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(en) France: Interview with the CNT's International Relations Secretary,during the recent I07 [ca]

Date Thu, 10 May 2007 12:42:17 +0300

An interview with Jérémie, International Relations Secretary of the French CNT, during the recent I07 in Paris. This interview was made by CGT comrade Ronny Stansert for the Swedish SAC's magazine, "Arbetaren".
* Did the I07 turn out as well as you had expected? Are you happy with the results?
Jérémie: The CNT's International Relations Bureau and the Commission established to organize the I07 are delighted with the way the meetings went. The 250 - more or less - comrades from abroad seemed happy, the debates were of a high quality (though there were differences of opinion), the May Day demonstration was fantastic, with a dynamic and loud CNT sector of around 6,000 people. The international meeting on the 30th also provided some touching moments, such as the speech given by comrade Marta from Atenco with her machete in her hand, or that of the comrade from the CNTG union in Guinea who spoke to us about the victory of the workers in his country after a month-long general strike which was marked by over 100 deaths.

Before I07 we knew that this encounter would be an important landmark for
internationalism. Now that it is over, we are satisfied with what we have
achieved. As organizers we were naturally a little worried during the event as
we didn't want to disappoint anyone and we were trying to give the
international delegates a good impression of the CNT.

One bad point was that in the days leading up to the event we found out that
some invitees could not make it due to visa problems. Another negative point,
leading to some frustration during the debates, was having to translate each
speaker into French, Castillian and English, something which sapped the
exchanges of their vitality to a certain point.

* What will I07 mean for the future of anarcho-syndicalism in general?

>From our point of view, I07 is part of an important stage in expanding our
internationalism. At the confederal meeting, the international relations
secretaries of the French CNT and the Italian USI proposed to the other
organizations that we set up an International Anti-Capitalist Co-ordination
with a jopintly-run web page and a forum for debate. It was also agreed to
engage in several joint campaigns such as a campaign against temporary job
agencies and another on the question of workers' freedom of movement.

I07 was also important for the reason that, for the first time,
anarcho-syndicalist internationalism was not restricted to a purely Western
ambient. For the first time there were comrades from Africa, Oceania and Latin
America in Paris. And for that reason alone we would be content with the
outcome of I07. The best example of what our internationalism must mean came
during the international meeting, when the comrade from the Siberian SKT was
being translated into French by a comrade from Mali who spoke Russian!!

* What did I07 mean to the French CNT, for your future, for your relations with
Alternative Libertaire, the Fédération Anarchiste, SUD and other "alternative"

The CNT follows its own path, without worrying about other organizations, but
without being sectarian in its relations. The CNT may cooperate at times with
the Fédération Anarchiste, thoug the FA is not very active in the social
movement. The same happens with Alternative Libertaire - we regularly
cooperate, without any sectarianism. As for the SUD ["Solidaire, unitaire et
démocratique"], we cooperate with the grassroots in particular struggles, such
as recently during the Citröen strike or in the education sector. We don't have
any relations with the management of the SUD's unions. We cannot forget that
the CNT has been declared illegal for postal workers, with the repression of
our comrades, and that this is partly due to complicity from the SUD's postal
union. The CNT favours unity of action by the grassroots, but we are aware that
in France only the CNT defends the ideas of anarcho-syndicalism, of
anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist, anti-sexist and anti-fascist syndicalism.
SUD unions are perhaps somewhat more radical than the French CGT or CFDT, but
they continue to be reformist, corporativist and bureaucratized unions. There
is one exception within the SUD and that is the transport sector, which rightly
criticizes the reformism of the other SUD unions. Even so, there are still
contradictions and tension with the SUD Rail.

The important thing for the CNT will be to see if it can present a sufficiently
credible strategy that can be seen as an alternative for the French labour and
social movement. The revolutionary labour alternative that the workers need.
And it will depend on our own ability to construct something.

* Any last words?

Greetings to all our comrades in the CGT. Long live internationalism! Long live
anarcho-syndicalism! Our day will come! Social revolution!


[Translation by FdCA International Relations]
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