10-Point Program of the Catalan CNT

Picket in Olot, Catalonia, during the Catalan General Strike of 2017.

Twice in the last year, the anarcho-syndicalist CNT of Spain has led general strikes which had a massive following, despite the abstention or active sabotage of the business unions. With the deepening crisis in Catalonia, and the CNT's growing legitimacy, they have put forward a program to mobilize and unify action.

Originally posted in English at From the Ashes.

Introduction:

We have translated this program that the CNT (a revolutionary union in Spain) is putting forward as a solution for the current political and economic crisis in Catalonia. We think this program is important for revolutionaries in other countries to engage with because of the unique situation in Catalonia, and of the CNT and the other radical unions there. The problems in Catalonia are different in many ways from the ones we see in North America, and not everything can (or should) be copied over without context. Several of the proposals, in fact, may not make sense for North America. This is appropriate - when revolutionaries are in a position to actually influence the course of events, they need to know how to make their principles present “in the workplaces and the streets", as this program attempts to. That will always look different based on the local context.

Twice in the last year, the CNT (along with other radical unions) has led general strikes which had a massive following, despite the abstention or active sabotage of the Spanish business unions: the Catalan general strike against state repression in October 2017, and then the Feminist General Strike on March 8 of this year. The radical unions, the CNT and CGT in particular, are successfully becoming a major point of reference for the working class in Spain, especially the most combative sections of it.[i] This program isn't just words on a screen - it is meant to be a weapon, and there is a real chance it could actually be taken up by workers in large in large numbers to mobilize and unite their struggles.

The political crisis in Catalonia would make it very easy for revolutionaries to be disoriented by a wave of nationalism, and either stay silent, or speak without saying anything useful. This program from the Catalan CNT is a very concrete attempt to propose a path forward that is based on common class interests rather than nationalism. It contains specific proposals that can mobilize multiple distinct sections of the working class that have their own distinct challenges, such as working women or agrarian workers, and lead to a unity in struggle that recognizes and addresses those unique challenges.

It's also important to remember that the CNT operates from the bottom-up, without any experts planning out their strategy from above. This program was developed and proposed by rank-and-file members in one branch, and was then discussed and modified by all of the other members in Catalonia through their branches before being collectively adopted. This is exactly how revolutionary unions should develop their programs, rather than (for example) endless debates on social media that lead nowhere.

- Wobblies for a Revolutionary Union Movement

Spanish Version - Original Catalan Version
 

Faced with the current political situation in Catalonia and everything that has happened recently, the union branches of the CNT in Catalonia and the Balearic Islands understand that:

  • We need to make sure that our anarcho-syndicalist principles are present in the street, so that they give us credibility and legitimacy among our class, the working class. That is why we won't let any political parties make decisions for us, nor will we let them cover the struggle of the Catalan people in their flags. If we want to be taken seriously, we need to put forward proposals which are credible, possible, and above all useful - in the street, and in the workplaces.
  • The problems that we, the people of Catalonia, are facing today must be fought and dealt with by us, without anybody else telling us what to do. We have to make it clear for the people in Catalonia that the Catalan problem requires an internationalist and anti-statist solution. We can't fall into xenophobia, or into promises of better states within the capitalist regime.
  • The "Catalan problem" is actually all of Spain's problem. It's a unique opportunity to overturn the "Regime of '78"[ii]; we are the only ones that have the legitimacy to speak against this regime. We were the only ones who didn't sign their conciliation treaties, and we are the only ones who never stopped denouncing the pseudo-democratic mafia which has been governing us for the last 40 years.
  • For us, workplace organizing is a means, not an end. Our goal is the social revolution which will completely overturn the current socioeconomic order. We support the Catalan population in its current demands as a population and a society, insofar as we form a part of this population and this society. Once these goals have been achieved, we will continue working for our ultimate objectives.

 

With this understood, we declare that:

We only want a republic if it is social and anarchist, based in the self-management of the means of production, distribution, and consumption. The Catalan population's aspiration towards self-determination and social justice is only possible if we have a class perspective, and a focus on creating the structures of self-management that help prepare the working classes to construct the society we desire.

The union branches of the CNT of Catalonia want to make very clear that we remain firm in our commitment to the work that we consider essential to progress, the defense of the rights and freedoms of the working class, and the Social Revolution. Therefore, we are publicizing a 10-point program, which we will continue to develop from our union branches. We will also work to create public platforms to support the achievement of this program. This is the only way we will win improvements for the working classes.

1) Direct development of permanent jobs

In private enterprises and public administrations, as a general rule, all contracts will be indefinite and full-time. In cases where a business wants to contract workers in another way, this will be discussed and agreed to with the union representations (Union Sections) which are present in the workplace. The unitary representations (works councils or staff delegates) will be excluded from these negotiations.[iii]

2) Development of a regular work day

Complete elimination of extra hours. Complete elimination of the irregular distribution of the workday. If a business or public administration claims the need to restructure from a normal workday, they will have to discuss it with the union branches which have a presence in the workplace. The state-sponsored representations (works councils and staff delegates) will be excluded from these negotiations.

3) New general minimum wage

Establishment of a new minimum wage of 1,200 Euros per month for all workers in public administrations or private companies.

4) Action Plan for Equality

Elimination of all categories in collective bargaining agreements which cover up offering working women positions with worse salary conditions than their male colleagues. All working women will immediately be transferred to the appropriate salary category.

5) Factory closures

Faced with factory closures: recovery, transformation, and worker's self-management.

6) Confederal Employment Plans

Out of the union branches, we envision the creation of:

  • Cooperative projects of production and consumption, in the city as well as the country.
  • Hiring halls for people without work, in the city as well as the country.

We will tend to their promotion and creation, as well as establishing contact with other cooperative projects that share interests. This will help towards the creation of a united platform for mobilization, oriented towards relieving the situation of people without work.

7) Comprehensive health reform

We propose: Establishment of technical associations to manage the health centers (hospitals and primary care) with the participation of members of the Popular Assembly, in the city as well as the country. These Popular Assemblies might already exist, they might be Associations of Neighbors, they might be created by the unions to fill this role, or they might be a fusion of all of these, resulting from the unitary platforms for mobilization which were mentioned earlier.[iv]

8) Comprehensive Educational Reform

We propose: Defense of the linguistic immersion model which is the current norm in Catalonia, which we consider unifying and progressive. Creation and promotion of free school projects by any means which are available (renting, buying, occupying...), on the part of the unitary platforms of mobilization (popular assemblies) in the city as well as the country. Active participation by the popular assemblies in the development of blueprints for turning the current public schools into truly free schools.

9) Comprehensive Agrarian Reform

We propose: Abolition of the special Social Security system in the country; all workers are equal. Immediate affirmative action in health and education with the cities. Promotion of cooperative work. Promotion of a change in the structure of farming, to adapt it to high quality and agro-ecological forms. Promotion of distribution and exchange networks.

10) Structures of Self-Management

The unitary platforms of mobilization (or the union branches of the CNT in areas where these platforms don't yet exist) which have already taken up education and health as areas of work according to the above proposals, should also become involved in housing and energy poverty. This is how we will continue to prepare and ready ourselves to take on ever more issues which put us on the road to self-management, which is exactly the type of society which we wish to live in.
Adopted in Olot, Catalonia, April 11, 2018
 

 

[i] The CNT and CGT both lay reference to the historical anarchosyndicalist (revolutionary unionist) movement in Spain. They have different approaches to Spanish labor law, and did not work closely together for a long time, but since the economic crisis hit Spain in 2008, they have begun to forge a working unity in struggle, most recently exemplified during the Catalan General Strike in 2017 and then the Feminist General Strike in 2018.

[ii] The “Regime of ‘78” refers to the system that was set up after the death of the dictator, Francisco Franco. From the perspective of the CNT and other revolutionaries, the so-called ‘transición’ (transition to democracy) was really just a ‘traición’(betrayal).

[iii] In Spain, each worker has a contract (or is supposed to) which regulates their work. “Union sections” are branches of workers at a particular workplace, and form the basis of the CNT’s strategy for dealing with Spanish labor law. “Works councils” are government-supported and -financed bodies at large workplaces based on voting for representatives every 4 years – the CNT rejects these bodies and calls on all workers to organize without them.

[iv] Popular Assemblies became very popular in Spain after the M15 movement in 2011. Similar to General Assemblies in North America, they are mass meetings which allow everyone present to speak. Associations of Neighbors are legacies of neighborhood-level mobilizations from the 60s and 70s.

Posted By

OliverTwister
Apr 27 2018 19:46

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  • The "Catalan problem" is actually all of Spain's problem. It's a unique opportunity to overturn the "Regime of '78"; we are the only ones that have the legitimacy speak against this regime.

    CNT

Attached files

Comments

akai
May 1 2018 08:15

It's obviously a product of deep sexist assumptions that I am the only "funny" one here, but these arrogant attempts at dismissal are pretty transparent. As are the constant prejudiced lies that come out of Twister's mouth, due to both ignorance and his attempt to be spokesperson of a movement that has moved away from libertarian ethics and finally has watered itself down to the type of pretentious populist stuff that his buddies might swallow.

As the IWA does not have any influence over the internal political programs of any of its members, it's a bunch of paranoid horseshit that the CNT had to run away from IWA to make such programs. However, it is true that those who tend towards such positions are also the people who conduct internal commissions on their own members to intimidate them for dealing with more radical elements, who threaten to beat and evict former comrades and support lawsuits to punish them and attempt to take possession of what they see as their private property. People can do all sorts of sommersaults but it's clear that many disgraceful methods have been used to achieve a certain deradicalization and to produce a more palpable alternative union product to market to the working class. While some of the points in the program could be OK, these are rather reduced to slogan form, as campaign points. Thus anybody who is serious needs to think more about the details of such and, in particular, the overall tendencies and practices of those proposing it. Furthermore, even if such reforms might be worth support, it still does not solve the deeper problems that this organization faces as a revolutionary organization.

Ragnar
May 1 2018 09:40

Spikymike
Its territorial framework is quite easy to understand if you understand that CNT is a confederation of territorial confederations and that congress agreements can adapt them to the local and regional reality as best considered for their development. As an example of labor struggles with this program but in other areas, Alumansa (Aragón, Zaragoza) and Extructura Levante (Valencian Community, Valencia), two CNT sttrugles victories that reverse points of the "labor reform" (an anti-labor law ) in companies of 200-300 workers where between 1/3 and half of the staff are affiliated with CNT.
The program serves to advance positions in the struggle, grow, strengthen and have more capacity and power of action.

Ragnar
May 1 2018 10:11

Akai, I don´t assume that you're funny, your argument is, just like Lugius's, that´s different to me one thing is the person that I really don´t care and other is the argument that is what I look. btw, how does the working class create a revolutionary opinion for themselves? through their class organizations, right?

Lugius, you gonna be very sad when you lost your argument the next week when pass the congress of the new internacional syndicalist revolutionary and anarcho-syndicalist.
For the umpteenth time, the CNT and the rest of the unions will not use the name of the AIT, it could be thought at first but not for months.
CGT is born of unions that leave the CNT or are expelled. The CNT fights for its acronym via judicial and wins it.
"CNT-AIT" is born of unions that leave the CNT or are expelled. The CNT fights for its acronym via judicial and will win it.
Where is the difference?
The CNT as a union also uses the legal and judicial resources it has at its disposal against bosses or those who try to usurp its acronyms and organization.

The € 500,000 is easy to understand when it is a demand made by the family of a person who fell through the hole of an elevator in the old CNT Elda (today expelled) and who did not want to take responsibility for the poor state in which the building or to fall and almost killed a person who invited to give a lecture. So the whole CNT has to assume the payment to the family and see how those same people from Elda keep calling themselves "CNT-ait" and insults us not only in social networks. Well, that shamelessness does not have logic. So they are sued for usurpation of acronyms, damages and losses to the CNT. That they do not want to pay or go to trial for that number? easy, do not use those acronyms, that are otherwise called "Spanish section - AIT" for example.

Battlescarred
May 1 2018 10:40

Happy May Day everyone!

Spikymike
May 1 2018 11:05

OliverTwister's response to my earlier question was very helpful in clarifying the origin and function of the '10 Point Programme' although such a programme is not necessarily any more valid or useful as a result of being democratically determined. In terms of the communist objective Union lead reform programmes, even if sought through the means of direct action, do not escape the general problematic of attempts to direct the wider class struggle via the politics of 'transitional demands'. The revised (ex AIT) CNT approach does not appear to me significantly different from that of other non-anarchist 'base unions', which may in present circumstances serve a useful if temporary function in defence of our class interests but will need to be surpassed if class struggle is to take on an effective anti-capitalist and communist direction.

R Totale
May 1 2018 12:38

I realise this is the sort of thing where different people will give very different answers, but could someone give a brief summary of the legal issues at stake in a) the old CNT/CGT dispute and b) the current CNT/CNT-AIT case? Are/were both mainly about who has the legal right to the initials and union property, or are there other substantial issues at stake?

OliverTwister
May 1 2018 14:03
Spikymike wrote:
OliverTwister's response to my earlier question was very helpful in clarifying the origin and function of the '10 Point Programme' although such a programme is not necessarily any more valid or useful as a result of being democratically determined. In terms of the communist objective Union lead reform programmes, even if sought through the means of direct action, do not escape the general problematic of attempts to direct the wider class struggle via the politics of 'transitional demands'. The revised (ex AIT) CNT approach does not appear to me significantly different from that of other non-anarchist 'base unions', which may in present circumstances serve a useful if temporary function in defence of our class interests but will need to be surpassed if class struggle is to take on an effective anti-capitalist and communist direction.

This is a good response, it clarifies political disagreement.

From my perspective, revolutionary class organizations (or perhaps 'intermediate organizations' if you prefer) are possible, although very difficult, and with a lot of potential pitfalls. Those organizations should fight to challenge the hegemony of the dominant institutions, including unions, non-profits, etc, with the goal of finding ways to expand and unify struggles. It seems clear to me that the CNT (and the CGT, for it's part) played a key role in expanding and deepening the impact of the Feminist General Strike, and helping to push it in a more anti-capitalist and class-based direction.

I also don't think that those organizations have a necessary or even privileged role in any eventual revolution. They might be surpassed, or might not be, and I certainly think that revolution is possible in areas where these types of organizations don't exist. I think that where they do exist, however, they can play a useful role in expanding the self-confidence of the working class, expanding and unifying struggles, and challenging the hegemony of liberal institutions.

I don't know what else revolutionaries would be trying to do in Catalonia right now, but I'd be curious to hear what other folks think would be useful.

@syndicalist, totally agree that there are many times where all there is is a small group, and it's fine and good for them to be bold. I don't know, it might be a generational thing, where I've seen too many people of my generation (and the next one even more) who have very grandiose theory on Twitter or whatever, but very little actual engagement with struggle.

syndicalist
May 1 2018 14:21

@oliver

Quote:
@syndicalist, totally agree that there are many times where all there is is a small group, and it's fine and good for them to be bold. I don't know, it might be a generational thing, where I've seen too many people of my generation (and the next one even more) who have very grandiose theory on Twitter or whatever, but very little actual engagement with struggle.

Naw, there's a tendency from generation to generation for this sorta thing to happen. There have been plenty of times of the past decades where some have put forward "big things", only to drop the ball. My own credo is: "If you can't get your hands dirty, don't make a proposal" I'd refine that to mean, huge proposals where lots of time and work are required.

doug
May 1 2018 16:54

I read the comments above before the text itself. I don't see where people have gotten the idea that this is a nationalist or reformist program. In fact I'd say it's encouraging to see a statement coming out of Catalonia right now that says explicitly:

'We have to make it clear for the people in Catalonia that the Catalan problem requires an internationalist and anti-statist solution. We can't fall into xenophobia, or into promises of better states within the capitalist regime.'

Yes, the document is advocating achievable improvements - some, like the call for the self-management of closed factories etc., that leave the door open to increasing control are not quite straightforward reforms.

Unlike the base unions in Italy - who I like, to be fair - this statement does keep coming back to a wider revolutionary perspective. I don't think this is just rhetorical.

On this of all days (you know, the celebration of the movement for the 8-hour day), it's positive to see fairly large-scale and serious discussions about how to link anti-capitalist politics with concrete demands and strategy. A class struggle 'distracted' by transitional demands would need to be surpassed for a clearer communist direction, but there needs to be something to surpass!

Red Marriott
May 1 2018 21:56

So a union has a program aimed at improving workers’ conditions via union recognition? That is unremarkable, hardly new and normally barely worthy of mention here; but that it is presented as the CNT’s orientation and contribution to a nationalist movement is its specific context and significance. The quality of the program content is not really the issue, it’s the pinning of it to the tail of a nationalist movement and portraying support for “self-determination” of “the people”/”citizens” etc as a route to realisation of that program – ie, a desired piggy-back for class improvement via cross-class national movements; and dressing all this up as “a revolutionary programme”! If one wanted to avoid such opportunist alliances and really encourage revolution one would have to deliberately use different terms from that of nationalism to clearly make one’s position distinct. All the nonsense about the 1st International and how terms were used then is an irrelevant deceit designed to have the cake and eat it too; deliberately ambiguous terms that the nationalists and leftists can read as they wish so as not alienate popular national sentiment and so to bury any contradictions.

CNT Program wrote:
We only want a republic if it is social and anarchist, based in the self-management of the means of production, distribution, and consumption. The Catalan population's aspiration towards self-determination and social justice is only possible if we have a class perspective, and a focus on creating the structures of self-management that help prepare the working classes to construct the society we desire.

?? The multi-class national entity known as “The Catalan population’s aspiration towards self-determination”, if realised, would enthrone and strengthen the local ruling class whose function is to deny “social justice” (in any meaningful way that that term can be understood) by the continued enforcement & maintenance of class society. And this is the 'hegemonic thinking' the CNT wants to promote? The program reads as a call for strong union recognition within a self-determined republic state. Or does the 'anarchist' CNT still not grasp that a republic is a state form? And that neither socialism nor anarchism are possible in one country/nation/republic?

Regardless of any other of his possible failings and Ragnar’s cynical attempted use of them to dismiss all he says, Amoros’s critique of the present situation is either helpful in understanding the present situation or not. It rings far more true & coherent than what I’ve heard from the CNT.

doug
May 2 2018 09:44
Red Marriott wrote:
The quality of the program content is not really the issue, it’s the pinning of it to the tail of a nationalist movement and portraying support for “self-determination” of “the people”/”citizens” etc as a route to realisation of that program – ie, a desired piggy-back for class improvement via cross-class national movements; and dressing all this up as “a revolutionary programme”!

I don't see this at all. The text gives a good argument for internationalism against nationalism. The use of 'self-determination' in context means Catalan *working-class* people's desire for greater democratic freedom - i.e. control over their lives - and 'social justice'. In other words, instead of joining the nationalist bandwagon they're trying to communicate to the many w/c people inspired and caught up in the campaign for independence, recognizing the legitimate needs wrapped up in that, but directing it to an explicitly class-based perspective. If they meant some sort of cross-class Catalan people this can't be reconciled with the rest of the paragraph: '[it] is only possible if we have a class perspective, and a focus on creating the structures of self-management that help prepare the working classes to construct the society we desire'. The same goes for their use of 'republic' - a term used across the political spectrum as some form of self-government. A republic in this case that is 'social and anarchist' means the free self-managed society, not 'strong union recognition within a self-determined republic state' or anarchism-in-one-country (because, as they say, 'the Catalan problem requires an internationalist and anti-statist solution').

The statement as I read it is taking a critical-constructive approach to the events that have been happening in Catalonia, which is difficult and necessary. It's something that we had to deal with in Scotland, and still do. Nationalism took over the Scottish left: we had not just the usual electoralism but people became genuinely energised and took to the streets, and Independence became the means for social change. We found that abstract, rational critiques which don't relate to people on an emotional and practical level were not going to work. A more useful approach (seen in the From Yes to Action statement by autonomous groups in Scotland) was, certainly not to drop our critique of nationalism which needs to be made, but at the same time to reach out to all w/c people with class-based demands we could work on through self-organisation.

Ragnar
May 2 2018 10:40

Come on Red Marriott, I'll chew on you like the children to see if that's how you get better.

Quote:
True to our principles, we understand that our highest priority now is to help the working class understand the power that we have as a class. This will help us seize consciousness of ourselves as a decisive and principal factor. Once again, we need to demonstrate that we have to solve these problems ourselves, or else nobody will.

We need to make sure that our anarcho-syndicalist principles are present in the street, so that they give us credibility and legitimacy among our class, the working class. That is why we won't let any political parties make decisions for us, nor will we let them cover the struggle of the Catalan people in their flags. If we want to be taken seriously, we need to put forward proposals which are credible, possible, and above all useful - in the street, and in the workplaces.

We have to make it clear for the people in Catalonia that the Catalan problem requires an internationalist and anti-statist solution

For us, workplace organizing is a means, not an end. Our goal is the social revolution which will completely overturn the current socioeconomic order. We support the Catalan population in its current demands as a population and a society, insofar as we form a part of this population and this society. Once these goals have been achieved, we will continue working for our ultimate objectives

once again, for the common and the majority of revolutionaries, union and social militants in Spain, people are equal to working classes (proletariat, peasantry and crafts). Not understanding this particularity will lead you to misunderstand the struggles in Spain and its ploblematics, 15M what was it? the Spanish people going out to the street or you prefer the working classes going out into the street.

this program is valid for Catalonia in Spain and abroad. because it only looks at the organization of the working class that lives in Catalonia (what they call the Catalan people). The program reads as a call for strong union recognition as the only possibility for the organised working class to have the capacity (power) to develop all its strength in the workplaces, the neighborhoods and the alternative economy and to try the social revolution.
Seen the comments I like to see that it is a good program.

------
Well, this is something more technical, but yes, libertarian communism, anarchy, are an ultimate form of republic, that is, a democratic, socialist and libertarian society where only the working class exists and the means of production are collectivized/socialized. Or are we monarchists?

About La International in Spain, two examples, I can look more if you want...

En septiembre de 1869 dos representantes del núcleo barcelonés, Rafael Farga Pellicer y el médico Gaspar Sentiñón, acudieron al IV Congreso de la AIT que se celebró en Basilea. ​ El primero fue como representante del Centro Federal de Sociedades Obreras, y el segundo de la sección de la Internacional y de la Alianza. El núcleo madrileño sólo envió un saludo, pues no contaba con dinero suficiente para pagar el viaje. Farga y Sentiñón propusieron que el próximo Congreso se celebrara en Barcelona, «la capital industrial de la República federativa ibérica»,​ y también presentaron un informe sobre la situación en España tras el triunfo de la Revolución de septiembre de 1868 en el que decían:

Aprovechando un movimiento militar, el pueblo ha derribado el trono, que siempre oprime las fuerzas vivas del trabajo. Los efectos bienhechores de la libertad han dado una gran solidaridad y una gran fuerza a las sociedades poco numerosas, que han sabido resistir a este largo período de opresión. Primero fueron constituidas sociedades de todo género, no solamente en los grandes centros obreros, sino también en las localidades de pequeña industria.[…]
La organización del país es tal que, actuando con inteligencia puede dar en poco tiempo resultados extraordinarios para la Internacional. Barcelona es una ciudad de las más importantes para esto, porque ya el número de corporaciones organizadas es de, con 8.080 miembros… El Centro Federal de Sociedades Obreras, constituido después de la "evolución" de septiembre-octubre de 1868, ha logrado organizar y federar algunas de las sociedades obreras en muchos lugares de España. Treinta y cuatro sociedades de Barcelona trabajan en la organización obrera ibérica… Muchas de estas sociedades obreras se han reunido para cooperar con el mismo propósito. Basta comprobar que en España conocemos la existencia de 195 sociedades con más de 25.000 miembros.

[...]
Entre el 10 y el 18 de septiembre de 1871 se celebró en Valencia «en un ambiente de semiclandestinidad» la proyectada Conferencia reservada o secreta, en la que se adoptó una resolución típicamente bakuninista:

Que la verdadera república democrática federal es la propiedad colectiva, la anarquía y la federación económica, o sea, la libre federación universal de libres asociaciones obreras agrícolas e industriales.

Spikymike
May 2 2018 10:36

Not sure how '(Scottish) Independence became the means for social change' and there was a good deal of self-delusion in the Autonomous groups post referendum statements interpretation of what lay behind the general public's surge of support for independence as reflected in Left nationalism. The statement itself managed to try and retrieve something positive from what was otherwise a failure of libertarian communist politics to have any significant impact during the referendum and largely avoided any explicit commitment to a reformist political programme in a way that the CNT statement hasn't. To the extent that there are comparisons between the UK and Spain and anarchism that perhaps lies in anarchism's inability to draw a clear distinction between the practice of class and territorial autonomy.
Effective communication between pro-revolutionary groups and the rest of our non-revolutionary class is always problematical but there should be no compromise in either our language or practice with left nationalism and populism.

doug
May 2 2018 11:19
Spikymike wrote:
Not sure how '(Scottish) Independence became the means for social change' and there was a good deal of self-delusion in the Autonomous groups post referendum statements interpretation of what lay behind the general public's surge of support for independence as reflected in Left nationalism.

On the first point I meant for many in the working class who wanted to see reforms in society, as opposed to those who wanted to defend the status quo or nostalgically return to some better imperial version of it. And although the statement is by no means perfect - it was worked out by different groups - those who wrote it weren't deluded about the presence of contradictory and reactionary motives in left nationalism, but wanted to speak to those in the more radical camp of the movement.

The talk about no compromise with problematic language is fine, but I think there's a lot of misunderstanding here. That and quick judgement from those who are politically against either the CNT or any attempt at trying influence and organise people beyond political groups.

akai
May 2 2018 11:48

I think that it is easier to discuss the criticisms of how the autonomy issue has been treated if we look at the various texts that were issued, not just this one. So it might be useful for those who haven´t seen previous discussions to look back at them.

Further, I always think it is useful to compare demands with the demands of the mainstream unions. In terms of the demands here, most of them could be made by mainstream unions in my country. But when we make demands, even if they coincide with some of the demands that even the mainstream unions have come to support, we try our best to give some deeper meaning and context to distinguish ourselves and to keep it clear that this is the minimum we can expect, not our end goal.

Finally, somebody asked about a difference between legal cases, CNT-CGT and CNT- CNT-AIT now, I think this needs to be a separate text, but the differences are significant. The CNT hasn´t sued to CNT-AIT asking that it persist using the initials CNT, but has made lawsuits mostly based on claims of slander against individual unions of the CNT-AIT, against one libertarian collective and 3 individual persons. These are numerous lawsuits of 50,001 euros each. They attempt to be punitive actions, not simply to stop them from using the name. And I have just found out, if the unions don´t have this money, it becomes the personal responsibility of the named secretaries of those unions and, if they cannot pay, they may be sentenced to jail time. So this is no ordinary suit and, as the asshole lawyer for CNT has said, his job is to finish off the CNT-AIT. Luckily they don´t have much chance, but this is their intention and it shows what kind of people these are who have no problems with using this type of legal coercion or even seeing the imprisonment of libertarian people. But this will be a separate text.

Mike Harman
May 2 2018 12:13
Red Marriott wrote:
The quality of the program content is not really the issue, it’s the pinning of it to the tail of a nationalist movement and portraying support for “self-determination” of “the people”/”citizens” etc as a route to realisation of that program – ie, a desired piggy-back for class improvement via cross-class national movements; and dressing all this up as “a revolutionary programme”! If one wanted to avoid such opportunist alliances and really encourage revolution one would have to deliberately use different terms from that of nationalism to clearly make one’s position distinct. All the nonsense about the 1st International and how terms were used then is an irrelevant deceit designed to have the cake and eat it too; deliberately ambiguous terms that the nationalists and leftists can read as they wish so as not alienate popular national sentiment and so to bury any contradictions.

This is a real problem and I think people are misunderstanding the criticism.

I don't like being the person to drag out the dictionary, but in this case it's useful because there are two generally accepted meanings for self-determination. Personal self-determination - to determine things for oneself, and national self-determination (the right of nations to).

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/self-determination

Definition of self-determination
1 : free choice of one's own acts or states without external compulsion
2 : determination by the people of a territorial unit of their own future political status

Compare to autonomy:

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/autonomy

Compared to autonomy:

1 : the quality or state of being self-governing; especially : the right of self-government The territory was granted autonomy.
2 : self-directing freedom and especially moral independence personal autonomy
3 : a self-governing state

Autonomy is used in a lot more contexts politically than self-determination, although it can still mean devolution and national independence. With 'self-determination' I automatically insert 'national' in front of it, and when someone is trying to use it in another sense, I have to try very hard to read past it or figure out if they're trying to sneak it in somehow.

What I read from the statement is:

"If you want real self-determination, it will have to be from a stateless classless society".

It's the bit in the preamble that is most telling for me though:

CNT wrote:
We support the Catalan population in its current demands as a population and a society, insofar as we form a part of this population and this society. Once these goals have been achieved, we will continue working for our ultimate objectives.

The 'once these goals have been achieved' absolutely leaves things open for a 'civic nationalism' which sees the new Catalan state as a stage on the way towards that society, possibly a better starting point to develop 'self management' from. Even if the authors of the statement don't think this, even if some of the rest of the statement contradicts it, you can read these sections and see support for secession. You could say that it's just accepting the reality of some kind of devolved administration or complete independence as an inevitability, but then why support something inevitable?

It would be possible to talk about the repression by the central government, say that you think people should attend popular assemblies etc., without needing to take a binary stance on the demand itself.

This is yet another case where even pro-national liberation people like Fanon and especially someone like Eusi Kwayana who had to deal very concretely with the failures of independence movements, often have more pointed concrete criticisms of the dynamics of national liberation struggle than most modern anarchist statements (whether soft-on or anti-). Concepts like comprador, neo-colonialism etc. don't point to an alternative, but they try to explain what happened, rather than dealing in abstractions. And the anti-colonial movements in Africa 40-60 years ago were dealing with incredibly repressive colonial state apparatus which class movements could not fail to come into direct conflict with - concretely very different from Catalonia relative to the rest of Spain.

If your criticisms of national liberation are less robust than those from people who are pro-national liberation, then something is wrong.

syndicalist
May 2 2018 16:07

Sorry, a lot if the postings are long and I've not read them all in depth.

I ask this out if curiosity only. On the Catalan stuff, recognizing it was published by Catalan folks,
what was the internal process in coming up with your points on this?
Were there open assemblies where proposals were discussed? Other forms of
open membership discussion of say an elected commission's recommendations?
I guess, I'm curious as the process in which positions came about.
Also curious how these compare, if at all, with previous and historical
provincial (Catalonia) anarchosyndicalist perspectives?

If these have been discussed earlier, apologies. Just point me to the
proper posting

OliverTwister
May 2 2018 16:22
syndicalist wrote:
Sorry, a lot if the postings are long and I've not read them all in depth.

I ask this out if curiosity only. On the Catalan stuff, recognizing it was published by Catalan folks,
what was the internal process in coming up with your points on this?
Were there open assemblies where proposals were discussed? Other forms of
open membership discussion of say an elected commission's recommendations?
I guess, I'm curious as the process in which positions came about.
Also curious how these compare, if at all, with previous and historical
provincial (Catalonia) anarchosyndicalist perspectives?

If these have been discussed earlier, apologies. Just point me to the
proper posting

It was mentioned in the intro, but hasn't been fully discussed in the comments.

Quote:
It's also important to remember that the CNT operates from the bottom-up, without any experts planning out their strategy from above. This program was developed and proposed by rank-and-file members in one branch, and was then discussed and modified by all of the other members in Catalonia through their branches before being collectively adopted. This is exactly how revolutionary unions should develop their programs, rather than (for example) endless debates on social media that lead nowhere.

I think there are only a handful of posters in Spain who could go into more detail, especially on your other questions, which I am also curious about.

ETA: I've heard that the initial proposal spoke in stronger terms about the dangers of nationalism and that it appears that some of this was lost in the process of discussion and amendment. Make of that what you will.

Red Marriott
May 2 2018 18:03

Re. Ragnar & doug above; Yes, I myself have referred to the CNT’s abstract anti-statism in contrasting it to their concrete support for “The Catalan population's aspiration towards self-determination and social justice” (I guess in Ragnarese “population” really means “working class” and always has done). Quoting it again doesn’t challenge anything I said.

NEWSFLASH;
amazing revelation: the concrete actions of unions & parties are often in contradiction to their abstract program.

Eg; I’m sure the CNT’s goal of ‘anti-statist revolution’ remained their program even as they sat in government in 1936 and as the leaders helped crush the May 37 uprising against Stalinist counter-revolution. One of the mainstream UK unions would on Mayday dust off a 19thC ancient banner proclaiming “abolish the wages system” (can’t remember which one, NUR?) but always acted in a completely opposite way. The ‘revolutionary’ anti-state/self-management abstraction tries to deflect criticism from the concrete reformism of the pro-independence stance. No one has answered how ‘supporting the aspiration for self-determination for a new state’ contributes anything to an anti-state revolution. Opportunism or worse. They define the role of the working class as “citizen” allies and constituents within a wider bourgeois nationalist movement, using the same bourgeois terms; anti-statism is postponed in practice until after the CNT has helped the nationalist agenda and its illusions by muting any radical critique of nationalism for fear of swimming against the tide. So they regularly talk of the working class as a constituent of a wider “people’s aspiration” for nationalist state building. They appear unable to grasp that a relevant anti-statist position could inform present practice - except by tail-ending nationalism. The working class as a lobbying constituent of The Nation - the CNT’s ‘One Nation syndicalism’.

And that’s their road to ‘revolution’; at most, a revolution in the national borders of state territory & reshuffling the ruling class. Salvoechea earlier put it quite clearly;

Quote:
Anarchist have an opportunity to be part of a democratic revolution. We need to push for a socialist revolution, of course, after winning some struggles before.

Yes, part of a bourgeois democratic people’s state revolution.

Again;

Quote:
"...all historical experience shows that an alliance concluded between two different parties always benefits the more backward - the more advanced party is inevitably weakened because the alliance diminishes and distorts its programme and destroys its moral strength and self-confidence; whereas when a backward party lies, it always finds itself closer than ever to its own truth ... I have no hesitation in saying that all the Marxist flirtations with bourgeois radicalism - reformist or revolutionary - can have no other outcome than the demoralization and disorganization of the nascent power of the proletariat, and therefore the further consolidation of the power of the bourgeoisie." (Bakunin, 1870s.)
doug
May 3 2018 16:14
Mike Harman wrote:
It's the bit in the preamble that is most telling for me though:
CNT wrote:
We support the Catalan population in its current demands as a population and a society, insofar as we form a part of this population and this society. Once these goals have been achieved, we will continue working for our ultimate objectives.

The 'once these goals have been achieved' absolutely leaves things open for a 'civic nationalism' which sees the new Catalan state as a stage on the way towards that society, possibly a better starting point to develop 'self management' from.

Agreed. This is a weak part of the statement. I'm not sure what the Catalan population's 'current demands' are. This could allow for implicit support for the nationalist parties. Deferment of objectives is also problematic. The promise of Independence is great at putting social struggles on hold. It's possible this part reveals a spectrum of views within the CNT unions. It'd be interesting to find out more.

Awesome Dude
May 3 2018 20:39

Ragnar,

The programme advertises itself as a "revolutionary unionist programme".

Where in this 10 point programme does it advocate the global abolition of wage labour? Surley it one of the ultimate demands of revoutionary unionism that has always been a minimum demand?

What does the "CNT Catalonia" hope to achieve with this programme? It strikes me as tending towards reformism and outside the "movements" of traditional revolutiontionary working class demands. Do you think the current working class retreat and general disorientation necessitates a watered down programme by "revolitionaries" inorder to reach the 'disorientated' working class to subvert the multitude of right wing populist journalisms that presently dominate the class?

I guess what I am asking is if this is an opportunistc programme that seeks to capitalise on what has transpired to be a cross class "bourgeois nationalist" movement for "self-determination" or a real attempt to re-forge anarcho-syndicalism as a genuinely working-class inspired weapon to abolish capitalism as a system of global exploitation?

Craftwork
May 3 2018 22:10

OliverTwister
May 4 2018 11:16
Awesome Dude wrote:
Ragnar,

The programme advertises itself as a "revolutionary unionist programme".

Where in this 10 point programme does it advocate the global abolition of wage labour? Surley it one of the ultimate demands of revoutionary unionism that has always been a minimum demand?

What does the "CNT Catalonia" hope to achieve with this programme? It strikes me as tending towards reformism and outside the "movements" of traditional revolutiontionary working class demands. Do you think the current working class retreat and general disorientation necessitates a watered down programme by "revolitionaries" inorder to reach the 'disorientated' working class to subvert the multitude of right wing populist journalisms that presently dominate the class?

I guess what I am asking is if this is an opportunistc programme that seeks to capitalise on what has transpired to be a cross class "bourgeois nationalist" movement for "self-determination" or a real attempt to re-forge anarcho-syndicalism as a genuinely working-class inspired weapon to abolish capitalism as a system of global exploitation?

What would you advocate as a program in the current situation there?

Awesome Dude
May 5 2018 00:32
OliverTwister wrote:
Awesome Dude wrote:
Ragnar,

The programme advertises itself as a "revolutionary unionist programme".

Where in this 10 point programme does it advocate the global abolition of wage labour? Surley it one of the ultimate demands of revoutionary unionism that has always been a minimum demand?

What does the "CNT Catalonia" hope to achieve with this programme? It strikes me as tending towards reformism and outside the "movements" of traditional revolutiontionary working class demands. Do you think the current working class retreat and general disorientation necessitates a watered down programme by "revolitionaries" inorder to reach the 'disorientated' working class to subvert the multitude of right wing populist journalisms that presently dominate the class?

I guess what I am asking is if this is an opportunistc programme that seeks to capitalise on what has transpired to be a cross class "bourgeois nationalist" movement for "self-determination" or a real attempt to re-forge anarcho-syndicalism as a genuinely working-class inspired weapon to abolish capitalism as a system of global exploitation?

What would you advocate as a program in the current situation there?

The fact is I am not "there" and I am not and have never been a member of CNT Catalonia. Abstract 10 point programmes issued from the sidelines is a waste of time. That however doesn't stop me or others having an interested observers opinion of the programmes issued by comrades in the "thick of it".

melenas
May 6 2018 07:11
akai wrote:
Finally, somebody asked about a difference between legal cases, CNT-CGT and CNT- CNT-AIT now, I think this needs to be a separate text, but the differences are significant. The CNT hasn´t sued to CNT-AIT asking that it persist using the initials CNT, but has made lawsuits mostly based on claims of slander against individual unions of the CNT-AIT, against one libertarian collective and 3 individual persons. These are numerous lawsuits of 50,001 euros each. They attempt to be punitive actions, not simply to stop them from using the name. And I have just found out, if the unions don´t have this money, it becomes the personal responsibility of the named secretaries of those unions and, if they cannot pay, they may be sentenced to jail time. So this is no ordinary suit and, as the asshole lawyer for CNT has said, his job is to finish off the CNT-AIT. Luckily they don´t have much chance, but this is their intention and it shows what kind of people these are who have no problems with using this type of legal coercion or even seeing the imprisonment of libertarian people. But this will be a separate text.

Stop your bullshits, CNT asked to different unions to stop to use CNT name and places and asked to give back the keys of the buildings several times, also try to recover the buildings but were reoccupated by the expelled unions, so all you say are your typical lies and bullshits.

why don't you explain that if happens any thing in any building that is property of CNT is CNT the legal responsible and the CNT general secretary the one that can go to jail? why don't you explain what had happened in Elda with the accident and how much money has to pay CNT and where are the responsible of the accident and if they assume any responsibility? why don't you explain that the CNT general secretary had to go to the court to answer about bullshits of unions of the IWA Spanish section because they use CNT name with out being part of CNT?

continue with your campaign of lies, but be calm, in CNT everybody knows that you were helping this people when CNT was a section of IWA. For less than what you were doing you expelled FAU. That is your libertarian level.

You came to Spain on 30 of April to say this:

"AIT expulsó a la CNT de sus filas y le negó el derecho de llevar sus iniciales."
"AIT expelled the CNT from its ranks and denied it the right to carry its initials."

Why you dont say this:

"CNT expulsó a unos sindicatos de sus filas y le negó el derecho de llevar sus iniciales."
"CNT expelled some unions from their ranks and denied him the right to carry his initials."

In Spain why say about what you do "Haz lo que digo y no lo que hago"

Happily CNT slowly is reorganizing the workers in several places and we will she how new stronger unions appear in places where you try to destroy CNT.

akai
May 6 2018 08:40

There's absolutely no bullshit in what I am saying. It's your lies that will be uncovered and it's not going to happen in a kangaroo court of a few of your buddies.

melenas
May 6 2018 10:18
akai wrote:
There's absolutely no bullshit in what I am saying. It's your lies that will be uncovered and it's not going to happen in a kangaroo court of a few of your buddies.

You were translating texts of the expelled unions when CNT was an IWA section. Everybody knows this, we have the minutes of the expelled unions where they make reference to your translations.

You speak bout the money received by the government by FAL but you don't say any thing about who was the general secretary of CNT in that moment and who was the responsable of FAL in that moment. Both are with you in IWA.

You don't say any thing about the fact that the person that was general secretary of CNT from 2007 to 2010 that now is with you in IWA toke they money of CNT to buy a building putting the building to his name with an other 2 people, basically put the money in his pocket.

You don't say that the union of this person was taken to the court by a worker of the union because the union didn't defense the worker against the company. The worker won in the court and that union was punish to pay some thousands euros to the worker, that union ask to the rest of the unions for the money because they didn't have it, and we, all the regional, put the money even this union wasn't paying to CNT anything more than one year and was making boikot to CNT.

Also you don't explain that with the negligence of Elda (now a dais member of IWA with you) die a historical member of CNT, that the responsables of this negligence never accept any responsibility and that was CNT the one that have to face all the legal consequences and payments to the family.

You are a totally lie, nothing that came from you can be trusted.

akai
May 6 2018 15:11

Aha. Even if there are some truths to what you say, (before you twist it) it doesn't make what I say a lie. That's illogical.

As for translating texts, not a crime, especially as CNT for several years before it was finally expelled had been breaking the statutes. As everybody knows, the CNT went into all the mail accounts of unions it wanted to expel and dig up "crimes". Many of the CNT unions only found out that you guys didn't pay the dues because they decided they had to go past the secretaries that didn't provide financial reports for 4 years to them and ask the IWA directly. That kind of stuff seemed like a necessary last resort to people, because of failure to comply with the mandates of the CNT and its statutes by the Treasurer and General Secretary. And as for people who asked for this information, you didn't expel them.

But, as I said elsewhere, since you want to bring everything to court, that's where it will be discussed and it can decide whether or not I or anybody else is telling lies. And despite my distrust of courts, I am sure that they will look at everything more thoroughly than the few folks left on this forum.

melenas
May 10 2018 07:25
akai wrote:
As everybody knows, the CNT went into all the mail accounts of unions it wanted to expel and dig up "crimes".

Lie. For example, this lie was repeated several times to explain how could CNT know that you where giving support to the unions expelled against a section of IWA and how could CNT get the minutes of the meetings of that unions. If you are so stupid that you send the information to whoever, then do not try to justify your stupidity saying lies that CNT went to the mails, and speaking about crimes.

akai wrote:
Many of the CNT unions only found out that you guys didn't pay the dues because they decided they had to go past the secretaries that didn't provide financial reports for 4 years to them and ask the IWA directly. That kind of stuff seemed like a necessary last resort to people, because of failure to comply with the mandates of the CNT and its statutes by the Treasurer and General Secretary. And as for people who asked for this information, you didn't expel them.

Lie. If the unions didn't know was because didn't want to know, the acounts were review in every pleno confederal by the delegates of the regional, So if any union has any questions could offer him self to go to the pleno or could ask to the delegates of his regional. The problem came when you do not take part in the meetings and you don't have interest in them. I knew perfectly about this because I ask. If there are unions that instead to ask to their delegates they ask to you is their problem.

akai wrote:
But, as I said elsewhere, since you want to bring everything to court, that's where it will be discussed and it can decide whether or not I or anybody else is telling lies. And despite my distrust of courts, I am sure that they will look at everything more thoroughly than the few folks left on this forum.

Yes, they will ask you, so you were giving support to a group in a country where there is a IWA section with out the permission of that section, something that go against IWA statutes. also they will ask you were says in IWA statutes any thing about suspensions of sections.

As I said, popcorn.

Red Marriott
May 10 2018 11:56
Awesome Dude wrote:
I guess what I am asking is if this is an opportunistc programme that seeks to capitalise on what has transpired to be a cross class "bourgeois nationalist" movement for "self-determination" or a real attempt to re-forge anarcho-syndicalism as a genuinely working-class inspired weapon to abolish capitalism as a system of global exploitation?

There is an anarcho-nationalist current among some Spanish ‘anarchists’ and the CNT statements appear to be carefully worded so as to appear all things to all people, ie, so as to not alienate anarcho-nationalist allies and others. Implying that Catalan national independence can be compatible with, continuous with and a positive stage progressing towards working class/syndicalist goals.