French "anarchosyndicalist" union considered a threat

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woundedhobo
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Jan 31 2009 03:21
French "anarchosyndicalist" union considered a threat

http://www.economist.com/world/europe/displayStory.cfm?story_id=12974153&source=hptextfeature

It is nice to see a right wing magazine concerned about a radical labor union and the potential for anarchist groups in the high schools and colleges to foment another 1968 in France. I am not so optimistic.. In response to the article, I would add that if a public transportation union is going to strike it should be a good service strike or a strike with political demands . As pro union as I am, I have disabilities and have been fully dependent on public transportation. And life really sucks when the buses are not running and the work stoppage is only about compensation that most transit riders could not dream of.

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robot
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Jan 31 2009 06:12

Except for the fact, that they are qualifying SUD to be a union in the anarcho-syndicalist tradition line. Though SUD is a somewhat less centralized and more "leftist" union than CFDT and CGT (lots of trots and some "Alternative Libertaire people within SUD) they obviously have little to nothing to do with anarcho-syndicalism.

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jef costello
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Jan 31 2009 21:58

Robot's right, SUD is not anarchosyndicalist. I have never seen it refer to itself as such either and none of the members I have spoken to see it that way. It is seen as one of the more militant unions and likes to be seen that way.

Quote:
It is anti-establishment, not being one of the five official unions that deal with the government.

This is wrong, not being one of the unions recognised for negotiation (I thought it was only four as well: CGT, CFDT, FO and one other) has nothing to do with an anti-authoritarian line unions such as Unsa aren't recognised either.

Quote:
One of SUD’s feats is to have made the Confédération Générale du Travail (CGT), France’s powerful communist-backed union, seem moderate

This is also wrong, unions like the CGT (whose links with the CP are a lot weaker than they were) have become less and less militant over the years. SUD was set up to counter this and its rapid rise in membership over the last ten years is a result of that. The CGT can get people out but it mostly uses its power to get workers back on the job or to organise big one-day marches.

That industrial production graphic is pretty scary.

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Volin
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Feb 1 2009 11:34

Not bad, compare this from the Beeb:

French government fears rise of left

"Recent intelligence reports talk about an "elevated threat" from an "international European network… with a strong presence in France" and a "new generation of activists", possibly a "re-birth of the violent extreme left"."

"We are seeing a radicalisation, perhaps the beginning of a very big movement. I am not a clairvoyant, but I live in France, I have a lot of contacts with a wide range of people and it's not just leftists, not just militants who cannot accept the injustice. Inequality is growing in Europe and inequality is always the cause of revolt".

All three campaigners stress the need to forge an effective alliance between the workers and with the downtrodden youth of the suburbs because, as they put it, "that's what the government fears the most". "

wangwei
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Feb 2 2009 21:02
Quote:
"There is no need for guns or bullets," says Hugo, "just a realisation that the situation is not fair, that all the state's money is being spent on the people who need it the least."

It's rather interesting that they found a bunch of non-violence parrots parading as communists. How the hell can you call yourself a Communist, and believe that the revolution won't require bullets??? That's absurd. Because the capitalists are just going to hand state power over, surrender the means of production, and quit all forms of militarism and fascism due to the non-violent demands of the working class?

Apart from that ridiculous quote, it's an inspiring read. Good times are on the horizon!

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jef costello
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Feb 2 2009 22:34

I think that most of the interviews are with LCR militants or people for the NPA which is basically a front group for them. As it's a party that has succesfully embraced electoralism it's hardly surprising that they think that they can do things peacefully. I also think that at the other end of the specturm, their belief that they can topple the state is overstated. They are not as strong as they think and a lot of it is empty posturing. I certainly wouldn't take it as an inspiration.
Not that there isn't a lot of good stuff happening, I just wouldn't rely on a trot party to give a realistic portrayal of the situtation.

alibi
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Feb 3 2009 01:58

i once read something along the lines that the 5 unions recognised by the government and which are guarenteed a place at the meeting table all have some sort of relationship to the Resistance and that they were awarded this right as a symbol of rewarding their 'efforts for the nation'.

don't quote me on that though!

syndicalist
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Feb 3 2009 05:03

Perhaps the article is a conncious effort to confuse things...or the writer is confused. Perhaps the author is trying to "anarchist bait" some inside the SUD. Or an effort to simply discredit & isolate the SUD. Split it off as being non-mainstream (unlike the "communist-led" CGT and "socialst-led" CFDT).

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Rob Ray
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Feb 3 2009 10:04

Mm, a phenomenon that’s likely to get worse rather than better, as most experienced hacks, particularly specialists like industrial relations writers, are being replaced with young (cheap) unspecialised reporters who are expected to come to complex situations cold and then sound like they know what is going on.

That’s generally bad news for unbiased reporting, as they’ll generally simply pick up and repeat slurs from the internet and won’t have the nous to know a company line when they hear one. They also won’t have the union contacts to get at actual workers’ views, meaning all their reports stop at the regional organiser level (hence in part the line the papers have all gone with on the refinery strike).

syndicalist
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Feb 3 2009 16:29

For info. purposes only....

From the Paris based CNT, there's an interesting article on labor reform: http://www.cnt-f.org/spip.php?article680

Also from this CNT there's an interesting situation of some years back within Post. The CNT-PTT and the SUD-TT seemed to have been at odds with each other: http://www.cnt-f.org/spip.php?article347#postal scroll down to "In the Postal Services..." The extent to which the relations seemed to be damaged is reflective in this "Interview with the CNT's International Relations" See question:
"What did I07 mean to the French CNT, for your future, for your relations with Alternative Libertaire, the Fédération Anarchiste, SUD and other "alternative" unions?"
http://www.anarkismo.net/newswire.php?story_id=5576

What's clear is that the French libertarian workers movement (the CNT-AIT, CNT-Vignoles, AL) all have a lot of work cut out for themselves. Yet there own individual activies, actions and efforts are important to watch, listen to and, if practical & relevant, learn from.

alibi
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Feb 4 2009 19:55
syndicalist wrote:
Or an effort to simply discredit & isolate the SUD.

yup, its that.

they hope to split the unions over the issue of SUD.

already Chereque has come out moaning about Sarko banging on about SUD, saying they are a tiny part of the trade union movement (they got 4% in the polls for whom employees wanted to represent them). he clearly doesn't want to be tarred with the same brush, which I am sure is going to give some cheer to Sarko as its one he can keep plugging away at.

btw another thing about SUD (aka Solidaires) is that their leader is a bit of a scruff, and Sarko etc will obviously want to play on this imo.