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(en) France, Alternative Libertaire AL #285 - Debate: The strike fund, a good tool if it is well calibrated (fr, it, pt)[machine translation]

Date Sat, 21 Jul 2018 09:12:49 +0300

In Alternative libertaire of March 2018, Theo Roumier (SUD-Education) questioned the limits of the strike funds. Too centralized, they risked reinforcing the power of control on the basis of certain trade union bureaucracies. In general, they risked fueling a " proxy fight " culture . A comrade of the anarcho-syndicalist group Salvador-Seguí wanted to answer him on these two points. ---- It is always with pleasure that we welcome the articles on strike funds. When it comes to thinking and giving directions to improve our struggles, activists savor. Comrade Theo Roumier's article " For or against strike funds ? ", Published in Alternative Libertaire of March 2018, is very welcome. I had written in Le Monde libertaire two articles on the subject: " The weapon of the strike fund " [1]and " Proposed structuring of an interprofessional strike fund" (Another also in response to a comrade from the SUB-CNT who did not appreciate that I did not talk about the CNT-Vignoles strike funds).

I myself had begun to be interested in the subject following discussions with various CGT bodies concerning the statutes of my union. The idea that permanent strike funds would be illegal is very well developed. I was able to find out again recently by talking by chance, in the course of my work, with a confederal official (she was present as a client). My first article was therefore intended to show its total legality and legitimacy. And, like Theo Roumier, I had quoted the curious Cnas of the CFDT, but also the Epim of the UIMM, employers of metallurgy. So, let us take this opportunity to invite fellow libertarian or sympathetic Cégétistes comrades to put the issue on the agenda of their respective Confederate trade unions to the CGT. Because it is still crazy that the main trade union organization of France does not have it. It does, however, have the capacity to create special mutual benefit funds.

The second article was an invitation to create an interpro strike fund through a union union. The goal was that it could be used for everyone, regardless of confederation and without the ability to intervene in the life of the unions. Likewise, I take this opportunity to call on trade unionists from all walks of life and all confederations to form a union of unions through existing structures or to create them for this purpose. It is enough for two professional unions to form a union of interprofessional unions [2].

Theo's article also poses the possibility of less formal cases, direct donations or almost all the different jackpots that can be collected. Indeed, it is not negligible ! Non-regular donations can be valuable during times of strong social movement.

But there are two points on which I would have some pains to emit, and this, in order to simply contribute to our common cause. Firstly, in the context of national strike funds (the terminology deserves to be more explicit, because the forms are very variable: bank account serving as a special fund of mutual aid, black-clubs, direct donations ...), the risk of a steering brake in front of a moving base is easily preventable. It is enough to clearly define the statutes governing the functioning of the structure. By asserting the type of authorized use and the obligation of transparency of all the accounting with the vouchers for all members. This is, for example, what happened to Denis Gautier-Sauvagnac, former boss of the metal industry. Refusing to speak about the 19 million euros withdrawn in cash during the 2000s, he was convicted for non-compliance with the internal regulations for the Epim (the strike fund of the employers of metallurgy), which provided the conditions of use, namely support for companies experiencing social conflict. Those who wanted to condemn the individual had only to obtain the documents showing the misuse of the funds and to disclose them in the press and to the public prosecutor.

Secondly, the development of the potential " proxy strike " of donors will have to be put into perspective . There are, moreover, no sociological studies to my knowledge going in this direction. Henri Vacquin, sociologist at the origin of the expression following the movement of 1995, explained it in these terms in 2007 during the movement against the reform of the special regimes: " I had invented at the time the concept of " strike vicarious",on the part of private sector employees who, under the weight of unemployment, could hardly come into conflict. I therefore allowed private trade unionists to feel the public transport strike as a proxy strike. Today, this is not the case at all. It should be noted that the way in which this approach to the special schemes was prepared relied heavily on the fact of designating the employees concerned as[...]privileged persons, which, from you, is not on the one hand, and secondly, on the other hand, they feel that they are guilty of guilt, which is probably partly responsible for their anger. " [3]

The times are similar, decidedly ... In addition, the explanation given to this behavior does not seem to be at the origin of an act of charity to the poorest to give a good conscience. Especially, moreover, if the worker of the private donor pays money to an official considered as " privileged Or simply better off. On the contrary, it is an endorsement of an act that can not be allowed to do so far as one fears reprisals no doubt very real. This is all the more true in sectors of economic activity that emerged mainly after the war and lack trade union tradition and job security. In a time of high unemployment and precariousness, it's worse. In a consumer society where integration and social distinction require large resources that are often underpaid, it is even worse. At a time when management offers employees to " realize " and entertain themselves at work to make it even more desirable and difficult to detach, it becomes really difficult.

If we give strikers as strikers, it is because we endorse the strike and the individuals who take direct action specifically in the present case. But it is also to admit that the means employed are laudable in themselves if the circumstances lend themselves to it. Especially if the game is worth it in terms of material and moral interests. Fight against " proxy strike Is to give moral sense to the action, to make it desirable, just, or at least more just than not to do it. It is to render it appreciable, morally, psychologically, socially by maintaining or creating new social bonds (our internal quarrels between organizations and between organizations can be very embarrassing from this point of view, it is necessary to question us about the lack of fraternity. and friendliness of our activist circles in this sense, especially in times of social conflict). It is to make it bearable if, materially and monetarily, it becomes complicated. This can mean enhancing simplicity in consumption, sobriety, belt tightening. This is an opportunity to question the meaning of a consumerist life, a reflection dear to the green currents. However, if capitalism is maintained as well, it is also by this material and moral contribution in our coined market relations. Inciting the diet in addition to insubordination is worth it if it can be avoided? No doubt no, hence the need to maintain a close level of remuneration. Hence the usefulness of a good structuring strike fund !

In addition, is it impertinent to concentrate our efforts where it hurts capital ? During the 2007 movement mentioned above, on some lines the traffic was paralyzed with only 10 % of strikers. It's simple, only the drivers were on strike, some union branches seem to have tapped into their funds and other workers made regular donations. The power of attorney strike can be, therefore, a tool for optimizing the fight by the effort of those who:

can not risk such practices ;
do not occupy a key position in the production process ;
do not have a job ;
have no use in going on strike, not contributing to the benefit of capitalists such as union officials or associative leaders.
It is of course necessary to develop the practice of the strike in all possible sectors. We know especially since the First International how it helps to forge consciences permanently, especially if it is victorious. But we must question the conditions of the transition to direct action and the means of optimizing struggles.

Nathan (anarchist group Salvador-Seguí)

[1] " The weapon of the strike fund ", https://salvador-segui.org/2015/03/07/caisse-de-greve- unions , Le Monde libertaire, February 26, 2015

[2] " Proposed structuring of an interprofessional strike fund ", https://salvador-segui.org/2016/09/28/caisse-greve-interprofessionnelle , Le Monde libertaire, September 15, 2016.

[3] Henri Vacquin, " Strikes:" We are far from the conflict of 95 ", http://www1.rfi.fr/actufr/articles/095/article_59066.asp , RFI, November 15, 2007.

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