have heard that the SAC at the time offered financial support to both sides, but only the split group accepted it.

[iii] There is a large IWW presence in Minnesota, but as far as I know, nobody has ever come across the people behind this. A great example of a “phantom union.”

[iv] Garcia Rua is sometimes called “the lion of Granada” for his machinations in defense of “orthodoxy” and his viciousness. His protégés are among the tiny group calling the current CNT “reformist” and which may try to split (with the encouragement of the IWA secretary).

[v] The accident happened at the run-down hall of one of the pseudo-unions, who did not insure it because they were too anarchist. The liability ended up falling on the CNT as a whole. This pseudo-union is now part of the “orthodox” group that calls the current CNT “reformist.”

[vi] The IWA held a Congress on the weekend after the Bilbao meeting. The press release already speaks of trying to start new groups in Spain, Italy, and Germany, and states that at the next Congress “the CNT-AIT will be represented by those continuing in its legacy.” [Note: an earlier version of this footnote referred to a vote, but was based on unconfirmed information. This footnote has been edited to reflect that.]

Comments

akai
Dec 18 2016 00:43

The translation and publication here of an article full many factual mistakes really lowers the credibility of Oliver Twister. And it is not any text agreed by the defederated CNT.

This is quite tiring but here we go.

1. The Map. As was already pointed out here, it is inaccurate. The country right next to Spain, France, is ENTlRELY misrepresented by the Spanish authors. Several countries are improperly represented on the map, for example Poland.

The red dots are somehow labelled "ZSP" while the green "CNT". This is baseless.

2. The lWA 1922 Map is not historically accurate. The CNT of Spain was not a founding member. Also, at that time, it did not have that many members.

3. The claim that the lWA's statutes had not been changed between 1922-1996 is entirely false. The statutes were modified numerous times.

4. The question of not having more than one Section per country was raised twice before and there was general agreement. The first time related to the attempts of the CNT exiles who had split (since they were in favor of working with the government in exile) to be declared a second CNT Section in exile, which was rejected. Then with the CNT splits in 1979, this was again an issue. The issue was only formally changed in the statutes in 1996. But it had been treated by Congresses at least twice.

5. The XX lWA Congress did not expel the CNT Vignoles, but the CNT Bordeaux faction had and the Congress confirmed it.

6.The NSF in 2000 had workplace presence and was involved in a number of struggles.

7. Friends of the lWA can neither submit proposals or vote in lWA Congresses.

8.The WSA never disbanded. Also, the lWA Secretariat cannot decide to consider an organization a Section or not; this is decided by a Congress.

9. The main criticism of USl's participation in RSU began in Spain. The lWA Congress did not decide that USl's participation was in line with the statutes of the lWA - it asked USl to find a way to stop its participation. lt never did this, but the topic was not brought up again in Congress.

10. The Czech section of the lWA was declared dissolved and not a Section in 2010. ln 2009, the CNTE and other Sections voted to include their votes in the Congress.

11. FAU had motions to leave the lWA at least three times, the last in 2013.

12. Comment on photo. This does not represent the Troika as the flag (and people) in the middle are the CNTF Vignoles.

13. The Secretariat of the lWA is not in the hands of a "miniscule" Section opposed to FAU.

14. There is no such thing as a "sub-secretariat" in the lWA. There is a Vice-Secretariat which has absolutely no function unless the Secretariat is incapacitated or recalled. Everybody in the lWA has the numbers of the bank accounts for paying dues. Access to bank accounts is only to persons registered in the bank and authorized by the lWA to access the money. Only the Treasurer is authorized to manage the lWA funds. ln addition, the CNT Secretariat was held by a group not producing financial reports, who misappropriated lWA money and whose Secretary was stealing from the CNT.

15. The Secretariat did not allow groups defederated from the CNT to participate in the Porto Congress. The Secretariat did not have anything to do with the participation of anybody and was not on the local organizing committee, did not check the credentials of anybody entering and was not on the Credentials Commission. Each Congress elects a Commission to check the credentials. Somehow something went wrong at some stage, for which the hosts and members of the Commission apologized. For the record, there were over 40 people from CNTE present, including the Secretary and ViceSecretary of the organization and none of them checked who was present in the room or signalled anything wrong. l believe only after a flag and some stickers or posters of them appeared was there a question. Nobody in the Secretariat was involved in this and it is also the fault of the CNT that they did not check who was in their Section's delegation.

16. The CNT's contribution hasn't been 80 percent of its budget for a while.

17. Certain persons in the CNT refer to the supposed nationality of the Secretariat all too often as a method of attack.

18. Certain persons in CNT also use unreal numbers of members to describe some unions of the lWA. ZSP's numbers are wildly deflated, and all the Eastern European organizations are decreased, even by a few times, particularly ASl and ZSP. We don't deny that the Slovakian Section is the smallest in the lWA, but some in Spain have started wild rumors about them too.

19. Hard to know why SolFed is considered a "real Section" and ZSP not since the latter is bigger than the former. Absolutely no pissing match with SF intended.

20. The lWA is in "the hands" of no one.

21. At the X Congress of ZSP, is was considered that both FAU and a certain sector of the now-defederated CNTE had been promoting splits in the lWA. ln fact, the proposals of CNTE would put out a lot of its Sections, essentially splitting it, and the decisions of the Xl CNTE Congress were used to start a split process. The ZSP currently supports that those in Spain who wish to be in the lWA be in it, without the interference of the splitters.

22. There is not a "tiny group" of unions calling CNT reformist, nor can people be labelled "proteges" of anybody. These two statements are just propaganda used to try and discredit those who have made criticism of both the CNT's current trajectory and of the various irregularities which have been occuring in the Confederation.

23. The information about who voted to disaffiliate who is incorrect. Two of the three mentioned did not have any votes at all in the Congress, so, by default they did not vote this.

Although l think there could be many critical remarks made about both the lWA and its history, and l have never personally been one to spare the criticism where due, some part of the problem has been the use of deliberate misinformation by some in order to push their agenda. Having already pointed out several factual mistakes of this text, now the publisher here has decided to keep using incorrect information to push his personal agenda and move the disinformation around the globe. lt is quite one thing to question whether lWA Sections have enough syndical activity, but another to join in the disinformation campaign,

Oliver Twister has joined in actively, including publishing incorrect information about votes in the lWA Congress. lt is curious what the source of information is since this wasn't even sent out to the Sections until a few hours ago. l guess unrealiable word of mouth instead of facts. The lWA does not publish such information so you will not be getting any correction.

All this can be expected now, just as it was during the CNT splits of the late 70s, early 80s. Then there was also a lot of similar "histories", reports and a lot of misinformation about what happened and why. Then those folks wonder why people get pissed at the people involved with this and don't want anything to do with them. (Oh sorry, l guess the workers who are called a "fantom union" or "miniscule" or something like that would only be exhibiting "paranoia" if they didn't want anything to do with the people referring to them as such.)

drakeberkman
Dec 18 2016 09:04
akai wrote:
Oliver Twister has joined in actively, including publishing incorrect information about votes in the lWA Congress. lt is curious what the source of information is since this wasn't even sent out to the Sections until a few hours ago. l guess unrealiable word of mouth instead of facts. The lWA does not publish such information so you will not be getting any correction.

You ever here the phrase "don't shoot the messenger"?

Literally the only thing OT is doing here is enabling English readers to keep up with the information being produced on what's going on in the IWA. The accuracy of the information provided by the author shouldn't reflect on the work of the translator...

MT
Dec 18 2016 09:40

I am really curious to see how will libcom admins handle these two original posts containg enormous amount of lies, half-truths and manipulations. to me, it is far beyond any decency to keep such bullshit online. it sends out a very bad signal to the world about reliability of information on libcom.

MT
Dec 18 2016 10:00
drakeberkman wrote:
akai wrote:
Oliver Twister has joined in actively, including publishing incorrect information about votes in the lWA Congress. lt is curious what the source of information is since this wasn't even sent out to the Sections until a few hours ago. l guess unrealiable word of mouth instead of facts. The lWA does not publish such information so you will not be getting any correction.

You ever here the phrase "don't shoot the messenger"?
Literally the only thing OT is doing here is enabling English readers to keep up with the information being produced on what's going on in the IWA. The accuracy of the information provided by the author shouldn't reflect on the work of the translator...

I think the question is different - why would anyone a) translate and b) spread something that is obviously a bullshit. And it is clear that at least the "messenger" is aware of the debates here on libcom and refutation of the bullshit.

drakeberkman
Dec 18 2016 10:15

As far as I can tell from what I know and what akai's said about 100 times this year, any inaccuracies in this article are somewhat negligible and don't actually undermine the author's central argument, which is that the present composition of the IWA doesn't work for the CNT, USI, or FAU.

Like all I've seen from the people who are defending the IWA-AIT is virulent attacks on the character of CNT members and no argument against the break away other than "the statutes of the IWA are more important than the will of the members of the CNT", which is pretty fucking absurd position to take for anyone who calls themself a revolutionary.

Like, I don't know anyone outside of the IWA (and some in the WSA) who sees akai and others' attacks on CNT members for this action as anything other than spiraling sectarianism and further evidence of the CNT's claims against the smaller sections of the IWA.

Who in their right mind would support an organization whose most public image is their defamation of people who leave their organization.

MT
Dec 18 2016 10:34

so it is ok to spread lies (sorry "inaccuraccies"...) because of some noble central argument:)

Quote:
Like all I've seen from the people who are defending the IWA-AIT is virulent attacks on the character of CNT members and no argument against the break away other than "the statutes of the IWA are more important than the will of the members of the CNT", which is pretty fucking absurd position to take for anyone who calls themself a revolutionary

yes, i believe you. you saw no other arguments, only this one:)

Actually what are we talking about here? Parts of the now defederated CNT didn't like the IWA and decided to break the IWA statutes and they knew this would mean their defederation. Is there anything wrong about it? One of the main issues here was that they wanted to have the votes power. They failed to make the sections believe that their opinion and way of doing things with the IWA is worth trying. So they were free to leave the IWA. Sorry but I don't see any sectarianism here. But I see a load of bullshit on the side of methods and actions of the troika...

Of course, I know that this means nothing to drakeberkman and co. but the attitude is so hostile that I had the urge to respond. It seems a long and nasty campaing of misinformation is going to start from the defederated and with a lot of help from some in the IWW and libcom. Which is quite said and honestly I don't really get why people take so active part in this when it is hardly any of their business. Or is it?

akai
Dec 18 2016 10:35

The comment above is based too much on the ideological inclinations of its author, showing more bias than knowledge. And this will be the legacy of this place for sure.

l have corrected the factual mistakes. This isn't a larger criticism of the trajectory of the defederated CNT. lf a certain faction of the CNT wanted to leave lWA, that's their right. They also have a right to make criticisms based on real facts and issues.

What we have is another thing entirely. We have a campaign which uses a lot of misinformation to drum up support. Why do you think some entities are so busy claiming that one of the few lWA sections with constant activity and workplace unions are a handful of people?

lf your image is so misinformed, that is no doubt a problem, but nothing we can do about it except inform about what we are doing.

My opinion is that the article OT has published is a classic form of defamation. OT also engages in it by making unsubstantiated claims about the organizations in Spain that support the lWA. Worse than the defamation of these comrades are the actual purges in the CNT of those who maintain contacts with the defederated in Spain or the lWA.

Unfortunately, the level of discussion here, as exhibited above, leaves much to wonder.

drakeberkman
Dec 18 2016 10:49

You're right MT, it does mean nothing to me. It doesn't mean anything to anyone. I have literally zero stake in who controls the IWA and who spreads what lie to who about the federation. I don't care if the CNT is in the same federation as the ZSP or SolFed or the FAU. No one does. At the most generous estimate I've heard, the CNT is 10,000 members in a country of fifty million. The other sections are all at even more absurd ratios.

The absurd squabbling sects of the IWA don't matter.

I don't care which of you is lying or which of you lies better.

What drives you to care what the CNT thinks of the ZSP? Do you really think so highly of yourselves? Are you really so deluded to think it matters at all? Like goddamn, I'd hate to be in the IWA right now because there's nearly a thousand comments on the public thread here that amount to nothing - I'd hate to see what's going on internally.

What does it matter which side the IWW and Libcom take? They're no more important than you!

What fucking changes about any real work y'all do in Poland if you're not in the same federation as the CNT? What fucking changes about that work if they're spreading lies to people in the US about it? Literally no one cares about the ZSP or CNT or IWW. You're all a bunch of wingnuts and no one cares.

I stopped checking this forum regularly because you're all just so fucking obnoxious.

akai
Dec 18 2016 11:03

MT, you shouldn't have too many expectations from here. As far as misinformation campaigns, yes, they will do it, especially a few sorts who don't want to really know facts, but want to bash as fits their ideology. We actually have better things to do then get hot about these sorts and l suggest we spend our time more productively.

But yeah, something to consider is the appalling level of hyprocrisy of some vocal members of lWW. (Let's not take them to represent the whole organization.) Simple example: in lWW, your union doesn't pay the dues, it is not in good standing and effectively out. l believe the officers of lWW decide it. We have a more libertarian approach because we acknowledge that their may be circumstances we should here, so we need to put all such cases on the agenda of the Congress and vote if people in such a situation are in or out. The effect of this means that after all was said and done at our Congress, some outsiders from an organization that settles this through the organs of the union and implementing the provisions of their statutes, start with their favourite buzzword "sectarianism" and all their other hate language to describe the implementation of our statutes in respect to the non dues paying unions who have in fact withdrawn. They withdrew, that's their right, and we have to formally cross them off the list of members, etc.

Drakeberkman brings some of these arguments in an absurd way, for example ascribing strange views regards statutes to us. lWA, like any formalized federation, has statutes which the members join under and are free to modify. There must be a motion, discussion and process. lf anyone no longer likes the operational frame, they are free to leave and do something else. Everybody here from lWA who had any opinion about that said the same.

Of course all of this is actually independent of other issues of criticism, ie, the misinformation campaign (to which OT has added his one stuff), the internal purges in CNT and other problems around the authoritarian and verticalized faction, the current trajectory of that organization and the way that comrades in lWA, many of whom spent years conducting solidarity on behalf of Spanish colleagues, were treated.

drakeberkman
Dec 18 2016 11:15

Did you miss the part where I pointed out that literally no one cares.

I came here to defend OT's character. I know and have worked with them and know them to be someone who doesn't deliberately spread inaccurate information uncritically.

I do have to point out the irony of you of all people saying that you have better things to do than get angry and argue on Libcom all day considering half of the posts and 4/5ths of the content of that thread are your posts. You've literally written a book's worth of content complaining in circles about one thing on this website.

akai
Dec 18 2016 11:18

Did want to get off, but drakeberkman deserves a reply.

First of all, CNT is not 10,000 members and hasn't been since the 70s. There are many among them who like to exaggerate their numbers and actually it is not allowed to say, under the CNT statutes. People who say it can be expelled. They are fewer and now have a division into pro-lWA and anti-lWA members. We've already said the anti faction are on top in the voting, although the pro faction distributed information at the lWA Congress that presents a slightly different picture.

lf people don't care about it, then maybe they should contribute less to the dialogue around it. Maybe the discussion should be between people who actually care about each other. l am sure it would be more positive then.

As far as what the atmosphere in the lWA is right now, it is surprisingly different than you expect.

We can reach a symbiotic relationship by coming to a realization. The folks who are yelling the loudest that "nobody cares" are trying to depreciate the worth of us all, but they still wanna put in their comments. Probably makes them feel good about themselves. The quicker we all come to the realization about the inevitable dynamics of this anonymous internet reality, the quicker we will stop caring about the individuals on it, who are far removed from our daily lives, and we can get to focusing on building our own communities, which can have a far better environment.

MT
Dec 18 2016 11:30

just out of curiousity, oliver, are you the author of the translation?

drakeberkman
Dec 18 2016 11:31

I am trying to depreciate your self-worth. I precisely am trying to do that. You are incredibly less important than you think you are.

akai
Dec 18 2016 12:44

Actually, l come from the old school which tends to think of my comrades as important, but not in the sense of being special as in entitled to some priveleges. That said, l apparently am "important" enough to merit special mention in the above article and concretely what is said is not true. Used to be a standard thing that when people had accusations against them, they'd have the right to reply. Also the right to make corrections and debate things they don't agree with. Also, somehow, the author of the article makes my organization "important", claiming things are "in our hands", specially labelling us on his map - but without actually checking our map before making his. lf this stuff isn't "important", it shouldn't have been translated, published and given wider distribution.

melenas
Dec 18 2016 21:46

number of members of CNT in that period.

About point 2 of akai intervention.

"La CNT reunía en 1915 a 15.000 afiliados. En 1918 solamente en Cataluña agrupaba ya a casi 74.000 para llegar al clímax de 714.000 afiliados en todo el páis, en 1919"

Also in the congress of 1919 CNT toke the agreement to create a new international. The fact CNT wasn't in the first Congress was technical not that didn't work to be there.

axxs
Dec 18 2016 21:50

"Did you miss the part where I pointed out that literally no one cares."

Oh poppycock. Plenty of people care if they are paying attention.

The defederated CNT have every right to leave, no one has said any different, however they had no right to claim refounding of an organisation that is not theirs to refound, and the way they have gone about breaking agreements at a congress without process is something any other organisation should consider if making an agreement with them.

drakeberkman
Dec 18 2016 22:50

No one cares axxs, no one at all

akai
Dec 19 2016 21:43

So, as l said 2 days ago, there are a lot of mistakes, even ones added by the translator, "Oliver". lnformation he gives, for example in Vl, is just not accurate but he hasn't deleted it. But again, l guess nobody cares about minor details like that and prefer the accounts from somebody who wasn't there, isn't in the organization but knows better than people from there.

OliverTwister
Dec 20 2016 01:46

Source on the voting at the IWA congress:

http://www.alasbarricadas.org/forums/viewtopic.php?p=638728#p638728 wrote:
Muchas veces se habla de Secciones como si estas fuesen un espejo de la posicion de los anarcosindicalistas en ese Pais.
Veamos: si bien es cierto que en la CNT de España no han tenido una postura unanime con respecto a la AIT, parece evidente que la mayoria de sindicatos y de afiliados, no estan contentos con la AIT actual.
Pero se nos quiere hacer ver que el Congreso de Varsovia es un exito, cuando en realidad la AIT ha perdido el 85% de su afiliacion. La entrada de un grupo muy muy reducido de USA y de estudiantes colombianos no puede ser equiparable a la salida de CNT, FAU y USI.
Digamos tambien que 3 secciones han optado por no excluir a la CNT de España. Quizas sea esto porque su afiliacion no tiene claro el camino a seguir. En Portugal el Sindicato de Porto, el mas numeroso en ese Pais, no ha publicitado el Congreso pero si los acuerdos de la CNT con respecto a la Internacional. La SolFed inglesa otro tanto de lo mismo. Quiero entender que estas secciones estan todavia meditando su camino.
La FORA Argentina creo que en la misma situacion.
Pueden decirnos los defensores de la AIT varsoviana con honestidad que es lo que queda numericamente mas alla de un mar de siglas.? Que es KRas rusa? Quienes son la seccion Noruega?
No se marcharan espantadas secciones aisladas como el grupo Australiano cuando conozcan en realidad que la AIT varsoviana es en realidad una union de grupos anarquistas( todos mis respetos) sin realidad sindical alguna.
Que supone la AIT varsoviana en mi pais Francia, cuando ha optado en el dividido mapa sindical libertario frances, por el grupo mas alejado de la realidad laboral y sin presencia en no mas de 5 localidades.
Que propone La AIT varsoviana para Italia.? Afiliar a los autoritarios romanos? En Alemania? En Rusia teniendo un minusculo grupo sectario en Moscu?

Con que medios materiales y humanos van a mantener ustedes una estructura internacional si han expulsado a las secciones que les permitian a ustedes irse 15 dias a Australia a dar Conferencias de " Expansion"?

Optaran por afiliar a los expulsados de la CNT para crear un espejismo de seccion española?

Un esperpento. Y lo saben.

A quick translation of the relevant part:

Quote:
Three sections also chose not to exclude the Spanish CNT. This might be because their members aren't sure of the path to follow. In Portugal, the Porto branch, the largest in that country, didn't publicize the IWA congress but did publicize the CNT's agreements regarding the international. The English SolFed is in a similar situation. I believe these sections are still considering their path.
The Argentine FORA I believe are in the same situation.

Nobody on alasbarricadas has corrected the author of this comment or given reason to think that they are mistaken. There are 1 or 2 defenders of the IWA on there who've had 8 days to do so, and haven't.

I think that's the only part of the footnotes that was specifically taken issue with. The rest is on the original author, and I can't and won't respond to that.

axxs
Dec 20 2016 04:04

"No one cares axxs, no one at all"

Ahh another one that reckons they speak for all the working class. *rolls eyes*

MT
Dec 20 2016 08:00
OliverTwister wrote:
The rest is on the original author, and I can't and won't respond to that.

OK, so you are the translator. And you don't mind translating and spreading bullshit. Consciously and purposefully.
At least we are finally clear on this.

akai
Dec 20 2016 09:01

OK, now at least we know the source of the disinformation and, no suprise. The translator, like others on this forum, refer to a forum which is in effect functioning as a propaganda machine and a post written by somebody who was not at the Congress instead of people who were there. (BTW, l cannot publish there because they deleted my user account twice. But l wouldn't want to, since it is a trashier thing than Libcom.)

Two people who were at the Congress tell you it is FALSE information and anybody in the lWA can confirm.

Also, lWA didn't lose 85% of its affiliation, except formally and probably temporarily there is no Section in Spain. But go on believing trolls on ALB ...

no1
Dec 20 2016 10:54
OliverTwister wrote:
A quick translation of the relevant part:
Quote:
Three sections also chose not to exclude the Spanish CNT. This might be because their members aren't sure of the path to follow. In Portugal, the Porto branch, the largest in that country, didn't publicize the IWA congress but did publicize the CNT's agreements regarding the international. The English SolFed is in a similar situation. I believe these sections are still considering their path.
The Argentine FORA I believe are in the same situation.

Nobody on alasbarricadas has corrected the author of this comment or given reason to think that they are mistaken. There are 1 or 2 defenders of the IWA on there who've had 8 days to do so, and haven't.

Errr.... So you're quoting an anonymous person on a forum who says that Solfed is in a similar situation as a local from another IWA section which didn't publicise the IWA congress but publicised CNT agreements, which is apparently relevant and trustworthy because nobody rebutted their claims...... What on earth does this even mean?
The IWA congress was an internal event, so why is it in any way meaningful that some local of a section has not publicised it?
The reality is that Solfed hasn't published anything on the IWA split. All one can conclude from that is that Solfed does not currently have a stated view on it, perhaps because Solfed decision-making processes are slow and people being occupied with other issues.

OliverTwister wrote:
I think that's the only part of the footnotes that was specifically taken issue with. The rest is on the original author, and I can't and won't respond to that.

So you're refusing to even defend information you have chosen to publish here, despite akai stating it's riddled with mistakes and being defamatory. I think you should either back up your blog post, or withdraw it.
If you care so little about the truth of your post, why should anyone believe anything you say?

Ragnar
Dec 20 2016 13:43

akai said:
"Also, lWA didn't lose 85% of its affiliation, except formally and probably temporarily there is no Section in Spain. But go on believing trolls on ALB .."
true, is more, maybe 90%:

A) CNT 6000, FAU 800, USI 1000.Total 7800.

B) SP 50, ZSP 200, SF 250, KRAS 5, ASI 15, NSF 10, ASF 30, PA 10, COB 30, FORA 100, CNTF 30. Total 730 and i´m so generous.

Before AIT/IWA was: 8530. The 90% of this one is 7677 and 95% is 8103.

Surely expelling to the FORA by participated in the Conference of Barakaldo and as soon as finished the process of the new international (that not is called AIT/IWA) any section more is will go. Also that the Spanish proAIT not exceed the 300...

OliverTwister
Dec 20 2016 13:42
no1 wrote:
OliverTwister wrote:
A quick translation of the relevant part:
Quote:
Three sections also chose not to exclude the Spanish CNT. This might be because their members aren't sure of the path to follow. In Portugal, the Porto branch, the largest in that country, didn't publicize the IWA congress but did publicize the CNT's agreements regarding the international. The English SolFed is in a similar situation. I believe these sections are still considering their path.
The Argentine FORA I believe are in the same situation.

Nobody on alasbarricadas has corrected the author of this comment or given reason to think that they are mistaken. There are 1 or 2 defenders of the IWA on there who've had 8 days to do so, and haven't.

Errr.... So you're quoting an anonymous person on a forum who says that Solfed is in a similar situation as a local from another IWA section which didn't publicise the IWA congress but publicised CNT agreements, which is apparently relevant and trustworthy because nobody rebutted their claims...... What on earth does this even mean?
The IWA congress was an internal event, so why is it in any way meaningful that some local of a section has not publicised it?
The reality is that Solfed hasn't published anything on the IWA split. All one can conclude from that is that Solfed does not currently have a stated view on it, perhaps because Solfed decision-making processes are slow and people being occupied with other issues.

Quote:
The English SolFed is in a similar situation. I believe these sections are still considering their path.

The only information I've seen is that SF, FORA, and the Portuguese section did not vote in favor of excluding, de-federating, or whatever you want to call what happened to the CNT. I haven't drawn any conclusions from it, except that I agree that if they did not vote in favor, it seems logical that they are still deciding on their path.

Did SolFed vote in favor? Did FORA or the Portuguese section vote in favor? If so I'll correct it.

Yepa
Dec 20 2016 14:03

Ragnar finally somebody with numbers, and as far as I know are similar to the real figures (in A group). And you are even giving 2x members to SolFed and ZSP, and still ridiculous.
The fact is that IWA has lost 95ish% of workers... a great victory for the current secretariat.

MT
Dec 20 2016 15:58

I am really not into disclosing which organization has how many members but the A group seems to me a real joke. Let's think about the only two possible explanations:

1) Troika lied about their membership for years when they paid their dues to IWA and thus breaching the IWA congress agreements. Now you can continue and say that they multipled their membership in a very short time. In a world of fairytales everything is possible, but even manipulators like ragnar, yepa and co. should know very well that continuing this piss contest is not a way to go to delude people into supporting your side as it will sooner or later backfire.

2) Troika did not lie and the numbers in group A are a joke. And a good one, indeed:)

Last comment to this numbers piss contest - it speaks a lot about the mindset of certain people who consider numbers as the key thing (opposed to activity/passivity of the members). Ther eis power in numbers, but in this context it is not a real power in the streets and workplaces but the power for the leaders, their positions and everything that comes with it.

akai
Dec 20 2016 16:17

My sincerest congratulations to CNT for increasing their membership by 50% in one year and FAU and USl 100%. lt seems going out of the lWA has done wonders, only l am surprised - l thought it would be much more. After all, CNT Vignoles increased their membership by 1000% overnight. But l guess that was a one-time miracle.

akai
Dec 20 2016 16:21

But really, you have what you wanted, so why not celebrate instead of bitching? Sort of obvious you didn't want to be affiliated with some, so that's done and maybe you should move on. l certainly hope for a detox now. Bye!

Yepa
Dec 20 2016 16:48

You are still missing the point that during your mandate IWA has lost 95% of its members and now it is not bigger than all those weird Trotskyist internationals... when it is supposed to be a federation of mass organizations...

And yes, numbers are important, it is a grow or grow situation, there is no revolution with no working class involved. But you can be happy now with your IWA toy, you are few but very very "special", and the less you are the more "special"... all the others like us are just manipulated idiots.