History of the IWA?

44 posts / 0 new
Last post
Jason Cortez
Offline
Joined: 14-11-04
Nov 4 2009 12:09

As to Platformism and anarcho-syndicalism i can only think of the South African 'Workers Solidarity Federation' as a recent example of the two 'tendancies' existing in one organisation.

syndicalist
Offline
Joined: 15-04-06
Nov 4 2009 15:14

In addition to the Unemployment insurance, there were some in SAC who advocated for a sort of libertarian municipalism. I've seen a number of references to this over the years, but can't place my "hands" on a written source.

I've just started to read the book The Forgotton International mentioned by Dead End above. It looks like a good book, written from the ideological perspective of a FORAista.
Over the years I've read a number of the primary sources quoted in the book and good to see
they are finally being put to use. The book look interesting and the stuff in the inter-war years of value.

Rob Ray's picture
Rob Ray
Offline
Joined: 6-11-03
Nov 4 2009 16:36

Yeah just from what I was reading for the wiki piece (which I've already pillaged Black Flame for wink) it seems to have been a combination of the benefits thing and their participation in municipal elections under the name of Libertarian Municipal People.

Tbh it does come across like their politics - or sections of the union - were simply moving away from the remaining rump of anarcho-syndicalists post-war and they were shifting towards participatory politics, though from what I've read since (including a couple of really interesting reports from ex-libcom poster JDMF) they've been moving back to a much more aggressive model in recent years.

Joseph Kay's picture
Joseph Kay
Offline
Joined: 14-03-06
Nov 4 2009 16:40
Rob Ray wrote:
though from what I've read since (including a couple of really interesting reports from ex-libcom poster JDMF) they've been moving back to a much more aggressive model in recent years.

there was a SAC guy at the SolFed session at the bookfair who talked to one of my Brighton comrades about this. it's something you don't hear that much about, which is a shame as it's interesting even if it's not a model to emulate.

syndicalist
Offline
Joined: 15-04-06
Nov 4 2009 21:51

Personally speaking, I think the whole post WWII period for the SAC is of interest. Certainly not the brightest days for anarcho-syndicalism, but of interest as to how and why a nominally revolutionary union accomodated to the rise of the welfare state. And in a period of isolation when there was no other mass syndicalist above ground unioon.

Even as the SAC slipped into reformism, it's imporant to see why, what were the conditions and to what extend the libertarian content was preserved or jettisioned.

Joseph Kay's picture
Joseph Kay
Offline
Joined: 14-03-06
Nov 4 2009 22:01

i very much agree, there's a lot to be learned, even if much of it is 'what not to do' (but from what i've heard of the contemporary SAC they have some interesting practices and tactics too).

888's picture
888
Offline
Joined: 30-09-03
Nov 4 2009 22:06
Jason Cortez wrote:
As to Platformism and anarcho-syndicalism i can only think of the South African 'Workers Solidarity Federation' as a recent example of the two 'tendancies' existing in one organisation.

There was also some Czech group I believe. Also some members of the WSA are platformists.

syndicalist
Offline
Joined: 15-04-06
Nov 5 2009 00:02

The contemporary SAC stradles some of the past with some of the present. Since I became involved in the 1970s, the SAC has lost more than 1/2 its membership. I think it was something like 13,000, now stands at about 5700. So, it seems like that whatever the SAC is doing it's not growing.

That said, it is now in sectors it wasn't before. The post Gottenberg
(our equiv. to the post Seatttle) generation has entered the SAC in some numbers and is continuing to have an influence in moving the SAC leftwards (again).

syndicalist
Offline
Joined: 15-04-06
Nov 5 2009 00:06
888 wrote:
Jason Cortez wrote:
As to Platformism and anarcho-syndicalism i can only think of the South African 'Workers Solidarity Federation' as a recent example of the two 'tendancies' existing in one organisation.

There was also some Czech group I believe. Also some members of the WSA are platformists.

The contemporary WSA has members who identify themselves as class struggle anarchists/libertarians. Some members identify with a neo-platformist persepctive.
The WSA itself is not platformist nor strictly anarcho-syndicalist (of which I still strongly identify with). Our perspectives can be found www.workersolidarity.org

robot's picture
robot
Offline
Joined: 27-09-06
Nov 5 2009 04:48
syndicalist wrote:
In addition to the Unemployment insurance, there were some in SAC who advocated for a sort of libertarian municipalism. I've seen a number of references to this over the years, but can't place my "hands" on a written source.

I read about this, too, somewhere. This was propably under the influence of Helmut Rüdiger. He and other ex-FAUD-members including Rudolf Rocker proposed some sort of libertarian municipalism instead of anarcho syndicalism for post-war Germany in the late 40th and early 50th. Their analyse was that the autonomous workers movement in Germany had been killed by nazism and stalinism and there was no possibilty for a re-emerge or anything like the pre-war FAUD. It is quite possible that Rüdiger and other former FAUD members in their Swedish exile had an impact on the SAC with their pessimistic analyses and the revisionism derived from it. The more as the IWA in that period was pretty close to dying.

Felix Frost's picture
Felix Frost
Offline
Joined: 30-12-05
Nov 6 2009 01:51
Rob Ray wrote:
Yeah just from what I was reading for the wiki piece (which I've already pillaged Black Flame for wink) it seems to have been a combination of the benefits thing and their participation in municipal elections under the name of Libertarian Municipal People.

The Libertarian Municipal People was set up by a few syndicalists in a few rural Swedish municipalities in the 50's. It was never an official SAC project, and I haven't even seen it mentioned in contemporary accounts of the break between SAC and the IWA, so I don't think it was of much importance.

The three major issues between SAC and the IWA at the time was SAC's participation in the new state-funded unemployment insurance scheme, SAC's new reformist program (and suggestion for revised IWA principles), and perhaps most important, SAC's relations to the part of the CNT that wasn't recognized by the IWA. When the CNT reunified in 1961, this made the IWA secretariat reach out to SAC and suggest starting talks about SAC rejoining.

Devrim's picture
Devrim
Offline
Joined: 15-07-06
Nov 6 2009 11:11
Felix Frost wrote:
...and perhaps most important, SAC's relations to the part of the CNT that wasn't recognized by the IWA. When the CNT reunified in 1961, this made the IWA secretariat reach out to SAC and suggest starting talks about SAC rejoining.

A lot of splits in anarchosyndicalism seem to be about splits in the CNT in Spain. I am not suggesting that they are irrelevant, and can understand how practical problems can emerge in the biggest section and find there expressions there.

It usually seems to be the case though.

Devrim

Joseph Kay's picture
Joseph Kay
Offline
Joined: 14-03-06
Nov 6 2009 11:38

the CNT is between one and two orders of magnitude bigger than every other IWA section, so i think its unsurprising their squabbles ripple out