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(en) Concerning the 23rd IWA-Congress by IWA Secretariat - IWA-AIT Statement by the IWA Secretariat

Date Fri, 26 Jan 2007 16:44:21 +0200

The 23rd Congress in Manchester decided that the Secretariat of the IWA shall be maintained by the ASI until the next Congress which will be organized by the COB-AIT in Brazil in December 2008. The comrades of ASI elects the new Secretariat in January 2007, and until then we will as the outgoing Secretariat receive and answer correspondence. Besides this, the SF will consider to take a seat (treasurer) in the Secretariat, and their yes or no to this will be decided at their National Conference in March/April 2007. Until then the dues to the IWA must be paid to the present account! Anarchosyndicalist greetings from the outgoing Secretariat http://www.iwa-ait.org
The IWA held its congress in Manchester (United Kingdom) from 8-10 December. The event was organized by the comrades of the Solidarity Federation and saw the participation of over a dozen anarcho-syndicalist or revolutionary syndicalist organizations, some of which nearly a 100 years old like the Spanish CNT or the Argentinian FORA, with others much younger, such as the Slovakian Priama Akcia or the Serbian ASI-MUR (those who for various reasons could not attend sent their written positions), demonstrating that the International Workers Association is still alive and kicking.

On 1st November, the International Trade Union Confederation was founded in Vienna, a merger of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU), and the World Confederation of Labour (WCL), grouping the cream of reformist and partnership syndicalism, some of whom are only too well-known in our country. But only a month later, we could see evidence that there exists another, very different, form of syndicalism, which focuses on struggle and on revolutionary achievements.

Some of the subjects dealt with at the meetings were the effective coordination of the struggles against precarity, a possible general strike against war, problems regarding the FAU or the USI, membership requests by new organizations (especially in Asia), or changes to the permanent secretariat of the international (passing from the Norwegian NSF to the ASI-MUR).

Furthermore, the event served to demonstrate the prominent role played by anarcho-syndicalist organizations in the struggles in their respective countries like, for example, the struggle carried on in the student mobilizations in Serbia, the public health struggle or strikes against labour reform in Italy, the internationalization of certain conflicts like the actions of the FORA, the FAU (Germany) or the CNT (France) in solidarity with the striking comrades of Mercadona, and a long list of others.

All in all, a good occasion to continue strengthening our links and get confirmation that our principles of revolutionary syndicalism are as effective as ever.

CNT Editorial

Editorial note:
Due to the deadline for publishing being earlier than usual because of the holidays, it was not possible to publish a fuller reportm which will be left to next month's edition (February).

Article from "cnt", n°330, January 2007. Original title: "La AIT celebra su XXIII congreso en Manchester".


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CeNiT: The 23rd IWA Congress
by CeNiT - Regional exterior de la CNT-AIT Thursday, Jan 25 2007, 3:21pm

Another Report on the 23rd IWA Congress
At the beginning of December this year, the anarcho-syndicalist International held its 23rd Congress in Manchester, capital of north-western England and better known for its famous football team and for the fact that it was there that the family of Friedrich Engels (1820-95) had a textiles factory which the famous historical materialist once managed, and which was in part responsible for financing the work of Karl Marx (1818-83) while he was writing "Das Kapital". Without the support of Engels, Marx would have ended up in a London suburb, dying of hunger and cold, and the whole of humanity would have been deprived of his theoretical elaborations. The Solidarity Federation (SF), rooted in Manchester and founded in 1994, is the British section of the anarcho-syndicalist International.

Regarding the agreements and debates of the Congress, all we know to date is from the brief note published by the secretariat of Oslo on its website (www.iwa-ait.org). Nevertheless, anarcho-syndicalists and anarchists in the know can consult www.libcom.org which contains a page with much more information on the event.

From the official statement of the Norwegian secretariat it appears that the IWA has decided that the new secretariat be maintained by the Serbian section (ASI, Union Confederation Anarcho-Syndicalist Initiative), in Belgrade, until the 24th Congress which will be held in December 2008 in Brazil - which city is not indicated - by the COB-IWA (Brazilian Workers' Confederation), the IWA's Brazilian section.

From information received unofficially, we know that the German section, the FAU, has not been expelled from the IWA, but has been warned that if it continues its contacts with the CNT-Vignoles, the majority sector of the French CNT, it will be so. This is, in effect, a similar decision to one made during the previous Congress.

The Italian section, the USI, has been authorized to participate in the RSUs (the "unitary trade-union representative bodies" within Italian companies), quoting the principle of the "autonomy of sections". Apparently, this is a political decision designed to prevent the Italian and German sections (which are the second- and third-biggest, numerically speaking) from leaving the IWA at the same time. They have also given in to the USI's ultimatum to the IWA secretariat.

What is strange and, at the moment, more worrying in the eyes of the IWA than problems regarding union representation, is the Germans' openness to contact with the "enemy" - the French CNT-Vignoles.

A big problem for the IWA's 23rd Congress was also the international syndicalist conference (known as I07) which the French CNT is organizing for May 1st 2007, whose programme was published at www.ainfos.ca/06/oct/ainfos00257.html [see http://www.anarkismo.net/newswire.php?story_id=4420].

Given that the German section, the FAU, is apparently officially supporting it, it means that it would have to be expelled from the International. But the IWA does not want to come across as the bad guy. And the FAU (in the spirit of Rocker and Souchy, and faithful to the true spirit of the International) does not want to give up its historical name. Perhaps the IWA heads are hoping also that the FAU will split away as a result of the I07 affair, though that hardly seems likely.

In this situation, the USI has declared its support for the FAU and it now seems obvious that they will join together and fight for the International to start acting more like a union, more openly and realistically. There are today fractions that operate openly as such within the ranks of anarcho-syndicalists, that is to say, there is a sort of "Trotskyization" of the International.

The IWA secretariat has gone to Serbia, into the hands of the group around a person by the name of Ratibor, a group which is the most orthodox (it is Serbia, after all) of all the new anarcho-dogmatic grouplets that make up the "sections" of the International in Eastern Europe.

The next congress will be held in Brazil, a fact which is inexplicable given the fact that the COB has not paid anything to the IWA for years, has strongly criticized the accounts of the USI and the FAU, though they have received several thousand dollars from the International over the same period. The Norwegian secretary, Larsen, justifies this by saying that the Brazilians "are poor".

But the IWA really does consider its real enemies to be the French CNT-Vignoles and the Spanish CGT. It is a long story, more like the plot of a comic opera.

The case of the Brazilian IWA nucleus has been well known for many years. The majority of the Latin American anarchist movement is moving in another direction - in several directions, actually - and it is very hard in this part of the world for the IWA to maintain solid nuclei that play a full part in the labour and mass struggles. The Colombian nucleus is laughable, not to mention the Venezuelans. Perhaps there is something in Argentina, but I doubt it. Any contacts that there are with Mexico are held by the Spanish CGT, the IWA's bogeyman. The US section, too, was expelled in 1996. This Congress, then, has not moved an inch towards rectifying the previous ones, something that is still possible. The International has always been run by the Spanish - that is its destiny - though recently it has moved from the Asturians to the Grandans. This was a fatal error. To transfer the disagreements of Spanish anarcho-syndicalists to the international plane was silly, and the use of the basic criteria of federalism, such as the autonomy of sections, to resolve internal fights is, for want of a better word, stupid.

That's all for now.

Floreal Castilla
Venezuela, 26 December 2006

Article from "CENIT", mouthpiece of the "Regional exterior de la CNT-AIT".

Original title: "Los numantinos en los pubs".

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