International Libertarian Solidarity

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JDMF
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Nov 7 2004 16:36
George'sBush wrote:
Someone wrote an article for Freedom about the CGT, saying (from the cgt website) they represent over 1 million workers via the works councils, and are as such the 3rd union confederation in spain - is this true?

does this have to do with the weird way unions work in countries like spain and france, where the organisation levels are fairly low, but unions have influence way past their paying membership?

In scandinavian countries, like sweden and finland, unionization levels are 80-90 % and there are no such things than works councils as such, but of course the recognized trade unions in the workplace will meet regurlarly with the management, i suspect SAC does the same if it has any relevance at a workplace, don't know...

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Nov 8 2004 07:55

why paid officials conflict with syndicalism? Is it because of some ground rules laid down back in the days? World has changed loads after that - think about it and how unions operate these days in comparison to the days of way back, and how much more bureocratic work there is to be done just to keep things running. When the membership is low, doing all this for free on voluntary basis is fun (for a while!), but fuck, doing it for a group of 50 000...

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Steven.
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Nov 8 2004 11:06
JDMF wrote:
George'sBush wrote:
Someone wrote an article for Freedom about the CGT, saying (from the cgt website) they represent over 1 million workers via the works councils, and are as such the 3rd union confederation in spain - is this true?

does this have to do with the weird way unions work in countries like spain and france, where the organisation levels are fairly low, but unions have influence way past their paying membership?

No - i would imagine that they have the 50,000 members but maybe through the works councils they have been elected to represent 1,000,000 workers in workplaces.

Okay so they sit on these committees, but surely it'd be possible to sit in on them, but then just not let them affect your actions? Isn't that what the USI plan to do?

Revol - I think paid officials (i.e. people with power in a union, to call off strikes etc.) is obviously wrong - but i don't think you can do without paid administrators. I mean even tiny enterprises like AK Press and Freedom can't do without paid volunteers - cos most workers can't afford to just work for the movement for free, and it wouldn't be fair to only let rich people occupy these positions.

Steve
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Nov 8 2004 12:18
George'sBush wrote:
No - i would imagine that they have the 50,000 members but maybe through the works councils they have been elected to represent 1,000,000 workers in workplaces.

Okay so they sit on these committees, but surely it'd be possible to sit in on them, but then just not let them affect your actions? Isn't that what the USI plan to do?

Revol - I think paid officials (i.e. people with power in a union, to call off strikes etc.) is obviously wrong - but i don't think you can do without paid administrators. I mean even tiny enterprises like AK Press and Freedom can't do without paid volunteers - cos most workers can't afford to just work for the movement for free, and it wouldn't be fair to only let rich people occupy these positions.

These committees are elected by workers but are not accountable to the membership and neither, are those elected. They take the decision making away from the workforce away from the workplace and are part of a corporate structure involving the state and the bosses. This is against (very) basic anarcho-syndicalist principles, which is why they are boycotted by the CNT. The CGT get money from the Spanish state for their involvement. Others may call it pragmatic I don't.

The CGT has paid officials and paid employees and has recently, in Seville, been forced to reinstate a female worker it sacked.

The CGT and the SAC may still have syndicalist structures but they are not anarcho-syndicalist unions. As was said previously it suits some anarchists to call them this just as it suits some anarchists to spread false ideas about anarcho-syndicalism to cover their own lack of ideas for workplace organisation.

The RSUs are not a form of Works Council. They are state regulations as to how workplace unions elect representatives/delegates by vote to meet management. A delegate from SolFed went to the last USI Congress and talked to a number of USI RSU delegates and it is clear that once elected USI calls mass workplace meetings from which they are mandated thus functioning on classic anarcho-syndicalist lines i.e. recallability etc.

That is not to say this is a perfect situation and it is one that will be debated at the IWA Congress.

JoeBlack
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Nov 8 2004 13:43
George'sBush wrote:
No - i would imagine that they have the 50,000 members but maybe through the works councils they have been elected to represent 1,000,000 workers in workplaces.

One of the interesting things about the central position that paticipation in works councils is placed in British and Irish critiques of the CGT is that no one seems to know quite what these things are. I'm not an expert but in the interests of a useful discussion on this (rather than one based on proving heresy) here is my understanding and I would welcome being corrected.

The works councils own their origin to the Francoist period when they were imposed as a mechanism of corporatist ideology (something rather worse than the 'social partnership' we have in Ireland). However even before Francos death the Communist Party and others had been quite successful in using these as a front/mechanism for building in the workplace.

With the 'transition to democracy' there were some changes but essentially what now happens is that once a year all the workers in a workplace vote on which union delegates will represent them in negotiations with management. Union membership in Spain is low (around 10%) but this would mean I guess that a union with a membership of 50,000 might claim to represent 10 or even 20 times that number of workers based on the number of votes it gets in these elections.

As part of the deal those elected get some time off work to represent the workers and get some financial resources in order to do so. I presume this is where the accusation of 'money from the state' comes from as that money goes to the union rather than the individual. Offhand I kind of like the idea of the bosses/state having to pay some of the costs of keeping a union going but I certainly agree there are also big problems if this means they can attach strings to this. Maybe someone who actually knows about how these things work could sketch this out in more detail. {I'm going to send this bit off to a CGT member I know as well to check it}

One important area that I am very unsure of is whether those elected function as representative or delegates. IE can they be recalled and can they be mandated. I suspect that the answer is no which would be a big problem all right but I also suspect that like the USI the CGT strategy has been to make themselves subject to such mechanisms even if this is not allowed. Again the 'heresy' approach to dealing with the issue means that this rather important question is never asked or therefore answered. Which makes it rather hard to evaluate what sort of compromise the CGT has made in participation and how succesful they have been in underminingg such compromises. Seeing as we all face industrial relation law that often include compulsory arbitration from a position of weakness there may be a lot to be learned here.

George'sBush wrote:
Okay so they sit on these committees, but surely it'd be possible to sit in on them, but then just not let them affect your actions? Isn't that what the USI plan to do?

This is what I'm asking above and your right about USI as I understand it. Unfortunatly the IWA tendency to not allow any discussion of such compromises but just to screech heresy has meant that once any propaganda group grows and has to confront the realties of organising workers rather than anarchists they tend to get expelled (CNT-F being the example and maybe the USI). To me this feels as a policy need driven by the need of the Spanish CNT to justify its end of the CNT split.

In passing note that the CGT was also called the CNT until the current CNT took it to court and won a case saying it alone had the right to the name - so when talking of the state intervention that certainly happened in the course of the split its worth remembering that the current CNT actually invited some of that intervention in allowing the Spanish state to judge who was the 'real' CNT. Doesn't prove who was right and who was wrong overall but certainly suggests more than a little hypocrisy in the way this debate is sometimes waged. And also that many in the CGT consider it to be the real CNT even if the state does not allow them to call it such.

[For the record in so far as I understand things neither side was 'right' and the split was a rather damaging tragedy for the movement as a whole. Thankfully today in many areas of the Spanish state the CGT and CNT locals actually co-operate even if the official line is still hostility. From my POV overcoming the split and seeing both groups merge and bring in the other libertarian unions would be the best outcome]

---

Revol quite how you translate the occasional discussions we have on what exactly is going on into a 'hard on' I really don't understand. I suspect just like labelling us trots its simply a way of avoiding dealing with the issues in depth by instead seeking to polarise the debate. But feel free to demonstrate the existance of this hard on by reference to our publications etc if you can. Otherwise we might all get a lot more out of going into the issues than name calling.

---

There is a lot of very interesting general stuff on workplace organisation cropping up in this thread that I'd like to comment on. Right now I'm trying to put an issue of Red and Black Revolution to bed but I'll come back between articles.

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Nov 9 2004 01:25

Joe you well know the USI, or a section of it, was not expelled. I was at the XXth Congress and as I have spoken about this with members of the WSM including yerself on numerous occassions, unless I'm wrong in my assumptions about who you are, and if so in the unlikely case you don't actually speak to other members, I'll tell it again.

The USI were split at this Congress, I mean they had split beforehand and two factions arrived. The attitude of the Italian comrades seemed a lot more civilised all round than what was going on between the CNT-F factions present. When it came time for the USI factions to put forward their respective viewpoints to the Congress things became somewhat heated. A speaker from the section which left (I can't remember which geographical terms referred to which section) the Congress and the IWA became increasingly agitated by a translators inability to keep up with his increasingly rapid speech. Things went from bad to worse. The speaker then basically lost the plot and threw his delegate card on the ground (or at the platform), declared that it was all over and that they were leaving the Congress and the IWA - he was joined by his comrades, who all threw down their delegate cards. And so they left.

Sort of seems to me like they didn't really have a mandate to leave the IWA, and had been expected to state their case and fight to remain in the international. Why do I say that? Well because after they got back home they started claiming they had been expelled and that they were still the IWA section in Italy. Perhaps an injustice has been done to USI members from that section of the USI - but it was done by their own delegates.

I think you'll find that revol68 may be referring to the fact that when the WSM chose to print any articles about the activities of 'anarcho-syndicalist' unions its the CGT and the SAC who get into print in Workers Solidarity. You may not like his language in relation to this but as I've already said I don't think his essentially a 'trotskyist position' in relation to the unions had anything to do with namecalling - if you want to continue reading it like that go ahead. Perhaps his use of the term wasn't useful (but I do believe he knew exactly what he meant as opposed to throwing out an insult), but if thats not useful then forgive me but neither is your continuing to insist on taking it that way. There are issues to be explored and discussed in relation to how this impacts on the work of anarchists in Ireland in the unions we have here, and it may well not have any impact at all. But the fact that WSM members in SIPTU backed a candidate for one of the unions top three top jobs not so long ago probably reinforces revol68s view that the WSM is pursuing a strategy in the trades unions that is a least very similar to a trotskyist position. And thats about strategy not about namecalling.

Steve has already provided information on the situation re the USI and Italian works councils. Going to court over the right to use the name CNT may not have been the best of moves but it sort of pales into insignificance when you consider the dirty war against the CNT that i was referring to at the time included blowing up a disco and blaming it on a CNT member who died alongside others in the explosion. It also included undercover cops deliberately trying to provoke CNT members into confrontations and lots more besides. In this atmosphere along comes the renevado split.

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Deezer
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Nov 9 2004 09:47

"Revol - I think paid officials (i.e. people with power in a union, to call off strikes etc.) is obviously wrong - but i don't think you can do without paid administrators. I mean even tiny enterprises like AK Press and Freedom can't do without paid volunteers - cos most workers can't afford to just work for the movement for free, and it wouldn't be fair to only let rich people occupy these positions."

GB AK Press is a workers co-op if I'm not mistaken, not sure how Freedom works though, but what I do know is that these workers are not employeed by a union which claims, or has to, represent workers in opposition to their bosses. The points made about paid workers, and I was talking about bookshop workers, clerical staff, etc., not people who got their loss of earnings re-imbursed by the union for sitting on a committee, is that the union them becomes the employer. Surely you can see the problem here! If not I seem to remember that T&G employees took industrial action against the T&G a few years back, Steve has mentioned the CGT having to re-instate a woman in Seville - this is mental. And it must also be pointed out that if there was a drop in membership or a drop in the value of dues coming into the union (due to inflation or wage and other increases in associated costs) the union ends up in the position of having to lay people off, cut their hours or wages.

AK and Freedom should pay their workers (paid volunteer is sort of a contradiction in terms isn't it), they are an essential part of the broader movement, they perhaps should even be members of an anarcho-syndicalist union if there was one in Britain but they should never become union employees.

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Nov 9 2004 11:29
Boulcolonialboy wrote:
AK and Freedom should pay their workers (paid volunteer is sort of a contradiction in terms isn't it), they are an essential part of the broader movement, they perhaps should even be members of an anarcho-syndicalist union if there was one in Britain but they should never become union employees.

circle A red n black star

But surely all anarchists should be in the business of supporting workers against the bosses - it seems weird to say it's fine for AK to sack someone but not the CGT.

I mean I dunno it's not nice but someone who works for an anarchosyndicalist union is gonna be an anarchosyndicalist, and want what's best for the organisation... and how can you administrate an org with 50,000 (or, thinking for the future [fingers crossed]) a million members with unpaid volunteers? I mean one option would be outsourcing admin to collectives of workers co-ops, but then those small groups of workers would have a huge amount of power over the membership - when the membership should have the power over them.

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Nov 9 2004 13:13
revol68 wrote:
can i suggest u get a time machine and consult the CNT of old who managed a membership of over 500,000 with only one paid secretariat, rememebr this was in the time before mass communications. I would suggest that with an active memebrship and the benefits of modern technology it wouldnt be too hard to recreate.

can i suggest that you board that time machine yourself and compare the amount of bureocracy and different elements unions are involved these days. The technology hasn't cut the amount of work, it has increased it. And one paid secretariat is one too many according to some, why is it politically different to have one or 10?

Comparing the todays work CGT do to some 70 years old situation where people were happy to get a shared newspaper to the workplace once in blue moon, and if they needed to contact the union they sent a letter and got a responce in 2 months, or just talked to someone they knew, is just silly man. The world has changed, just a wee bit.

JoeBlack
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Nov 9 2004 13:21
Boulcolonialboy wrote:
Joe you well know the USI, or a section of it, was not expelled. I was at the XXth Congress ..

What I wrote wasn't clear enough, I was referring to the CURRENT debate on the USI ( I think Steve has posted about it on this thread, scroll up and you'll see his post). According to him this is over something similar. You have indeed explained the previous congress stuff to me before.

Boulcolonialboy wrote:
I think you'll find that revol68 may be referring to the fact that when the WSM chose to print any articles about the activities of 'anarcho-syndicalist' unions its the CGT and the SAC who get into print in Workers Solidarity.

Well first off we hardly print any articles of this type at all, I'm not sure that 3 such articles over a decade could be called a 'hard on'. And in fact we have also printed articles about the CNT where we got information.

Our long standing postion is that we have no position on the CNT split itself but as you know when we wrote to both CNT and CGT in 1986 asking if either might be able to provide a vetern of the revolution for a speaking tour only the CGT replied. Because he was then the speaker for a speaking tour we were damned by the CNT and other sections as taking the CGT side and all contact was ended. So where only one side of a split is communication with you (and asking you to international events and getting their members to look you up when in country) you will tend to find most of the news you get is from them.

[ Actually I've just decided to check what articles we have published on our index of such articles at http://struggle.ws/wsm/international.html . This is rather interesting because under Spain you in fact find three articles two of which are actually about CNT disputes and the third is about a joint CNT/CGT/Solidaridad Obrera demonstration in Madrid. The last line is significant as reflecting well our point of view "While these strikes and struggles are encouraging, what is perhaps most worthy of mention here is the fact that the main anarchosyndicalist organisations, CGT, CNT, CNT-AIT and SO, only a short while ago bitter enemies, have gradually, over the last couple of years, started to work together amongst themselves and other syndicalist organisations, forgetting previous differences, accepting current diversity while looking for shared interests and concerns." Although in fact its an article written by a CGT member. This confirms my feeling that organise members are forming their impressions of where we actually stand on something other than what we have published - this is not useful at all.]

Boulcolonialboy wrote:
You may not like his language in relation to this

Its not so much a question of language as the simple point that the stage at which you call an anarchist a trotskyist tends to be the point at which any useful argument stops. To give a more local example, would you start a debate with David Irving by calling him a fascist and if you did so would you think the discussion that followed would be improved or disimproved?

And then there is the question of arguing by analogy. Where both sides accept the analogy it is useful but if as here this is not the case it gets you nowhere and may well lead to a 'your a fascist - no your a fascist' debate.

Boulcolonialboy wrote:
But the fact that WSM members in SIPTU backed a candidate for one of the unions top three top jobs not so long ago probably reinforces revol68s view that the WSM is pursuing a strategy in the trades unions that is a least very similar to a trotskyist position.

He'd have a case if he could argue that two of us voting for Des to be allowed to run at a SIPTU branch meeting amounted to a 'strategy' rather than a solidarity gesture with someone we have done a huge amount of work with in the past and who is a friend. He knows and you know this is not the case, instead it seems to be yet another in a long line of pretty thin sticks to beat the WSM with. [In terms of strategy the fact that our union position paper actually forbids any member becoming an official - and that we lost one member over just this point some years back is a bit more telling].

And in relation to the 'trot' accusations I've already said rather than using analogy please quote where we say what you think we are saying. All our material is online and the position of the organisation is that expressed at http://struggle.ws/wsm/positions/tradeunions.html so its not that hard to find such quotes if they exist outside of your imagination

"4.1 The response of many on the left is that we have to elect and/or appoint 'better' officials. They see the problem primarily in terms of the individuals who hold the posts. This stems from their conception of "socialism" as some sort of giant state enterprise bureaucracy where things are done "for the workers". Workers' self-activity occupies no leading role in their scheme of things, just as real workers' control is not part of their plan for a "socialist" society. Their ideas are rooted in an authoritarian view of the world." hadly ties in with these claims.

Boulcolonialboy wrote:
Going to court over the right to use the name CNT may not have been the best of moves but it sort of pales into insignificance when you consider the dirty war against the CNT that i was referring to at the time included blowing up a disco

Unless you are suggesting that this was carried out by those who were later forced to drop the name CNT then its not relevant. The Spanish state attacked both sides of the split, people were jailed on both sides. People I've talked to in the CGT reckon this must have also involved infiltrating both sides of the split to make it deeper and bitterer. Inviting the Spanish state to settle a central issue of who the 'real' CNT was in the midst of this is more than 'not ... the best of moves', its as contradictory as the IRA taking the 'Real IRA' to the Old Bailey to force them to drop the initials.

As I already said it doesn't prove who was right and who was wrong but it does point out the hypocrisy of lot of this discussion around state involvement.

JoeBlack
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Nov 9 2004 13:31
revol68 wrote:
can i suggest u get a time machine and consult the CNT of old who managed a membership of over 500,000 with only one paid secretariat,

I'm familar with this claim but I wonder about it. The CNT at the time had daily papers and I don't see how you can have a daily paper without people working full time at least in production and distribution. Were these people not paid? (In which case only the rich could perform this task, not very libertarian). Anyone able to clarify this?

But in any case if the principle is to have no paid employees then 1 breaks this principle in the same way that 100 would. It then becomes an argument as to whether the CGT has too many employees (and maybe they do) rather than that they have committeed some fundamental sin by having any. I'd suggest as usual the attempt to treat it as proof of a 'fundamental sin against anarchism' actually gets in the way of building a movement where the real question should be how do you deal with this issue in a libertarian way.

JoeBlack
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Nov 9 2004 16:37

My work on the magazine is finished, you should be able to pick it up at the bookfair so I'm going to go back over points I skipped over earlier.

revol68 wrote:
firstly the myth that anarcho syndicalism is just about structure is nonsense the structure will be informed by the content and if the membership is overtly reformist then the union will not be anarcho syndicalist.

This is something you seldom hear anarcho-syndicalists of the IWA say although I have very often heard it from SAC and CGT members. It's also worth noting that it is pretty much what the WSM say about all unions.

revol68 wrote:
As for the democratisation of the unions, yes anarchists must struggle within the confines of the present unions but at a certain point they must break and attempt to form autonomous structures otheriwse the militancy will evaporate under the pressure of the leadership, the trade unions are not reformable and the leadership will certainly not stand idly by whilst their power is stripped off them.

There is nothing here I would disagree with except perhaps the idea that we should 'form autonomous structures' at a certain point in the future rather than where possible begin this now. But I guess it depends on what you mean by 'autonomous structures', can this only be a new union (the least promising route in my opinion) or does it also mean within and inter union networks and rank and file groups? And I don't think even the trots expect that ' the leadership will certainly not stand idly by whilst their power is stripped off them'.

revol68 wrote:
A change in working class militancy could change all that with the CNT growing and being a militant force whilst the CGT would be trapped within the layers of bureacracy it tangled itself in, and unable to act as a revolutionary pole. The CNT could have a smaller base but be in a position to be more effective in encouraging working class self organisation.

This could be the case but not only do I think you are over estimating 'CGT bureacracy' I also think you are underestimating the role of historical inertia in the working class. Revolutions frequently always see support gravitating towards what appears to be the more radical organisations OVER TIME but while this is something trots can make use of its not so useful for anarchists. Why so?

We are talking of support - ie 'I think this party represents me best' type stuff not the actual accumulated experience of libertarian organisation that comes only from practise. Without that experience you are talking of a pretty small vanguard (5,000 in this case) leading 50 million to liberation. The problem is obvious.

Also of course the historical experience is that inertia means the transfer of support lags well behind events and indeed is driven by the often spontaneous actions of the working class. So with Russia in early 1917 you have pro-war liberals initally leading an anti-war socialist movement then pro-state pro-war Bolsheviks leading an anti-war movement for self-management. By mid 1918 when the self-management organisations (KAS etc) started to grow it was much too late.

Pretty much the same thing happened with the German revolution, by the time the SDP - KPD - KPAD transfers had resulted in a significantly sized KPAD the revolution was lost.

Part of the reason that Spain was such a success was that a very large section of the working class went into the revolution with years of experience of libertarian organising. But even so it took well over a year for the major revolt to erupt against the big mistake (collaboration and government) and that was too little to late to change the course of events.

So in other words while it may be comforting for a small group to imagine the day when the working class radicalises and flocks to their ranks this will probably be too late and would not in any case give you a libertarian result. A rather flawed but mass experience of libertarian organisation is a lot more valuable in a revolution then a handful having a perfect practise and waiting for the masses to abandon the Labour Party and then abandon the Socialist Party/SWP before realising where true salvation lies.

Think of it in terms of the SWP rotating door, an organisation that can keep almost no one fooled for long. New members seldom last more than 3 months but three months in Paris in 1968 carries you all the way from the heady May days to the re-election of De Gaulle and the reaction that followed.

[BTW the WSM is almost as guilty as any other group in falling into the 'one day' wishful thinking trap].

revol68 wrote:
however the point remains that the unions can not be democratised

Says who?

Seriously why assume that the working class would be uniquely defeated in one of the few areas where on paper if not in fact we already have control. Or more importantly for those who believe in breakaways that precisly the point a breakaway is most likely to emerge is when the bureaucracy succeeds in preventing the reforms demanded by a majority of the membership?

revol68 wrote:
as for the political (actually i think it might have said ideological) networks im almost 100% positive i read the the minutes of the Sil conference and it had listsof which groups had signed up to which, i believe the AF france and alternative libertaire where amongst the sigantures in the ideological network.

Huh?

There is no seperate ideological and economic list of groups affiliated to SIL there is just a list of groups affliated to SIL (at http://www.ils-sil.org/eng.htm amongst other places). I'm 100% sure if two seperate lists existed with us on one and not the other I'd be aware of it.

The only other interpretation I can make of what you might be thinking is that because SIL is a network of unions and propaganda groups therefore a defacto division exists because both are present in the same network. But if this is true then it is also true of the IWA and any network that involves non-unions.

nastyned
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Nov 10 2004 18:19
JoeBlack wrote:

I'm familar with this claim but I wonder about it. The CNT at the time had daily papers and I don't see how you can have a daily paper without people working full time at least in production and distribution. Were these people not paid? (In which case only the rich could perform this task, not very libertarian). Anyone able to clarify this?

From what I've been able to gather the CNT, the confederation, had one paid secratarty. Most of the affiliated unions unions relied on voluntary work but some of them did have paid officials. Dunno about the papers and printers but I can't see how they could have functioned with paid employees.

JoeBlack wrote:

But in any case if the principle is to have no paid employees then 1 breaks this principle in the same way that 100 would.

I don't agree with this. One paid offical as a necessary evil is different from hundreds of bureaucrats would. Without wanting to get dialectal there's a case for 'quantity into quality' here.

JoeBlack wrote:

Pretty much the same thing happened with the German revolution, by the time the SDP - KPD - KPAD transfers had resulted in a significantly sized KPAD the revolution was lost.

Not quite sure what point you're making here. The KAPD should have split away earlier or everyone should have stayed in the SPD?

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888
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Nov 10 2004 23:40
George'sBush wrote:

Revol - I think paid officials (i.e. people with power in a union, to call off strikes etc.) is obviously wrong - but i don't think you can do without paid administrators. I mean even tiny enterprises like AK Press and Freedom can't do without paid volunteers - cos most workers can't afford to just work for the movement for free, and it wouldn't be fair to only let rich people occupy these positions.

Weird - so how come the CNT managed without paid volunteers then? Shouldn't computers reduce the need for bureaucracy rather than increase it?

Full timers = bureaucrats = scum. No one should be able to make a career out of anarchism.

If absolutely necessary they should only be allowed to work in that position for a year max. at a time, and obviously have no decision making power.

Employees = total anathema.

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Nov 11 2004 09:58
888 wrote:
Shouldn't computers reduce the need for bureaucracy rather than increase it?

no, it increases the work, it does not decrease it, just look around you mate! It may increase the productivity, but this has been my bloody point for couple posts already: people would resign from a union in a second if they were as "unproductive" and worked in the same way they did when my late grandad was in his teens.

Compare this to the myth of paperless office grin COmputers have increased the paper consumption, even though theoretically there is no need for it anymore.

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Steven.
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Nov 11 2004 10:55
JDMF wrote:
888 wrote:
Shouldn't computers reduce the need for bureaucracy rather than increase it?

no, it increases the work, it does not decrease it, just look around you mate! It may increase the productivity, but this has been my bloody point for couple posts already...

Now I disagree with 888 about not having paid people - I think it's unavoidable for a large organisation, but I do think computers do make admin more efficient. I mean just think about how a website can show someone so much info that you don't have to write to them/send a brochure. Not to mention how much easier it is to make outreach material (leaflets, papers, books etc.). Email is much faster, easier + cheaper than mail, computer databases are much more efficient than paper ones yada yada

JoeBlack
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Nov 11 2004 11:24
JoeBlack wrote:

But in any case if the principle is to have no paid employees then 1 breaks this principle in the same way that 100 would.

nastyned wrote:
I don't agree with this. One paid offical as a necessary evil is different from hundreds of bureaucrats would. Without wanting to get dialectal there's a case for 'quantity into quality' here.

I wasn't clear enough. I agree that 100 paid bureaucrats would almost certainly indicate a problem. But if the 'sin' is employment (and that is the way it is being talked about here) then 1 is just as much of a sin against the 'principle' at 100 is. IE there is the suggestion that if the union employees someone it is not longer syndicalist (or AS) this would logically apply to 1 - I'm suggesting its not actually a sensible sin in the first place.

nastyned wrote:
Not quite sure what point you're making here. The KAPD should have split away earlier or everyone should have stayed in the SPD?

I'm not making any argument about what they should have done (and certainly not stay in the SPD!). I was pointing out that this theory of workers choosing more radical option in more radical times is true but that there is an inertia to it which means by the time the social democratic -> hard left -> libertarian pattern has played out its too late to save the revolution. In other words you need a very big anarchist organisation(s) before the revolutionary situation rather than hoping that a small group will grow once the crisis hits.

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888
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Nov 11 2004 20:50
George'sBush wrote:

Now I disagree with 888 about not having paid people - I think it's unavoidable for a large organisation,

Sounds like the CGT had paid people who were employees - that's what I object to most - did they run the workplace democratically? Not if they were employees.

JoeBlack
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Nov 12 2004 11:28
888 wrote:
Sounds like the CGT had paid people who were employees - that's what I object to most - did they run the workplace democratically? Not if they were employees.

How do you then carry out the administrative side of any large organisation then? This does require people who can put a huge number of hours into it, are you suggesting they should be unpaid?

Some of these hours can be filled by many volunteers doing a couple of hours a week each but even small projects I've been involved in (like a libertarian bookshop) needed someone who could keep the admin side of things going on a day to day basis.

One reading you can take from your quote is that you feel the 'employees' should run the workplace, a slogan that is indeed at the centre of anarchism. But in the case of a union does this mean the 'employees' decide on the strategy of the union and whether or not for instance members can strike? Or does it simply mean that they manage the office and related premises. And where you have a situation of say one person on a wage provinding the co-ordination for a largely volunteer project do they alone get to make the decisions because they are paid? These are quite tough questions.

JoeBlack
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Nov 12 2004 13:52

Someone just posted a report on the CGT to infoshop news which has some relation to stuff in this thread.

http://www.infoshop.org/inews/stories.php?story=04/11/11/9459137

And from this I've just spotted a link to a 1998 interview with a CGT member that discusses the 'cop' issue and a number of the other raised here. It's at http://www.ainfos.ca/98/may/ainfos00110.html

JoeBlack
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Nov 22 2004 10:58
revol68 wrote:
can i suggest u get a time machine and consult the CNT of old who managed a membership of over 500,000 with only one paid secretariat

I've been doing some asking around on this and appartently a number of former CNT workers (typists, secretarial staff) from the 30's approached the CGT to see if they could help find proof that they had been employed by the CNT back then. It was in connection with claiming pension rights. I didn't hear how many were concerned.