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Workplace committees and how they interlink

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syndicalist
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Joined: 15-04-06
Jun 30 2012 04:28
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i've found this article really useful. its about the 'comitati unitari di base' (base committees) in Italy, that eventually led to the re-establishment of the USI-AIT amongst other base unions (some of them also anarcho-syndicalist)
http://libcom.org/library/exploring-alternative-forms-workers-organization-anarchist-communists-italian-base-union

As a historical sidebar, the USI actually existed from the post-Mussolini period forward (refounded 1950). It basically lost all its strength and most membership, but saw an uptick in membership from the 1960s onward.
The 1969 Hot Autumn, the many factory andcommunity struggles helped to forge a new generation of libertarian workers and anarcho-syndicalists which eventually lead to the second post-WWII reformation of the USI.

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klas batalo
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Jun 30 2012 05:57
Alf wrote:
No, I wouldn't see it like that. The whole emphasis would be on building an open committee. When our comrades have participated in such groups, whether workplace or across sectors, there has never been an attempt to form a group within the group. Obviously we discuss what we are doing in our local section meetings or other 'internal' parts of the organisation, and members in the same workplace would naturally carry on that discussion when they are at work. Am I making sense?

yes i think you were very clear regarding this.

in what way would you see the role of the communist/rev group then? for instance might it help with training, advice, etc?

Harrison
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Jun 30 2012 12:58
syndicalist wrote:
As a historical sidebar, the USI actually existed from the post-Mussolini period forward (refounded 1950). It basically lost all its strength and most membership, but saw an uptick in membership from the 1960s onward.
The 1969 Hot Autumn, the many factory andcommunity struggles helped to forge a new generation of libertarian workers and anarcho-syndicalists which eventually lead to the second post-WWII reformation of the USI.

thanks, I assumed it only began to organise workplaces under its own banner after the second wave of base committees in the late 80s? (hot autumn saw first wave of post-war base committees) I need to read more Italian labour history

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Alf
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Jun 30 2012 16:59

Sabotage, in answer to your question (though very brief because I can't stay long), a struggle group is formed around immediate issues - agreement to put forward particular demands, to call for wider forms of self-organisation, link up with other workplaces etc. A communist group, in my view, aims to synthesise the global and historical experience of the workers' movement and therefore and 'bring them back' to the immediate movement.

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Alf
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Jun 30 2012 16:59

DP

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klas batalo
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Jun 30 2012 17:57

Real quick I was thinking now with better understanding of what Alf is saying about how the ICC would relate to these mass struggle groups, and thought hmm it seems the ICT workplace/territorial groups (or SolFed for that matter) are more like intermediate groups, where the ICC struggle groups are more mass level. Just thought it worth mentioning. It is not like such groups wouldn't participate in a workplace as equals in a struggle committee/assembly open to all workers if there was a struggle going on, but that there can exist between struggles a group of committed internationalists/anti-capitalist/militant workers who can call for such struggle bodies if things heat up. I don't think such things have to be thought of as belonging to any group, transmission belts, or potentially base unions in waiting. They are very similar to the idea of autonomous base nuclei from the insurrectionists, or the unionen that had explicitly anti-capitalist aims, or even SolFed (since you don't have to be an anarcho-syndicalist, you just need to be down with anarcho-syndicalist methods), etc

baboon
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Jun 30 2012 19:09

Agree with Sabotage about transmission belts which strike me as a bit of a device. And before we try to ascertain how forms of working class organisations are set up we should also be aware that in the history of the workers' movement elements of workers' organisation have been in in advance of revolutionary minorities and beyond any structures they may have envisaged. I think that fundamentally communists in or out of the workplace should work with any form of organisation that can take the struggle forward. The more positive a movement is the more fluid it could be. Having said that, a struggle group, in which communists should participate, would be for the immediate interests which could include more "political" moves like extension to other workers, whereas the revolutionary elements have to maintain broader and deeper lines of march. In the former revolutionaries should be there as active elements, they should be in the forefront as workers in struggle. In the latter they have to continue to attempt to strengthen the revolutionary perspective for the time to really marry up the respective forces.

Just a word on the Hot Autumn of 69 in Italy because this was a profound expression of the whole global wave of struggle at the time. There had been significant strikes in Italy throughout the 60s and a strong student's movement appeared in 67. Strikes became more organised, more "strategic" and more successful throughout the period and in July 69 workers and students came together in their hundreds in assemblies. Around the same time, there was a national assembly of workers' minorities in Turin from across the country. "We are all delegates" one Fiat worker said as the workers acted more for themselves and against the union directives. This wave of self-organisation implicitly - and in minorities, explicitly - came up against the unions. The dynamic of "rank and filism" back into them stifled the positive development.

Just a word on the recent struggles in China; one of the significant elements - even given the limited information we have - of the developing strikes is the self-organisation, initially from a minority of workers, of the struggle committees and the way that they disappear immediately after the strike is over. To maintain any permanent type of organisation here would invite repression or, what some sections of the Chinese bourgeoisie are calling for, their consolidation into "Free Trade Unions".

emilio
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Mar 8 2013 11:37

Hi everyone,
I'm Emilio Mentasti, the author of the book "La Guardia rossa racconta" ("Garde rouge raconte" in french edition).
This summer I red your interesting blog about workplace committees, so I thinked was possible to translate my text in english, but you know my language is italian!!!!
So, I translated the book in english but now I need someone (english mother language) who wants to read, proofread, suggests me etc... After this, it will be possible to reach someone for printing.
Can someone help me?