What is happening in the SAC?

An article from 1995 describing internal conflict and budget issues in the SAC, a Swedish syndicalist union.

The following article was originally published in the newspaper Arbetaren, March 1995. We have translated it from SAC's internal bulletin number 4-1995 (now called Syndikalisten, the same name as the paper of the Norsk Syndikistisk Forbund) After this was written, about 2000 workers of the SAC have left the Organisation.

The SAC is now being shaken by the most serious internal conficts since the end of the 1920's. Two local branches (LS) have already decided to leave the Organisation: Six branches have decided to withold dues to the central Organisation until the Central Committee calls a new Congress and suspends the increase of dues. In another ten, or so branches the members are now voting over what their position will be.

The reasons for the crisis can be traced a long way back. There has for a long time been discontent in many branches over the cost of the central activity. After the 1987 Congress decided to raise dues, a number of smaller branches either left the organisation or were expelled. Among these were Ludvika Farila, and Torsby. These have organised themselves in the "Fri Facklig Samarbetsorganisasjon.(FFS).

The economy of the SAC has lately become even worse. One thing is that the number of members paying dues has been somewhat reduced,another thing is that the dues have been little increased, and not altered from 1990 to 1995.

The SAC's newspaper Arbetaren is nmning at a loss which has made the situation worse. For a long time these losses-in the later years between two and three million Swedish crowns per year have been covered by the profits of the (SAC owned) printing house Tryckeri AB Federativs. This printing house, the publishers Federativs and SAC property Sveavagen 98 in Stockholm have been orgamsed as one cornpany. The printing house and the property have traditionally run at a profit, while the newspaper and the publishers have run at a loss. The system has been a means of securing SAC's ability to both publish newspapers and books.

However, Federativs printers have during the last few years run at a loss, and later broke even, with the result that the economy has landed in trouble. The SAC has been forced to contribute money. 1994 ended with a profit of 800 000 crowns for the printers, while the budgeted profit for 1995 is over a million. However, these results are still not good enough to cover the loss in the newspaper.

SAC's Congress in 1994 decided by a big majority to to publish the newspaper in spite of the cost. The same Congress decided to reduce the number of full time district officials (ombudsman) from ten to "at least seven", the question to be investigated in the course of the autumn.

These officals are employed on five-year contracts. Three of these expired during 1994. The Executive Committee (AU) after consulting the officials, to extend these contracts until it had been decided how many district officials there would be in the future. As time passed and nothing was decided during the autumn, the contracts were extended to 28th February 1995. Questions were being asked in many of the branches and districts concerned on what was really going on- there had never been any consultations between the districts and the SAC centrally on the question of the full-time officials.

The Congress decision necessitated an increase of dues, but to consolidate this, it was not voted at the Congress, but at a general ballot among the membership in the autumn. By an extremely narrow margin, the ballot decided to increase the dues by 40 crowns for full-paying members. The ballot led to sharp reactions, 19 branches demanding in December a new ballot. The demand was for the postponement of the mcrease of the dues until a National Conference on the economy of the SAC was held. The Central Committee discussed the demand at a meeting in the middle of January, and decided to prepare a National Conference. It decided not to freeze the dues increase ,but to take out only 20 crowns from January 1996 and another 10 from January 1997. The Central Committee decided to inform the critical branches of these compromise decisions, and to hold a referendum quickly if they were dissatisfied.

The committee decided also to assist the SAC press with one million to the magazine Syndikalisten (SAC's internal bulletin) and one million to the newspaper, contributions which implied that both would have to cut their costs. A further half million is budgeted, but to be paid only on specified application. The committee decided lastly that the number of the district officials should be 8,5. Until the members could vote over who should have the appointments, the jobs would be offered the former officials, but on short-term contracts.

However, the decisions of the Central Committee did not satisfy those who had been discontented. Active members from about 20 branches (LS) assembled on the 10th-11th February at a conference in Grangesberg. They found that the earlier demand for a referendum was not good enough. The majority of those present supported the demand that the Central Committee should summon an Extra Congress. The dues and the present number of officials should be frozen until the congress be held. They demanded also that the economical decisions of the former congress- including support to the newspaper- be frozen. The majority recommended also the branches to withold their dues to the SAC until the Central Committee accepted its demands.

After the conference in Grangesberg, several branches have voted over its recommendations. Sundsvall and Ramsele branches have decided to leave the SAC. Vaxjo, Stensele, Eslov, Helsmgborg, Snapphanebygden and presumably Lund branches have decided to withhold affiliation dues. Eskilstuna branch supports the Grangesberg demands, but will pay its dues. Sveg and Bollnas branches declared that they will for the time being accept the decision of the Central Committee meeting in January. Ballots are still taking place in several other branches, including Alvdalen.

Jonas Fogelqvist,
For the Swedish Workers Centre
From Syndikalisten 7/8-1995
SAC internal Bulletin

Taken from flag.blackened.net

Posted By

Juan Conatz
Jun 3 2012 22:22

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syndicalist
Jun 4 2012 15:05

I wonder what became of those who left? Quite a few years back, I thought I heard they were still functioning as their own union.

Anyone know what ever became of these ex-SAC members?

Felix Frost
Jun 4 2012 19:17

There has been a number of splits from the SAC during the last 25 years. In most cases, each local that left has continued as their own separate union. A few years ago I think there was about 10 of these miniature unions.

If you're really interested, I can dig up some more information about them.

syndicalist
Jun 4 2012 20:11
Felix Frost wrote:
There has been a number of splits from the SAC during the last 25 years. In most cases, each local that left has continued as their own separate union. A few years ago I think there was about 10 of these miniature unions.

If you're really interested, I can dig up some more information about them.

I'm definately interested.

2000 is a lot of membership loss in a union that
continues to loose members (due to loss of traditional sectors, splits and general attrition),

Has the 2000 members reconsituted themselves a some form of union with Ombudsman and more traditional trade union features?

Felix Frost
Jun 5 2012 00:47

Most of the locals that left SAC has kept going, and they do have ombudsmen, negotiate with employers, etc. They are grouped into several different umbrella organisations, and some are also completely independent.

I think some of them are actually doing fairly well, and have increased their membership since they left SAC. Most of them seem very apolitical and very "service union" oriented.

Here is the website for one of them: http://www.alvdalensfackforening.se/
The ad on the left promises "Good service, no queues, no waiting time. Competent ombudsman."

Even worse is Tingvalla Bro Fackförening which has a website at www.tingvallabro.se
If you scroll down you can find an announcement of their latest contract which reads:

Quote:
The construction company Botrygg Bygg AB has signed a collective agreement with TBF for their 150 construction workers. The company's managing director sees many advantages with this, one is that it is easier to cooperate with a smaller and more flexible organisation like us.
syndicalist
Jun 5 2012 04:46
Quote:
think some of them are actually doing fairly well, and have increased their membership since they left SAC. Most of them seem very apolitical and very "service union" oriented.

Here is the website for one of them: http://www.alvdalensfackforening.se/
The ad on the left promises "Good service, no queues, no waiting time. Competent ombudsman."

My Swedish is pretty crappy, but I thought that's what they were saying. Seems to me they are "stuck" in 1950s SAC ways. A carry over of SAC's forray into more mainstream unionism and reformism.

Quote:
The construction company Botrygg Bygg AB has signed a collective agreement with TBF for their 150 construction workers. The company's managing director sees many advantages with this, one is that it is easier to cooperate with a smaller and more flexible organisation like us.

Really seems like "company unionism"... I wonder what their reputation amongst workers are like? I mean, are they viewed in the construction trades as being more like a company union then a workers union?

Felix, maybe for those who don't know Swedish geography,perhaps it might be interesting to describe where in Sweden these unions are mainly located (like small towns, smaller cities, semi-rural areas and so forth). It always seemed to me that the less radical syndicalists were in smaller areas. And that the woodworkers federation was a sorta father-to-son union, with a heavy reliance on Ombudsman.

OliverTwister
Jun 5 2012 06:10

Felix do you have any idea where things are at now? There was an excellent blog a few years back ( http://swedishzine.wordpress.com/) about the SAC, motarbetaren, and swedish autonomism, but no updates in a long time. I got thr impressionnthat the younger generationnin SAC wants to take it in a much more radical direction, get rid of the ombudsmen, etc. Where does this all stand now'

Steven.
Jun 5 2012 18:24

Thanks for the additional information Felix, very informative

Felix Frost
Jun 6 2012 00:12
syndicalist wrote:
Really seems like "company unionism"... I wonder what their reputation amongst workers are like? I mean, are they viewed in the construction trades as being more like a company union then a workers union?

I can't really say what your average construction worker thinks of them, but I think they are viewed as a company union by SAC members. I have also read stories about bosses recommending their workers to join the TBF union instead of the LO affiliated one.

syndicalist wrote:
Felix, maybe for those who don't know Swedish geography,perhaps it might be interesting to describe where in Sweden these unions are mainly located (like small towns, smaller cities, semi-rural areas and so forth). It always seemed to me that the less radical syndicalists were in smaller areas. And that the woodworkers federation was a sorta father-to-son union, with a heavy reliance on Ombudsman.

Yeah, the locals that split from SAC in the 80s and 90s was mainly in small towns and rural areas, and they probably had a quite different composition than the locals in more urban areas.

Felix Frost
Jun 6 2012 00:35
OliverTwister wrote:
Felix do you have any idea where things are at now? There was an excellent blog a few years back ( http://swedishzine.wordpress.com/) about the SAC, motarbetaren, and swedish autonomism, but no updates in a long time. I got thr impressionnthat the younger generationnin SAC wants to take it in a much more radical direction, get rid of the ombudsmen, etc. Where does this all stand now'

I'm not following SAC all that closely at the moment, so I can't tell you too much about what's going on right now. Generally I think there has been a very good development in the last decade. While I think the overall membership number has continued to decline, they are much more involved in workplace struggles today, and use more militant tactics. They also replaced their ombudsmen with a smaller number of paid organisers some years ago.

The turn to more militant tactics and the shake up of the central administration did meet resistance, and this led to a new round of splits and expulsions around five years ago. This all kicked off when a couple of paid officers were fired and then proceeded to sue the union for breach of employment law. The new group of ex-SAC locals are grouped into the "Network of Free Syndicalists".

fnbrill
Jun 6 2012 03:28

I think those branches who left, primarily in building construction, asked to join the IWW in 1999. Some of the IWWs pro-SAC anarcho-syndicalists scuttled that potential asap.

OliverTwister
Jun 6 2012 05:57

The way you say it, you make it sound like there was a secret group of anarchosyndicalists who manipulated to prevent it from happening. Maybe, I wasn't around then, so I wouldn't know.

But if that is the case, it's quite sad, as anyone with any grasp.on.common sense and basic principles of revolutionary unionism would have fought tooth and nail to keep that from.happening.

fnbrill
Jun 6 2012 06:40

No secret group. But especially back then, then were many folks in the IWW who were more dedicated to their personal political positions than openly building the IWW. They basically raised a fuss about the IWW "raiding" our "sister" unions and killed off any desire to even investigate the possibilities. The SAC was also wealthy at the time and various groupings within the IWW wanted to mooch grants off them.

The SAC asked the IWW's board what was up, and we simply said they approached us and we felt they deserved to be investigated fairly. We weren't trying to fish in troubled waters was the truth. The SAC seemed OK with our response.

The irony being that the IWW had a Scandinavian Administration from the 1920s to the 1980s, with a largish branch in the ship yards of Malmo, Sweden. So most of the history of both the SAC and the IWW we had amicable relations even as "competing" dual unions. The only problem was in the heads of North American anarcho-syndicalists operating in the IWW.

Juan Conatz
Jun 6 2012 08:55

Seems sensible imo. I don't like the idea of getting into European splits and disagreements as an organization at all. I also wouldn't like Europeans joining the IWW as some sort of payback towards another revolutionary union.

OliverTwister
Jun 6 2012 15:49

To me it seems perfectly normal and healthy to be more dedicated to what you call "personal political positions" than to viewing organization building as the most important goal. When it's in reverse, the result is sectarianism and opportunism and the organization you end up with ain't all that inspiring.

It also ties into something that I want to call "Dungeons and Dragons anarcho-syndicalism", which I think we all engage with at some point (not just in the IWW). It hit me when a friend made a meme about roleplayers that said "We killed a dragon using only our minds!"

We know that the working class is international, and we flatter ourselves into thinking that this means that our organization is the one that has to bring the gospel to the rest of them, or as the joke about Southern Baptists changing light bulbs goes, we only have to hold up the light and the world will revolve around it.

One of the results of this is the delusion that is not usually explicitly expressed but which I think is visible, that a small mostly-american organization has worked it all out, and that millions of Bangladeshi or Chinese workers just need to declare themselves part of our organization to solve their problems.

Another is the recurring idea that the simple planting of flags in new territories, in and of itself, has one iota of positive effect on the class struggle. It doesn't. If all we care about is getting another franchise and becoming one step cloaer to being a "real" international, and the process of international growth is not accompanied by internal growth and maturation, then it's just make-believe. Maybe we get lucky and the new group is decent, and they go on being so; or maybe the new group are disgruntled ex-members of a larger organization and only want to use our name to legitimize themselves in ongiong disputes. This might be a split in the right direction or maybe not, but its still worth checking out to see why, and to make sure that the group has another activoty besides just attacking their former comrades.

The end result is basically where the trotskyists have ended up, where each is competing for 5 or 6 person groupuscules in each country ewith the roght political line. Especially with that Ukrainian group a few years ago that was taking money from all of their "internationals".

Edited: the last paragraph was kind of messy, I cleaned it up a bit.

syndicalist
Jun 6 2012 14:54

I didn't know about the 1999 approach to the IWW. Learn something new every day.

Three things stand out here. If those who left the SAC were pretty conservative unionists, why would the IWW even want to have them? By conservative, I mean even by revolutionary unionist (IWW) standards.

The IWW has always maintained sisterly ties with the SAC. This obviously posed a "fraternal" problem(sorry, can't think of another term). Is the sum gain of members worth the breaking of historical relations?

Lastly, I was reading and "OBU" magazine on Libcom (in the Library, from 1919,Pg. 51:
http://libcom.org/library/one-big-union-monthly-august-1920) where the IWW would not iussue any sort of industrial union charters to the Swedes. The IWW General Admin. stated that they would allow for an Swedish Admin., but the SAC, as a union, already embodied IWW type principles.

No doubt the IWW has had bunches of members in Sweden (alot simply having to do with the immigration of lots of Swedes to the US, with lots of Swedes in the IWW).
And Brill and I can recall in the 1970s an active IWW BRanch in Malmo shipyards. [Sidebar - Brill, I just remember some of the articles in the IW at the time, you recall particulars of Benny Lund and crew?]

I've never been big on the IWW trying to organize where IWA and other syndicalist section's already exist. And I've never been big on European anarcho-syndicalists trying to import their views and their forms on other situations. Obviously a bigger and different discussion.

Chilli Sauce
Jun 6 2012 14:48
Steven. wrote:
Thanks for the additional information Felix, very informative

Seconded. Good discussion overall.

Nate
Jul 16 2012 09:53

The idea that an organization has territorial jurisdiction makes no sense to me. "We're the Swedish group, everyone has to be with us." Why? I wouldn't be threatened if an IWA or other group started organizing a union in the US. I think people have a right to affiliate to/with whoever they want to, if they believe in the principles of the group they're affiliating with and have relationships with those people, and I think we should trust the sincerity of people who approach an organization. (There of course can and should be disciplinary measures for when parts of a group act in fucked up ways, but presuming from the outset that people in an area will act in fucked up ways because they don't want to be in this group instead of that one, that doesn't make sense to me.) I don't think that other groups should be seen as competitors, either, but if groups do see it as a competition I think the idea of responding to that competition by preventing competitors from existing at all strikes me as a little weird. "You should be in the SAC and not the IWW." "Why?" "Because the SAC is your only option." That's hardly a position on the merits of the SAC. And if we think the emancipation of the working class is the action of the workers themselves then why limit their organizational options and expression?

I say this not because I want the IWW to operate in other places, BTW. If an IWW group popped up in Sweden I'd be pleased to greet them but I don't have an IWW expansionist view and I don't see why people in Sweden would want to be in the IWW instead of the SAC. But if people did want that, I think jurisdiction talk is a silly way to respond to that.

klas batalo
Jul 16 2012 16:04

yeah agree with nate. it is like saying that no one should join solfed because the IWW or afed are bigger. lulz. it is great to try to have more united organizations, and i certainly work towards such. but if people want to try out different strategies or have their own affiliations so be it. revolutionary pluralism.

altemark
Jun 7 2018 12:04

Some of the local federations that left folded, some ended up developing into yellow unions (Snapphanebygdens fackförening, Tingvalla-Bro Fackförening) with a couple of hundreds to almost a thousand members, mostly in construction I think. Those who left in this group were often rural locals, often with a domineering patriarch setting the tone and eventually taking over

Others that left (mainly not in this fallout though) maintain a stable or slightly more passive role as local syndicalist federations, either with an anarcho-syndicalist bent, or with an even more "syndicalism is in itself enough" kind of positioning. Nowadays I think a more urban LS like Huddinge LS (many of them postal workers) or others in the Nätverket Fria Syndikalister (network of independent syndicalists) would have no problem re-joining the SAC.

There is also a local called Örestad LS in the country's third largest city which is a friend of the IWA since a few years.

I never heard about approaches of disaffiliates approaching the IWW about charters. I'd be surprise if this really was true - maybe it was just a group of single members who wanted to take out a membership as a kind of cultural fetish simultaneously at the time?

doug
Jun 7 2018 15:35

Can you give us more news on SAC's current activity, altemark?

syndicalist
Jun 8 2018 05:08

It's my impression that th approx 1000 members of the Nätverket Fria Syndikalister created their organization for a specific reason. That the SAC was moving more towards political, antifascist, social issues and away from traditional workplace organizing. Perhaps I am under a misunderstanding?

altemark
Jun 9 2018 13:34

Well, there is some important things to relate. I will probably do a write-up soon, as international solidarity might come in handy soon:

We are threatened with being more or less outlawed as a formally recognized union, as a devil's deal struck between the three major union confederations and the Swedish confederation of enterprise that significantly restricts the freedom of associaton and abolishing the right to strike as we now know it. This deal will in all probability be enacted in law, either by the current social democrat government or by a coming right-wing government support by ex-fascist Sweden Democrats.

The story is that another independent Swedish union, the grass-roots Swedish Dockworkers' union, has created great disarray for Swedish industry by engaging in irresponsible strikes in recent years.

In reality, they are the majority union in the port here in Gothenburg (and several other cities) - despite the social democrat LO union organizing around 10 % of the workforce, this union has continually blocked every effort of the Hamn4an union to sign a CBA in the port, and continuining to do so when the giant Maersk conglomerate acquired the Gothenburg APMT terminals. During the last few years they have engaged in a limited sit-down strike last year and an 8 hour strike to try to force an agreement, but also in protest of Maersk unrightfully firing sizable parts of the workforce in order to bring them back as temps.

The spin-doctors have spun a story of a Swedish labor market that is largely orderly - which is why the country supposedly did quite allright compared to others post the latest financial crisis - but that a few small ill-tempered independent unions have engaged in striking just for the sake of striking. While it is true that unions like the SAC top statistics over industrial conflict (news of which conveniently skip over the fact that many strike notices aren't enacted since negotiations ended in our favor), today there are in fact fewer workdays lost to strikes than, like, ever.

This maneuver is the end-game of the Swedish confederation of Enterprises's master plan to get rid of independent unions who retain their freedom to act as union even if the reformist majority union in the workplace has chosen to sell of their capacity to engage in strike for industrial peace. And by singling out the dockworkers they managed to create a situation where both the general public weren't really to understand what is going on - "why should I support a bunch of rowdy, over-paid communist dockers when this threatens my job!?" - while the social democrat leadership ended up perceiving themselves as being under great pressure for looking 'irresponsible' on the issue of the Gothenburg port (of course, returning to a draconian policy of union monopolism has of course always been attractive, but dormand after having been beaten back in the early 90s and in the cancellation of the Öberg Inquiry in 1998, following public outcry, including threats of strikes and a small wave of school strikes).

During last winter, the ex-union leader Ylva Johansson, now social democrat Minister for Employment and Integration, announced that she had commissioned a new inquiry to look into the possible need to curtail the right to strike. We all know what was coming, with leaks coming out about an already decided outcome (the SAC treasurer ended up on the same subway as one of the leading characters of the inquiry, and wasn't surprised to hear him brag about the ultimate goal of the investigation).

Instead of mobilizing its membership ahead of the threat of a weakened frame for action for the working class, the white and blue collar reformist unions stayed mostly silent on the subject. (aside from some districts of their member unions) in order to negotiate with the employers. You would have though that the press conference for such a fateful settlement would at least include some positive news, like new rules to limit the possibility for lock-outs (after all, it was Maersk's lockout that resulted in the loss of almost 400 work hours and several key customers for the port). But no, they signed away the right to organize for their fellow union members without getting anything in return aside from the social democrats having less of a clusterfuck to deal with if they had been forced to themselves openly restrict the right to strike during election year...

Sadly, the response to this on-going attack and surprise deal has been all too weak - the deal will of course not only affect anarchists and dockers, but all workers. From now on, only strikes with the ultimate aim of forcing a CBA will be allowed, meaning that other grievances are to be taken to the Swedish court of labor - commonly known as the "tribunal of the ruling class". By means of various loopholes in the employment security laws, employers will then be more or less free to force buy-outs even if the court judges firings illegal. A great way to get rid of rowdy syndicalists and social democrats alike.

Another major problem is the danger that we will soon see the growh of yellow unions in Sweden again, maybe with a sitation similar as that in Denmark, where yellow unions resembling a mix of career planning agency, labor law consultancy and job re-training services, where democracy is limited to paying a monthly service subscription and sometimes with large companies holding stocks in said "unions"!

Okay, enough about that situation - there are large protests planned in Stockholm for 24-25 august, with international calls issued by anarchist groups announcing anti-G8 five finger-type strategies (which I personally think sounds totally unsuited to the problem at hand, but if you want to come here, please do - international solidarity is a given when the right to stike is threatened anywhere). Possibly the SAC will announce a limited general strike, but if we don't up our game, this might not amount to much aside from showing that we don't give away our rights without putting up a fight. Another parallel route is the international legal one, as this devil's deal in all probabiliy is in clear violation of several ILO conventions, in addition to EU conventions.

There are syndicalist unions working and winning under much harsher conditions - our freedoms as a minority union have often felt luxurious compared to those won or afforded to sibling unions in other countries. This is not the deathknell for us, but undoubtly a very harsh blow to our model of organizing.

The latest news organizationally is that most local federations voted for inclusion in a central membership registry, and, somewhat controversially, centralized and automatic collection of subs.

The upside of this is that we are now able to track the throughflow of members and form recruiting strategies and means to reach out to those who join only to cease payment after a while. We also get a more birds-eye view of what industries we are actually the strongest in, which also would help inform a surely costly but probably necessary long-term campaign to form local federations in some middle-sized town (some where there never was any LS and some were the existing ones folded).

The downside is that in the event that anti-syndicalist element would somehow gain control of the central bodies of the union, a local federation engaging in a strike could not only be denied access to the central strike fund, but possibly also the money coming in from the subs that members formally are paying to their local federations (a "SAC member" is of course really a member of his or her LS, given that the SAC is a federalist organization).

In my opinion the local federations who voted for the measure see the positives as too important in a situation where we are continuing to suffer a lack of active militants to take care of some of the nuts and bolts type union stuff; the person/s taking care of admin is often rendered unavailable when it comes to developing as union organizers or workplace grievance coordinator. Basic services eat up the resources that when freed up means that experiences and skills are shared in concentric circles, leading to a more conscious membership and increased growth. In addition to this, the whole process of joining up is now much simpler - the threshold for joining is now much lower, at both a technical and social level.
And maybe the votes also are a result political naïvety - after all, the whole subs thing is counter to the whole of the SAC.

altemark
Jun 9 2018 13:41

In part you are right, in part the locals making up the network where critical of the "anti-legalistic" union strategies and some of the choices made in organizing undocumented migrants. Others focused more on the view on violence as a rightful means of self-defense or overly anarcho:ism. So some were critical of the approach to workplace unionism, and some where critical of what they perceived as politicization.

Often the situation was made worse by personal conflicts, a tedious phenomenon I am very disinterested in myself. So I haven't made much of an effort to get the view of the different parties, instead waiting for the moment when both sides have had some time for self-reflection (or having dropped out).

syndicalist
Jun 9 2018 15:09

I will cross the divide. Any solidarity letters etc needed, for the dockers and against SAC deregistration, just let me know. On a personal level be more than happy to reach out to folks in this regard

akai
Jun 10 2018 07:54

Could you explain more about exactly what they are planning to do which would prevent SAC from being recognized? I didn't get the impression that it was being outlawed, but just some way to allow the bosses not to recognize it - but I don't know exactly.

Don't mean to go off on a tangent, but in this country they've been talking about different ways to undermine the non-Tri-Partite unions for ages, but so far, nothing has come of it. Mostly they propose raising the levels to be considered a "representative union" at the workplace, in other words, to raise the level of membership which requires a boss to sit down with you. The main unions argued for ages that this would increase the bargaining power of unions and even, recently we participated in a panel with those unions where the representative of Solidarity claimed (to our amazement) that there are a lot of yellow unions that the bosses set up so this law would destroy the abilities of the yellow unions. We laughed because we consider it to be a yellow union in many cases. There are of course yellow unions like that, but seeing how much energy they put into fighting against us, I think it's a pretext.

A couple of months ago, the main political magazine organized a panel with the three main union federations and our comrade was also invited to be on this panel. (Strange but true.) The topic were planned changes in the Labour Code. Union representation is in another code and although this was not a topic of the conversation, it came up. I mention it in the context of ways of operating and strategy. As our comrade pointed out, although we are against the attacks on union representativity in that sense, these things would not affect us in a significant way since we do not really on legal methods in the first place. If people take action in the workplace, the bosses have to deal with it. So we can force them to sit down and talk in many times. On the other hand, we noticed that sometimes where people try to be legalistic and be recognized, the bosses don't want to talk, even if all the formalities are fulfilled.

Our comrade told them that workers will either decide to fight or not and don't necessarily need the mainstream union structures... like we saw in the Post Office. The government is hoping that imposing stricter laws will crush people, but actually it may push more people into direct action. Although the reasons why workers fight or not are really very complicated and this can depend.

Anyway, don't let the bastards crush you.

akai
Jun 10 2018 07:56

PS - Although I know what you mean, let's not take the boss's side by calling strikes irresponsible.

altemark
Jun 20 2018 08:23

Several local federations have voted to participate in the stockholm protest on August 23-24th, initiated by a network of extra parliamentary left activists. Some have also voted for a one-day political strike, but not all of them, pending strategic analysis of the consequences.

Libertarian papers like Arbetaren are churning out reports and commentaries on the threat against the right to engage in industrial conflict. Aside from the SAC, there are a number of craft-based unions independent of the LO, TCO or SACO confederations, but only the dockworkers union is visibly activity. I'm not sure why this is, but it is obvious that the target group for our information must be to turn locals inside the larger confederations on to the long-term consequences for not only fellow (but independent) unionists, but for the organized workers at large.

R Totale
Jun 20 2018 11:43

Good luck, and let us know if there's any calls for international solidarity and the like.

altemark
Jun 20 2018 12:22

R totale: this call for international solidarity from the "activisty" network has been doing the rounds for a few weeks:

https://enoughisenough14.org/2018/06/07/stockholm-international-call-str...

I doubt the idea of having anti-g8 style five finger tactics is a very good one, but hopefully there is room for more workplace-oriented groups to fill the void with good stuff

R Totale
Jun 20 2018 14:01

Thanks!