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Syndicalism Reviewed

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ajjohnstone
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Dec 6 2019 19:08
Syndicalism Reviewed

https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/12/06/syndicalism-for-the-twenty-first...

Quote:
The dogmatic syndicalist attachment to the mass union is based on a false interpretation of history. Syndicalism’s ultimate goal was not to establish mass unions. Syndicalism’s ultimate goal was to establish a classless society, or, as many a syndicalist preamble declares, “libertarian socialism.” A hundred years ago, building mass unions appeared to be a viable means to reach this goal. Today, it does not. This doesn’t discredit the syndicalist idea of strengthening worker’s self-organization and solidarity in order to fight capital and the state. It only means that syndicalism has to express itself in other forms.

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comradeEmma
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Dec 7 2019 05:32

At what point does syndicalism stop being syndicalism though? The article brings up a lot of good points but at some point it is just not syndicalism really. Are they proposing that SAC and FAU are turned into some type of quasi-party that connects threads to both solidarity groups, community groups, political parties, rank-and-file militants, and so on? I of course support the forming of such a political formation but at some point that is just a revolutionary group of some kind that acts as political and organizational leadership, but it is also a very large endeavor.

Quote:
A hundred years ago, building mass unions appeared to be a viable means to reach this goal. Today, it does not. This doesn’t discredit the syndicalist idea of strengthening worker’s self-organization and solidarity in order to fight capital and the state. It only means that syndicalism has to express itself in other forms.

Though I still feel like the most recent successes of SAC have been "typical" unionism. In my pretty rural area they managed to help organize EU-migrant workers("Skåne Factory Worker's Section") who had not gotten the help they wanted from the social-democratic union, and then they threatened with industrial actions and eventually won negotiations for safer forms of employment.

Not directly related to syndicalism but "independent" unionism also had a large success this year with the dock worker's union winning against the dock employer's organisation and against the social-democrat union in its fight for a collective barging agreement through the usage of strikes.

They also don't seem to engage with why the CGT has mass-support and is called "reformist". Is it not in part because they engage with more "traditional" unionism, such as putting up candidates in the "trade union elections" while CNT rejects such activity?

Quote:
Even if there is a renewed focus on class within the left, many leftists still see the working class as something external. This is what makes workers suspicious of the left. Questions such as “Why do they care?” and “What do they want to get out of this?” are common and understandable. There is good reason to be wary of “labor organizers” who seem to be distinct from the working class.

I have a feeling that they are projecting their own positions as intellectuals... In general I feel like this article is turning SAC's failure to organizing larger sections of shop-floor workers as a general historical tendency and not a failure in organizational methods. Why was SAC not a "mass union" during the 70's, 60's, 50's, etc before the neo-liberalisation? Why were the driving ideological forces in the syndicalist movement mostly students, like Zenit? There has obviously been a failure in class composition and I think the usage of worker's centers is a good start to resolving this contradiction.

I think a lot of these strategies, like worker's centers, are still very untested in general, and especially in rural areas. It has worked will in Stockholm as we have seen but what strategies can be used to form this "militant worker's organisation" outside of the cities, or how do you organize rank-and-file militants in industrial centers outside of cities?

jc
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Dec 7 2019 12:44
Quote:
One reason for the state of the syndicalist movement is that syndicalists dogmatically adhere to a particular form of organization that, with very few exceptions, hasn’t proven successful in almost a hundred years: the syndicalist mass union.

Well first off I'm pretty sure SolFed has moved away from this already at least a decade ago - see the Industrial Strategy, and the book Fighting for Ourselves.

Second, the old early 20th century uk Syndicalists did most of their work inside mainstream trade unions, with some success (see Albert Meltzer's "First Flight")

So I think maybe this applies more to Sweden and Germany? Maybe someone from IWW or IWGB can comment on how it applies to their organisations though it might be more relevant to them.

Quote:
We need working-class organizations that transcend the framework of contemporary unionism and unite a strong minority of workers able to radicalize their colleagues. A concrete example would be associations of workers centers or local solidarity networks.

Tbf this also sounds like how SolFed works already? The industrial strategy is basically a rearrangement of the different parts of the workers movement. Since struggle goes up and down, we find that mass unions in "peacetime" are run by a handful of people speaking for thousands, and have their radical or militant policies held back. In "wartime" the workers directly involved tend to go the other way - getting more radical and militant than the union bureaucracy, to the point the union begins to hold them back.

So instead, we stop trying to make PERMANENT mass organisations for now. Instead, we make the organising committees and the networks of militants permanent. When a struggle comes up we argue for it to be run by mass meetings of all those involved - not managed by us OR by the bureaucracy of a mainstream union. Iirc the closest this got in recent years was the struggle against privatisation at Sussex University where a mass meeting of people in the dispute tried to form a "pop up union" to allow them to legally go on strike when Unison sabotaged their plans.

I think it would help to look further back in history to worker's disputes before permanent Trade Unions existed for inspiration. For example the Royal Dockyard strikes of 1801 managed to unite people across all trades and across Dockyards in very different parts of the country (both of these were a huge deal at the time, it took about 100 years of struggle to get the different Dockyard trades to work together). This was all done with ZERO permanent organisation in charge. What does that tell us about the needs for a mass organisation to organise us?

Quote:
Even if there is a renewed focus on class within the left, many leftists still see the working class as something external. This is what makes workers suspicious of the left. Questions such as “Why do they care?” and “What do they want to get out of this?” are common and understandable.

Ha, yeah the authors are dead right about this part! If we aren't "the worker's" or "the people" then what are we doing here??

Quote:
The worker’s movement remains predominantly white, male, and based in the most secure sectors.

I think this needs to be clarified more. Membership of trade unions in the uk is disproportionately female. But maybe not the proportion of organisers or the proportion of anarchasyndicalists. Putting a number to it would make for a better discussion. For example if participation is a bigger problem than membership, then there's practical measures we can take to fix that like pushing union branches to pay for childcare during meetings. (in a unite branch I was briefly involved with this improved the gender balance and meant they had enough people to be quorate! Win win.)

Overall I think the article does make some good points although they aren't aware that some syndicalists are already putting them into practise, & have a more diverse history than now remembered. In particular the emergence of workers networks, pioneered by anarchosyndicalists about 3 decades ago and now used widely to organise precarious workers, is something I'd like to see discussed. Isn't that an example of the kind of new forms they are talking about?

And also, applying Syndicalism to community struggle would be good to talk about. On the one hand have always been crushed between low wages and high rents, so it makes sense to organise among tenants. On the other, organising in our neighbourhood makes solidarity across workplaces possible and has always been an (often invisible) element of the class struggle. If Unite the Union can organise community branches then it makes no sense for anarchasyndicalists to neglect this!

Dyjbas
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Dec 7 2019 15:30
jc wrote:
When a struggle comes up we argue for it to be run by mass meetings of all those involved - not managed by us OR by the bureaucracy of a mainstream union. Iirc the closest this got in recent years was the struggle against privatisation at Sussex University where a mass meeting of people in the dispute tried to form a "pop up union" to allow them to legally go on strike when Unison sabotaged their plans.

This actually happens more often than you'd think. Recent examples in the UK include Durham, Teesside, Liverpool, and more. These are still very limited struggles, but they point the way forwards.

It's the standard approach of the Communist Left to have a permanent political organisation – which can intervene in struggles, encourage self-organisation, and carry the communist programme passing on the lessons of the past – instead of permanent economic organisations – which, even if starting with different intentions, tend to become mediating bodies between labour and capital.

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comradeEmma
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Dec 7 2019 16:49
Quote:
I think this needs to be clarified more. Membership of trade unions in the uk is disproportionately female. But maybe not the proportion of organisers or the proportion of anarchasyndicalists. Putting a number to it would make for a better discussion. For example if participation is a bigger problem than membership, then there's practical measures we can take to fix that like pushing union branches to pay for childcare during meetings. (in a unite branch I was briefly involved with this improved the gender balance and meant they had enough people to be quorate! Win win.)

I think to some extent the authors are either operating on dogma, or they just mean to say that women more often work in precarious situations. If we look at the trade union confederation in Sweden(LO) then we can see that male dominated industries have more male members, but we can also see that the largest union Kommunal consists 80% of women, followed by Handels 67%, HRF 65% and Fastighet 49%. I personally work in a male dominated industry but we also face the contradiction that women are proportionally more organized than men, but have no real representation in leadership.

LO have done some interesting investigations into itself on the topic(which is where I am getting these numbers), they also compared the levels of representation between the "white-collar" unions(LO only organizes working people) to LO's level of representation,


https://www.lo.se/home/lo/res.nsf/vRes/lo_fakta_1366027478784_jamstalld_...$File/Jamstalld_representation_2013.pdf

To some extent unionism is not failing in gaining a mass-form, the issue is that leadership and the general structure of the trade unions have become bureaucratic and is unable to actually engage membership(which is also one of the most stated reasons for people leaving from my understanding).

asn
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Dec 8 2019 09:14

Leninist girl: I suggest you look at the discussion on the thread - new 'base' unions in London - on the organise forum on Libcom.org and review of 'Unruly Equality': US Anarchism in the 20th Century - in Rebel Worker Vol.34 No.2 (226) July- Aug. 2016 in archive section www.rebelworker.org - for a discussion so called syndicalist 'unions' which are in reality micro democratic versions of the corporate unions and the syndicalist sect/cult phenomena. Definitely the SAC moved away from syndicalism from the late 1920's - became integrated into the Swedish welfare state and Industrial Relations system. It also receives funds from the Swedish State for overseas outreach activity. Whilst according to a SAC old timer we met some years back - its training courses are all about working in the Swedish IR system - definitely not direct action/general strikes/revolution etc. Its strategy of incrementally getting bigger and bigger and working 'legally' has not led to it becoming a mass syndicalist union movement - but incorporation in today's corporate unionism formerly reformist unionism. A mass syndicalist union movement would develop more from the development of strike waves, countering the employer offensive and turning the tide and major break away unions from the corporate unions stemming from long range work by syndicalist on the job organising assisted by syndicalist outside the job organising. I suggest you make a serious study of the SAC's history see essay on sweden in Revolutionary Syndicalism: An international perspective edited by Wayne Thorpe and Marcel Van Der Linden

syndicalist
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Dec 8 2019 22:37

From a very fast and superficial read, I am not sure what is being suggested by the comrades? Somehow they seem to have some sort of "threshold" they consider as being useful in measuring "mass". Though I am not always sure if "mass" in and of itself is a full measure of success. Ultimately, yes, but wondering (out loud) in the current period if this is doable. There are roads that need to be traced along the way, with a starting point required.

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comradeEmma
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Dec 8 2019 23:59

I feel the article is striving for some kind of short-cut to winning and revamping a stagnated movement. I feel like "restructuring" or dissolving oneself as one type of organisation into a more network-like mode of organizing has become sort of current trend. The old Trotskyist party "Socialistiska Partiet" also recently dissolved themselves into "Socialistisk politik" because their party would never become a "mass party" and therefore they would do this to get a larger net of contacts in the broader left and labor movement. A bit more of an "intellectual" focused move compared to this but I feel like there are a lot of parallels...

Though I don't get the feeling from people active in SAC see any contradiction between like new things and unionism, and don't speak for like the same type restructure as this article does.

ZJW
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Dec 9 2019 11:40

The book review that asn recommends is the issue of Rebel Worker for which this is the url:

http://www.rebelworker.org/archive/REBEL%20WORKER%20ARCHIVE/rw%20july-au...

jc
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Dec 9 2019 13:17
Quote:
This actually happens more often than you'd think. Recent examples in the UK include Durham, Teesside, Liverpool, and more. These are still very limited struggles, but they point the way forwards.

Thanks for the links. And of course the first one brings up trouble with Unison! Why is it every other complaint I hear about the mainstream unions involves them??

Quote:
It's the standard approach of the Communist Left to have a permanent political organisation – which can intervene in struggles, encourage self-organisation, and carry the communist programme passing on the lessons of the past – instead of permanent economic organisations – which, even if starting with different intentions, tend to become mediating bodies between labour and capital.

I think there's space for something in between that isn't quite either and I think that's where SolFed is roughly. Idk if this applies to all parties, but most seem to focus first on spreading ideas, when tactics like how to organise a workplace are what I think's most important. And it seems that mostly happens inside of unions for now.

Sharing stories of workers pushing the boat out is something I like though, good on ICT for writing those up!

Now I'm going to be lazy and ask you something instead of googling it - are there many parties who take action of their own accord, to intervene or help in worker's struggles? Say like organising disputes under their own banner when necessary?

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R Totale
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Dec 9 2019 21:52

By the way, given that "worker centers" are one of the main practical answers suggested by the article for a way forward, this critical article might be of some interest: https://organizing.work/2019/11/are-worker-centers-unions/

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sherbu-kteer
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Dec 10 2019 00:56

I found this article frustratingly brief, it makes a lot of assertions it does not particularly justify or explain. For instance it says that "mass unions" are no longer relevant in the 21st century but does not go into why. Avoiding trying to answer that question also opens up their idea to the same criticisms that apply to revolutionary unions now: if these unions have failed, what makes them think that their specific working class organisation idea will succeed?

I don't see how to interpret this article as anything other than Bewernitz and Kuhn advocating that syndicalists abandon syndicalism. The lack of detail provided about the kind of organisation they want to form makes the reader wonder what would separate their organisation from any of the other predominantly political groupings that seek to do much the same thing, eg platformist organisations, left communist groups, etc.

As I understand it, the prime dividing line between syndicalists and other libertarian socialists is that syndicalists believe revolutionary unions are ultimately sufficient for the destruction of capitalism and construction of socialism, whilst the others believe that separate non-union organisations are required. If Bewernitz and Kuhn believe in the latter, then why not just say that syndicalism is dead and we need something else?

syndicalist
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Dec 10 2019 01:42
R Totale wrote:
By the way, given that "worker centers" are one of the main practical answers suggested by the article for a way forward, this critical article might be of some interest: https://organizing.work/2019/11/are-worker-centers-unions/

I will admit, I found this curious and interesting. Having been a proponent of "workers centers" for decades ahead of most becoming NGO'd, there is still value to the original concept. Of in the US its become an uphill struggle, but that shouldn't diminish the possiblieis of them become organic vehicles in the class and community struggle tool box. In the early years of French syndicalism, the concept of a sort of workers center ("Bourse du Travail") were positive and self-organized. And the question of simply taking the current "american model", with all its flaws, is limiting and perhaps not even what is being suggested. I'm not sure what they are suggesting as the article itself is not clear in this regard as this passage suggests:

Quote:
"We need working-class organizations that transcend the framework of contemporary unionism and unite a strong minority of workers able to radicalize their colleagues. A concrete example would be associations of workers centers or local solidarity networks. Advantages of workers centers are: they are relevant even in precarious sectors; they are able to respond to labor migration; they can easily be tied to community organizing; they offer collective spaces of workers’ culture, which have largely disappeared during the neoliberal restructuring of labor."

Dyjbas
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Dec 11 2019 00:23
jc wrote:
I think there's space for something in between that isn't quite either and I think that's where SolFed is roughly.

At least looking from the outside, it seems that SolFed's activity has recently been largely reduced to case work. Danger there is that rather than encouraging action beyond the control of the ruling class, you just end up targeting those landlords and bosses who break ruling class laws. A service model maybe fit for dealing with individual grievances, but not collective struggle.

jc wrote:
Idk if this applies to all parties, but most seem to focus first on spreading ideas, when tactics like how to organise a workplace are what I think's most important. And it seems that mostly happens inside of unions for now. [...] Now I'm going to be lazy and ask you something instead of googling it - are there many parties who take action of their own accord, to intervene or help in worker's struggles? Say like organising disputes under their own banner when necessary?

I disagree with relegating politics to a secondary concern. Our view is that "there is a no task of agitation, organisation, intervention in the economic/demand struggle detached from political work. We never act with the sole objective of instigating or supporting struggles but we try to be an active part in the struggle with the aim of being able to develop political work at the same time (never later)."

In general the Communist Left doesn't seek to "organise the class". The political organisation however has to begin to root itself among the class through intervention: supporting self-organisation, encouraging the formation of strike committees, mass assemblies, etc., and introducing communist perspectives. For what that may look like in practice, see for example the intervention of our comrades in Pomigliano, or our recent small intervention in Liverpool (already mentioned above).

But that's just speaking for our tendency here, other groups of the Communist Left will have slightly different views (so you may want to google those!).

Ragnar
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Dec 13 2019 02:53

I saw an untrue premise in the article, Syndicalisme is death because we don´t have massive unions and because of our weakness, we need to do a political organization of social - syndicalist militants. And I share the same thoughts of sherbu-kteer about the poor arguments that have the article.
Syndicalism birth with the same goal of the First Internacional, to organize all the working class in a big organization to push for our emancipation as a class. so yes! we need massive unions to do the change at some point. there is the CNT as a sample of this needs it of massive unions for a revolutionary transformation of economy and society.

About how to analyze this, we need to think that every country has different ways in which the unions have to play and also which gaps have each country for expanse the revolutionary unions.
Another thing to consider is the working-class culture, it´s not the same in 1920 that in 2020 although we have the same basic principle to rebuilt this in terms of power. For that, we need to think in terms of how is life in the labor world, in other words, wich response we have as working-class (and specific as militants) in the working place, in the neighbor (communities), training-culture-education, sports, arts, entertaining, love, ecology, etc... because this way of thinking is Syndicalime too.

The anarchists and syndicalists in Spain could have had this massive revolutionary movement because they inserted in all the spikes of the worker's life from childhood until the end. they had cultural centers and schools. sports groups, etc... that build a new world with their own code, for that reason when the union has had a conflict in some companies was much easier to organize the solidarity as a class, the Canadiense Strike was possible because of that.

If anyone studies the growth and fall of the revolutionary syndicalism can see these patterns, the countries that unions lose early this connexion or were destroyed for the State or fascist movement. After that they found very difficulties to become massive again.

In terms of Spain, CGT barely reaches 60.000 members (that it´s not bad at all), internal problems do not allow it to grow properly, still grow but some of the members and industrial branches that left they joined to another left union or SO (Solidaridad Obrera). In my opinion, I´ll say that CGT is a possibilist and radical union. On the other hand, CNT reaches between 6.000-7.000 members and growing, has good numbers between precarious workers and also in these last two years so many women joined the union and take responsibilities positions and as organizers, this focus in organising workplace and support communities issues It's having good results.
The point here is that as long as they grow, they try to recover these connexions in the working-class communities' life. There is a good synergy between the rent movement and the anarchosyndicalist unions, also because of so many syndicalists (anarchosyndicalists), leftists and anarchist militants are organizing and support there.

So, for ending this, SAC in Sweden and FAU in Germany should be thinking where put the next steps to keep and expanse the union straight in workplaces and communities, try to more workers join it and help the initiative and participants of members. The networks between activists and Union militants never is something bad, but without a radical Union to build the revolutionary strategy as workers gonna be always an open field to the political parties to recover these rewards to a parliament strategy, or to wash up the face of the mainstream union because of it aloud a radical tendency inside.
These issues, for example, we can see it pretty clearly in the history of the worker's movement in UK when the syndicalists always have these problems between being a tendency or become a revolutionary union.

asn
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Dec 13 2019 12:38

Ragnar Quote "For that, we need to think in terms of how is life in the labor world, in other words, wich response we have as working-class (and specific as militants) in the working place, in the neighbor (communities), training-culture-education, sports, arts, entertaining, love, ecology, etc... because this way of thinking is Syndicalime too.

The anarchists and syndicalists in Spain could have had this massive revolutionary movement because they inserted in all the spikes of the worker's life from childhood until the end. they had cultural centers and schools. sports groups, etc... that build a new world with their own code, for that reason when the union has had a conflict in some companies was much easier to organize the solidarity as a class, the Canadiense Strike was possible because of that."

All you are doing is spreading more confusion - perhaps reflecting how middle class/student elements see syndicalism - based on oppression mongering - as a sort of a-historical fantasy garnished with much dope smoking and LSD imbibing and an abysmal lack of historical research - If you look at the Barcelona Rent Strike 1931 - discussed in an essay by nick rider in For Anarchism edited by Goodway- you had an economic combative/syndicalist organisation - the CNT which was linking up with a community/associations movement over rents. The same thing you have with the CNT linking up with the rationalist school movement. You can't just use this broad sweep label of syndicalism - Both the current CNT's/CGT and FAU etc (in Australia you of course are aware of an unconscious sort of syndicalist movement in the NSW BLF in the late 60's early 1970's which linked up with residents associations re green bans - see review of the book green bans/red union in archive section of www.rebelworker.org) - are very much today in the orbit of the corporate unions and enmeshed in their respective countries IR and other state set ups and have moved away from syndicalism. As a result of them getting incrementally bigger and bigger won't help the situation. What's necessary is strategic organising - tackling the employer offensive with major DIRECT ACTION (an essential key aspect of syndicalism - if you don't know what it means read classic works eg Rudolph Rocker etc) - focusing in at least one strategic sector - to slow down and turn the tide against the employer offensive via strike waves - change the climate in the workers movement - raising workers morale generally and facilitating syndicalist organising in other sectors - leading to major syndicalist breakaways from the corporate unions. An example of such activity would be the work of the 'Right to Existence' anarchist group (not the exotic left subcultural hot house growth so called anarchist groups of today of course!) in the years leading to the formation of the US IWW in 1905 and immediately afterwards. Some thing like this was happening in France in 1947 - but foiled by the CIA and rightwing elements in the CGT and the Cold War. See book review in ASR and RW "Syndicalism in a Neo-Liberal Climate" In the context of these major breakaways and a new syndicalist union movement - then you can have 'genuine' workers centres - foci for organising/coordinating direct action re community etc stuff and workers self education not help mates of the corporate unionism and hang outs for middle class/student leftist activoids/sects/cults and their disgusting political correctness displays/identity politics.

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sherbu-kteer
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Dec 13 2019 14:59

ASN, I disagree. Ragnar is totally correct that the CNT at its peak was accompanied by a "cultural" (for lack of a better word) movement of youth groups, theatre societies, hiking clubs, etc, and that this played a strong role in both helping to foster working class solidarity and furthering libertarianism more generally. Have you read Chris Ealham's books, either on Peirats or on Barcelona? Chapter two of the one on Barcelona has a good description of what I mean -- CTRL+F "Yet the CNT was just one element" for the bit I'm talking about.

Of course, focusing on cultural activites whilst neglecting industrial militancy is a terrible idea, but I don't think Ragnar is suggesting that. That you've interpreted their comment to mean that they intend to set up the middle-class LSD squats of your nightmares is your own problem.

asn
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Dec 14 2019 09:39

Ragnar is clearly promoting a sort of "monolithic" fantasy syndicalist movement - involved in everything under the sun! (Needless to say such a conception would go down like a lead balloon amongst militant workers and let alone the average worker today! ) He talks about everything being 'syndicalist'. Not as occurred such as in the case of the Barcelona Rent strike of different movements working together. In the case of the FIJL(Libertarian Youth) again a separate movement but supported the CNT and played a key role in s rebuilding of its underground existence under Franco. You could say 'allied' but not part of some monolith/quasi party fantasy. Could also point to a dose of the Stalinist legacy upon him and others. There was such a tendency in the 70's Intergralists or Globalists involved in the reconstruction of the CNT - and reflected the attraction to the CNT of middle class/student/Hippy type elements(associated with the cultural ferment/dissidence following the end of the Franco regime) and was an important contribution to the CNT's instability and subsequent cycle of massive devastating splits see a very important new book 'Anarchism and Political Change in Spain' by Maggie Torres reviewed in latest RW Dec.2019 - Jan.2020. I noticed there was quite a bit of this globalist confusion amongst some who used the anarcho-syndicalist label in Australia seeing it through the prism of the middle class left subcultural prism in the late 80's and early 1990's.

Ragnar
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Dec 14 2019 15:55

I'm going to want to think it's a misunderstanding because English is not my mother tongue, or you just haven't read everything I wrote.
I will start with the free ad hoc from the beginning to me. I am not middle class and my student life is like that very far away. From a family of farmers and migrants from the countryside to the city. I am Spanish, so, fortunately, I have had more access to books and research on the social life of the Spanish working class, its culture, on the workers' movement and on the intra-history of trade union organizations, working-class neighborhoods, etc. and how they related. I also had the opportunity to discuss these issues with old CNT militants who are no longer with us today.

Please tell me where I say the union has to do absolutely everything, I don't defend that vision at all (of the Apaches and Luis Andrés Edo). The union is not a political and ideological collective, despite the fact that it is politicized by the economic struggle. It is easy to see this perspective seeing characters like Anselmo Lorenzo, José Negré, Manuel Buenacasa, Salvador Seguí, Periró, Pestaña, Lucía Sánchez Saornil, Amparo Poch and Gascón and a long list of names.
As I said above, the union must gain strength in the companies and industrial sectors, mainly. While this happens there has to be a process of connecting and helping to consolidate working-class communities by supporting their needs.

I see that the union should be the center of working-class life and that it should have a lot of satellite groups and organizations that support its effort so to speak (shaping a revolutionary culture in working communities and forming a natural connection between them). Seeing examples of when revolutionary unions were massive, the union helped finance cultural activities, workers' mutuals, schools, libraries, scouting groups, workers' cooperatives, sports teams, and so on.

Obviously, in order to promote all this, it is necessary to analyze what militant forces we have, what questions we can advance from year to year, from one day to the next, many union militants can only focus on an effort to organize their work and make the union more efficient, giving specific support to social initiatives (rental union, feminist groups,...).

It must also be clear that in a union there are natural levels of participation, there will always be militants more focused on their place of work, others more on the coordination of the entire union, others who are more sympathetic, others who have more militancy apart from the union...

So I don't see what monolithic fantasy idea the syndicalist movement has in all of this.
It gives my ASN that we are more in agreement than you thought.

Ragnar
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Jan 3 2020 13:49

Any more thoughts about it?
What do you think also to implement a Strike fund as a offensive strategy to the whole union to expand the union in to the workplaces by push for strikes?

asn
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Jan 4 2020 11:54

I don't think the strike fund idea is the way to go - you could get into long drawn out disputes with hard line bosses and the whole thing could end in disaster - something like this happened with the IWW in the USA from the seventies in their organising drives in various small places - see review of an oral history of IWW strikes 1971-92 on archive section of www.rebelworker.org
The way to go is to get all key militants and all resources to focus in one key sector - eg transport to get strike waves going involving industrial guerrilla tactics - lightning strikes at busy times etc. Look at the ASN transport industrial paper for ideas - it would have to be open to all militant workers who wanted to do something (with your outside the job people helping out intensively) - naturally grass roots members of the corporate unions should be welcomed - needless to say security checks would be required to avoid stooges of the bosses and corporate union officials etc infiltration of networks. With big actions going you raise the morale and energise militants in other sectors who currently are lying low - in Spain given your traditions a lot of doors could open re new major break away unions from the corporate unions etc mushrooming. You should not be focusing on 'numbers game' stuff - recruiting to the CNT but get this much more complex situation going of breakaway unions etc going. In this context get some merger going or close alliance.