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IWA Congress

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OliverTwister's picture
OliverTwister
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Oct 24 2006 23:07
IWA Congress

Soem of us in the IWW would like to have a delegation present at the IWA congress in December. Who should we talk to in SF to see about this?

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JDMF
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Oct 25 2006 08:36

i am not sure if IWW was on the invited groups list, can't remember now. If they were, I think the invitation would go to the local IWW folk over here.

AF is invited by default, so chances are it will be an IWW member who will participate (since it is in Manchester).

But you can contact the Solfed international secretary for clarification if you want to:
SolFed International Secretary
c/o West Yorks SolFed
E-mail; richardsolfed@hotmail.com

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the button
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Oct 25 2006 08:52
OliverTwister wrote:
Soem of us in the IWW would like to have a delegation present at the IWA congress in December. Who should we talk to in SF to see about this?

My understanding is that the invitation to the IWW will come from the IWA, rather than from the SolFed. As will the invitation to the IAF, incidentally.

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OliverTwister
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Oct 26 2006 02:00
the button wrote:
OliverTwister wrote:
Soem of us in the IWW would like to have a delegation present at the IWA congress in December. Who should we talk to in SF to see about this?

My understanding is that the invitation to the IWW will come from the IWA, rather than from the SolFed. As will the invitation to the IAF, incidentally.

Are you sure that it's coming? Cause it's only 1 1/2 months away. If the ball is already rolling on the IWA's side, great. If it needs to be rolling on our side, we need to know that. Could some SF comrades contact the IWA secretariat and see what the deal is?

syndicalist
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Oct 26 2006 12:06

Interesting. How are the invitations being determined for this Congress?

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JDMF
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Oct 26 2006 12:16

i've emailed this thread to our international secretary, hopefully he can answer the questions.

Basically the local section which hosts the conference, in this case Solidarity Federation, makes a list of suggestions which is then debated between locals. And bunch of invitations have gone out from that.

Now remember that this is not really a conference with an agenda which would be interesting and practical to all libertarians under the sun because it is mainly an organ for IWA decision making, so majority of the time goes into fairly boring bureocracy stuff and debates. So in that sense my initial always liberal approach of "hey lets invite everybody" is not really useful, and also the conference venue is such size that we cant have a huge number of visitors (depending on how many delegates are coming in the end of course).

The invitations, as far as i understand are for local groups and symphatisers, and the local section of IFA is always invited by default, in this case Anarchist Fed.

syndicalist
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Oct 26 2006 12:40

Exactly. It has been my understanding (having been a member of an IWA Section) that invitations are solicited about 6 months from the Congress. Also, individual Section's are also asked to invite sympathetic folks from their own lands. The Secretariat generally extends an invitation to, say, the IFA and perhaps some others.

As for the US (where I'm from), there have been no invitations extended as of this date. Or none that I'm aware of. Certainly none has been extended to the WSA.

WeTheYouth
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Oct 26 2006 23:02

I thought it was down to the local section to invite groups like the IWW? =S anyways im sure inviting the IWW will become a regular thing after this congress after the communications between the Wobblies and the Secretariat.

If any wobblies do come and need a place to stay you should email manc SF so we can sort it out.

manchestersf@solfed.org.uk

Also im sure the WSA should have been invited by the secretariat? because they are on the agenda for congress i think.

syndicalist
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Oct 27 2006 05:04

If I may ask, what's the nature of the communications?

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OliverTwister
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Oct 27 2006 07:49

I'd like to ask that as well.

I'm under the impression (and at least some of the members of our international committee are as well) that this is the only communication thus far.

Steve
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Oct 27 2006 08:06
OliverTwister wrote:
I'd like to ask that as well.

I'm under the impression (and at least some of the members of our international committee are as well) that this is the only communication thus far.

Wouldn't it be quicker to ask the IWA Secretariat direct? secretariado@iwa-ait.org

Steve
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Oct 27 2006 08:08
WeTheYouth wrote:
I thought it was down to the local section to invite groups like the IWW? =S anyways im sure inviting the IWW will become a regular thing after this congress after the communications between the Wobblies and the Secretariat.

I'd check the July IB and the April/May archive of the internal discussion list if you want to see who SolFed invited.

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Oct 27 2006 08:25
Steve wrote:
OliverTwister wrote:
I'd like to ask that as well.

I'm under the impression (and at least some of the members of our international committee are as well) that this is the only communication thus far.

Wouldn't it be quicker to ask the IWA Secretariat direct? secretariado@iwa-ait.org

tongue

IWA dont exactly have a document detailing how to invite onesefl to the congress.

syndicalist
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Oct 27 2006 12:49

Ok, as my memory serves me correctly .... I will have to go to my hard copy reords, but:

a) Section's are to extend invitations to those appropriate organizations in their home lands, with names,contacts, etc. send to the IWA Secretariat. I believe the IWA Secretariat then sends the invitation.

b) The hosting organization is invites those in their home land.

c) Suggestions as to "other" organizations may be made to the IWA Secretariat for Secretariat action/in-action.

d) The Secretariat can extend invitations to international or other organizations. Historically (as I can remember from the late 1970s forward)these invitations usually were extended to the IFA, the old-SIA, syndicalist, anarchist or libertarian worker contacts as appropriate. In the past this has included ex-IWA sections and the IWW, amongst others.

e) It's my general recollection that suggested invitations must be submitted to the Secretariat (now from memory) something like 3-6 months prior to the congress.

If I may, I think the telling thing about invitations is if one has not been invited several months out, then it's likely there was no intent to be invited to begin with. That's a message in and of itself.

Somewhere along the way a comrade mentioned the general internal nature of the Congresses. This is true. I've seen the Congress agenda and would say that this up-coming congress will be full of internal mattters. I will leave it at that and let someone in the IWA pick-up their details if they wish.

I hope this is helpful.

syndicalist
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Oct 29 2006 00:28

Ok, here's what has been offically said by the Secretariat as of May, 2006.

According to the May/June 2006 IWA Circular 5/6:

"The sections decide in own country and shall according to the Plenary in Prague send proposals to the Secretariat of organizations where there are neither Sections or friends"

Further in Circular (dated May 22.2006):

"The process of invitations are the following:

1) Sections & Friends are invited automatically. We'll try what we can to pay travel expenses for parts of them if requested. (But at the moment we can't say if we are able to pay expenses for observers.

2) The Plenary decided that the sections & Friends decide who to invite as observers from own country. We have asked for and would like to receive this information from the sections and this process is on-going.

3) The Plenary decided also that the Secretariat should receive proposal;s from Sections of observers where there are neither Sections or Friend. Also this process is on-going."

WeTheYouth
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Nov 1 2006 15:55

Who will be coming up from SF or from wherever even not as a delegate?

syndicalist
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Nov 13 2006 02:25

For your information. This seems to be the only public document leading up to the IWA Congress.

-------------------------------------------
About the significance of anarchosyndicalism

>From the IWA-Secretariat, Oslo

Dear Sections and Friends!

We refer to IWA-Circular 12- 2005- 1/2 January-February 2005:

“We finally enclose an article made by Juan Gómez Casas called “Attention: New definitions about the anarchosyndicalism” It was made in 1983 during CNTE`s 6th Congress, and tells about the content of anarchosyndicalism in an attack against reformism, and might be a contribution in the theoretical and practical magazine decided by the 22nd IWA-Congress. The article was reproduced by the paper "CNT" in June 2001 and is in Spanish, so we make a call to everyone to provide translators and contributors so the magazine can be made as soon as possible!”

It is now translated into English and we put it on the IWA-website. It can be a contribution to the debate previously to the 23rd IWA-Congress which will be in Manchester the 8-9-10th of December 2006!

Oslo, the 4th of November 2006

With anarchosyndicalist greetings
the IWA-Secretariat

Attention: New definitions of anarcho-syndicalism

Juan Gómez Casas, Solidaridad Obrera, nº 128 (special issue VI Congreso, CNT/IWA)

I would like to refer to the analysis developed by José Bondía in the March issue (number 72) of CNT with objectivity but with a certain degree of concern. Inspired by the need to provide coherence to my argument, I will refer to the paragraph where the comrade states that many of us have forgotten or do not realize “That the very concept of anarcho-syndicalism involves a basic contradiction as it tries to harmonize two concepts that are antagonistic: syndicalism, by necessity reformist and integrated into the system, and anarchism, necessarily revolutionary and transcendent of the system”. For this reason, the comrade says, the social and union action of the CNT and its very existence take place on the frontier between a reformist and a revolutionary stance, between being integrated into the system and transcending it. He deduces from this that anarcho-syndicalism, by its very nature, will have two currents, two natures that are struggling against one another and which may incline towards reform or revolution. There is a struggle between ‘good and evil’ in the CNT. But the comrade’s reasoning is deficient. He forgets, or does not know, because he does not refer to history, that the direct influence of anarchism in the workers’ movement through associations, first of all, and then unions, created revolutionary syndicalism. This is what happened with the First International in Spain in 1870, the first workers’ Congress to take place in Barcelona. At that Congress, anarchism, already as a part of workers’ associations, decided to back the free federation of workers’ associations as a revolutionary formula to substitute Capitalism and the State. The revolutionary syndicalism of the French CGT was a step in this direction together with the previous historical experiences of the International in the making of the CNT.

Anarchism helped to create revolutionary syndicalism as an outgrowth of itself and this would make nothing less than anarcho-syndicalism. It is for this reason that the anarcho-syndicalist CNT has no personality problems, but plain syndicalism can be fascist, communist, socialist or reformist and plain syndicalism is not part of our organization. This means that the CNT can have aims unique and principles, which could not be the case if it was floating precariously between reformism and anarchism. This supposed dualism only exists in the minds of some comrades. Because the coherence of the CNT’s anarcho-syndicalism means that there cannot be any contradiction between aims, principles and end objectives. If such a condition were to exist, it is then that would start to worry about the existence of anarcho-syndicalism itself. The great advantage of the coherence and of socialism in the broad sense, and we often don’t apply this because of our own laziness, is that in the CNT we can project the anticipation of a society without State and classes, made up by militants who are responsible and who do not delegate their personal responsibility, which is not transferable, and do take decisions themselves.

In addition from its end aims, the CNT realizes that it must create the objective conditions for a radical change. This is no joke, and it must act in a counter-cultural manner, allowing revolutionary consciousness to grow amongst workers and the community wherever it can – where people live and work. The CNT, whose conception of syndicalism is revolutionary because it comes from anarchism, also knows that in the period up to the transition it will have to defend workers’ demands as it always has done in history, using direct unmediated action, in accordance with its own strength. In the history of the CNT there have also occurred serious contradictions according to circumstance, as in the Civil War. The deep coherence that I am talking about should prevent similar occurrences in the future.

We need to be clear

Comrade Bondía writes that the CNT makes up one of the many unions currently in the Spanish state and it favours the evolution of the system in this or that way; because of this, whether it wants to or not, it becomes evolutionary in the absence of a revolutionary situation. Agreed, to some extent. The CNT is evolutionary in the sense that during the long preparation towards revolutionary change it is, or can be, a major element in convincing and preparing the people for the conditions that will allow for a radical change. This evolution is what I call the growth of revolutionary consciousness in and outside of the workplace (some will smile at this). In any case, comrade Bondía is wrong when he calls us ‘static’ because this new awareness alone can mean that real change is taking place. The imitation of what others do, under the guise of originality, is like pedalling away for exercise’s sake on one of those bicycles that are rooted to the spot. But, straight away, we note a much more ambiguous current running through Bondía’s article as he affirms that in order to redress the balance and to find the path of anarcho-syndicalism once more we should adopt more syndicalist tactics. This is too much of a slip. Because, if by definition we are anarcho-syndicalists and not something else, why should we return to syndicalism to reaffirm something that we already are? What does all this mean?

Emptying the CNT of its content. The problem of integration

As Bondía does not like history, particularly when it goes against his rather improvised interpretations, he may well not be aware that confusion such as this was around in the CNT during the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera and later in the polemics fought between Santillán, Pestaña and Peiró (particularly the latter two). Pestaña came to defend the CNT as a catch-all rather than something with content. A catch-all serves to put things together. Having embraced ‘neutral’ syndicalism he finished up by founding a political party in order to give the former some content. It is clear that this is not Bondía position but the implication of what he advocates are equally unforeseeable.

After arguing against political integration or participation in the fight for political power, Bondía argues that we need inevitably to become integrated into society. He finishes by saying that, as we are keen to become a social force, our non-marginalization (integration, I would say) has to be as deep as it possibly can be, and we must become part of the social structure. But Spanish society or the social structure as we know it today is the system. And Spanish society, or the system, is everything, that is, those who work, those who are unemployed, the marginalized, the oppressed, the oppressors, the armed forces, politicians, institutions, the State. Is it here that we are to integrate ourselves to become a ‘powerful’ force as he says? Above all, what does being ‘integrated’ mean? To be integrated is to unite the parts of a whole, make them live in harmony, so that they can fulfil their natural roles. These roles include differences, diversity and opposition, to a certain degree, but understood as a way of making the whole function properly. For the normal functioning of the system, we would say. This is how political reformism understands this question. Are the CNT and the libertarian movement integrated in the system? No. We are within the workings of the system. This limits us; indeed, it represses us and places us in the constraints of authoritarian relations. But we are against the system; we are not an integral part of the system for its development. In fact, we are in a position of marginalization accepted by ourselves. From this position, we try to get our ideas and values across, we try to get to the core of this society with our ideas and our practice. Collaboration or integration, as Bondía would have, would leave us prostrate and defenceless for the creation of alternatives which seek to perform a radical change in society and would make us into yet another part of the system.

The basis of a strategy

In the section ‘The basis of a strategy’, there follows an attempt at conveying how our profound integration in society’s workings should be and it should not be political. Bondía starts by saying that we have to start by demonstrating “that at the end of the twentieth century there can exist an anarcho-syndicalist organization capable of acting with realism and effectively in the resolution of social and labour problems. Does this mean the resolution of the enormous contradictions of capitalism, which end up as economic crisis, unemployment, repression and marginalization? Is an integrated anarcho-syndicalist movement going to resolve all this without conducting a social revolution? Then we are told, amongst other things, that we must “control all those strictly workplace- or union-based issues where there are direct interests of the workers at stake (not political ones), such as Social Security, unemployment, etc.”. This would be an extensive task and would include all those technical and social organisms that are related to this question: the job exchanges, Social Security, the arbitration boards, where union bureaucracies and state functionaries are installed. The political frameworks that control these ‘social and economic’ mechanisms are in the hands of those parties that guide these types of unions.

In the second activists’ conference in Madrid, Bondía was told that the social and economic institutions are inseparable from the political institutions that create them. So, to be coherent, that politics of a presence in some areas would also entail a complementary political presence in political structures from where, to follow the logic of his analysis, the former could be defended “with realism and effectively”.

Finally, I think we have heard enough to draw some conclusions on the kind of new formulae that are proposed here. Are we seeing the advocacy of a certain kind of political syndicalism?

http://www.iwa-ait.org/significance.html

syndicalist
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Jan 16 2007 03:03

As the WSA helped to bring the Nigerian Awareness League into the IWA, we are curious as to their current IWA status. We've not heard from them in a long time. Apparently neither has the former Secretariat.

Any discussion of their status, etc. at the Manchester Congress?

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fnbrill
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Jan 16 2007 05:08

Oliver, I would suggest that you go through the IWW's democratic procedures rather than back-door an invite to the IWA conference. If the Bay Area branch feels strongly enough, pass a resolution, send it to both the GEB and ISC. Try and get other branches to support your position, build a conscensus for your position. Such principled actions would help avoid repeating the debacle of the Laconian affiliation vote.

rata
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Jan 16 2007 12:36

Information that could be of interest to some:

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Election of the IWA Secretariat
Date: Mon, 15 Jan 2007 17:22:38 +0100
From: ASI International Secretariat
To: IWA-AIT-MUR Sekretarijat
CC: ASI lista

Belgrade, 15th of January 2007.

Dear Comrades,

This message is to inform you that today, on the 15th of January 2007,
Union Confederation "Anarcho-Syndicalist Initiative" has elected new
Secretariat of the International Workers Association. Comrade Ratibor
Trivunac was elected to the position of General Secretary of IWA, while
comrades Nikola Pavlovic and Boris Huskic were elected to maintain the
work of the Secretariat and the Treasury.

At the same time ASI elected Nemanja Doric as a new International
Secretary.

Anarcho-Syndicalist greetings from

Nemanja Doric

on behalf of International Secretariat of Union Confederation
"Anarcho-Syndicalist Initiative"

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Of course, this means I'll not engage in the discussions on libcom anymore for next 2 years, so as not to misrepresent the IWA. =;> It was a real pleasure chatting with the folks here, and I'll continue reading libcom with great delight.

Salud, Anarquia y Colectivismo

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Rob Ray
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Jan 16 2007 13:14

Updated the wiki with a couple of thoses, is there gonna be an office?

syndicalist
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Jan 16 2007 13:17

Folks, can someone please reply to my question about the Awareness League.
Thanx.

rata
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Jan 16 2007 13:19
Saii wrote:
Updated the wiki with a couple of thoses, is there gonna be an office?

Hmm, it seams that the statement was not clear enough. Nemanja was elected to the position of International Secretary of ASI, not of the IWA, sicne I was IS of ASI, and couldn't do both things together.

There will be a telephone line, po box, etc. for the Secretariat, and comrades will be noted as soon as they are setted up.

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Jan 16 2007 15:02
syndicalist wrote:
Folks, can someone please reply to my question about the Awareness League.
Thanx.

personally only heard it mentioned (in the context of no one having heard anything from them) and that was it.

You guys are not in touch with them any more?

syndicalist
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Jan 17 2007 03:19

I'd be curious to know what the resolution on the AL actually was. I suspect you can't keep the question in limbo if no one in the IWA has heard from the AL for years.

I haven't seen any communication in the IWA Circulars for a few years. It appears to me that the last IWA, AL communication was in 2001 (http://www.iwa-ait.org/immigration.html).

The WSA hasn't heard from the AL since about this time period as well. We informed them of what transpired at the 2000 Granada Congress, with particular mention of the mis-treatment of our delegate. And the poor treatment of the WSA, in general, by the Secretariat and the IWA.

I believe these are the last two communications we received from the AL. I'll have to review the hard copy folder. But I think these are pretty close to being or actually are the last communications.

1. May 2001

Dear M... and Comrades:

We send our fraternal greetings to you all out there in New York in particular and the United States in general. It has indeed been a long time since the Awareness League last communicated with the WSA. Suffice it to say that the AL holds the WSA in special esteem and will continue to. We continue to look forward to improved relations and a deepening of our ties through future co-operation/collaboration.

The past two years have been a trying period for our organisation. There has been a noticeable fatigue after years of sustained struggle against the military dictatorship in Nigeria. With the advent of civil rule, many in our ranks have tended to lower their guards. The philosophical and ideological underpinning of the struggle for a truly free society remains at best, underdeveloped in these parts. And this coupled with the fact that life here is an everyday struggle, to be able to eke out a living or survive.

continued:
http://flag.blackened.net/revolt/africa/nigeria/al_update01.html
-------------------------------------------
2. Date Thu, 2 Aug 2001 03:29:07 -0400 (EDT)
http://www.ainfos.ca/
W.S.A. Info Service
wsany@hotmail.com

From the Awareness League in Nigeria, the Workers Solidarity Alliance received the following lettering concerning recent workers struggles:

"Dear comrades,

Our immediate comment on the current wave of strikes, that have all 20 paralysed the health and educational sectors is that, the immediate post-military transition period in the country, has presented labour and the toiling masses of our people a unique opportunity for self-rediscovery of
their historical role, as agents of change. It has since dawned on organised labour that the minimum wage of N5,500.00 (less than USD 50 per month), which the Obasanjo Administration holds as something spectacular is indeed a mere pittance, an empty shell, vis-a-vis the gale of retrenchment set in motion by the outgoing privatisation bazaar in the country.

Curiously, the strike bug reared its head in an unlikely quarter recently;workers of the leading national newspaper The Guardian embarked on an industrial action which forced the paper off the streets for two weeks. You will recall that the Newspaper wrote the editorial opinion that accused the central labour Union NLC [Nigerian Labour Congress] of "anarcho-syndicalist tactics." * It is an eternal credit to the struggles that the Awareness League has had to wage that today, words like "anarchism" or "anarchosyndicalism" are being used in public discourse. We are not relenting
all the same.

s/ Samuel Mbah

* "Labour Undue Radicalism", The Guardian (Nigeria), 28 May 2001"

When reproducing this letter in any form, please credit the Workers Solidarity Alliance. Thank you.

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Jan 19 2007 14:40

I've asked questions about the AL as well to no response, syndicalist. Particularly worrying as I heard that they were given money to start a radio station? I'm assuming that didn't happen...

rata so are you really off then?

syndicalist
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Jan 20 2007 02:45

Of course the WSA would also be interested.

It is my understanding that all funding for AL activities, like the computer campaign and the radio, were done, basically, by the WSA or folks close to us here in the US. we are aware that the Iris WSM raised funds as well.
Aside from sending former IWA General Secretary Pepe to Nigeria, I am unaware of direct material IWA support for the AL.