'KRAS (Confederation of revolutionary anarcho-syndicalists)'

19 posts / 0 new
Last post
Devrim's picture
Devrim
Offline
Joined: 15-07-06
Jun 26 2006 14:00
'KRAS (Confederation of revolutionary anarcho-syndicalists)'

I just got this by e-mail. I haven't had a chance to read it yet, but it looks like it might be interesting. It is from 'KRAS (Confederation of revolutionary anarcho-syndicalists)' in Russia. It is a long text, but there is no link, so I will post it here.

Quote:
WORKERS' ANARCHISM

Permanent crises of anarcho-syndicalism
Many times, all sections of the IWA-AIT say they are against reformism. They promise to be against collaboration with the state, against trade unionism. This is really funny as again and again reformism has taken power in AIT. There must be an explanation. And we can not say, "Oh, that's the result of a conspiracy, reformists are everywhere and they want to destroy us". That is crazy and it would be real Stalinism to say that because it is a Stalinist method of explaining everything with enemy conspiracies.

We have to say that anarcho-syndicalism is in a permanent crises. If we look at the past, we see the same situations and problems. The Spanish CNT had a revolutionary experience before 1936. There were thousands of revolutionary workers and peasants. Some of them had experience with insurrections. They had anarcho-communist ideas. CNT members and other workers took over plants in Barcelona, organised communes in Aragon and Valencia. But what happened? Why did the CNT join the government? Why did the CNT collaborate with Leninists and bourgeois democrats? Why did the CNT participate in the politics of bourgeois modernisation - the creation of a regular army, state control of industry and exploitation of workers ? Why did CNT fighters leave the barricades in Barcelona in May 1937 and give the city into the hands of the Leninist bureacrasy and Spanish capitalists?

Modern spanish CNT says,"there were mistakes". But it is not an explanation at all. Or if you want, it is also a Stalinist or post-Stalinist explanation. The Communist Party of USSR said after 1956 that " Stalin made some mistakes". But we are not talking about mistakes because both (Stalin and the CNT) supported (in 1936) the politics of state-capitalism and bourgeois modernisation. It was a long term policy, not "some mistakes".

I don't think we have to discuss Stalinism here, so let's go back to the CNT-E. We see a paradox - this organisation had revolutionary and counter-revolutionary members at the same time. And what happens if you mix a cup of honey with a cup of shit? Yeah, you will get 2 cups of shit. What is the reason for having even 100,000 anarchist militants and insurrectionists if they can not make a revolution because of a collective agreement with counter-revolutionary elements? Why give rifles to workers if they cannot use weapons against the state? Revolutionary anarchists who must compromise with their counter-revolutionary comrades (!) cannot make a revolution. Durruti's friends and other revolutionary groups of the CNT almost destroyed the police in Barcelona in May 1937 but then left the barricades because they were afraid to cause a split in the CNT with people who want be friendly to the police and the state!

Part of the explanation is inherent in anarcho-syndicalism itself. Anarcho-syndicalism is a compromise between anarchist workers' organisations such as FORA and neutral syndicalism which talks only about economic struggle and about direct action in the work place but not about anarchist society.

Neutral syndicalist organisation is open for everybody. Syndicalists do not ask what ideas you have. They care only about direct action, workers' assemblies which make economic strikes or even take over plants. Neutral syndicalists believe that common direct action will change the mind of people and make them revolutionary in the end. So it is not important what kind of ideas they have at the moment- workers have to leave all of their political ideas out of the union. Or anyway, their ideas will be changed during the struggle, to be sure!

I think neutral syndicalists (or revolutionary syndicalists) were impressed by the dynamism of the workers' movement at the beginning of the 20th century. They were right to say that only a rank-and-file proletarian movement can become the basis of a social revolution. They were right to say that without rank-and-file proletarian activity, 90% of people cannot change their mind. Resistence is an important part of the social transformation if it is going in a rank-and-file way. Where else and how else ca people get experience in self-organisation? But neutral syndicalists did not understand two important things.

Number one. People never leave their ideas out of the union. That's what FORA said - human beings live, love, work, make strikes, have political or philosophical ideas, dreams.. and who can cut his life into isolated sectors? That is impossible. Everything influences everything else.

Number two. People who start rank-and-file strikes are open to new ideas, dialogue and discussions. Whoever has never seen that will never understand the point. People open collective activity and dialogue for may be the first time in their lives and they see that life is not totally alieneted anymore and that life can be changed. But this is only one side of reality. On the other side, the assemblyist movement is open to different ideas. It can be anarchism, leninism, reformist socialism or even fascism. And what happens if people for example agree with trade unionism and leninism? They will stop the assemblies sooner or later and say it is better to make a compromise with the state. When will they come back to direct action? Maybe in 50 years.

From anarcho-syndicalism to FORA
We have to talk with people, help them to make their own leaflets or newspapers, tell them about other workers' movements and say, "You do not like this society, do you? But what is a good society? There could be a place where workers' assemblies (and council which are totally controlled by the assemblies) control everything - the factory, territory and life itself. And this is a place without money, the state and property. Because assemblies create a new life through dialogue and they do not need anybody else, no institutions like the state or free market. And this is workers' anarchism.

And we can have a collective of militants who can make this work - both make strikes or other forms of assembly resistence (with other workers) and at the same time spread anarchist ideas. This is an integral anarchist union, this is the model of Argentinian FORA, the model of most revolutionary groups of Russian workers, of anarchism at the beginning of the 20 century (like the Federation of Anarcho-communists in Bialystok). The best way this concept was explained was in the text of French comrades from Cannes "Anarcho-syndicalism and People's Autonomy". (They use the word <syndicalism> but they're OK). They support the model of FORA and they say it must spread anarchist ideas, initiate strikes and and cooperate with assemblies but not with trade unions and not with beaurocracy.

So what is the anarcho-syndicalism of the IWA-AIT? It was a compromise between the models of FORA and neutral syndicalism. And it is not working. It can't. The CNT say they are an anarchist union but not a union of anarchists. What does that mean in practice? They have a lot of people who are not anarchists but trade unionists. What happened with USI? The same - they have leninists in their organisation. There is no revolution but we see 1936 again and again. Anarchists 'protect their social rights' in the RSU, cooperate with trade unionists and political party members, and even.. fight for trademarks in the state court with another reformists! What else do we need to say - we need to have a finalist movement, <International FORA> or else we are nowhere.

Integral organisation
Anarchist workers' organisation must be finalist, antiautoritarian and integral. Relationships between man and women, struggle against nationalism are important points. But I would like to add something. If we look at the proletarian insurrections like the european and Russian revolutions of 1917-1923, Spain 1936, Budapest 1956, Kvandju 1980, Suleimania 1991, Albania 1996, Argentina and Algeria 2002, what do we see are their causes?

1. People struggle against conditions of their lives
2. People struggle against war.
3. People struggle against police or army violence.

Well, we also can remember the ecological movement in Germany and Japan in 1970-1990.

Of course revolution stem from many reasons and we can not explain them totally by such simple things. But I can not imagine a feminist revolution or antifascist revolution.

Anti-fascism was the main slogan in Spain in 1936 and we remember it was a counter-revolutionary slogan because it was connected (first of all) with an agreement between all anti-fascist groups like anarchists, leninists and democrats. I am sure that the anarchist workers' movement must destroy fascists. But not together with a state coup or red fascists (leninists) or anybody who are not better then fascists. When we destroy roots of capitalism we will smash fascists.

Feminism, if it is the main point of the movement, will bring us to women's separatism. That is why the Spanish women's anarchist movement Mujeres Libres did not call themselves feminists in 1936. Thay said they were against feminism because feminism separates people, isolate women from men and makes the collective anti-capitalist fight impossible. That's exactly what we can see today. As for Russian feminists, they are more or less separatists.

I do not want to discuss words like 'feminism' or 'anti-fascism'. They can be good or bad -it depends how you use them. I know Czech comrades have revolutionary experience with feminism and anti-fascism. I just wanna say if we want revolution, we need communication between different proletarian groups in the zones of permanent social conflicts like factory, poor proletarian area and university. If we forget the class struggle we become a simple anarchist federation. They don't have roots in community, no groops who permanently work in the zones of social tension. And they never have influence like the old class struggle anarchists.

International synthesis
People are strongly separated and isolated in modern society. Men and women, immigrants and others, black and white etc. And what you do with all of that? I see only one basis - solidarity in the common struggle of proletarian people. That's not enough but we can't change life without it. I understand it sounds banal but it is forgotten by anarchists.

Look at the problem of fascism. We can not destoy fascism until we have no cooperation between people of different nationalities. Anarchist federations can invent only antifa activity. But antifa are struggling (sometimes it's really important) against the results of national division, not against its roots. On the other hand we can not change things without fusion of different cultures, without a new cultural synthesis. And this culture must not be result of state violence like in the USSR but a result of spontaneous self activity.

I am not talking about multiculturalism. If we look at the modern society we will find a lot of ethnic communities with their charches, newspapers, children's organisations, schools etc. All of those organisations are controlled by capitalists and bureaucrats. They compete in the free market and in the state, they spread only hate. (States sometimes make ethnic cleansing which are terrible but free competition between ethnic communities is the preparation for that cleansing).

The majority of workers' organisations are also nationalists. Even the CNT in 1936 were nationalists. (For example it rejected the idea to help Jews who escaped from nazi Germany. The General Secretary of the CNT Mariano Vaskes said that if Jews came to Spain, they would increase the power of capitalism).

I think we have to research the experience of FORA also because it was an organisation of immigrants which united Itallians, Spanish people, Serbs, Germans, Jews and Arabs. It opened the space not for ethnic 'peace negotiations' (we know that peace negotiations between national bourgoise communities or states are just preparations for the next war) but a place for common struggle, equality and self-organisation. This whole space was permeated with the idea of a golden age - anarcho-communism.

Devrim

Steven.'s picture
Steven.
Offline
Joined: 27-06-06
Jun 26 2006 14:39

I'm only half-way through. I love this little phrase though:

Quote:
And what happens if you mix a cup of honey with a cup of shit? Yeah, you will get 2 cups of shit.

I'll definitely use this on the next IWW thread wink

the button's picture
the button
Offline
Joined: 7-07-04
Jun 26 2006 14:40

It's a shame that bit you quoted's too long for a tagline. grin

Steven.'s picture
Steven.
Offline
Joined: 27-06-06
Jun 26 2006 14:46

Hmmm a good text, it looks like the conclusion is missing though, unless there isn't supposed to be one? Or is it saying the IWA should drop the synthesis and adopt the FORA model?

Also, is this true?!?!:

Quote:
The majority of workers' organisations are also nationalists. Even the CNT in 1936 were nationalists. (For example it rejected the idea to help Jews who escaped from nazi Germany. The General Secretary of the CNT Mariano Vaskes said that if Jews came to Spain, they would increase the power of capitalism).
the button's picture
the button
Offline
Joined: 7-07-04
Jun 26 2006 14:52
the button wrote:
It's a shame that bit you quoted's too long for a tagline. grin

You swine. I didn't think of putting it into numbers. angry embarrassed

JDMF's picture
JDMF
Offline
Joined: 21-05-04
Jun 26 2006 14:54

also worth noting, it is from some person in KRAS, not a KRAS position statement.

though i dont know how big KRAS is to start with...

OliverTwister's picture
OliverTwister
Offline
Joined: 10-10-05
Jun 26 2006 15:26

Thanks Devrim, it was very interesting!

It seems to me like the author is heavily influenced by the 'Platform' but read it far differently than it is read by the 'platformist' current generally (except for in South Africa or South America...)

EdmontonWobbly's picture
EdmontonWobbly
Offline
Joined: 25-03-06
Jun 26 2006 18:32

I wouldn't say that this entirely refutes either the IWW position, or John's criticisms thereof. I might add that John your criticisms are actually being taken quite seriously by a lot of us in the Edmonton IWW. There are a bunch of members who lurk on here that really enjoyed reading your posts and have created a lot of discussion about how we are going about things.

One thing that is objectionable is the way he characterises feminism but it seems pretty qualified and limited to a regional brand so I'm not sure what he is getting at or if it is neccessary. Overall I think that is an excellent article, thanks Devrim for posting it.

Steven.'s picture
Steven.
Offline
Joined: 27-06-06
Jun 26 2006 18:38
EdmontonWobbly wrote:
I wouldn't say that this entirely refutes either the IWW position, or John's criticisms thereof. I might add that John your criticisms are actually being taken quite seriously by a lot of us in the Edmonton IWW. There are a bunch of members who lurk on here that really enjoyed reading your posts and have created a lot of discussion about how we are going about things.

embarrassed Oh dear, it's easy to forget that other people read stuff, I'll try to make sure I think things through properly! But glad people enjoyed reading them, and I hope people realised they were made in a comradely way red n black star You should get them to register and say "hi" though!

Going back to this article, I thought the point of the IWA was to be like the author suggests the FORA is - i.e. not for simple trade unionists or whatever but for people who were explicitly anarcho-syndicalist.

Volin's picture
Volin
Offline
Joined: 24-01-05
Jun 26 2006 19:25

Hi,

Yeah it's certainly giving me a lot of food for thought and good to see a more practical critique of 'anarcho-syndicalism' even if it some of it seems a bit rough and undeveloped (the feminism bit particularly, whilst I agree what he's trying to say it's not particularly clear.)

Also, whilst the author puts forward the FORA-model as more applicable with ideological integrity etc. what exactly is the position towards conscious anarchist communists in the traditional syndicalist unions? Leave to start from scratch? And hell, what are we supposed to in bastard Britain? It's incredibly easy to say we need to form specifically non-neutral revolutionary organisations, it's just a bit, unrealistic. No way!

Also I'd be interested in hearing Devrim's view on it...? wink

Devrim's picture
Devrim
Offline
Joined: 15-07-06
Jun 26 2006 21:20

I have just read it, but I have no time to comment tonight. Maybe tomorrow. I would also like to stress that JDMF point was right. In the e-mail I got, which wasn't from them anyway, it said by a comrade from KRAS. Sorry, if I mislead anybody. It came just as I was going to work, and I didn't read it properly.

Dev

Devrim's picture
Devrim
Offline
Joined: 15-07-06
Jun 27 2006 12:12

O.k., Having read it (always a good thing to do, Oliver wink ), I now have a few comments to make.

First, I think that it is interesting that it came from a member of an anarcho-syndicalism group. However, I don’t know anything about the group, or the individuals relationship to it. When I was in DAM, I was never an anarcho-syndicalism (in fact at the time I was quite influenced by Castoriadis embarrassed . I was young.), and knew others in DAM who weren’t. I joined because it was a national anarchist grouping, it was active in my local area, and it wasn’t Class War. wink

Second, I think that there is a ‘Permanent crises of anarcho-syndicalism’. It comes from the fact that the unions in the IWA (and this doesn’t apply to the IWA sections that aren’t unions), will always have this conflict between being a democratic organization, and an organization that recruits people on the fact that they are workers.

CNT wrote:
No ideological qualification is necessary to be in the CNT. This is because the CNT is anarcho-syndicalist, that is, it is an organization 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.

This has been discussed before, but I think that we can see this crisis in the splits in the CNT, and the withdrawal of SAC just to mention two events, and without even thinking of Spain in 36.

I don't know much about FORA, and the differences. Can anyone enlighten me?

Devrim

Volin's picture
Volin
Offline
Joined: 24-01-05
Jun 27 2006 13:36

The FORA (Federación Obrera Regional Argentina) was created in 1904 and was the biggest organised labour movement up to the 1930s.

The author points to the FORA as an example of a mass organisation built by the avowed recognition of anarchist communism by all members (as opposed to the neutral and inevitably contradictory organisation of traditional anarcho-syndicalism and the neutral union where anyone can join.) It's what's called a unitary union. In many ways he's completely correct, and the FORA has for me a fascinating history that I'd like to learn more about, but the irony is that as early as 1915 there was a split exactly along the lines of an 'anarchist' and 'syndicalist' camp leading to two FORAs - FORA V Congress and FORA IX Congress respectively. After this, the strength of the truly anarchist union declined considerably though never dissolving itself.

It still exists today linked to the IWA, FORA-AIT. I'm not sure, but I think it's really quite small, being run by a number of commited anarchist unionists but completely peripheral to the major industrial organisation in Argentina.

Can anyone say anymore?

Battlescarred
Offline
Joined: 27-02-06
Jun 27 2006 16:46

I am no great fan of Mariano Vasquez (called Vaskes in the KRAS doc.) but did he really say that about the Jews? I've never come across that before. Vasquez had to work with Emma Goldman, and also with other Jews in the AIT-IWA and there were a group of German anarchists in exile in Barcelona, which included Jews like Margaret and Rudolf Michaelis. Can anyone supply an actual quote from Vasquez on this?

David in Atlanta
Offline
Joined: 21-04-06
Jun 27 2006 18:15
Volin wrote:
The FORA (Federación Obrera Regional Argentina) was created in 1904 and was the biggest organised labour movement up to the 1930s.

The author points to the FORA as an example of a mass organisation built by the avowed recognition of anarchist communism by all members (as opposed to the neutral and inevitably contradictory organisation of traditional anarcho-syndicalism and the neutral union where anyone can join.) It's what's called a unitary union. In many ways he's completely correct, and the FORA has for me a fascinating history that I'd like to learn more about, but the irony is that as early as 1915 there was a split exactly along the lines of an 'anarchist' and 'syndicalist' camp leading to two FORAs - FORA V Congress and FORA IX Congress respectively. After this, the strength of the truly anarchist union declined considerably though never dissolving itself.

It still exists today linked to the IWA, FORA-AIT. I'm not sure, but I think it's really quite small, being run by a number of commited anarchist unionists but completely peripheral to the major industrial organisation in Argentina.

Can anyone say anymore?

From what i've been told by Argentine comrades in the anarchist and autonom groupings, FORA is mostly old timers and fairly small, but a friendly resource for meeting space and such like. i don't have anything against small working class organizations, i am in the wsa, but from all i've heard fora hasn't played much of a role in the recovered factory movement, unions like SIMECA, the syndicalist couriers, or the MTD unemployed, whom i define as community syndicalist. I would be greatly relieved to be proven wrong on this.

syndicalist
Offline
Joined: 15-04-06
Sep 26 2006 12:46

John wrote:
"Hmmm a good text, it looks like the conclusion is missing though, unless there isn't supposed to be one? Or is it saying the IWA should drop the synthesis and adopt the FORA model?"

Reply:
It is what my understanding that KRAS sees the FORA as a model to go forward.

magidd
Offline
Joined: 23-09-06
Sep 26 2006 21:55

Admin - this discussion is continued in this thread here:
http://libcom.org/forums/thought/kras-syndicalism-discussion

magidd
Offline
Joined: 23-09-06
Sep 23 2006 16:01

This comment has been moved here.

Topic locked