What is the AIT-SP (Portuguese section of the International Workers Association)?

What is the AIT-SP (Portuguese section of the International Workers Association)?

A translation of the Portuguese section of the IWA's declaration of principles.

translated by Scott Nicholas Nappalos
Declaration of Principles of the Portuguese section of the International Workers Association

1. The AIT-SP is an independent association of workers seeking to intervene directly, i.e., without agents or intermediaries of any kind, in defense of their economic, social and cultural interests.

With this alliance its adherents work to build, in Portugal, a broad and powerful confederation of unions based actually on respect for the dignity of each producer, a union of unions that are not mere appendages or transmission belts for external forces to the world of work (parties or politicians for example), and in which workers are not replaced as part of the defense of their particular interests by a union bureaucracy.

2. The activity of this alliance is based on the real problems and interests, immediate and mediate, of workers. Its action is aimed at simultaneously improving, under the present social system, the living conditions of workers and the total emancipation of this class.

Not stopping at the fight for the immediate improvement of living conditions of the working population, this alliance seeks that workers gain, through their union activity, the ability to undertake a complete transformation of the existing social environment. The building of a society based on libertarian communism and replacing the authoritarian-capitalist organization by an egalitarian and libertarian confederation of local and economic communes constitutes the ultimate or overall objective of the AIT-SP.

3. The AIT-SP supports in theory and in practice the free and solidary social union for all workers.

The AIT-SP is opposed to all forms of mediation of the struggles of workers and considers an attack on one part of the proletariat as an attack on all proletarians. The use of the method of direct action and the resorting to the weapon of solidarity represents two essential aspects of the union practice of AIT-SP.

The AIT-SP uses the active general strike and other anarcho-syndicalist means of struggle.

4. Based on the opposition of interests that characterizes capitalist society, and having as a method of struggle direct action, the AIT-SP refuses to participate in social partnership and criticizes government intervention in social conflicts between workers and bosses.

The AIT-SP makes no cooperative agreements whatsoever with unions that, by putting the general interests of the capitalist economy above the particular interests of the workers, concede to the government the role of arbiter of labor disputes, and thus integrate into the organs of the social partnership.

5. The AIT-SP defends the total freedom of union association and struggle against all the measures, governmental or of employers, aimed at limiting the exercise of the right to strike.

The AIT-SP argues that workers can make full use of their fundamental freedoms: freedom of assembly, of association, of expression of thought, of expression, of resort to strike, etc.

The AIT-SP stands in solidarity with all workers who, due to their participation in the labor struggles, are the subject of government or capitalist repression.

6. Action by the AIT-SP takes place in a completely different terrain to electoral contests and parliamentary struggles. The AIT-SP does not participate in any kind of political struggle or make any agreements with political organizations. In particular, the alliance makes no cooperation agreements with organizations that while calling themselves libertarians advocate the participation of anarchists and anarcho-syndicalist workers in electoral disputes and seek integration within the bourgeois representative democracy.

The defense of economic, social, and cultural interests of workers constitutes the only concern of the AIT-SP.

7. The AIT-SP is an internationalist association. It defends the existence of a practical solidarity among workers worldwide. As internationalist AIT-SP is therefore anti-militarist.

The AIT-SP is opposed to workers being the cannon fodder of inter-State and inter-capitalist wars who kill each other to defend capitalist interests or that of national states.

Against the division of human society into national states and capitalist economic competition, AIT-SP proposes the union through free association of all peoples, countries, and regions on the basis of the abolition of wage labor and the establishment of effective social equality.

The AIT-SP combats all the maneuvers of the ruling and exploiting class (nationalism, racism, etc.) aimed at dividing the working class.

8. The AIT-SP pays particular attention to defending the interests of the most exploited and discriminated against layers of the poor and laboring masses: women workers, young people in precarious working conditions, the unemployed, "disabled", retired workers, etc.

9. Within this alliance there are no functions or paid positions. This alliance has no place for union bureaucrats, or better put to specialists who defend alien interests to the workers. For AIT-SP the emancipation of the workers can only be the work of themselves alone.

10. This alliance is based on the principles of libertarian federalism. The AIT-SP rejects any type of coercion or imposition of minorities or majorities, which is to say it is based on the principle of autonomy of individuals and their free associations, and on the principle of freedom of association and disassociation, in mutual voluntary aid, in free joint efforts and solidarity between all its members.

The operation and activity of this alliance is based in free pacts or agreements decided upon in its various assemblies (local, regional, and inter-regional). In some cases and in some deliberative bodies, it is admissible if a consensus is not reached to take a majority decision, although no adherent to the AIT-SP may be forced to do something they disagree with. Cooperation in the field of union action and the realization of collective union action is based solely on free agreement. Workers, unions and federations of different levels of the AIT-SP are autonomous. No federal union AIT-SP, local, regional or interregional, should create agreements concerning the specific activities that fall within the scope of action of a union association. A federation of AIT-SP, limited to a certain scope, should not draft agreements relating to specific activities of the components of a federal union of a more limited scope.

The application, within the AIT-SP, of the principle of autonomy is not incompatible with the implementation of federal agreements of different levels. A union that adheres to the AIT-SP, is responsible for enforcing federal agreements as part of its action. Federal agreements covering a particular area can not be negated by federal agreements concerning a part of that area.

There are no offices with deliberative or executive functions in the federative unions of AIT-SP, of different areas, but rather only organic bodies with functions of association. The federal organs of relations and social bodies of the union associations do not interfere in the preparation of agreements regarding the activities of the unions of workers of the AIT-SP.

The delegates of union sections, the delegates of union associations, and delegates from the federal unions of different levels, carry mere mandates. The delegates, the elements of the federal organs of association and members of the social bodies of unions are elected by the respective assemblies and plenary meetings for a limited period and are revocable at all times.

Within the AIT-SP, an individual or association cannot accumulate a number of positions or functions, and applies the principle of rotation in the allocation of tasks.

11. Any wage earners and self-employed workers can join this alliance that agrees with the method and means of anarcho-syndicalist struggle and accept these voluntary accords.

Elements of the bosses, those that pay their own wage, individuals who exercise management functions and business administration, professionals of the military, police, courts and prisons, elements of religious hierarchies, union bureaucrats, militants of political parties, individuals who exercise management functions in the various state bodies, elements of the free masons, the "Opus Dei" and other such sects may not join this alliance.

The retired, unemployed and students may also join this alliance.

12. The Base Organs of the AIT-SP are as follows:

Must have a minimum of two militants.

Preferential terms:

5 or more militants;
Existence of any involvement and / or capacity for intervention in the labor market;
A space open to the public which enables a regular presence, eg weekly, with pre-set time;
There is some ability to give "legal advice", stressing always that this does not replace the use of direct action method, on the contrary, in the course of labor disputes.

Must have a minimum of two militants.

Preferred conditions:

5 or more militants.

13. The AIT-SP is not dependent whatsoever on financing from outside entities. The AIT-SP is also independent from financial investment. Its revenues are donations and the contributions of their members and those from raised through propaganda.

Each individual pays dues to their union, monthly, an amount agreed at the general assembly. Through regular contributions, agreed in plenary meetings, local trade unions bear the expenses inherent in the functioning of the various federal committees and ensure payment of the AIT-SP's contributions to the AIT (International Workers Association IWA-AIT).

14. The AIT-SP, not only supports the freedoms that the Portuguese people captured after the fall of fascism on April 25, 1974, but also intends to expand them, particularly in the economic and social field.

The AIT-SP is willing to fight vigorously against any attempt to restore the dictatorship overthrown in April 25, 1974.

15. Union activities of the AIT-SP are based on the principle of high morals. Its adherents defend the ethical principle of consistency between ends and means. They totally reject terrorists and compulsive methods used, for example, by Marxist-Leninists and the revolutionary nationalists, whether from the "1st world" or the "3rd world". The social revolution that AIT-SP advocates, the revolution that will put in place a social environment based on individual freedom, social equality, cooperation by free association in mutual aid and solidarity, has a ethical foundation and character. Not only in objective, but also the method and means signify a dignification of the human condition.

Posted By

Jan 23 2016 13:32


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Jan 23 2016 14:25

Scott, could people republish this? l assume sharing is OK.

Mar 12 2016 02:14

Sorry for the delay. Definitely! I sent it to the Portuguese comrades, but didn't hear back and so posted it. Thanks!

Mar 12 2016 09:52

Thanks. Already was distributed in a paper version to a limited audience. Will put online this weekend.