CNTE, FAU and USI release open invitation to the Bilbao International Conference, 26-27 November, 2016

The CNTE, the FAU, and the USI-AIT have issued an open invitation to anarcho-syndicalist and revolutionary syndicalist organisations to participate in a conference on the rebuilding of the IWA in Bilbao on the 26-27 of November 2016.

Dear comrades:

CNT-E, FAU and USI are sections of the International Workers' Association (IWA), founded in 1922.

We consider essential and urgent the existence of an active and inclusive anarcho-syndicalist International, which participates in and promotes struggles of workers worldwide and facilitates social improvements for them through this. Unfortunately, we have to admit that despite our best efforts the IWA has deviated from its principles and practices. Instead of concentrating on union activity, it has become bureaucratic, dogmatic and isolationist with regard to the labor movement. Considering this, we need to rebuild our International.

We believe that our International should restrict itself to general principles that express the commonalities that the members sections have, despite their different histories, traditions and social-economic situations. For us these general principles include:

- being an anarcho-syndicalist or revolutionary syndicalist organization as well as a bottom-up organization;

- not receiving economic funding from the state due to being a union or carrying out union activity;

- not supporting as an organisation any electoral project, neither of a political party nor of individual candidates.

In addition, we believe that member sections should have at least 100 members nationally. We believe that smaller groups can carry out propaganda activities or local conflicts better and should concentrate on developing at the national level, before taking part in the complex decision-making process of an International. In order to support groups which have less than 100 members we will have the status "Friends". We wish to help such groups grow and would be pleased to have them take part in our international solidarity campaigns.

At the same time, we do not presume to know or be aware of every other initiative worldwide that might fulfill these requirements. Therefore, we are issuing this open invitation to the International Conference, to be held in Bilbao (Spain) on November 26-27, 2016 during which we will be able to work towards a congress to rebuild an IWA. At the conference you will have a chance to present your organisation and its work, get to meet other similar initiatives, assess the benefits of joining us in this endeavor, make contributions and proposals towards the congress agenda and the rebuilding of an IWA, and explore, in any case, the possibility of joint international actions and solidarity.

Even if your organization is not interested in joining this project on a more formal capacity, or ultimately decides not to, we still invite you to contact us to collaborate in international solidarity campaigns.

A proposal for the conference agenda and more practical info will be sent at a later date to those organizations that have expressed an interest in participating in it.

You can contact us on any of the following email addresses to express your interest, confirm your attendance, raise queries or concerns, etc.:

CNT-E, exteriores@cnt.es

FAU, is@fau.org

USI-AIT, info@usi-ait.org

In solidarity,

¡Viva el anarcosindicalismo! ¡Viva la AIT!

Original text in Spanish: http://www.cnt.es/noticias/carta-abierta-de-invitación-la-conferencia-internacional-de-organizaciones-anarcosindicalis

Posted By

CNT_Exteriores
Oct 1 2016 12:24

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syndicalist
Oct 1 2016 13:37

How can you say viva AIT when you're spliting from the established AIT?

doug
Oct 1 2016 15:16

Because the sections behind the conference represent a clear majority of the current AIT?

syndicalist
Oct 1 2016 19:20
doug wrote:
Because the sections behind the conference represent a clear majority of the current AIT?

Then they should fight it out at the IWA congress internally
I'm sorry, I'm old school. That's where you fight it out,
mano-o-mano.

MT
Oct 1 2016 19:04
doug wrote:
Because the sections behind the conference represent a clear majority of the current AIT?

A really frightening argument... Is this still a forum visited by people who share the principles of direct democracy and federalism in their ideas and practice?

doug
Oct 1 2016 19:31

I don't see your point, MT. This is the majority dominating a minority? You're for consensus decision-making?

syndicalist wrote:
Then they should fight it out at the IWA congress internally
I'm sorry, I'm old school. That's where you mani-o-mano.

In its first announcement, the CNT said that it had tried repeatedly to change things in the IWA and they weren't going anywhere. That it's come to the biggest sections having to re-establish the international is pretty extraordinary.

syndicalist
Oct 1 2016 19:44
doug wrote:
syndicalist wrote:
Then they should fight it out at the IWA congress internally
I'm sorry, I'm old school. That's where you mani-o-mano.

In its first announcement, the CNT said that it had tried repeatedly to change things in the IWA and they weren't going anywhere. That it's come to the biggest sections having to re-establish the international is pretty extraordinary.

There is an upcoming IWA Congress, that is the highest and deceision making Congress of the IWA, not plenaries etc. or other forums. I stand by my opinion.

akai
Oct 1 2016 20:37

MT, why bother to ask?

And surely complete strangers know better than anyone about exactly how many people voted for what and how the proposals (multiple) were worded.

Basically, somebody wants to believe one version, they'll do it.

MT
Oct 1 2016 20:49

well, this guy says he is a member fo Anarchist Federation but I guess that means nothing these days and applying authoritarian and illegitimate actions is somply a normal thing only because the magical CNT is concerned. then the voting mechanism and general rules simply can be fucked off.

akai
Oct 1 2016 20:52

Well Doug, l would like you to give us a run down on how those 3 tried to change the lWA. Please tell us what their proposals were and how discussion on them went. Then, please tell us what the proposals of other Sections have been.

Well, OK, l suppose you have no information on what really happened so let's make a short list. Not everything included.

PROPOSALS COMlNG FROM CNT AND lMPLlCATlONS:

- Have only sections with 125 members
- Have only sections with 100 members
- Change the voting system to proportional

lmplications: Domination of CNT over everybody else; exclusion of most sections, exclusion mostly of comrades from poorer countries and third world

None of this passed.

PROPOSALS COMlNG FROM OUTSlDE THE 3-

- lmprove syndical education
- Visit different countries to make new contacts, make bulletin, mailing list etc. to improve information sharing and contacts
- Make branch networks to put together workers from different industries
- Make surveys of which branches our sections are working in

All this sort of stuff passed.

So, this stuff about the CNT trying to change the lWA is actually a lot of bullshit. Other sections are trying to make changes - they were trying to exclude people and take over.

To make matters worse, those people did not work on any of the positive proposals that actually passed, although they were in the best position to contribute to the effort. The only thing they seem to have managed to do is dominate the agenda with their tantrums and now this. So the sooner people in the lWA get on with what was decided and planned, the better off we'll be cause there were a lot of positive things going on in the Sections outside the 3 before this provocation and people need to move on.

akai
Oct 1 2016 20:55

Syndicalist,

"How can you say viva AIT when you're spliting from the established AIT?"

Very simple. They are convinced they ARE the AlT and nobody else counts.

doug
Oct 1 2016 22:26

I think the freedom to associate/disassociate is important to our politics.

As an outsider, I'm hopeful that this conference could lead to increased international co-operation and better prospects for revolutionary unionism. And I wish those in the continuing IWA/AIT well - with a bit of luck this might not be all bad but clarify things and remove a lot of distraction. Maybe it would be more positive for all if the new international just called themselves something else.

syndicalist
Oct 2 2016 00:27
Quote:
I think the freedom to associate/disassociate is important to our politics.

Comrade.... I don't disagree with this after all the regular and agreed upon procedures of an organization that everyone agreed to adhere to are exhausted. This conference is basically say the heck with what we have agreed to, we don't like things, we're leaving.
....

Quote:
As an outsider, I'm hopeful that this conference could lead to increased international co-operation and better prospects for revolutionary unionism.

If it's a split off conference, it will do no such thing, broadly speaking. It might enhance some relationships, but will clearly sour and spoil other ones. Is the glass half full or half empty, right?

akai
Oct 2 2016 10:02

Doug, nobody disagrees with the fundamental right of people to associate or disassociate with who they want. ln fact, my own feelings are that if people can't get past their ideas to work on the common ones (which is what happened in lWA, in particular with non-cooperation on very positive agreements), then people will be better off associating with ones who have a more similar perspective.

None of us here on this forum speaking critically of this meeting are people who just showed up and throw in our two cents. You've found yourself speaking with folks with decades of experience, both positive and negative. l am not pointing that out to be dismissive, but to indicate that maybe we have, as a result, some deeper knowledge of the background and implications.

For example, a question for all who advocate free association. What about the ones in the CNT that absolutely don't want this new international? Even if, arguably they fall into a minority in the confederation, they have a right to be in the lWA if they want. l say arguably because regardless of what some people say, l know the difference between voting militants and unions that have votes in a proportional system.

So, what would be the consquences for those who want to exercise their rights of free association there? Well, we saw a preview of this in Andalucia when unions of the CNT participated in joint regional actions of unions outside the CNT. There was a motion to expel the 4 unions that did that. 2 were expelled for this reason. The other 2, which were larger, were saved the guillotine.

What are the exact consequences of this all? Well, of course Doug of whoever are just dealing on some emotional need to see revolutionary syndicalist unions "get together", but haven't been interested in organizational details. The CNT is legalized and what's more, has required its local unions to legalize themselves, regardless of whether they want to. ln terms of legal relations, there are also property relations. Before the current era, way back when, property was held by the local unions, but now many of the local premises are owned by the national structure, so basically - they kick you out, you lose that, regardless of your own actual imput into building up or maintaining this property. As we could read on another thread here where the strange folks from CNT were calling the excommunicated "squatters" and vowing to get the property back, this situation of the expulsions from CNT, which are rather numerous, have sometimes been accompanied by eviction attempts, sacking the premises or even putting people in the hospital.

So, l return to the question: are the comrades from CNT who want to stay in lWA free to do so?

On another thread here, somebody has claimed more or less that if people cannot change the voting systems of organizations they are in, they should be free to leave. But what then about unions in CNT which have more individuals voting but fewer votes because they "represent" fewer workers so have less voice? Surely they are outvoted, but in reality, this means that if they want to stay in the lWA, they have to give up their local federation and all the real support structures, the property, etc. And we are talking about a lot of people who have been militant in CNT even during Franco times and for whom this is a very painful choice. Despite this, l often get personal letters from these old-timers who are devastated, but decided to leave CNT.

So, you know, there needs to be consistency about it. Many of the current policies in lWA were the product of the splits in Spain and were requested by CNT and supported mostly out of solidarity with them, when they felt they needed it. During our time in lWA, we were constantly asked to show solidarity with USl against the USl-Roma which kept claiming to be in lWA when it wasn't, and everybody showed this because the our Congresses made decisions to support one side of a split, not another. ln these cases, organizations such as USl based their arguments on the legitimacy of the decisions of the lWA Congress. Now, after so many years of these policies, and after not even resigning with these to the end, and after a few years of expulsions in CNT and policies of expelling unions for contacts with the expelled, we get this initiative which is being interpretted by some only in one way, without any taking into account of the deeper context. As l said, let's be consistent and let the CNT unions that didn't vote to leave lWA stay in it.