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(en) Germany, FAU, direkte aktion: About the evolution of a revolutionary organization. A subjective assessment of the development of the Federal Congress of FAU. From: Christian Horn

Date Sun, 5 Aug 2018 08:49:46 +0300

IMPRESSIONS FROM THE FAU FEDERAL CONGRESS 2018 met in Naturfreundehaus Hannover. ---- Already eleven years ago, as a new member, I experienced a FAU congress near Hannover - but a special congress was held in 2007. The FAU had only one third of the current number of members. Internal conflicts and personal feuds often shaped the discussions - currently it is labor disputes, which often led to success with much passion. However, I do not want to talk about everything well and everything from that time bad - it was just other times and the FAU took a long time to find and structure. ---- THE INTERNATIONAL QUESTION ---- What struck me at this year's congress at the Naturfreundehaus in the capital of Lower Saxony: In 2007, there were several international guests who talked at length about the social movements in their respective countries - even a visitor from Africa spoke about the fight against rail privatization in Mali. There was even a small scandal with the secretariat of the then International Workers' Association. Overall, the debate on remaining in the ILO was very present. The secretary from the Serbian section approached other guests as enemies of the IAA, after which, after a brief argument, most of the delegates left the room. It is well known that the end of the relationship between FAU and IAA should last for another ten years or so.Transnational is better - status and perspectives of syndicalism ").

It was different in 2018. The international question had already been extensively discussed at Whitsun prior to the Federal Congress and with the founding of the International Confederation of Workers (IAK) in Parma (more information can be found here). But not even a representative of the Spanish CNT was present at a FAU congress surprised me and I have witnessed most of these nationwide meetings. A message had been written by a secretary of a sister organization spontaneously at Whatsapp. The guests from France, Brazil, Austria and the Travel Syndicate (so far only one nationwide section for freeriding construction trades) kept their statements and report as relatively short. There was also no evening event contrary to previous congresses. For a comrade offered a tour in the district of Linden, where is also the FAU restaurant. We heard contemporary historical as well as current urban development with prevented forced evictions and existing open spaces.

Also new for me was the procedure to vote proposals. There were intensive discussions and lengthy presentations of voting results from the respective syndicates (formerly the local administrative units were called local groups) before the last major amendment to the statutes from 2015, which has been voted in advance for two years. Applications which have not received the necessary 75% of the approval can be discussed in working groups at the congress and then be put to a written vote in a revised form.

Personally, I have doubts as to whether this very technocratic solution has not really affected the culture of debate in real life. Of course, the decision is even more in the hands of local groups, but such a congress is living on the idea that as many representatives of the entire Federation as possible will come face to face in the plenary session. Be that as it may, in 2018 groundbreaking motions were again decided, for example on the specific position of the International Committee. The Articles of Association have updated the FAU's media section, allocate more funds to the regional public relations funds and set up the nationwide working group fem * fau.

The AG fem * fau illustrates quite well that feminism is becoming more important in the anarcho-syndicalist movement. In my opinion, significantly more women (probably about one third) were at the congress. The AG meeting invited to a broad discussion on feminist issues. A concept paper dealt with the topics of (self) education, advice, actions and public relations. Questions asked by those involved were, "How can we get more women into FAU?", "How do we deal with sexism in the workplace (and also in school)?" And "Are there also in FAU -Plena structural problems with dominant speech behavior? ". In conversation with the elected coordinator (a new mandate in the Federal FAU), a representative told me that the establishment of the AG fem * fau "is an extremely important step to integrate feminism into the daily work of the trade union". With regard to content, the working group intends to focus on the following topics: unpaid reproductive work, involvement of precariously employed women in trade union work and counseling those affected by sexist incidents. The new International (IAC) is appropriately planning an Action Day on March 8, 2019 to focus on feminist struggles.

While I could not visit every workgroup, I had received instructions from my local group on which workshops were our priority, but there were plenty of current issues that delegates discussed in lively discussions. The workgroup Stadtteilarbeit and community-building was a networking or exchange meeting, which activities run on site and which experiences were collected. Especially in Dresden (in the Elbsandsteingebirge) and Hanover, the local networking work is not pursued intensively without success. In addition, in some FAU groups rental fights play a certain role. In the FAU Frankfurt am Main, some active people dealt with the future of the working world. A delegate lectured in the workshop on the subject of Industry 4.0. Some impulses on the potential consequences of the transformation of the working world were presented (especially under the heading of digitization). About impact can only be speculated. For example, there are various opinions in the specialist literature about whether jobs should disappear and in which sectors this could be the case. The subsequent discussion focussed superficially on labor disputes in the areaCrowdsourcing, or how Clickworker can be effectively organized . In another working group, inclined comrades deliberated on solidarity with the Federation of Northern Syria.

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