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Siberian Anarcho-Syndicalist Workers Organise

From ISWoR@aol.com
Date Mon, 6 Sep 1999 17:56:49 -0400


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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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Dear ISWoR friends and supporters,
          Below is an interesting insight into some serious
anarcho-syndicalist organising in Siberia. It is a report sent to a San
Francisco '1-99 Revolutionary Unionists' Conference in June organised by the
IWW and others. Thanks to David Christian who sent it to ISWoR and also
translated it - see    http://www.iww.org/~intl99    for more details -
although I have personally not been able to access the site.

I remember with fondness supporters of the Swedish SAC (anarcho-syndicalist
group mentioned below) who have been helping the Siberians organise. I
worked
in Yugoslavia alongside these Swedish colleagues (and others) in the
early1990s providing practical solidarity to trade unionists in different
areas, etc.
Steve Myers.
                      by Vasili Starostin - SKT

Unfortunately, we are unable to attend this conference, which we see as a
get
together of the international family of which we are happy to be a part. So,
we offer you our greetings and best wishes for the conference through this
letter. Although we are far away we like to work with you for the solutions
of the problems the working class is facing on its way to a free, just and
self-managed society united by mutual solidarity.

The Sibirskaya Konfederacia Truda (Siberian Confederation of Labor-SKT) is
an
association of syndicalist unions founded in 1995 by members of the
Konfedercia Anarcho-Sindikalistov (Confederation of
Anarcho-Syndicalists-KAS)

Before that, in 1994, three regional trade union organizations had been
formed: the Omskaya Konfedercia Truda, based in the city of Omsk, the
Konfedercia Truda- syndicalist trade union of the city of Seversk, and the
Tomskaya Konfedercia Truda based in the city of Tomsk. In 1998 the SKT was
joined by the Konfedercia Truda of the city of Anjero-Sudjensk (Kubass)
founded by participants in the big blockade of the TransSiberian railway
track in the summer of 1998.

With 2,000 members the Omskaya Konfedercia Truda (OKT) is the biggest unit
in
the SKT, which has a total membership of 3,000. The OKT has a small office
in
the city of Omsk equipped with a computer and with printing and equipment
which enables it to put out its bulletin "OKT-kontkt", its magazine for the
trade union movement "Delo Truda", and a developing series of booklets such
as what to know and how to act when wages are not paid, on what to expect
from a trade union, on how to start a union, and on consumers rights.

The OKT consists of ten trade unions counting between 9 and 400 members each
consisting of personnel of 10 factories and other work organizations, and of
individual members. By profession the trade unions consist of
air-controllers, railway personnel, junior scientific staff of scientific
institutes, electricians, and specialist and service personnel of factories.

The members of the organizations in Tomsk, Seversk and Anjero-Sudjensk are
primary and secondary school teachers, kindergarten workers, broadcasting
staff, miners and personnel of chemical works.

Apart from ome part-time lawyer and accountant, the SKT has no paid staff.
This is not a matter of pricipal but of means. These are, so far, more than
limited but, fotunately, have been suplimented a few times by grants that
have allowed us to pay office rent, telephone and other exspenses and to
buy the equipment we have now.

Seversk puts out a paper called "Rabochi" (The Worker). At the OKT office a
reading library for the workers movement is developing.

Last January SKT member Igor Kuzetsov organized, together with others. A
congress of strike committees involved in the "railroad war" of the summer
of
1998 in the city of Anejero-Sudjensk.

Except for the air-controllers union, which is a member of the general
Russian  trade union of air-controllers, SKT belongs to no Russian or
international trade union organization.

The only foreign syndicalist organization we know well so far is the Swedish
SAC. We started our syndicalist activities at the time on the basis of what
we had learned at seminars organized by SAC in Stockholm and Omsk and from
informational material provided by comrades of the SAC. We are slowly
learning about the comrades of the IWW. About other syndicalist
organizations
we know very little.

In addition the the SKT there is a small group of anarcho-syndicalists in
Russia in the European region. It is a member of the IWA, and, according to
data available to us, has about 20 members. Since a short time it is calling
itself Mezhprofessionalny Trudyachikhsa (Interprofessional Union of
Workers-MPST).

The MPST is only involved in propaganda activites and tries to get links to
trade unions. For reasons we don't understand the MPSt ingores us although
it
knows of our existance and represents the CIS countries in the IWA.

Among the topics listed for the agenda of the conference the following
interest us in particular: dual trade unionism, temporary work contracts,
workers collectives and cooperatives, international networks and mutual aid.

We hope that in due course the organizers will send us reports and other
materials about the workshops and discussions held. We invite
representatives
of SAC and of other trade unions taking part in this conference to come to
Omsk to discuss possiblities and modalities of cooperation.

    with comradely greetings and best wishes for a productive conference,
    Vasili Starostin
    Executive Secretary, SKT

e-mail, sibokt@omsk.de
"for Vasili Starostin"
postal address
Vasili Starostin
po box 2947, 644085
Omsk,Russia

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Free thought, neccessarily involving freedom of
speech and press, I may tersely define thus: no
opinion a law - no opinion a crime.
          Alexander Berkman

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