Spain: Eulogy for unionism - CNT

The CNT of Spain discuss the recent campaign against unionism in Spain, while distinguishing genuine revolutionary unionism from the collaborationist unionism of the majority unions in Spain.

It’s clear that a complete campaign, orchestrated by unnumerable sections of the media, dedicated to discrediting what is commonly understood by “unionism”; a campaign that has been noted as ruthless by one of the leaders of the CCOO [one of Spain’s two major union confederations], given that it is principally against this organization as well as the UGT [Spain’s other major union confederation] that this campaign is occurring. Nevertheless, in a full campaign against the working class in general, which contains the specific campaign against unionism, we must consider that that aim is not only to bring discredit to the CCOO and UGT, but above all to cause the degradation of the concept of unionism itself, given that the system knows perfectly well (because it has those organizations at its service) that any resemblance between authentic unionism and the CCOO and UGT is a mere coincidence. And this authentic unionism is not only not obsolete, but rather it continues to be as necessary as ever.

In the current situation, in which we find ourselves up against yet another of the periodic crises of capitalism, what is obsolete is the supposed unionism practiced by these collaborationist and pactist [referring to the Pact of Moncloa, in which the spanish left agreed to limit workers' struggles after Franco's death in return for various privileges] organizations, since whenever there is a certain economic prosperity, it is easy to obtain from the capitalists a few crumbs from the big cake, in return for which they receive social peace.
The only valid unionism in these times is a genuine unionism, a combative and revolutionary unionism; in short: the unionism advocated by the CNT, because in difficult times we can only achieve economic and social conquests through a hard struggle, at the same time that we strengthen the self-defense mechanisms of the working class, since it was precisely for self-defense and struggle that the first unions worthy of the name were born.
The discomfort that the leaders of the CCOO and UGT feel at being mistreated by their masters is palpable, but what did they expect? Like the assassins of Viriathus (*), they could have realized that Rome does not pay traitors, or that –as was said in the classic- if the treason’s been done, the traitor is unnecessary. After more than thirty years of acting in connivance with Power and against the interests of the working class, there are no more treasons left for them to commit, for which they are in practice no longer needed by those who have always used them.
What’s certain is that since the first years of the so-called Transition (*) we’ve seen the reinforcement –with the enthusiastic help of the CCOO and UGT- of a sort of vertical unionism, completely indistinguishable from the unionism under the dictatorship of Francisco Franco, along with the invention of the system of union elections, with the intention of using the workplace committees to impersonate real, class-oriented unionism. A whole series of social pacts, and the promulgation of the so-called Statute of the Worker and of the paradoxically named Organic Lay of Union Freedom, completed the operation. In this way, the Employers and the State have made off like bandits, and the majoritarian unions have obtained, in return, the financing of their structures, turning into true institutions of the state, with a position of the General Budget of the State and of the Autonomous Communities.

In this way they’ve obtained the domestication, demobilization, and demoralization of the working class. And it is this very working class that they are now claiming to mobilize. They state that they are going to put all of their effort into making the strike on the 19th as successful as possible, as their own privileges are at stake; they've even deigned to direct themselves towards other organizations, with the goal of forming a common front, and they are doing this because today they need those whom they have looked down on for decades. On the other hand, this shows that the most important thing is not the membership numbers, but rather the combativeness, if it is a combativeness based on class consciousness. At the end, the problem derives from the existence of two social classes with opposed interests, as much as some deny or try to hide it.
There's been much talk about the “liberados” [union functionaries paid by the companies] in the Autonomous Community of Madrid, and our posture in this respect is clear: that the “liberados” -all of them- should disappear, that subventions of every type should disappear, that union elections -entry point for all of the perks and corruptions that collaborationist unionism brings with it- should disappear. The CNT has lasted 100 years, without “liberados”, without subventions, without paid positions, without committees with executive power (but rather simple organs of procedure) and without any source of financing other than the dues of its members. Our history, our mere existence, including our current growth, are clear proof that this is how real unionism is done, jealously defending our independence and making us defenders of a unionism understood not as an end in itself (this remains for others), but rather as a means for social transformation. And authentic social transformatiion obviously cannot be achieved through integration into the system, but only through the struggle against it, until it disappears.


Oct 1 2010 13:37

cheers for posting - just to let you know have moved this to the library, as it does not meet the style guide for a news article. Keep it up!

Oct 3 2010 08:53

what is the source?

Oct 3 2010 09:02