CGT/CNT joint mobilisation?

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Mark.
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Sep 16 2011 23:08
CGT/CNT joint mobilisation?

A joint call out by the CGT and CNT - not something I ever really expected to see.

Links in Spanish:

http://cnt.es/noticias/29-s-la-lucha-está-en-la-calle-hacia-la-huelga-general

[edit: translation here]

http://www.alasbarricadas.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=50786

Mark.
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Sep 16 2011 23:33

English translation of the original joint statement by the CGT, CNT and Solidaridad Obrera:

http://www.solfed.org.uk/?q=spain-towards-a-general-strike

CO.BAS and the Coordinadora Sindicalismo de Clase are involved in this as well. The latest statement also mentions the participation of ASSI Zaragoza, the Sindicato Asambleario de Sanidad de Madrid and the general strike working group of 15M in Madrid.

syndicalist
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Sep 16 2011 23:33

Looks wierd...but I get it. CGT CNT

nastyned
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Sep 17 2011 09:32

What do SolFed people think of this?

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Steven.
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Sep 17 2011 09:40

I would imagine they would think this is good news

nastyned
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Sep 17 2011 12:36

Maybe, but I wasn't ask what you imagine.

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Joseph Kay
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Sep 17 2011 13:27

It's a good sign imho. There's real differences between them with regard to state funds etc, but that shouldn't prevent mutual aid. I mean SF supports strikes by TUC unions as a matter of course.

syndicalist
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Sep 17 2011 14:45

Having been crucified by the IWA for suggesting the "no contact" poliy was_______; how are IWA folks reacting to actually working with the same folks (amongst others) we have long been told not to have contact with? With the penalty of explusion from the IWA.

In the final analysis, it's kinda hard to avoid people, even the ones you have principled differences with. But, hey, what do I know?

rata
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Sep 17 2011 20:54
syndicalist wrote:
Having been crucified by the IWA for suggesting the "no contact" poliy was_______; how are IWA folks reacting to actually working with the same folks (amongst others) we have long been told not to have contact with? With the penalty of explusion from the IWA.

In the final analysis, it's kinda hard to avoid people, even the ones you have principled differences with. But, hey, what do I know?

I guess it comes back to the question of federalism, and I do think you know about it - each organization is independent to create politics in it's region without other sister organizations interfering. In long period CNT was refusing cooperation with CGT, and didn't want IWA Sections to have contacts with them. It was only up to them to make that decision, as it was concerning their region. The times have changed obviously, but that's life.

It always seamed to me that your critique of the WSA-IWA issue was being ahistorical, in the sense of building your argumentation on the previous friendly relations with some organizations etc. as if there was no understanding that politics and ideas are not fixed in time, and do change through different periods, depending on the situation. This would be the case in this situation too... But, hey, do we want to go into this again? smile

Leo
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Sep 17 2011 21:18

I'd be interested to know how this joint dynamic developed and how (or from whom) the idea came up originally. I do have a few guesses but I don't want to speculate, obviously not knowing any of this.

Anyway, from what I understand they are calling for a one day general strike. Unions calling for a general strike doesn't actually means there will be a real strike, most of the time. I've seen lots of one day general strikes and haven't really seen anything good come out of it. During the Tekel struggle in Turkey the first one-day solidarity general strike caused a massive demoralization (I actually was out of town but thats what everyone told me when I got back) and eventually served as the key point for the defeat of the struggle. I've seen many one day general strikes organization by unions proportionally about the same size as the CGT who claim to be revolutionaries: all of them were fiasco. I'm interested in seeing how it plays out in Spain, it could be different of course. This seems like a mistake for the CNT to me though.

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The Asterix and Obelix jokes on A Las Barricadas are also pretty funny.

What do you think?

It sounds pretty funny although I don't think the CNT has the magic potion.

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Maybe, but I wasn't ask what you imagine.

Dude, why do you have to be such a jerk to everybody?

Mark.
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Sep 17 2011 22:57
Leo wrote:
Anyway, from what I understand they are calling for a one day general strike. Unions calling for a general strike doesn't actually means there will be a real strike, most of the time. I've seen lots of one day general strikes and haven't really seen anything good come out of it. During the Tekel struggle in Turkey the first one-day solidarity general strike caused a massive demoralization (I actually was out of town but thats what everyone told me when I got back) and eventually served as the key point for the defeat of the struggle. I've seen many one day general strikes organization by unions proportionally about the same size as the CGT who claim to be revolutionaries: all of them were fiasco. I'm interested in seeing how it plays out in Spain, it could be different of course. This seems like a mistake for the CNT to me though.

Some of the people posting on the alasbarricadas thread, from both the CGT and CNT, are in favour of cooperation and joint action but sceptical about calling for a general strike.

nastyned
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Sep 18 2011 07:54
Leo wrote:
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Maybe, but I wasn't ask what you imagine.

Dude, why do you have to be such a jerk to everybody?

You won't get far calling me dude! hand

As I said, I wanted to hear what SolFed members though about this, not what a non-SolFed members imagined SolFed members thought about this. My reply wasn't meant to be rude.

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Fall Back
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Sep 18 2011 08:22

I don't have Spanish and haven't discussed with either my local or rest of the organisation, but my gut reaction is one of worry. I'm far more skeptical than other SF posters on this.

Obviously it depends on the specifics and level of co-ordination, but generally I think any moves toward a closer relationship between CNT and CGT would be a bad thing.

Leo
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Sep 18 2011 11:35
Quote:
Some of the people posting on the alasbarricadas thread, from both the CGT and CNT, are in favour of cooperation and joint action but sceptical about calling for a general strike.

Seems like a better way forward.

Quote:
I don't have Spanish and haven't discussed with either my local or rest of the organisation, but my gut reaction is one of worry. I'm far more skeptical than other SF posters on this.

Obviously it depends on the specifics and level of co-ordination, but generally I think any moves toward a closer relationship between CNT and CGT would be a bad thing.

Yes I personally agree. However I think a cooperation between the CNT and like-minded and politically closer elements within the CGT (maybe like those skeptical about calling for a general strike) wouldn't have been a bad idea. In any case, I think the cooperation and joint work of those against calling for a one day strike seems more significant. Who knows? Perhaps the old divisions will become meaningless in the heat of the struggle to open the way to new ones.

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As I said, I wanted to hear what SolFed members though about this, not what a non-SolFed members imagined SolFed members thought about this. My reply wasn't meant to be rude.

OK.

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You won't get far calling me dude!

tongue

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blia blia blia.
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Sep 18 2011 12:00

Hi from Spain [and from alasbarricadas forum wink ]

The call is not for one day general strike,but for a mobilization day. It means that in this day a lot of actions will be done claiming for the need of a general strike in a near future.

The collaboration is not due the confederations call himself anarcho-syndicalist (Co.Bas and others don't do it), but becouse are the ones that are willing for a harder reply to state and capital attacks against the working class.

In Spain are other regional (nationalist or not ones in Basque Country, Galicia, Andalucía,...) combative unions that have done sucessfully one day general strikes, but is task for the regional federations of cnt, cgt or others, contact with them.

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Steven.
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Sep 18 2011 12:20
blia blia blia. wrote:
Hi from Spain [and from alasbarricadas forum wink ]

The call is not for one day general strike,but for a mobilization day. It means that in this day a lot of actions will be done claiming for the need of a general strike in a near future.

The collaboration is not due the confederations call himself anarcho-syndicalist (Co.Bas and others don't do it), but becouse are the ones that are willing for a harder reply to state and capital attacks against the working class.

In Spain are other regional (nationalist or not ones in Basque Country, Galicia, Andalucía,...) combative unions that have done sucessfully one day general strikes, but is task for the regional federations of cnt, cgt or others, contact with them.

hi, thanks for coming here and posting that, that's very helpful. It also sounds a lot more positive.

syndicalist
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Sep 18 2011 14:23

Rata, I will be happy to fight the same fight until I have no more bredth. But not on this thread.

Mark.
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Sep 19 2011 10:39
blia blia blia. wrote:
The call is not for one day general strike,but for a mobilization day. It means that in this day a lot of actions will be done claiming for the need of a general strike in a near future.

A couple of relevant links (google translations but more or less readable):

September 29: day of mobilization

madrid29s

Mark.
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Sep 19 2011 10:40

.

Yepa
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Sep 19 2011 11:01

HI, and sorry for my broken english.

This is not a CGT - CNT action day.
By initiative of CNT we are trying to call for a general strike with all people and organizations at the "left" of CCOO and UGT, that includes CGT, but our relations with that union still bad as they keep calling themselves "the real CNT" and they still sueding us in the courthouses., relations in most citys still horrible.

It is a call for all organizations of the working class (by iniciative of CNT) in order to stop this attacks to our rights. In Spain we feel like we need to do something now, people is demanding answers, references of struggle, and sadly CNT itself can not do it, so we had to decide to make a small campaign by ourselves or make a call to all "alternative" organizations and unions to draw up a commom agenda in order to call for a general strike.

A general strike is something very serious, if our union call for a general strike all of our members can not go to work, its mandatory, so if we decide it, we need some guarantee that the strike is going to be followed by a big part of the working class and unfortunately most of spaniards doesn´t even know what CNT is. If we call for a general strike alone is going to be a disaster 100%, if we do it together with all alternative movement is going to be a disaster 95%, so the question is if it is worth 5% or better stay at home and when our children ask why we had accepted this shit we will have nothing to say.

This is not about anarchosindicalism, this is about working class struggle and class solidarity. A successful general strike without CCOO and UGT has never been done in the las 80 years, ofcourse we will try to be coordinated with this new 15M movement, they are our only chance to make this successful.
Not all unions of CNT are agree with it but yes most of them, and this is wearing out ourserlves internally a little.
sorry again for my broken english and for possible misunderstandings.

Mark.
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Sep 19 2011 11:06

Yepa - thanks for the explanation and don't worry about your English, it's pretty good really.

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Juan Conatz
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Sep 19 2011 12:49

Yes, no need to apoligize, the fact you know more than 1 language makes you automatically smarter than me!

syndicalist
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Sep 19 2011 13:09

Thanks Spanish comrade for the background and y la luce internal.

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chokingvictim
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Sep 19 2011 15:11

yepa,thank you for informing us red n black star

juan conatz wrote:
Yes, no need to apoligize, the fact you know more than 1 language makes you automatically smarter than me!

this is the perfect american stereotype laugh out loud

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OliverTwister
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Sep 19 2011 21:07

Hey so I'll actually be getting to Madrid right before this - I'll try to write up about what happens on the day of.

akai
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Sep 19 2011 21:33

There has been some critical discussion in my organization about this and this has included also some texts and debates from some of our members and some CNT members and sections. This is not to say that we are not supportive of increased mobilizations of the working class or that we haven't been listening to the opinions of our comrades in the CNT and seeing what their mindset is. That said, we have a long history of discussion about joint mobilizations and coalitions and each time we are faced with such decisions, it creates very long and serious questions about concrete benefits, advantages and disadvantages. So we certainly appreciate that this can be a very difficult decision, taking many factors in account and that, without knowing many specifics, it is hard to judge.

However, we heard today many critical points related to the sense of the joint action. As a rule of thumb, we are much more open to cooperation and coalitions when we think it will have a concrete effect ... for example, more people on a solidarity picket to get somebody back wages would be helpful. But actually those are the type of things few people tend to solidarize with. And this direct action can be effective rather quickly with enough support... but people prefer spectacles. Sometimes when the demands are more abstract and the protest more symbolic, coalitions are not as useful. In the worst scenarios they can be deradicalizing (but we don't make that judgment about this protest in Spain.) Mass protests can turn into some sort of spectacle with organizations vying for visibility... or something which is just for publicity - and this may be how this demo will turn out - unless it is successful in acting as a springboard for larger mobilizations. Some comrades have pointed this to being their intention.

So, in fact, this is a large demo with radical slogans....not an actual strike. We do not know whether or not this will have a radicalizing effect on any workers. We hope so and will wish people good luck in achieving this goal. On the other hand, we know for sure that since this looks to be a majority decision, but one which some unions oppose to a greater or lesser degree, the one certain effect it will have is to increase tension inside the CNT and to a certain extent internationally. Certainly reformists and reformism win when such things happen. So overall this has to be weighed into the equation.

In any case, we never assume that a joint action has to be positive by definition, because it depends on the particulars and the effects. The idea that gathering more and more diverse groupings into some coalition is necessarily more beneficial is one that has failed so many times in history, recent and modern, that it discouraging to see how many people openly express this assumption.

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Sep 19 2011 21:49

That was a great post. Thanks Akai.

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Joseph Kay
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Sep 19 2011 22:25

Great post akai. Says better what i was trying to say above: concrete class solidarity good, abstract organisational unity bad, to put it in ultra-simple terms. I may have assumed this was more the former (a strike) but it looks like it's not so clear cut.

Mark.
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Sep 19 2011 23:01

The latest list of organisations and assemblies supporting 29S in Madrid:

CGT Madrid-Castilla la Mancha-Extremadura
CNT FC Sur Villaverde
Solidaridad Obrera Madrid
Solidaridad Obrera Alcorcón
Sindicato Asambleario de la Sanidad
Asamblea de Vallekas por la Huelga General
Grupo de Trabajo de Huelga General – Sol
Comisión Laboral de Asamblea Popular Leganés 15-M
CAOS Coordinadora Asambleas Obreras del Sur
Izquierda Castellana Madrid
ATRAKA Asamblea de trabajadores/as de Carabanchel
CNT S. Artes Gráficas, Comunicación y Espectáculos Madrid
Grupo de Política a Largo Plazo-Sol
CAS Madrid (Coordinadora Contra la Privatización de la Sanidad)
Asamblea General de Sol
Asamblea Popular de Villaverde
Asamblea Popular de Fuenlabrada
Asamblea Popular Arganzuela.

The list now includes the Sol general assembly which I'd take as an indication that 15M is fully on board.

-----

Admins: It might be a good idea to change the name of this thread to something more appropriate and maybe move it to news.

akai
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Sep 20 2011 08:20

The above shows a very interesting picture about Madrid. The there CNT has 2 federations, the FL Madrid and FC Sur Villaverde. The latter is rather small while the FL Madrid consists of 6 unions. Only one of those is supporting 29S.

This is in accordance with a confederation-wide agreement within CNT that allows individual unions the autonomy to decide whether or not they would like to cooperate with other entities in different situations.

An interesting point for reflection then has to do with the use of the signature of the CNT during such mobilizations.

This is just a tricky question which many organizations go through when deciding how certain mobilizations or position statements are signed. In our organization, we have a majority principle, so if the majority of groups sign or support something, it is presented as a national campaign. However, I suppose that in our case, if there was strong opposition to anything or some doubt, we would just include local signatories because, even though we see the practicality of majority decision making, there is no need to force something onto a minority if they really don't want it.

As far as I know, the use of the signature CNT on a Confederal Level reflects the majority decision, but then we see in the very concrete case of the city of Madrid and the very large FL Madrid, that it reflects a minority of unions.

Another comment to make which should be obvious: reading forums like ALB (or Libcom) is really not a good way to access the popularity or not of certain opinions or make any judgment about things which are doubtlessly more complex. Of course, sometimes we can get some picture, and perhaps sometimes we might even get a rather accurate picture - but the internet can distort in favour of those who simply spend more time posting.

Furthermore, we all lack further context with which to judge the opinions. In the concrete example of this mobilization, somebody might say "great, this is a good thing", but I am not clear that in all situations this refers to a assessment of the concrete mobilization. The reason I say that is because I know some of the posters on this thread personally and see a larger context. If there are people who have never seen too much difference between the methodology of unions such as the CNT and other groups, or would like to imply the CGT is anarchosyndicalist, or just have a preference for different tactics, then they are probably applauding the mobilization since they are proponents of greater integration between such groups. They would be approaching the situation from a different point of view and might not even ask about the concrete value in the given case - they might be just sailing on the assumption that broader coalitions are better.

Finally, to keep things in perspective, a joint appearance on some demonstration is just a symbolic act and the importance of it shouldn't be exaggerated. What really counts is what people are doing on a day-to-day basis and the creation of a really grassroots and militant working organization.

Somebody on this thread asked about the positions of SF or the IWA on this. There have been no motions in the IWA, so there will be no real IWA position. One thing that should be pointed out is about the nature of decision-making and position-taking in an International with federalist principles. It is rather clear that a Secretariat can be mandated to automatically support concrete struggles of the Sections, act against repression of its members, or anything else that the Sections consider to be without controversy. In any case where the situation is not obvious, positions and decisions need to be taken by the organic decisions of the Sections and voting. The CNT has not motioned for support from the IWA of this particular mobilization, which is why I say there will be no real IWA position, since if they haven't done this already, there is simply no time to take a vote. We can contrast that to the way that others operate: in some international networks, the positions are taken by delegates at international meetings, without any prior discussion of the issues in their local groups. Or the delegated persons have very wide powers to decide what to support.

In light of the fact that the CNT has not motioned for international support of their mobilization, it is really a matter for the Sections to decide if they want to do anything. I actually think this is a mistake of the CNT, but maybe this reflects the fact that they still see this as a series of more modest local mobilizations.

In terms of the particular Sections of the IWA, I don't think anybody should expect any official positions or statements from most of them. I would just expect that they offer solidarity with their comrades and wish the workers of Spain strength and determination in fighting the attacks against their position.

Our group is maybe an exception in that we actually discussed this with a few towards issuing at least some statement. From our discussions we have a few clear positions: that the workers of Spain, just like the workers everywhere, need to strengthen and radicalize their mobilization, taking more decisive action, that a general strike would be a good action, the best being an indefinite strike and they should build towards that. But in building towards this, people need to organize themselves in unions that will fight, that will maintain militant positions and not degenerate into social partnership or collaboration with the bosses, which will remain independent of influences such as the potentially corrupting finances of parties and the state. For us this is really only one.

Well, we still have to agree the exact wording; we sometimes have differences of opinion on some issues related to the overall tone of things.

Yepa
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Sep 20 2011 09:14

29s its not "the movilization", just 1 more, in my region for example we are going to do nothing, we are working with further dates, 29s is just 1 more date in order to build up the forces for a general strike.

Usually i am not agree with this kind of words soup with the Akai way of thinking, but last months we have seen this 15M movement building up assemblys in towns and neighborhoods, meanwhile we are suffering a brutal lost of rights, circunstances have changed. The situation now gets polarized, and now is the moment where comes the class responsibility in order not to make a revolution, in order to try to defend ourselves from the attack of markets and state. The spanish working class will never forgive us if the moment of action comes and we do not want to get dirty with others and we still argumenting about state funds and work place council elections. If the working class do not respect us we will never make a revolution, and this what CNT is about, not a group of nerds of history, punk, fashion, anarchy... we are a working class organization and we have a responsibility with our comrades, workplace friends, families, neighbors, with our class.

Usually all this is useless but now we have seen a chance of victory without CCOO and UGT thanks to 15M, we have to try it, we could be mistaken but we have to try it, if we can not organize a hard reply to this its better to stay at home and leave the Organization.

The main issue is that we are not a real force of society, we are 150 unions with an average of 30 members in cities of hundreds of thousands, in a country of 50 Millions. We are good facing bosses, but we can not face the state and markets by ourselves, if we would 100 000, not talking about millions, we could try to make this struggle alone, but that is a wish and not reallity.

Sorry again for my broken english.