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Can the IWA work together with the CNT-F, the SAC and the CGT?

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Mark.
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Mar 6 2007 19:13
Can the IWA work together with the CNT-F, the SAC and the CGT?
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I'd be interested to hear the views of WSA, Solfed and FAU members on relations between the IWA and other organisations. Does anyone still see a justification for restricting contacts between IWA affiliates and the CNT-F, the SAC and the CGT etc.? Is there any possibility of all these organisations working together at some level, without necessarily having to be in the same international or abandon their tactical disagreements?

I've moved this question from the WSA and IWA thread: http://libcom.org/forums/workers-solidarity-alliance/workers-solidarity-...
Actually I'd be interested to hear anyone's views on this.

Mark.
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Mar 6 2007 19:30

admin : edited first post for you - sorry bug means users cant edit first post.

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OliverTwister
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Mar 6 2007 19:55

I read in the recent issue of ASR about SAC's attempt to call a general strike. Great stuff.

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Bubbles
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Mar 6 2007 20:12
OliverTwister wrote:
I read in the recent issue of ASR about SAC's attempt to call a general strike. Great stuff.

lemme read it.

Mark.
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Mar 7 2007 10:27

There's more about relations between SAC and the IWA in an interview with the SAC observer at the meeting in Bradford in 1998. The full interview is at: http://libcom.org/library/sac-sweden-interview-1998-freedom

Quote:
BB: What are your relations with the Spanish anarchist syndicalist unions?
LH: We have excellent relations with the Spanish CGT (anarcho-syndicalist). Our contact with the CNT (anarchist) is limited, as they do not respond to invitations to our SAC's congresses (the next being held in June this year). The reason, I think, they don't have contact with us is because they consider us 'reformist'. They believe we want only to have relations with their rivals in the CGT, but this is not true. The SAC does not take a position on the problems between the Spanish anarcho-syndicalist unions.

BB: What do you make of the International Workers' Association (IWA/AIT) ?
LH: Some SAC members want us to join the IWA/AIT, if we are invited - they think it best if the syndicalists have an international organisation - but others don't want membership because they see it as authoritarian, orthodox, and would try to dominate the SAC. I don't think the IWA will invite us to join, and I don't think we should join.

BB: What about the formation of another International ?
LH: The SAC has no plans for forming another International. We try to keep good relations with other foreign organisations everywhere. Also the IWA/AIT would be hostile to a new International. They would see it as a declaration of war. The policy of the SAC now is to have good contacts with all syndicalist unions and anarchist groups. We also have good contacts with unions which don't call themselves anarcho-syndicalist but who act 'syndicalist'. We have relations with UniCOBAS in Italy, USI also in Italy, the SUD in France (which has postal workers and teachers among its members), the CNT in France, the IWW in the USA, the SOC in Spain, NSF in Norway, FAUD (anarcho-syndicalist) in Germany as well as contacts in Lithuania and in Russia with KAS and small anarcho-syndicalist groups in Siberia.

syndicalist
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Mar 7 2007 14:57

Personal comments only.

On the SAC strike, see:

http://libcom.org/forums/news/nov-15-sac-calls-upon-2-5-million-workers-...
http://www.sac.se/es/mensajes06.html

As I've previously written, the Spanish CNT-AIT and CGT often cooperate on a local level on diffrent campaigns. I've heard that this has also been the same for some in the French CNT-AIT and CNT-Vignoles.
My understanding is that some in the IWA have had regular contacts with the SAC Syndicalist Youth (SUF). From reading libcom, I suspect there are some in IWA section (s) who have contact with SAC locals (national?). So contacts and cooperation exist between IWA organizations and non-IWA organizations.

WSA is not part of the IWA and are not bound by any restrictions placed by the IWA on its members. That said, WSA seeks to maintain comradely and working relations with IWA section's and others in the international syndicalist and class struggle anarchist movements.

While this tends to be the general approach taken by WSA, the reality is our relations are limited to a few organizations and the vast majority of the relations are information, etc. exchanges.

I suspect that most WSA folks see opening of relations based more on practical solidarity, information sharing, perhaps attending international conferences and so forth. Some WSA are probably more opininated about international matters than others. At the moment, the priority for WSA needs to grow domestically if it can constructively promote anarcho-syndicalism.

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Bubbles
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Mar 7 2007 21:04
JH wrote:

BB: What about the formation of another International ?
LH: The SAC has no plans for forming another International. We try to keep good relations with other foreign organisations everywhere. Also the IWA/AIT would be hostile to a new International. They would see it as a declaration of war. The policy of the SAC now is to have good contacts with all syndicalist unions and anarchist groups. We also have good contacts with unions which don't call themselves anarcho-syndicalist but who act 'syndicalist'. We have relations with UniCOBAS in Italy, USI also in Italy, the SUD in France (which has postal workers and teachers among its members), the CNT in France, the IWW in the USA, the SOC in Spain, NSF in Norway, FAUD (anarcho-syndicalist) in Germany as well as contacts in Lithuania and in Russia with KAS and small anarcho-syndicalist groups in Siberia.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Libertarian_Solidarity

Mark.
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Mar 7 2007 22:31
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International Libertarian Solidarity is an international anarchist federation with over 20 participating organizations from North and South America, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

According to their website, "International Libertarian projects are open to anarchist, anarcho-syndicalist, revolutionary syndicalist, and clearly anti-Statist, non-party aligned social organisations which run along libertarian principles". The projects mostly consist of supporting various practical initiatives in South America such as funding printshops and communal halls, and, more broadly, the struggle against corporate globalization.

It's creation was rejected by the IWA, and blamed their creators of being reformist and bear confusion and division among anarchists.

Mark.
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Mar 7 2007 22:56

The above is the wikipedia entry for International Libertarian Solidarity. To me it seems misleading in calling the ILS an "anarchist federation". My understanding is that it's more of a network of libertarian unions and political groups. This is consistent with what we discussed in Bradford in 1998. I was arguing for setting up international networks rather than a new syndicalist international. I know that I was trying to avoid anything that would create more conflict with the IWA. My thinking was that networks would leave IWA affiliates the option to take part if they wanted to. I think that Chris from the CGT and Lars from SAC had similar views. The international links that had developed out of the Liverpool Dockers dispute were an influence as well. It's a shame all this got a hostile reception from the IWA.

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Bubbles
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Mar 7 2007 23:03

.

Mark.
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Mar 8 2007 01:02

What kind of international links do the IWW have with other organisations (IWA and non-IWA)?

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Mar 8 2007 10:01
JH wrote:
What kind of international links do the IWW have with other organisations (IWA and non-IWA)?

Last two pages of the Industrial Worker are people we have some level of contact. There are many more. Probably the coolest ones being the Bangladeh Garmet Workers who burn down their factory if their pay checks are late. Gimmi a region/country and I'll see if I can get something out of the ISC.

Mark.
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Mar 8 2007 10:21
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Last two pages of the Industrial Worker are people we have some level of contact.

Is there a link to this somewhere?

Mark.
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Mar 8 2007 11:26

I've just noticed there's an old thread covering some of the same issues: http://libcom.org/node/7819
Interesting.

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Mar 8 2007 11:35
JH wrote:
Quote:
Last two pages of the Industrial Worker are people we have some level of contact.

Is there a link to this somewhere?

as soon as i get the next issue I will send a link.

check these out

http://www.iww.org/en/projects/isc

and

http://www.iww.org/en/taxonomy/term/422/9

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Mar 9 2007 05:58

our relations with the IWA seem to be strained atm (in my view, unfortunatel). They discussed the "IWW question" at their recent congress, qhich apparently is the question of whether to go on neutral towards us, as now, or to have "no contact" and accept a pitiful, sectarian group of 8 people as their U.S. "Section". We do have good relations with the FAU (unsurprisingly).

The ILS/FESAL groups we always have good contacts with, particularly the CNTF and the SAC in that we all generally consider ourselves revolutionary syndicalist, but not anarchosyndicalist. Several of us IWW members look at the CNTF as a pathsetter for ourselves.

We also have good relations with the FAT of Mexico and the NGWF of Bangladesh. The FAT relations in particular are still somewhat new.

Edit: and as far as I know the ILS is dormant right now.

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Bubbles
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Mar 9 2007 06:08
OliverTwister wrote:
Edit: and as far as I know the ILS is dormant right now.

damn. got more info on ILS?

Mark.
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Mar 9 2007 10:03
OliverTwister wrote:
our relations with the IWA seem to be strained atm (in my view, unfortunatel). They discussed the "IWW question" at their recent congress, qhich apparently is the question of whether to go on neutral towards us, as now, or to have "no contact" and accept a pitiful, sectarian group of 8 people as their U.S. "Section".

Can anyone from Solfed shed more light on this? Was any decision made?

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Bubbles
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Mar 9 2007 10:10
JH wrote:
OliverTwister wrote:
our relations with the IWA seem to be strained atm (in my view, unfortunatel). They discussed the "IWW question" at their recent congress, qhich apparently is the question of whether to go on neutral towards us, as now, or to have "no contact" and accept a pitiful, sectarian group of 8 people as their U.S. "Section".

Can anyone from Solfed shed more light on this? Was any decision made?

yea, I'd like to hear something too.

syndicalist
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Mar 9 2007 14:39

Ah, time is short at the moment.

The comments about the NGWF are inaccurate. I have a sense of the NGWF as I helped to establish the first syndicalist/anarchist contact with them in the early 1990 and helped in their exposure to others witnin the respective movments.

Anyway....

The NGWF has tried to act as a union and took no position on the factory burnings this summer. It probably would've been suicide for the NGWF to call for that sort of action----of course it called for mass action and mass organization.

Perhaps I misunderstood the point about the IWA and support for a small group in the US. There are some within the IWA who support the people in Duluth. Their (Duluth) report on the IWW was quoted exttensively by the former IWA Secretariat. They are not a section or have applied to be one.

On the CNT-F, i haven't spent alot of time studying them since the split 10 years ago. Of course I'm not blind to what they do either. But I find it interesting that they would be doing a gradual move from being an anarcho-syndicalist union to a more "class struggle" union. Or so it appears from some of the stuff I've seen in French.

Gotta run.

PS: On the French CNT, I found this of interest, as it says many things and is full of nuances:

"2) Action as Ideology

The CNT depends more on action than ideology. Sometimes it is accused of actionism, sometimes it is suspected of stifling internal debate in favour of eternal action. Considering that reflection should be the fruit of action, that theory should follow from practice, and not the reverse, the CNT faces these criticisms calmly. The advantage is that it can unite members with many different beliefs without the endless squabbles that paralyze other groups. That flexibly is one of our main supports. The challenge is to avoid lapsing into actionism or reformism. We protect ourselves against these threats by sticking to our fundamental principles (self-management, opposition to co-management[4], revolutionary organisation of the class struggle, independence from political parties, direct action … ). That must de done, not just said. We believe that resistance develops from within the old world order. We refuse to preach unrealistic theories to the already converted in an ivory tower. So, yes, we are marching through poopoo, doing our best not to drown in it."
http://www.iww.org/en/node/3187

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Steven.
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Mar 9 2007 15:09
OliverTwister wrote:
They discussed the "IWW question" at their recent congress, qhich apparently is the question of whether to go on neutral towards us, as now, or to have "no contact" and accept a pitiful, sectarian group of 8 people as their U.S. "Section".

Are you referring to the WSA here? or the SAN?

Re: the NGWF - are they the ones who applied to join the IWA but were turned down?

syndicalist
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Mar 9 2007 15:59

John:"Re: the NGWF - are they the ones who applied to join the IWA but were turned down?"

NGWF has never really applied. They toyed with the idea. This will not happen at this point in the NGWF history anyway. I'm sure they still consdier the IWA a friend who can support their work. But the NGWF has this as an overall approach to all sorts of unions and aid groups and organizations. The IWA, the IWW, the SAC, the WSA we're in the same mix as the reformist trade unions and "war on want" type aid organizations.

Anyway, the workers in Bangladesh continue to need support and the NGWF seems to be the best of all the unions organizing in the massive garment sector.

Mark.
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Mar 9 2007 22:55

I wonder how a union from a strongly Muslim country like Bangladesh would fit into the IWA. I'd imagine most members would be religious. How do you reconcile Islam and anarchism? (I'm not saying it shouldn't be done - I'm just wondering how). I read somewhere that unions from Pakistan and Indonesia have applied to join the IWA so it isn't just an academic question.

syndicalist
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Mar 10 2007 02:37

On the question of religion tho, there's an assumption that most are practicing muslims. Perhaps they are, but the NGWF was concerned with many members being conservative. Probably an outgrowth of strict religion. I remember the NGWF raising the isse of how to bring about internal union discussion about the IWA. They said it would be difficult. Somewhere along the way there was talk about the possibility of pulling together conccious militans who would join together outside the NGWF. The creation of a "several hundred" member militant minority. This never came to pass.

As for Pakistan, the union seeking affiliation, All Pakistan Federation of United Trade Unions (APFUTU) appeared to be close in politics to the former-Stalinist World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU). It organized hierarchically as well. In reference to Indonesia, not sure about the particulars, except it seemsed to be hierierical and out of step of syndicalism. I've only seen the internal structure. I think they may also call for involvement in ILO stuff, I know the APFUTU.

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Devrim
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Mar 10 2007 07:59
JH wrote:
I wonder how a union from a strongly Muslim country like Bangladesh would fit into the IWA. I'd imagine most members would be religious. How do you reconcile Islam and anarchism? (I'm not saying it shouldn't be done - I'm just wondering how). I read somewhere that unions from Pakistan and Indonesia have applied to join the IWA so it isn't just an academic question.

syndicalist wrote:
On the question of religion tho, there's an assumption that most are practicing muslims. Perhaps they are, but the NGWF was concerned with many members being conservative. Probably an outgrowth of strict religion.

I would be extremely surprised if the majority were not practising Muslims. I think when they say conservative they mean religious.

I don't see why this is a problem for the IWA:

Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (CNT), Anarcosindicalismo: Basico, 1998 wrote:
No ideological qualification is necessary to be in the CNT. This is because the CNT is anarcho-syndicalist, that is, it is an organisation in which decisions are made in assembly, from the base. It is an autonomous, federalist structure independent of political parties, of government agencies, of professional bureaucracies, etc. The anarcho-union only requires a respect for its rules, and from this point of view people of different opinions, tendencies and ideologies can live together within it. Ecologists, pacifists, members of political parties... can be part of the CNT. There will always be different opinions, priorities and points of view about concrete problems. What everyone has in common within the anarcho-union is its unique way of functioning, its anti-authoritarian structure.

Basically, you don't have to be an anarchist to be in an anarchosyndicalist union. They will have anybody.

Much more interesting I think is how the IWA would cope with a 'real' union joining it whose membership dwarfed the IWA's international.

Of course it is just an academic point as it isn't going to happen.

Devrim

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Mar 10 2007 18:30

Jack I was talking about the SAN.

The WSA's great, and anyways much larger than 8 people (relatively speaking).

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Mar 10 2007 22:20
OliverTwister wrote:
Jack I was talking about the SAN.

The WSA's great, and anyways much larger than 8 people (relatively speaking).

15...20? Is uncontrollable or tom still checking libcom?

Mark.
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Mar 10 2007 23:55
OliverTwister wrote:
We also have good relations with the FAT of Mexico and the NGWF of Bangladesh. The FAT relations in particular are still somewhat new.

I've never heard of FAT. Do you have any more information?

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Bubbles
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Mar 11 2007 00:43

Look around on here for them in the news. You may have to look in the archives....

bombsandshields.blogspot.com

magnifico
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Mar 11 2007 01:16
JH wrote:
I've never heard of FAT. Do you have any more information?

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gatorojinegro
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Mar 11 2007 02:36

WSA currently has somewhere in the vicinity of 20 members. It had
close to 50 members in the late '80s and early '90s, but hasn't
fully recovered since the entryist flap with SAN and the loss of its
magazine (and thus loss of visibility) during the late '90s/early 2000s
period.

t.