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(en) Czechoslovak Anarchist News Service, Report 02/2001 - "Statement in the defence of objectivity and fair relations within anarchist workers movement"

From "Jaime B." <intersec@atlas.cz>
Date Mon, 1 Jan 2001 09:09:16 -0500 (EST)


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      A - I N F O S  N E W S  S E R V I C E
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Czechoslovak Anarchist News Service
provided by Federation of Social Anarchists
Czech section of International Workers Association
Report 02/2001 Prague, December 29th 2000
---------------------------------
Part 1: The statement
Part 2: Post scriptum
Part 3: Sources
---------------------------------

Part 1 - The statement

Dear comrades,

following statement was drafted on behalf of International secretariat =
of Federation of social anarchists, Czech section of International =
Workers Association, only after prolonged consideration and with full =
respect to its possible consequences. Its aim is to establish accurate =
facts about situation in Czech anarchist workers community and to put an =
end to some fabrications and intentional lies, spread by several members =
of Czech ORA-Solidarita, exerting international scale and repercussions.


This statement originated after reading of interview with one member of =
ORA-Solidarita, printed in Russian anarchist paper "Autonomist" =
published by Autonomous Action, inside we could read incredible =
distortions about situation of anarchist workers movement in Czech =
republic. This interview was also released via "A-INFOS" news service in =
late December 2000. (for data see Part 3: Sources)

Introduction - the case of numbers

It is one of the truly remarkable parts of G. Orwell's "Homage to =
Catalonia", where author laments over usual bad habit of revolutionary =
organisations to grossly exaggerate figures regarding their membership =
and influence. This is exactly the case of the interview. ORA-Solidarita =
member used "bad old" leftist way of deceiving the Russian readers about =
the real situation in Czech republic.

ORA-Solidarita member says "We have got some 12 members and 50 =
supporters..." which is surely a statement, designed to make his own =
organisation visibly stronger than "some 30 members" mentioned in regard =
with FSA-IWA.=20

In fact numbers do not really matter, but "50 supporters" of Solidarita =
are pure nonsense, if we understand the "supporter" to be person having =
something more than general interest in organisation's newspapers and =
occasionally showing some support in terms of buying organisation's =
publications and partaking in some public actions. If the Solidarita =
member would be fair enough to judge FSA-IWA in the same way, our number =
of "supporters" would figure twice that.

What is the reality?

It is a "public relations" image of ORA-Solidarita to be presented as an =
exclusive "idea" organisation, exerting decisive influence over a lot of =
"workers action groups", "supporters" and other vague subjects. In terms =
of reality in Czech republic this is far away the truth. The =
ORA-Solidarita is exactly in the same difficult situation as FSA-IWA, =
having only loose network of contacts among working class and youth, =
which at best can be described as general interest of people being in =
bad social situation, seeking for some radical group, which would help =
them in concrete troubles.

ORA-Solidarita exactly as FSA-IWA has sill very little to offer to =
workers apart from methodology of direct action, means of propagation =
and international pressure on respective capitalists, responsible for =
their misery and threat of unemployment. Neither FSA-IWA nor =
ORA-Solidarita has unfortunately been able to persuade any worker's =
initiative or grouping, to adopt these methods or to join the anarchist =
workers movement.

The only possible healthy reaction to usual hardships of embryonic =
stages of development of our movement must be to work more and more =
intensively and responsibly. But the reaction of International secretary =
of ORA-Solidarita and several other members is rather pathologic one. To =
cover grey and difficult reality of anarchist workers movement in Czech =
republic with umbrella of joyful optimism, they have created whole =
ensemble of fabrications and fairy tales, which should enhance the image =
of ORA-Solidarita as very successful and dynamic organisation, while the =
reality is rather the opposite.

International secretary of ORA-Solidarita is also continuously hiding =
from international anarchist general public that in Czech republic there =
is also FSA-IWA, adhering to anarchist-communist tradition with major =
starting point in Organisational Platform. We have printed the very =
first translation of Organisational Platform in our newspaper in winter =
1997/1998, when ORA-Solidarita had been still hopelessly reformist =
syndicalist group. We have made and published premier translations on =
"Los Amigos de Durruti" in our newspaper and we have translated and =
published large study on Amigos (Agustin Guillamon=B4s famous book) and =
finally we have published a lot of valuable theoretical articles by =
Peter Arshinov, author of Platform. This tradition of FSA-IWA is =
constantly deleted and denied by International secretary of =
ORA-Solidarita, who is presenting us like ordinary section of IWA, =
having no ties with anarchist-communist tradition. In reality, this =
tradition is core and reason of our organised existence.

The case of "Workers Action Groups"

Within last year we have witnessed with growing discontent the =
ORA-Solidarita spreading and using as a mean of self-promotion the story =
of so called "Workers Action Groups" (WAG), allegedly co-founded by =
Solidarita and co-operating with that organisation. Originally we =
thought that faulty English translation or simple misunderstanding had =
caused big distortion of facts. After reading the ORA-Solidarita report =
on S26 actions in Prague, published in issue No 2 of Australian =
anarchosyndicalist magazine "Organise" and above-mentioned interview in =
Russian magazine "Autonomist", we learned that systematic lying about =
"WAGs" is conscious strategy of ORA-Solidarita.

Zetor Brno factory case

In reality, these "Worker Action Groups" have never existed. It may be =
very sad and disconcerting for many foreign comrades to read this, but =
sole existence of "WAGs" is a sheer bluff, distributed by International =
secretary of ORA-Solidarita all over the world anarchist community. No =
authentic "WAG" had been created either in Zetor Brno factory (case of =
"occupation") or Let Kunovice factory, despite Solidarita interview =
statement: "In two factories Workers Action Groups (WAG) were =
established by the most militant workers."

Regarding the first case, Solidarita local group Brno made some personal =
contacts with few workers from Zetor Brno machinery factory. We have =
objective and accurate information about this meeting, because one of =
its participants later became member of FSA-IWA. The meeting had not =
been in any sort different from many meetings that FSA-IWA had with =
workers for instance in Middle Bohemia or Moravia. Group of workers =
complained about bad situation of their factory, cursed at the =
capitalists and expressed their anger. ORA-Solidarita proposed (in vain) =
the direct action to be adopted and some unspecified "general strike" to =
be made, which was rather confusing proposal. After short discussion =
with no concrete results these workers parted farewell, went home and =
never met with Solidarita again. Solidarita members had even to be asked =
by our current member to ask at least for some telephone contact to the =
Zetor workers.

No "Workers Action Group" was created and none had ever existed in =
Zetor. The whole very short radical and spontaneous expression of =
discontent, which culminated in big general meeting in factory, had been =
fully controlled and channelled by official metalworkers (OS KOVO) trade =
union top bureaucracy.

The Let Kunovice case=20

Exactly the same happened in Let Kunovice aeroplane factory case. =
ORA-Solidarita member without mentioning any names and facts of the =
case, describes the situation as following:=20

"In second factory the WAG and ORA-SOLIDARITA organised a joint demo of =
some 300 workers and several successful meetings. But as this dispute =
had already been going on for too long and as the multinational, which =
owns the factory, was officially declared bankrupt, a lot of workers got =
demoralised and simply started to look for new jobs."

This is something we found to be unfair and distorted. At first, again =
no WAG had ever existed in Let Kunovice factory. Secondly, all contacts =
originated by discussions of one Solidarita member with several factory =
employees. He organised two-three meetings with Let workers, who =
attended in 5-7 persons, were not able to agree on anything with =
ORA-Solidarita and finally stopped attending these meetings.


After some time when situation in Let factory culminated, being isolated =
in the region and having no possibility of immediate support of other =
ORA-Solidarita members, this comrade contacted in urgent situation our =
local groups. FSA-IWA comrades from local group Otrokovice and Zlin, =
have helped him and took part in several propagation and poster actions =
in Kunovice. In this moment, some 5 FSA-IWA members and 1 ORA-Solidarita =
member were doing propagation in Kunovice.


When crisis in the factory culminated and workers made absolutely no =
attempt to defend their rights, mentioned member of Solidarita called =
anonymously for workers meeting, using ad in local newspaper. Again, =
absolutely no WAG took part in preparing this meeting, no workers at all =
made any attempts to organise it. Some 200 workers, 4-5 ORA-Solidarita =
members and 12 FSA-IWA members attended the meeting. No workers at all =
from alleged WAG participated. Local trade union bureaucrats were =
unfortunately allowed to speak and workers rather listened to them than =
to the proposals for grassroots direct action, issued both by =
ORA-Solidarita and FSA-IWA on a common leaflet.


In the Let Kunovice case the ORA-Solidarita even did not have a single =
address, telephone number or any other contact to the alleged "Worker's =
Action Group". When ORA-Solidarita and FSA-IWA hand in hand issued more =
common posters and leaflets to be distributed in Kunovice, these posters =
on the first place insisted on WAG to be finally created, despite =
ORA-Solidarita proclaimed that WAG already exists in Kunovice factory.=20


The worst black humour and travesty of any grassroots activism regarding =
the "WAG" happened when ORA-Solidarita printed new issue of its magazine =
"Solidarita", with articles about non-existing "WAGs" and started to =
distribute it right in front of gates of respective factories. Well, it =
could be interesting to see reactions of workers, who suddenly learned =
to have some "WAG" in their workplace. and knew nothing about it.


More systematic populism using the "WAG" myth


Vadim Bar=E1k, issued after September 26 (S26) protests in Prague =
special statement for international anarchist press, covering role of =
ORA-Solidarita. It was widely distributed via Internet and printed for =
instance in second issue of Australian anarcho-syndicalist magazine =
"Organise!". It describes Prague S26 events and alleged ORA-Solidarita =
initiated working-class mobilisation, which in reality never existed.


Vadim Bar=E1k wrote about events happened shortly before September 26, =
2000:


"In the meantime, ORA-Solidarita with its 12 members incited through a =
relentless agitation a one day occupation of factory and a subsequent =
general assembly of 1000 workers of this factory and their attempt at a =
formation of a strike committee, independent of the union bureaucracy. =
In another factory we instigated a self-organised demo of 300 workers at =
which local union leaders got under attack from rank and file."


Intelligent readers surely noted that Bar=E1k was using the legend of =
Zetor Brno and Let Kunovice factories once more, this time in collusion =
with S26 protests in Prague. This is bolshevik-style populism, based =
upon total manipulation with facts.=20


At first, short-lived dispute in Zetor Brno factory, dates to =
autumn/winter 1999/2000. There was not any connection at all with S26 =
protests of 2000 in Prague. Both events are separated by 9-10 months =
period. Secondly, Bar=E1k uses again case of Let Kunovice, which =
happened in early August 2000, also with no connection to S26 protests. =
Despite simple facts, which can be traced by anyone having basic =
investigative skills, Bar=E1k again creates a legend of some workers =
mobilisation incited by Solidarita, happened shortly before S26 events.


Bar=E1k writes even more:


"Thanks to this involvement we have been also able to familiarise =
workers with anti-capitalist ideas of S26 protests. At least in two =
factories rank and file unionists demanded a collective participation at =
Prague demos."


This is again a false statement. ORA-Solidarita as all other anarchist =
subjects made some poster, news-stand and flyer actions in big =
industrial centres, urging workers to join the protests. All these =
actions were certainly worthwhile and productive, but in terms of some =
workers joining the protests, absolutely hopeless, due to our limited =
resources and money. Inside the BLUE (Black/Red) block, where majority =
of Czechoslovaks participated, there was no more than 400-strong =
contingent from the territory of both republics, almost all of these =
people being sympathisers or activists of various anarchist, autonomist =
and radical green groups. When in the evening of September 25 we =
gathered in Convergence centre with virtually all involved Czechs who =
had shown up to discuss street tactics and security questions, we did =
not create group of more than 100 people.=20


To talk moreover about some 2000 Czech young and workers taking part in =
protests, is again typical bolshevik-style populism and shameless lying, =
like Bar=E1k did:"So eventually all various groups... bring about 2000 =
young Czech workers, unemployed and students at the demos in Prague."


Second part of the paragraph is again seriously distorted. Yes, it is =
true that in two factories rank and file unionists thought about =
participation. But there is unfortunately absolutely no connection =
between these cases and some anarchist propagation and even more with =
IMF congress. Vitkovice workers were ready to use this occasion to =
demonstrate for sake of their factory, threatened by mass sackings and =
bankcruptcy. Workers in Vitkovice steel works were calmed down by =
intervention of top metalworkers union (OS KOVO) bureaucrat, Mr. Uhlir, =
who came to that town hand in hand with IMF vice-chairman Matts Carlsson =
and threatened the trade union assembly with images of thousands of riot =
cops, violently dispersing any kind of trade union demonstration.=20


This short-lived radical attempt was mainly caused by top-leaders of =
Czech reformist unions, used the S26 occasion to raise their political =
capital in the tripartite discussions. Despite the top boss of reformist =
trade union confederation (CMKOS), Mr. Falbr, told the media in late =
summer 2000 that trade unions shall protest in streets of Prague, no =
such action had been organised, conceived or made. What CMKOS did, was =
just to organise closed meeting of CMKOS leaders with representatives of =
World Bank and IMF. And this was called "protest action!"


"WAGs" once more.


ORA-Solidarita International secretary Vadim Bar=E1k for instance =
apparently used the myth of "WAGs" and "S26 mobilisation" during his =
recent promotional tour in Ireland and Great Britain. He described in =
his annual International secretary report that these "events" from Czech =
republic have had serious impact on internal discussion for instance =
within Workers Solidarity Movement, his host organisation and Irish =
anarchist movement in general. If this is true, so Irish comrades are =
unfortunately discussing over hopes and prospects of unreal nature.


Conclusion


Behaviour of ORA-Solidarita International's secretary, who gave =
interview for Russian magazine "Autonomist", is unfair and harmful for =
Czech anarchist workers movement as a whole. Our cause, the just cause =
of labour against the capital, surely cannot be built upon system of =
fabrications and misinformations. We, the anarchist workers, will not be =
joined by more workers on the base of elaborate mythology, surrounding =
our organisations, which can be easily demasked by means of basic =
investigative survey. This kind of behaviour is typical of Trotskyites =
and various kinds of authoritarian left, but must be shunned and =
carefully avoided by any subject, which adheres to anarchism as =
revolutionary working class movement.


ORA-Solidarita member is trying in the interview with Russian magazine =
"Autonomist" to draw the picture of FSA-IWA being some abstract =
intellectual body, just publishing some literature and ORA-Solidarita of =
being dynamic organisation, engaged in incessant social struggle. This =
picture represents gross misinterpretation of situation in Czech =
anarchist workers movement. We protest against this and because =
ORA-Solidarita fabrications touched our own organisation, we have to =
raise our voice in the support of objectivity and fair, comradely and =
friendly relations inside the anarchist workers movement.


We are willing and eager to join hands with ORA-Solidarita in the course =
of emancipatory class struggle, as we already did many times, but not =
with the organisation, whose fame is based on system of lies and =
shameless self-promotion.


We kindly ask international anarchist movement and especially its =
platformist part, to exert influence on ORA-Solidarita International =
secretary to stop using the myth of "WAGs" and "S26 mobilisation". This =
kind of elaborate mythology is typical for church, political party and =
other kind of authoritarian organisation, and must be avoided by =
subject, claiming to represent progressive part of the mankind. Lies =
means manipulation and this is what we are fighting against.


Do not hesitate to contact us or to respond for more discussion and =
dialogue to be started. We are ready and willing to do it and this is =
the reason hiding behind this document.




Yours sincerely

with anarchist-communist greetings

FSA-IWA International secretaries


Michal Patera

Vladimir Patera

Petr Wohlmuth




Part 2 - Post scriptum


ORA-Solidarita adheres as well as FSA-IWA to the platformist tradition. =
FSA-IWA nevertheless does not claim to be exclusively platformist =
organisation and in regard to world community of organisations, claiming =
to be platformist, it will probably never do so. Our idea of =
organisation had developed in the years of almost total isolation of =
Czech anarchist movement from the world anarchist community. We learned =
by our intensive translation and publication activity and exploring the =
history of anarchist workers movement about this crucial document =
(Organisational Platform) and subsequently we learned even more, that =
our independently developed strategy is not isolated one, but very =
similar to Platform, which has pleased us a lot. On the other hand it is =
necessary not to consider Platform to be some sort of bible, but simply =
result of analysing the situation in anarchist workers movement, =
existing in 1920s. Platform is therefore seriously limited in terms of =
period, but basic contradictions and ruptures, mentioned inside, =
remained unfortunately to be present in our movement until today, hence =
enormous importance of Platform for contemporary movement.


But Platform is not an isolated starting point, and despite many current =
"platformists" lack of information, there have existed very similar =
strategies, designed already some years before the Platform. Take for =
instance programme document of project of "Anarchist Federation of =
South" from Russia, 1910.


Importance of such excellent analysis like Platform, can be found not in =
blind adherence to its principles, but in learning concrete lessons, =
based on rise and downfall of the "platformist" organising and social =
thinking. But what is worse than mechanic repeating of the Platform, it =
is wilful distorting of Platform=B4s meaning by some present =
"platformists." That is one of the reasons we refuse to be associated =
with many contemporary "platformist" organisations.


The crucial problem, arising within ORA-Solidarita, can be found in =
wilful dismissing of certain basic principles, constituting core of the =
Platform. Firstly it is necessary to say that ORA-Solidarita has never =
explored in greater depth rich collection of social and political =
writings of the Platform=B4s author, noted Russian anarcho-communist and =
brave revolutionary Peter Arshinov, especially those, which originated =
in the course of polemic discussion about Platform. As far as we know, =
very few Western "platformist" comrades have even any access to these =
papers.


One of the basic principles of Platform is collective responsibility. =
The International secretariat of ORA-Solidarita is elected office of the =
whole organisation. It is therefore responsible to the organisation as a =
whole, and therefore... this is the core of problem. ORA-Solidarita is =
in reverse responsible for conduct of the International Secretariat. =
ORA-Solidarita has ignored this crucial responsibility so far. This is =
grim reality, many times discussed during meetings between FSA-IWA and =
ORA-Solidarita, but always in vain.


"Collective irresponsibility" of Vadim Bar=E1k


Illustrative case of highly irresponsible and aggressive behaviour of =
ORA-Solidarita International secretary Vadim Bar=E1k against FSA-IWA, =
had been an affair with his letter to American IWA comrades, Workers =
Solidarity Alliance, nowadays renamed as "U.S. IWA section." Vadim =
Bar=E1k wilfully tried to provoke conflict between two IWA member =
sections.


Some one year ago Vadim Bar=E1k sent our comrades an e-mail message, =
announcing that FSA-IWA is going to propose WSA-IWA to be excluded from =
the International on the next congress and offered our comrades help in =
the name of ORA-Solidarita. This was total bluff, misinformation, spread =
by noted British reformist syndicalist Laurence Otter. We learned about =
this only through some anonymous e-mail, which provided us with all =
e-mail exchange between Vadim Bar=E1k and WSA-IWA International =
secretary, comrade Seamas Cain, who has been logically seriously worried =
about the situation. It had been quickly proved that Bar=E1k=B4s =
information is a clear provocation and lie, but it took long time to =
repair our relations with American comrades, who had been of course =
shocked by Bar=E1k=B4s message.


ORA-Solidarita had been officially asked to apologise for Vadim =
Bar=E1k=B4s conduct and to issue statement, explaining the whole =
incident. Despite our polite demand, ORA-Solidarita simply ignored the =
whole thing, which damaged FSA-IWA as an organisation and which was done =
behind backs of ORA-Solidarita rank and file as well.


Vadim Bar=E1k=B4s action was typical case of his bolshevik style =
backstage policy and rumouring. If he would have been interested to =
learn the truth, instead of writing alarmed message to our American =
comrades, he could easily call the hotline of our International =
secretary and learn in few seconds, what is really going on (or he could =
have contacted any other FSA-IWA member, because this kind of matter =
would have to be decided by general referendum or congress of the =
organisation).


Part 3 - Sources:


-ORGANISE TO RESIST. Paper of the Anarcho-syndicalist Federation, Issue =
2/November 2000, p.9-10, article "Globalisation of Anarchist resistance: =
Prague S26 and the anti-capitalist movement."=20

Paper is published by ASF-IWA, Australian section of International =
Workers Association, which can be reached at: PO BOX 231, Westgate, NSW =
2048, Australia or by e-mail: asg-s@cat.org.au <mailto:asg-s@cat.org.au>


-A-INFOS message concerning ORA-Solidarita:

"(en) Solidarita on economic, social and political situation in Czech =
republic Oct 2000

>From worker a-infos-en@ainfos.ca , Date Tue, 19 Dec 2000 14:18:15 -0500 =
(EST)"


-Identical text - ORA-Solidarita interview for "Autonomist", can be also =
reached online at:=20

http://flag.blackened.net/revolt/inter/groups/solidarita/interview_oct00.html






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