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(en) France, Alternative Libertaire #224 - South Rail: Anti-bureaucratic small arms (fr) [machine translation]
Wed, 27 Feb 2013 15:09:26 +0200
Stagnation struggles hurt unionism. Instead of campaigning, we eat the nose. Instead of
fighting the bosses, you get into hunting "union bureaucrat." The Congress of South Rail,
last October, suffered these insults. ---- Established in 1996, Southern Rail has about
11,000 unionized workers. The majority are cheminotes and railway SNCF, but many local
unions in subcontracting (cleaning, safety and security, catering rail) station committees
institutions and certain subsidiaries. The implantation of private railway companies (ECR,
VFLI, Thello, Colas Rail ...) is real but weaker. ---- The previous conference in 2009,
held after the indefinite strike of the railroad in late 2007, local movements sometimes
long and often winners, an increase in professional elections in 2009.
In autumn 2012, the atmosphere is less exciting: a renewed national strike very
complicated in April 2010, inter movements of 2009 and 2010 that did not back the
government and during which the number of strikers was never up to the major rail strikes,
stagnation in professional elections in 2011.
A line not to cross
However, in a downturn, activists focus a lot of energy to internal issues, rather than
calmly analyze the situation and implement a policy to meet the challenges. Southern Rail
has not escaped this through. The functioning of the federation provides a double vote by
unions on the one hand [ 1 ], by other terms [ 2 ]. For a decision to be valid, there must
be a majority of at least 66% on each of the two voting methods. Implemented to ensure
compliance with minorities and work towards consensus building, these rules have a defect:
they facilitate the blocking operation as soon as some federal community activists think
it is a priority!
This is what happened several times in recent months, in defiance of union democracy:
voting mandates blocked refusal to take account of federal positions majority to resume
the discussion in the union minimum information to union members etc.. Revolutionary
syndicalists, we are not naive: principles and efficiency must be combined. But there is a
line not to cross, except to give the very goals of the struggle.
Above all, it is a political issue destabilize the federation South Rail Should now be a
target of activists and revolutionaries?
To this question, some who claim including the NPA, answer "yes", a situation already
encountered in other structures of Solidarity.
We do not share this analysis - as many activists NPA at the station or elsewhere - and
fight these maneuvers. We do not idealize South Rail or union Solidarity trade union or
any other organization, but we believe that Southern Rail and Solidarity are among the
most useful tools and effective for those who are fighting Class. The indefinite strike of
2007 would not have existed without Sud-Rail, only the federation South Rail fought the
disintegration of the railway system implemented by the right in 1996 and confirmed by the
Government PS-PCF-Green in 1997. In July, the representative of Solidarity was alone [ 3 ]
for the CES vote against the report offering anticipate the privatization of regional
passenger rail (approved by CGT, CFTC, CGC and of course the MEDEF). Our choice is to work
to strengthen South-Rail, he opposes those who try to paralyze the operation.
The "opposition" is the name of the struggle against bureaucracy. Nevermind that matter
many of them in their union show some ability to use the practices they claim report! This
reveals a political sense especially disastrous should totally ignore what the union
bureaucracy to claim the fight by attacking the Federal Bureau of South Rail!
An unusual weather
The federal congress is held in an unusual weather. Part of candidates for reappointment
to the federal office have not been elected, almost all had the backing of the vast
majority of unions, but mandates and they have collected 64 or 65% of the vote! In
contrast, the two "opponents" who had announced their candidacies a week before the
congress are disavowed by 60 to 70% of the unions. Result: The federal office is smaller
than the previous one (seven members), although it affirms the overwhelming support of the
majority of unions.
This event was also an opportunity to pursue a very interesting discussion on federalism,
conducted continuously for three years. The resolution on this subject is confirmed by 72%
of mandates. The action strategy, with discussions on trade union unity, general meetings,
the importance of inter-and internationalism concrete has occupied an important place.
This resolution brings 91% of mandates.
Build opposition within unions who violate workers' democracy, renewable movements,
coordination of struggles, etc.., Is necessary. But activists organized in trade unions AL
to South Rail consider that it is a mistake to act similarly to Solidarity.
We do not deny the gaps in South Rail: too easy to fall into the trap of sectarianism
tended by collective CGT, a notorious lack of private companies, a practice field
declining in some areas, too interprofessional involvement weak ... But for us the
challenge is to improve this by pursuing the construction of a clearly anti-capitalist
unionism in the rail and elsewhere.
Railroaders Libertarian Alternative
[ 1 ] Each union is a voice.
[ 2 ] Each weighs union according to the number of unionized workers.
[ 3 ] With one of the Confédération Paysanne.
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