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(en) France, Alternative Libertaire #224 - South Rail: Anti-bureaucratic small arms (fr) [machine translation]

Date 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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