CNT proposes reorganization of IWA

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Steven.
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Apr 10 2016 17:16
Mark. wrote:
I'm not aware of any claim that they had half a million members. The figures I remember quoted at the time were 200,000 to 300,000. I've since seen it stated that the actual number was around 100,000. I couldn't say for sure whether this is accurate.

That figure was given in the article Spanish anarchism 'growing like mushrooms after rainfall' in The Open Road. Although weirdly that page of the paper (page 20) doesn't seem to be viewable in this archive: http://openroadnewsjournal.org/

Whether it was 100,000, or 500,000, or even 5,000, it still doesn't make a level playing field with the situation in Eastern Europe.

syndicalist
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Apr 10 2016 18:09

I believe before the major splits in the CNT, the "membership" numbers I recall being 200-300,000. I use quotation marks because I do not know if these were paid members or estimated strength. Regardless, the numbers were vast. But to try and use Spain as any sort of measure by others without the traditions and history is not exactly fair.

zaczek
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Apr 10 2016 20:02
syndicalist wrote:
But to try and use Spain as any sort of measure by others without the traditions and history is not exactly fair.

Thank you.

It's kind of tiring to keep hearing it's only the fault of our incompetence and the fact that we didn't vote our voting rights away following the bright new shiny "methodology" that is being presented in this thread. Sorry, but sometimes it feels like talking about an Amway franchise.

akai
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Apr 10 2016 21:46

Dear Steven (and everyone),

There are a few positive things going on in our local struggles that l prefer to spend time on and a few negative things l also need to deal with, so l am not reading this thread and prefer not to come back here to comment. However friends are reading and said maybe l should answer, so l will. But please understand that at this moment it is tough because l actually have something else to do rather than following the shitstorm.

To start with a small story, (because this was part of what Steven was writing about), yesterday we got a copy of the first post-war “anarchosyndicalist” paper, made in 1992. ( This was quite some years after the rebirth of the anarchist movement, because there were no ideological anarchosyndicalists at all still around, sorry, l think like 9 people survived the nazis.) I put a photo up and a comrade said, oh, l remember that, what every happened to the guy who started it? And my answer: he's in the Falanga. And quite frankly, he is not the only one from the first wave of strange “anarchists” who just settled into the right wing.

Sorry for the slight off-topic, but this was only the first of a few false starts to the rebirth of the anarchosyndicalist movement in Poland. It is one of these things that l have lived through and also shapes our peculiar situation. Unfortunately some people are a bit clueless about it or ignore what is being said and prefer to make some theories about “the good of the class”, etc.

Before l answer Steven's question, l had to scroll and came across some comment of one of our haters who is unaware of what we achieved by direct action. Although l would not like to sound like l have come here to toot our own horn, l think it would be worth pointing out what a modest sized union can do outside of the legal framework and that this can be more than just getting money: reinstatement of employment for almost 50 workers on full work contracts with all benefits, after they refused to take worse conditions and had lost their jobs; reinstatement of workers fired; implementation of working norms in at least a half dozen workplaces; recognition of applying the wrong wage standards and receiving a raise and retroactive pay; payment of overtime for hundreds of workers in one national chain (although we also used some legal means for this, but we were not the legal representative of all the workers); getting health insurance for all workers; getting regulation of all social security payments and fighting against wage cuts (my workplace:-)) … and actually lots of others that are not only related to wage theft. Although wage theft is a huge issue in Poland so we deal with it often.

Just to say we find an overreliance on legalism to be unnecessary but l would clarify that we have used lawyers and if my comrade made it sound otherwise, it is not correct. (Although that comrade represents himself and has represented comrades in court. Without pay.) Why we say that is because there are tons of working people who are paralized by the legalism of the mainstream mentality or are reliant on fighting things in court, which we stress is not the most effective way.

For example, l won't hide it, there are people interested in making a strike outside the mainstream unions. (We think it might not happen, but we can build some actions.) The reason it might not happen is because Solidarity got wind of it and first, they started trolling on the internet. (BTW, they use the same hate language as our supposed comrades about our union. But they are so threatened they spend a lot of time convincing workers against us.) Then there appeared crazy articles on the Solidarity page. The main thing (besides calling us some communist paramilitary organization, hehehe) is that they warn workers that they cannot win their demands, the workplace in question cannot afford to give them raises, that they need to work in the legal way through the union who has lawyers to represent them in front of the company, etc. etc. We have a radically different approach. So excuse my comrade if he gets allergic but people have witnessed an overly legalistic approach from you guys in some situations.

Back to Steven's question, l don't know if l used the word “officials” or not, but if l did, l can see how that word could be imprecise according to the Spanish point of view and so rather l should say (or should have said), union members who are paid/make a living on the money of the union. The GTC, which are 2 lawyers and one economist receive a regular montly payment (salary) from the CNT and this is set out as a regularly allocated sum of the dues. Also at least 3 people from FAL. I would have to check exactly the last information, as l don't want to say anything incorrect.

Of course, there are different points of view on this all and it has been often criticized, for various reasons. But l do not agree with comparing it to some sort of occasional contracting for occasional services as the monthly payment is allocated from dues and goes regularly. Among the specific complaints about the FAL situation, where recently one group of people were chosen to manage it, was that a CNT member complained that he was working as a volunteer but was replaced by somebody who got paid.

I won't get into the question of moral right or wrong now, but people make their living servicing CNT. I mention this is response to the comrade from SAC – they say 3 people there. If that's true, l would just say that they manage better.

Steven, if you can read Spanish, you'll find stuff on the GTC CNT on the internet, you can see how much they earn, the criticisms about them, etc. lt is better to judge the opinions of the Spanish comrades than mine.

Finally, l really don't wanna go and scroll to see what Robot said, l mean, it's just painful, but l will respond to some comments about communication. You wrote:
“As robot pointed out, the requirement around communications to be carried out through individual sections in each country is completely bureaucratic and utterly unsuited for the modern world (if it ever was).
However it seems that various parties - particularly the CNTE and the USI - have wanted to keep this requirement to stop other sections communicating with their rivals (CGT and the loony fake USI).”
I would point out a few things. First, like any agreement of the lWA, they are open to discussion and member organizations are free to bring motions to revise them.
In 2009 there was a motion to give a criteria of official mail. This is because some found it important to define that the official mail of the Section comes through the Section's Secretariat and only that is official of the Section. Seeing what l have seen, there are quite legitimate reasons for this and there are actually a lot of issues that pop up around this.
The idea behind this is to prevent any part of an organization from misrepresenting the views of the organization or acting in its name in an unauthorized manner or even from acting without the knowledge of the rest of the members, but in its name.
To give some concrete examples, FAU has been extremely sloppy with this and many small problems (which they don't care about) have happened when somebody goes off somewhere and nobody is clear is they were delegated or not but everybody reads about FAU participation and “FAU's” positions even though an individual decided on their own.
Or another time somebody told me to talk to X because he was delegated to do something in SolFed so l did but did not CC the official Secretary and later it turned out the Secretary (and thus the whole organization) was not aware of something. You know, so l learned a lesson very quickly and write to where l am supposed to and apologized to the comrades from breaking this standard.
Now there is the situation that there are lots angry people in and out of the CNT who write all the time, but this is not organic communication, so l shouldn't send it in the lWA. So just imagine the snowball effect and shitstorm if everybody from an organization could write, without the approval of the entire organization.
ln our organization we really don't care if some of our local unions contact with other unions directly, but just in their own name and not pretending to represent as a whole. People communicate back in the organization. But that works when you know that you are on the same page and nobody is privately pursuing something different than what the federation set out. This is a key point, because if we commonly agree something, like we are going to cooperate with X and another does something to undermine the federal agreement, it weakens our organization and makes it less credible to our partners.
In this same way, we have had absolutely no problem asking our comrades in other countries about whether X or Y was OK, about how their relations are, etc. - because why should we get involved in a mess if we don't have to? If we needed to have a concrete contact even with a mainstream union because of a very concrete situation, we are sure that there is no problem to explain it to people and all would be fine. I mean, it would be weird is we showed up in the center of London at an action with X union and we didn't tell our local comrades anything and they just came across us in the street, surprised we were there. And yeah, it would be shocking if it turned out that they were screwing our comrades and they had bad blood and we just turned up.
About personal communication, nobody cares if A wants to chat to B. (Oh sorry, unless you are the Secretary of lWA. I hear there was some real paranoia about that. My friend asked me, “who are these people the CNT says you know” and all l can say is l don't know them. smile l am afraid even visiting friends in CNT they expect you to announce who you are going to sleep with or something.)
Back to the subject, it is obvious that this issue is only contentious when an organization pursues another political agenda in your backyard and does not see its struggle and strategy and the same. But the question is how viable any federative relationship is if this causes strains and there is a perception that the organization is working at cross-purposes, which is a common complaint.
I trust this response can last me for a long time since l have quite a number of things to do and do not want to come back here soon. Carry on without me. As l said somewhere before, this place is not the place for our internal discussions and besides the UK and maybe Australian comrades, it is not widely read by our members. This discussion is more for people outside the lWA.

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Steven.
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Apr 10 2016 21:58

Hey thanks for that, and fair enough if you don't want to comment further although I would ask what "GTC" and "FAL" mean?

Thanks also for the info about anarcho-syndicalism following the collapse of the USSR. I hope that the Spanish comrades would acknowledge that there is a bit of a difference between having 9 people to start from, and having 2-500,000…

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Apr 10 2016 23:07
Steven. wrote:
Hey thanks for that, and fair enough if you don't want to comment further although I would ask what "GTC" and "FAL" mean?

Thanks also for the info about anarcho-syndicalism following the collapse of the USSR. I hope that the Spanish comrades would acknowledge that there is a bit of a difference between having 9 people to start from, and having 2-500,000…

GTC: Gabinete Técnico Confederal. A professional group of economists, lawyers and more. It exists in order to deal with huge and complicated struggles in which CNT is involved.

FAL: Fundación de Estudios Anselmo Lorenzo. A non-profit organization of the CNT that publish books and keeps the historical archive of the CNT. As you can imagine, managing the historical archive of the CNT is a very serious and important issue.

zaczek
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Apr 11 2016 05:46

People wrote here that it's supposedly pathetic that in 30 years an organization didn't grow. How about if your organization exists for 9 years or less? How long did it take the FAU to start growing in a much more forgiving environment? Wasn't that decades? A competition to gain as many members as possible as quickly as possible without having enough radical people around would produce one of two results: if internal democracy is preserved, the non radical members would change the organization profile to what is most acceptable in the mainstream. So, social democracy or worse types of conservatism in conservative societies. If elitism is built, the activist vanguard could force it's radical agenda on passive membership. We don't want either of those alternatives. Growing faster than you are able to spread your ideas is a really bad proposition.

Yepa
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Apr 11 2016 09:54

Akai... stop telling lies.
CNT has a montly fee with a workers-coop of lawers, In the contract we ask them for a minimum of cases a year, they are dealing with 3x times more for free. They also have another clients. That´s not paid members.
We were using lawers who were friends or sympatize with anarquist ideas for years at an enormeous price and with bad results. Now we have a montly fee with very good profesionals, this is saving us a tremendous ammount of money. When we took this deision we didn´t want to have a contract with a company with boses, so we asked to the posible lawers firm to be a workers coop, and to be anarchist friendly. We didn´t want lawers with suits and ties, that today they defend you and tomorrow they defend your enemy.
This workers coop only deal with the legal part (not the the whole conflic) of conflicts that go beyong the local union strenght, cases that the next door lawers doen´t have a chance to win. Basicaly they deal with collective conflicts that afect docens or hundreds of workers. Individual or easy cases are not their duty. The conflict is still managed by local unions in their asemblies, they just deal with the legal part helping local unions with tthe legal stuff that most times go beyong our knowlege.Still, they are dealing with close to 100 cases per year, that´s just an small amout of our yearly conflitcs.
When CNT local unions voted for this contract it was an 80% vs 20% for Yes. We vote every year, and every year with similar results (actually more unions to yes).

Regarding FAL; FAL is the fundation that keeps all the historical documentation of CNT avaliable for researches, they are responsible of their maintenance, you should know that this documentation must be maintain following certain international standards (relating how the documentation is organized, controlled humidity etcetc). They also publish books about anarchism and CNT history. For years this organization was managed by voluntary work, but all the documments with more tham 100 years old were not properly maintain, and they are hundreds of thounsands, most of it is not even cataloged yet. We have a plan at cost 0 for CNT to make a contract with a workers coop so, they manage the publishing and documental work (decisions regarding FAL will still being taken by CNT and voluntary members, this workers co-op will only deal with publishing and maintenance) and in exchange they will get the profits for the books they sell, making FAL work in a professional way and with a 0 cost for CNT. You need to take in consideration that CNT has the biggest collection of anarquism and historical anarchosyndicalism documentation in the world, and this needs to be properly maintain for future generations.

CNT doesn´t have a payroll with any employee, CNT doesn´t pay any fake self employee. Yes, CNT pays for services (lawers, internet, plumbers, insurances, maintenance... )

Salvoechea
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Apr 11 2016 10:04

The old CNT use to pay for all the tasks it needed to be made. If you see the acts and documents of 1910, 20s, 30s unions it is quite common to find people being paid for repairing the roof, cleaning, keeping the door, lawyers, printers... even for doing propaganda activities (as those people were workers losing job wages because of union activities - yes, Federica Montseny, Buenaventura Durruti or Garcia Oliver were sometimes paid members). CNT prevented committee members to be paid for their role, differencing itself from socialism, but not the rest of the tasks.

In CNT with the rise in union and legal activity there's the need to increase the quality level of our action. So, the GTC appeared to be a solution. In a recent report GTC was performing around 120 cases in all Spain. Most of them backing the unions. This work needs total dedication and logically it needs to be paid for. This is so obvious that I doubt if we are living in the same world. Could it be done by volunteers? I mean, every CNT union has its own lawyers some linked to the organization, others private and foreign to it.

Another point is the own concept of "anarcho-syndicalism". In my point of view, anarcho-syndicalism is a form of revolutionary unionism, and it is a special form of socialism that seek the seizure of all means of production. The socialist society will have the unions as the backbone of it. Unions will be the centre of that society. And for that purpose unions will need to be technically ready to seize and manage present day capitalist companies. If you read spanish anarcho-syndicalist papers of the 30s you will see plenty of articles explaining in detail how to create a factory committee, how the economy worked, how to coordinate different factories in a bigger trust... Workers were learning how to take the economy in their hands. GTC is an step to fight for anarcho-syndicalism.

CNT in the 90s was so little and it had so poor quality that they had to say everyday to themselves they were anarcho-syndicalist. That CNT did not aspire to seize companies, to manage production. As for them anarcho-syndicalism was simply an horizontal organization of trade unions, use of direct action to win strikes and promotion of anarchism. That's all. They had forgot all our socialist origins and objectives.

As for the recent self-exclusions and expelling...
- STIS Madrid (an IT union) self-excluded itself and it is now an anarchist collective.
- CNT Lugo, Arosa, Vigo and Coruña (all of them in Galicia) self-excluded themselves as they were not doing union activity but cultural and social activity. They all are in the same region and in 1 year they have not been able to do anything in common. They could have created a new CNT-Galicia, however, they didn't. We're talking about 20-30 people in all. Would you like to count on this people? 2 of those unions never paid their dues.
- CNT Murcia, self-excluded itself. It's a more an anarchist collective than a union.
- CNT Huelva, Cadiz, Velez and Motril have been expelled in the last few years for incurring into false accusations against other unions in Andalusia.
- CNT Sagunt, Alcoy, Marina, Castellón, Albacete, Benissa and Elda, in Valencia region were expelled for not accepting the X Cordoba Congress agreements and blocking the regional federation. These are a few more people, 50-60 as much.

So, to sum up. most of those unions considered that CNT is a kind of anarchist federation and not an anarcho-syndicalist union. There're still a few federated unions inside CNT that share the views of those expelled unions (SOV Madrid, Granada, Oviedo, Candas...). However, some are accepting the new correlation while others are still doubting if leaving CNT or not. This whole IWA issue is important for their decision. I don't personally see those unions forming a new CNT, as there're important differences between them and it would be an unstable organization.

As for the rest of the CNT, in the last few months since the Congress (december) new sections have been developed and the growth is steady (Graficas Madrid, Bilbao, Saragossa, Valencia... ). Only the new section in Graficas has a bigger membership than all the unions that have left CNT in the last year.

Salvoechea
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Apr 11 2016 10:09

The figures after Franco's death were around 120,000 members in September 1977 (see "La Alternativa Libertaria en Cataluña", Joan Zambrana) and 250,000 as Juan Gómez Casas recalls in the spring of 1978. That was the maximum point. In December of 1979, at the 5th Congress of Madrid, CNT had fallen to only 30,000 members.

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Entdinglichung
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Apr 11 2016 10:15
Salvoechea wrote:
The figures after Franco's death were around 120,000 members in September 1977 (see "La Alternativa Libertaria en Cataluña", Joan Zambrana) and 250,000 as Juan Gómez Casas recalls in the spring of 1978. That was the maximum point. In December of 1979, at the 5th Congress of Madrid, CNT had fallen to only 30,000 members.

this decrease in membership numbers is however nothing CNT-specific, most groups to the left of PSOE and PCE went into decline after 1977 when the hopes of a radical Transición which was kindled by the large strikes and movements in the years before didn't materialize, but unlike e.g. most maoist groups, the CNT (and the CGT) survived

Mark.
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Apr 11 2016 10:51
Salvoechea wrote:
The figures after Franco's death were around 120,000 members in September 1977 (see "La Alternativa Libertaria en Cataluña", Joan Zambrana) and 250,000 as Juan Gómez Casas recalls in the spring of 1978. That was the maximum point. In December of 1979, at the 5th Congress of Madrid, CNT had fallen to only 30,000 members.

Thanks, that may help explain some of the different figures I've seen.

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Apr 11 2016 11:00

Salvoechea, thanks very much for that info that's very helpful. Yepa thanks for that info as well.

What Akai initially said was:

Quote:

To be fair, SAC is larger than CNT and has less then half the paid positions.

So it does seem this is incorrect (although Akai later clarified to say that rather than "paid positions" she meant members who basically live off income from the union). So while I disagree that this was a "lie", it does seem to be misleading, if it is not comparing like with like. I wouldn't be surprised if the SAC, for example also had lawyers on retainer (and so not included in their paid positions). And I don't know if they don't also have for example paid people in their bookshops who might not be counted in central union figures (and so comparable with the FAL situation)

So Akai while I do sympathise with your perspective, and support the work of ZSP, the secretary of the IWA saying something like that, which is misleading, about the CNT, would make CNT members angry, no? (Although also I think they did misunderstand you, because to me it didn't look like you were using the fact they have paid positions to attack them, which they seem to have interpreted it as. So this could be partly an "English as a second language" issue.)

Anyway I will back out of this discussion now I think, as really it is a matter for comrades in the IWA to determine.

zaczek
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Apr 11 2016 13:44
Salvoechea wrote:
In CNT with the rise in union and legal activity there's the need to increase the quality level of our action. So, the GTC appeared to be a solution. In a recent report GTC was performing around 120 cases in all Spain. Most of them backing the unions. This work needs total dedication and logically it needs to be paid for.

[...]

Another point is the own concept of "anarcho-syndicalism". In my point of view, anarcho-syndicalism is a form of revolutionary unionism, and it is a special form of socialism that seek the seizure of all means of production. The socialist society will have the unions as the backbone of it. Unions will be the centre of that society. And for that purpose unions will need to be technically ready to seize and manage present day capitalist companies.

So professionalization and focus on legal work is putting revolutionary unionism into practice. Let the lawyers control the means of production. Good work! We're almost there.

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Apr 11 2016 14:04
zaczek wrote:
syndicalist wrote:
But to try and use Spain as any sort of measure by others without the traditions and history is not exactly fair.

Thank you.

It's kind of tiring to keep hearing it's only the fault of our incompetence and the fact that we didn't vote our voting rights away following the bright new shiny "methodology" that is being presented in this thread. Sorry, but sometimes it feels like talking about an Amway franchise.

Well, a lot was said and it's hard to get back just to clarify things. I don't wanna stray off the subject, but I'd like to tell something. My comment about Franco's dictatorship was just to recall that for the CNT wasn't so easy as some people here seem to suggest. I've heard thousands of times about the Social Revolution and the 30's, revolutionary tradition, the 70's boom and so on, but it has never been a piece of piss. I mean, in Spain when a new CNT is opened workers don't go massively to join it. Most of people in Spain have no idea about the CNT and its history, so tradition is practically unimportant for the recent affiliation growth. For example, small towns like Castro Urdiales with no tradition at all on this issue has a CNT local union with more that 30 members and it was founded few years ago. Another example is SOV L'Hospitalet, a union with more than 100 members that was born from an union section in the airport in Barcelona, which had 3 or 4 members at the beginning and which put this "new" methodology in practice. Therefore I'm not talking about incompetence, but self-criticism. We're doing something wrong if we cannot get more and more members for 20 years. The history and context is for sure a big issue, but it can't be the excuse to stay as anarchist ghetto with few people. The expelled fools from CNT were always complaining: "we are the good ones, poor of us, workers are so allienated!".

MT
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Apr 11 2016 14:31

Compared this to some basic facts - I can't think of any example in recent 10+ years when FAU or CNT proposed anything or participated in anything in the IWA that would help to share the knowledge, skills and methodologies among the sections. (Basically all such attempts were done by smaller sections which are - contrary to the dogma of some of the posters - really looking for ways to build their organizations and take on workplace related activities.)

I don't like to use strong words, but it is a clear fact that anyone claiming there was no opportunity is a liar.

So, the narrative that is put forward by some people ignores reality in the IWA and a very specific attitude of the bigger sections which turned into full ignorance of the environment and activities of the smaller sections. You can see it for example in statements like "solidarity pickets or spreading flyers are nice but...". It is a total misunderstanding and ignorance of the reality. The history issue is only a tip of the iceberg.

zaczek
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Apr 11 2016 15:45
militant-proletarian wrote:
We're doing something wrong if we cannot get more and more members for 20 years.

And what sections of 20 years are you referring to? Have you bothered to check how many of the small sections are that old? And if the whole "problem" is not made-up?

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Apr 11 2016 17:21
zaczek wrote:
militant-proletarian wrote:
We're doing something wrong if we cannot get more and more members for 20 years.

And what sections of 20 years are you referring to? Have you bothered to check how many of the small sections are that old? And if the whole "problem" is not made-up?

Maybe we can talk about Kras in Russia, Portugal or COB in Brazil. We have a very interesting anarchist movement in Brazil growing since the 90's that nowadays is represented by the CAB (Cordinaçao Anarquista Brasileira) with organizations in many territories of Brazil, one of the biggest countries in the world. While the COB...

One of the problems I see is that all this anarchosyndicalist groups (we can not call them Unions) look too much to the CNT and its glorious past of revolution. Please, everyone should look more to the history of class war in it's own country and look less to Spain.

And please zaczek

zaczek wrote:
So professionalization and focus on legal work is putting revolutionary unionism into practice. Let the lawyers control the means of production. Good work! We're almost there.

Stop saying absurd things.

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Apr 11 2016 17:34
Quote:
One of the problems I see is that all this anarchosyndicalist groups (we can not call them Unions) look too much to the CNT and its glorious past of revolution. Please, everyone should look more to the history of class war in it's own country and look less to Spain.

Agree 100%. Ironically, because I know I've developed a reputation among a lot of comrades of referring to the CNT and Spain a lot, but it's to look at what might be relevant in the Spain of 2016. I never talk about the Spain of 1936, I'd rather discuss the USA of the 1934 strikes...

zaczek
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Apr 11 2016 17:50
armin.tamz wrote:
One of the problems I see is that all this anarchosyndicalist groups (we can not call them Unions) look too much to the CNT and its glorious past of revolution. Please, everyone should look more to the history of class war in it's own country and look less to Spain.

We are looking into our own history. The official CNT (unlike some of it's more open minded sections) hasn't been paying attention or even cared about it. And we are also looking at the history of the CNT and it's periodical downfalls, like the trientistas, the government of the republic, the defeat of the revolution, the CGT and now the new Renovados.

Regarding Russia, conditions there are much worse than even in Eastern Europe and you would be hard pressed to find another thriving union even close to our tradition. We have no reason to complain about COB or SP, as they have provided us with reliable solidarity more than once. I doubt anyone has the authority to decide what is and what isn't a union and i find that deeply presumptuous.

armin.tamz wrote:
And please zaczek

zaczek wrote:
So professionalization and focus on legal work is putting revolutionary unionism into practice. Let the lawyers control the means of production. Good work! We're almost there.

Stop saying absurd things.

It is absurd, but it is the direction in which the "new and shiny methodology" of the new Renovados is developing.

XaViER
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Apr 11 2016 19:20

I haven't been logged on Libcom for years, because I don't have a time for internet debates, but this is the time that I must say something, because anarchosyndicalism is dying before our eyes.

I am a member of local union of ZSP in Wrocław. We are cleaners, postal workers, IT workers, gastronomy workers (we for example have just started a campaign against local vegan-retaurant which desn't pay workers' insurance), etc. We had some great campaings, especially against temporary work agencies and in gastronomy. For nine years we have been fighting here as a working class people, without splits and internal drama, because we have a clear principles and we are respected for that even outside our union.

We've joined IWA because we are internationalists. If a new member asks us what is the difference between us and for example Solidarity union, we say - we are members of IWA, and we are not nationalist union as Solidarity. So this is really important to us, and part of our identity. If someone is unemployed temporarly and can't pay regular dues, we say - ok. but you still have to pay IWA-part of dues, because we have to show our support to workers who can be in even worse condition than we are.

But, we are at the same time disappointed by this, that some IWA sections want to have more votes than our section. That our delegates are constantly called like you could read on this forum. We even are deprived by some of calling ourselves a union! We feel humiliated by some members of IWA sections.

They suggest that we can't understand English properly and don't know what has been accepted on IWA congresses. We are translating to Polish IWA documents before and after every IWA congress and every member who wants to know knows what is going on even if doesn't participate on inernational forums like this because of lack of language skills or time. For example - we know that FAU has been suspended for breaking concrete decisions of past IWA congresses and IWA decisions are for us are as important as ZSP congresses.

And we particularly are disappointed by lack of support from some sections of IWA during our campaings. On the contrary, for example - FAU constantly is supporting financially and morally not so friendly union to us (Workers Initiative). We, here in Wroclaw have never experienced such a support from FAU as WI, and Wroclaw is closer to Dresden and Berlin than Warsaw! This is really a shame.

And comrade form Dresden wrote that they have some poblems with right wing idiots. Yeah, we can talk about this for hours. Check this out, this is from our city, ant they are not PEGIDA anti-islamic fuckers, they are totally neo-nazi shit and we have now far right government who is thinking to give them guns and make of them National Guard.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CkckAHPtiqg
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJYtgZIVvJU

And as I see, you have similar problems, So why we don't have regular contacts? We were supporting actively FAU during your Babylon cinema campaign and even sent an delegation to Berlin on a manifestation.

And now, we read that CNT, USI and FAU are supporting split of IWA, because we are reportedly so small that we shouldn't have the same voice as "legendary" CNT which have on paper a few thousands of members but doesn't pay dues to IWA and do not support properly our International for years?.

And our answer is: WTF?

Most of us are not ideologues. If postal worker will ask me: why we should be in this new "IWA" instread our old proper IWA, where are also our friends who always supported us? In th "new IWA" we will pay dues, but will be pariahs, we will be supporting "new super shiny IWA", but only small section of this IWA 2.0 supported us?

What should I answer to my non-English speaking comprades? Because CNT has "legenary" initials but can't help us in our work to get stronger so we could defend ourselves better against fascist government and bosses? Or what? Maybe you should help me to prepare the answer, because I really don't know?

militant-proletarian's picture
militant-proletarian
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Apr 11 2016 18:52
zaczek wrote:
militant-proletarian wrote:
We're doing something wrong if we cannot get more and more members for 20 years.

And what sections of 20 years are you referring to? Have you bothered to check how many of the small sections are that old? And if the whole "problem" is not made-up?

Apart from those mentioned by the comrade, you also have CNT France, Priama Akcia or NSF. You can also include your friends in Spain, who showed to be only a negligible bunch of admin: no flaming. This is a second warning who were the same people for more than 20 years.

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Apr 11 2016 19:25
zaczek wrote:
It is absurd, but it is the direction in which the "new and shiny methodology" of the new Renovados is developing.

There is nothing like "renovados" and I told you it's not "new", it's just a non-developed strategy from the 70's that your comrades in Spain never applied, because they had no idea how to. The "secciones sindicales" were the strategy adopted by the CNT against the democratic transition and official unionism, and against Spanish work councils that gave rise to the split later.

The GTC is nothing more than a cooperative with people who knows what to do in complex cases or conflicts where workers legally need to watch their backs. It's a service if you like, and a job like that must be paid or do you work for free? Even your friends were using paid lawyers for years, most of times with awful results. What is more, one of your "self-taught" comrade in Madrid, who was union delegate in Marsans, signed a labour force adjustment plan from where hundreds of workers were dismissed because of the plan and the company locked out. So yes we need people who know what to do, the same when you go to a doctor from whom you expect some knowledge about your body and health.

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Apr 11 2016 19:48
XaViER wrote:
I haven't been logged on Libcom for years, because I don't have a time for internet debates, but this is the time that I must say something, because anarchosyndicalism is dying before our eyes.

I am a member of local union of ZSP in Wrocław. We are cleaners, postal workers, IT workers, gastronomy workers (we for example have just started a campaign against local vegan-retaurant which desn't pay workers' insurance), etc. We had some great campaings, especially against temporary work agencies and in gastronomy. For nine years we have been fighting here as a working class people, without splits and internal drama, because we have a clear principles and we are respected for that even outside our union.

We've joined IWA because we are internationalists. If a new member asks us what is the difference between us and for example Solidarity union, we say - we are members of IWA, and we are not nationalist union as Solidarity. So this is really important to us, and part of our identity. If someone is unemployed temporarly and can't pay regular dues, we say - ok. but you still have to pay IWA-part of dues, because we have to show our support to workers who can be in even worse condition than we are.

But, we are at the same time disappointed by this, that some IWA sections want to have more votes than our section. That our delegates are constantly called like you could read on this forum. We even are deprived by some of calling ourselves a union! We feel humiliated by some members of IWA sections.

They suggest that we can't understand English properly and don't know what has been accepted on IWA congresses. We are translating to Polish IWA documents before and after every IWA congress and every member who wants to know knows what is going on even if doesn't participate on inernational forums like this because of lack of language skills or time. For example - we know that FAU has been suspended for breaking concrete decisions of past IWA congresses and IWA decisions are for us are as important as ZSP congresses.

And we particularly are disappointed by lack of support from some sections of IWA during our campaings. On the contrary, for example - FAU constantly is supporting financially and morally not so friendly union to us (Workers Initiative). We, here in Wroclaw have never experienced such a support from FAU as WI, and Wroclaw is closer to Dresden and Berlin than Warsaw! This is really a shame.

And comrade form Dresden wrote that they have some poblems with right wing idiots. Yeah, we can talk about this for hours. Check this out, this is from our city, ant they are not PEGIDA anti-islamic fuckers, they are totally neo-nazi shit and we have now far right government who is thinking to give them guns and make of them National Guard.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CkckAHPtiqg
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJYtgZIVvJU

And as I see, you have similar problems, So why we don't have regular contacts? We were supporting actively FAU during your Babylon cinema campaign and even sent an delegation to Berlin on a manifestation.

And now, we read that CNT, USI and FAU are supporting split of IWA, because we are reportedly so small that we shouldn't have the same voice as "legendary" CNT which have on paper a few thousands of members but doesn't pay dues to IWA and do not support properly our International for years?.

And our answer is: WTF?

Most of us are not ideologues. If postal worker will ask me: why we should be in this new "IWA" instread our old proper IWA, where are also our friends who always supported us? In th "new IWA" we will pay dues, but will be pariahs, we will be supporting "new super shiny IWA", but only small section of this IWA 2.0 supported us?

What should I answer to my non-English speaking comprades? Because CNT has "legenary" initials but can't help us in our work to get stronger so we could defend ourselves better against fascist government and bosses? Or what? Maybe you should help me to prepare the answer, because I really don't know?

Well, this is a proposal to work together, your section is free to choose whatever it likes. The IWA doesn't work and doesn't want to change to be stronger. The small sections don't respect the work of CNT, FAU and USI, because they see the CGT reformist ghost everywhere and are in a constant defensive position trying to teach a lesson. What is more, the IWA Secretary in this forum has already taken a position and is for the minority that is no longer in the CNT in Spain. Maybe you should ask her why she doesn't respect the CNT decisions.

XaViER
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Apr 11 2016 19:55

" Maybe you should ask her why she doesn't respect the CNT decisions. "

IWA secretary should respect only decisions of congresses of IWA not one section, CNT, ZSP or whichever. I am shocked that you don't understand this.

XaViER
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Apr 11 2016 19:57

And, she is here only as a private person. She is only secretary when makes official statements signed properly.

XaViER
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Apr 11 2016 21:46

And, for me CNT is now outside of the IWA. They don't pay dues, they want to split and destroy IWA. I will propose on my union meeting, that we should demand officially from secretary of IWA that she should defend IWA at all costs against those who want to destroy our International.

(of course she won't have to consider this statement, because this would be only a statement of one union, so she have to read it and next she can easily forget about it wink)

(disclaimer to anarcho-punks: this is not official statement of my union, because it is not sent properly through secretariat and signed properly grin)

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Apr 11 2016 20:36
XaViER wrote:
" Maybe you should ask her why she doesn't respect the CNT decisions. "

IWA secretary should respect only decisions of congresses of IWA not one section, CNT, ZSP or whichever. I am shocked that you don't understand this.

No, you don't understand. The internal decisions of the CNT are just that: internal, even if you or whoever secretary likes or not. The IWA Secretary doesn't respect the CNT decisions because she is insulting the majority that decided in last CNT congress and is questioning its validity and taking position in favour of few small groups that are no longer in the CNT, some expelled because they didn't respect CNT decisions and some self-excluded.

zaczek
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Apr 11 2016 20:38
militant-proletarian wrote:
The GTC is nothing more than a cooperative with people who knows what to do in complex cases or conflicts where workers legally need to watch their backs. It's a service if you like, and a job like that must be paid or do you work for free?[...]So yes we need people who know what to do, the same when you go to a doctor from whom you expect some knowledge about your body and health.

And how exactly is that different from mainstream unionism and mainstream associations?

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militant-proletarian
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Apr 11 2016 20:40
XaViER wrote:
And, for me CNT is now outside of the IWA. They don't pay dues, they want to split and destroy IWA. I will propose on my union meeting, that we should demand officially from secretary of IWA that she should defend IWA at all costs against those who want to destroy our International.

(of course she won't have to consider this statement, because this would be only a statement of one union, so she have to read it and next she can easily forget about it wink)

(disclaimer to anarcho-punks: this is not official statement of my union, because it is not sent properly through secretariat and signet properly grin)

Nobody wants to destroy anything. We have autonomy to choose if we want to work with you or not. If you like, nice, otherwise we follow our way with sections and unions that wants too.