The Syndicalist Registry of the SAC founded

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Kattmannen's picture
Kattmannen
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Jun 4 2008 13:48
The Syndicalist Registry of the SAC founded

For you interested in what is happening in Sweden I have translated the founding document of the Registry. The Registry is an old syndicalist method that has been revamped for the 21st century and restarted last year. It is our prefered choice instead of a collective agreement that big unions use that results in unions degrading to reformism and policing their members to keep peace in the workplace. It works great this far, I would say it is a good tactic, especially in places where there are no big unions sabotaging conditions won by the workers this way.

The Registry wrote:
The registry method is a classic syndicalist method which founding principle is that a minimum salary is set on a particular work which no one is allowed to go under. If an employer offers a lower wage anyways he is blockaded.

After a discussion the following principles where accepted by the assembly.

By this declaration of princples and goals the syndicalist Registry is constituted.

§1 The registry is a method for struggle in the hands of the working class to fight for it’s right, it’s autonomy and it’s freedom.

§2 In the Registry only elements of the working class and whose profession are not to opress the working class allowed. This means that in the Registry employers, police and let alone professional militaries are not accepted.

§3 All memebers of the Registry oblige to accept and follow the decisions that their local and their local section of the Registry has decided democratically.

§4 If the local section of the Registry or the local takes a democratic decision and seeking consensus on strike action it is a crime against solidarity not to follow your comrades and it is objectionable to scab.

§5 A blow on a comrade of the Registry is a blow on all comrades of the Registry and will be revenged in manners found to be most appropriate and democratically decided.

§6 The fundamental method of the Registry is direct action.

§7 The goal of the Registry is to create our own terms and that we the workers will practice self-managemnet and self-determination, preparing to take over the means of production in a society that is fair, equal, socialist and libertarian.

This declaration of princples and goals to formally start the Registry where adopted unanimously the 14th of october 2007 in the ABF-house in Stockholm by an assembly of 250 workers, mostly without permits to work and/or stay in Sweden.

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Kattmannen
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Jun 4 2008 13:54

I also translated a little "how it works" in another thread but I will post it here to keep the discussion where it belong.

SAC wrote:
Short explanation of the registry method
This is a short manual on how it is done. The strength and the solidarity among the collective decide in what extent it will be succesful or not. The Registry has been practised in this form on hundreds of workplaces in Sweden.

1. The local decide the price on work

2. The employer accepts the price

3. The local provide the employer with workers, the employer therefore loses his right to hire and fire.

4. Those who are employed through the Registry appoint there own foremen, the employer therefore loses his right to lead the workforce.

5. If the employer do not accept the terms the local decided, he is withhold workforce through migration or/and blocade. The work is either carried out for the price the local has decide and by the workers the local has decided, or not at all. No negotiations regarding price or the choice of workers exist.

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Jun 4 2008 14:51

Interesting.

Is the Registry an autonomous organization from the SAC? IE can one be a member of the Registry but not the SAC? Does the Registry have its own national coordination?

Kim Müller
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Jun 4 2008 15:29

I am not so sure, but I have got the impression that you could - and anyway, the membership of SAC among the paperless workers is not so formal (correct me if I am wrong, Kattmannen). The practice is very including - that would mean that an SAC organizer might walk into a restaurant saying - One of our members are working here, I will not tell his/her name, but you have to raise all wages or you will be in trouble.

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Kattmannen
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Jun 4 2008 17:17

It is a part of the SAC, the people working their spare time with central administration (the actual registry) are working members but the workers affiliated are more or less loosely connected to it. Of course once an employer caves in, all workers at the workplace get the same registry conditions regardless if they are unionized or not. I mean if people are starting to set their own price on work instead of the boss doing it, it will, and is, getting support and start to spread so it is SAC initiated but have massive support by regular workers without papers. More and more join SAC as an effect but they don't have to be members of SAC to work with the Registry but they choose to join us anyways which is an indicator that they like it and they do it all by themselves so we don't mind. Earlier drives have been to "help" or to "organize" people from "poor parts of the world" and that have - of course proven not to work built up on middle-class guilt and all that... This is much better.

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Jun 4 2008 22:25
Weeler wrote:
SAC are cool. cool

Yah, I especially like how they as a large organization of workers can develop radical practice and critique on their own, without a leadership of ideas to do it for them.

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Jul 31 2008 18:48

Great translation kattmannen.

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altemark
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May 6 2009 01:56

I did a write up for another site about the background to the registry:

The "registry method" is a form of struggle developed uniquely by revolutionary syndicalists in Sweden during the early 20th century, with the method maturing during the years until it's heyday in during the 40-50's. So, what is the registry method?

This tactic was developed by first and foremost navvys creating the swedish railway network - the idea can be traced to a industrial conference in 1913, and later reaching its full maturity among building and forestry workers - trades in which SAC often was the majority organisation.

SAC rejected the path chosen by the social democrat LO confederation, whose mindless focus on collective bargaining resulted in tying the hands of the worker's class organisation behind their backs, with industrial peace clauses as the rope. With the balance of power in favour of the militant union struggle, a new front was opened up - not only working for better pay or workplace environment, but attacking the holy principle of the employers right to lead and distribute work and to employ and dismiss personnel at their own whim. This was seen as the logical step to fostering self-activity and preparing for workers' taking over and running the industries, the ultimate goal in building a libertarian socialism.

To quote the railway worker and Gothenburg local of SAC, Ingemar Sjöö in his text "SAC and syndicalism":

Quote:
[The basic principle of the register] was to set a minimum acceptable wage for a given piece of work which no one was to go below. If by chance an employer offered less then a blockade was declared. There never was a question of collective agreements or negotiations but only ultimatums from the register committee. The problem with LO affiliated members and sunorganised labour "resolved itself" by persuasion or at worst by tougher methods (the argument of the fist).

The minimum requirement for the initation of a campaign to establish the registry in an area was to have at least half of the labor force sympathetic or members of SAC. And when LS (locals) of SAC managed to take the struggle to this level it proved to be very effective, especially in the mentioned industries - the crucial export industry forestry in northern Sweden and in Stockholm foremost among roads, paths, pipe- and cable-layers. For example hourly wages was generally around 35% higher than the result of LO negotations and collective agreements.

Both the registry method as well as the SAC:s role as a serious alternative to business unionism declined with the increasing power of the paternal social democrat "folkhem" (People's home, but german volksheim captures the multiple dimensions of the concept better). This was established through collaboration with the class enemy, particularly with signing of the so-called Saltsjöbad-agreement in 1938 with the employers confederation SAF - the formal beginnings of the so-called "swedish model". Around these times secret agreements were made between LO and SAF that could guarantee LO providing workforce if an employer was in conflict with SAC and there was a weak point in the syndicalist position.

The registry method survived well into the 50's, with some certain local situations in the forestry industry where the registry was used into the 70's before this previously large industry declined in importance and as technical innovations made a large part of the workforce superflous. Another reason for the collapse of the working class control over the work was that the registry demanded a high degree of specialization and many man-hours from the SAC local which sometimes lead to almost all of the energy being absorbed by this administrative work.

This, in short, is the story of the historical registry. But in the early years of the 21th century new material conditions woke up the idea of reviving the registry in a new form. SAC contacts with sister organisations in foremost France and Spain brought the plight of the large and shady world of the paperless immigrants into view. These experiences were instrumental in the SAC:s surprisingly successful inroads here. Today almost 800 of SAC:s members come from this group, many of whom have gained status as legal immigrants thanks to putting pressure on often very shady employers.

It was in 2005 that the Skärholmen local of SAC in an immigrant-thick and poor working class neighourhood of Stockholm started to work with organising "the unorganisable". Earlier the activism in defence of immigrants had been focused on political solutions and demands. But now the paperless working group began with months of meticolous groundwork by using the contacts of militant members, often latin americans, to make an inventory of the wages and workplace environments that immigrants are faced with. This was later used as base for the often several orders of magnitude demands on wages as well as real contracts leading to "legalisation" of these previously "illegal" comrades.

The militants responsible for identifying the specific material condition and successfully applying the modern form of the registry method to these conditions are aiming at encompassing ever larger groups of workers as well as in the long run generalize the unions control over the delegation of work. As reviewed earlier, in the heydays of 20th century swedish syndicalism the registry was viewed by many as the foremost methods for realizing the promise of syndicalism. But right now the work is concentrated around precarious workers and mainly the situation of the sans papiers.

Another interesting point of discussion is how the Registry in practice seems to be a weird kind of bridge over the traditionally separated industrial (section, syndicates and federations) and geographical (LS, locals) manifestations of SAC - the Syndikalistiska Registret right now has Skärholmens and Västerorts LS of SAC attached to itselves at the same time as the basis of organization so far is the building of workplace sections and syndicates.

SAC in general seems to be a little special case whose organisational plan in its formative years was influenced in turns by industrial unionism and more geographically centered ideas. Is it non-functional? The internal debate is divided in this question as far as I understand it. It would be nice to have pros and cons for this with examples of libertarian unions (actually acting as unions) who have decided for either the one or the other approach.

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May 8 2009 02:25

Hoping not to show my ignorance, but, the Registry is kind of like a union hiring hall? But unlike regular hiring halls, it is used not only to get jobs for workers, but also to enforce demands, correct?

Jerome
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May 8 2009 04:15

Interesting.

Would this form of union organizing work in the United States?

I am thinking there would be labor laws against it.

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May 10 2009 15:27

That's why we are anarcho-syndicalists.

Skips
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May 10 2009 16:10
Kattmannen wrote:
For you interested in what is happening in Sweden I have translated the founding document of the Registry. The Registry is an old syndicalist method that has been revamped for the 21st century and restarted last year. It is our prefered choice instead of a collective agreement that big unions use that results in unions degrading to reformism and policing their members to keep peace in the workplace. It works great this far, I would say it is a good tactic, especially in places where there are no big unions sabotaging conditions won by the workers this way.
The Registry wrote:
The registry method is a classic syndicalist method which founding principle is that a minimum salary is set on a particular work which no one is allowed to go under. If an employer offers a lower wage anyways he is blockaded.

After a discussion the following principles where accepted by the assembly.

By this declaration of princples and goals the syndicalist Registry is constituted.

§2 In the Registry only elements of the working class and whose profession are not to opress the working class allowed. This means that in the Registry employers, police and let alone professional militaries are not accepted.
.

Are ex military accepted?

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Kattmannen
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May 19 2009 13:30
sickdog24 wrote:
Are ex military accepted?

Yes, and conscripts.

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Oct 13 2012 07:42

Libertaria: Yes, you could say that - the method was inspired in part by the French bourses du travail, but from what I understand, what sets it apart was (or is) its of it's high degree of systematization and focus on self-education.

syndicalist
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Aug 11 2013 17:50

From a different thread*:

Quote:
altemark wrote:
The Registry in SAC is reported in this weeks issue of the SAC paper Arbetaren to have grown to 1000 persons, mostly sans papier workers. The current goal is to increase to 1500 members for next year. Many of the members are not active or really integrated into other SAC structures I think, but it is a clear case of worker's sefl activity which leads to collective thinking and forges solidarity through the small and larger struggles. (1000 persons is pretty much compared to SAC current membership of almost under 7000....)

I'm curious what the results of the registry has been these past 5 years?

* http://libcom.org/forums/organise/anarcho-syndicalism-which-way-12102008...

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Aug 11 2013 22:57

Interesting. Workers deciding an acceptable wage in their area and then enforcing it on employers with no negotiations was the method (called "legislating") used to build craft unions in the USA in the late 1800s.