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(en) Spain, Split and May Day Statement – CNT-AIT by ROBERT GRAHAM
Sat, 9 Jun 2018 10:49:21 +0300
The CNT organizations in Spain that broke away from the International Workers Association
(IWA-AIT) have abandoned their attempts at creating a new IWA-AIT, but instead have
decided to create a new international federation of syndicalist unions, the International
Confederation of Labour (ICL-CIT), while still claiming the legacy of the
anti-authoritarian International (I deal with the importance of the original IWA in the
creation of anarchist movements in ‘We Do Not Fear Anarchy – We Invoke It’). Meanwhile,
some CNT sections in Spain that continue their affiliation with the IWA-AIT are being sued
by the other CNT for slander, which would suggest a marked departure from anarchist
principles. Here I reproduce the May Day statement of the CNT-AIT, which sets forth its
commitment to anarcho-syndicalism, and provides some comments regarding the other CNT’s
Speech of the CNT-AIT, Anarchist May Day in Barcelona
First of all, thank you for your invitation and for being able to share the commemoration
of the anarchist May Day with you. As you know, we commemorate May Day because of the
crime committed by the state against anarcho-syndicalists, almost all immigrants – George
Engel, Adolph Fischer, August Spies and Albert Parsons were hanged, Louis Lingg killed
himself and Michael Schwab, Samuel Fielden and Oscar Neebe sentenced to prison. They are
known worldwide as Martyrs of Chicago.
The main reason for these murders was to end the organization of the workers movement and
its just demands: 8 hours of work, 8 hours of rest and 8 hours of leisure for formation
and development. To this day the workers of the world still have to keep fighting for
those same demands.
Even today we suffer the tyranny of Capital, States and institutions that seek to give a
legal-democratic formality to oppression and deny any freedom of thought, expression or
action, individual or collective, which poses a danger to their survival and privileges;
and that totally contradicts the common good.
We believe it justified our existence, we continue sharing the main ideas, general
analysis of society, forms of organization and strategies of the comrades who preceded us
in this same struggle.
Today, we believe that it is necessary to dignify anarcho-syndicalism, to free it from the
corruption and executivism that are found in various secretaries and committees whose have
not only shamed their own but are further weakening anarcho-syndicalism, doing one more
favor for Capital and the State.
It is worrying that these Secretaries and Committees of the CNT are using the same tools
as the State to eliminate “dissidence” through judicial complaints and suits for huge
amounts in compensation against several unions of the CNT-AIT. You can also notice the
state strategy and the desire to apply a type of article 155. But with one difference –
you can not occupy or supplant the unions they have sued because they do not have their
own people to replace them. They ignore the protests of unions that still remain in the
CNT against the decision to initiate judicial activities and bring huge lawsuits against
anarcho-syndicalist unions. These unions also asked for explanations about the legitimacy
of theses suits when people were not informed and the topic was not treated in the
organization so that unions could give their opinions.
We continue to have allies in the comrades who suffer the actions of the Secretariat of
the CNT and we will not break the ties of solidarity with those who we have always been in
solidarity with, through all the union and social struggles which happened and will happen
in the future. They will have our support and we are sure to receive the same when we need it.
The Confederal Bureaucracy, embodied today in the Executive Secretariat of the CNT (sic),
will not succeed in destroying years of coordinated anarcho-syndical struggle between the
different unions. We hope that these Secretariats will be held accountable before the
unions that claim to represent and that they will have to change their functions, back to
what they should be in an anarcho-syndicalist organization, instead od the current
executive functions they assume without the mandate of the unions.
Further we declare our principles, tactics and purposes, to demonstrate that it is not the
unions of the CNT-AIT, being sued that have broken the confederal pact, but on the
contrary, it has been the Secretary of the CNT (sic), today an executive, and the
Secretaries who have breached the principle of Federalism, It is they that have changed
the functions entrusted to the Secretariats and Committees for the organization, have
change how anarcho-syndicalism should work, into different, executive functions that are
not allowed in its operation. We must once against reiterate our ideas, which we subscribe
to and we are proud of, and the structural concepts of the anarcho-syndicalist
organization collected through history and that we are trying to fulfill faithfully today.
We are very aware of the importance of coherence between what is said and what is done.
What are we, what kind of organization and what world do we want?
– We are Anarcho-Syndicalists
And we understand this form of organization as that which has emerged from the oppressed
and exploited classes that aspire to destroy the established system and, through direct
action, and anti-authoritarian organization, to dismantle the mechanisms of domination,
putting all the means of production at the service of the workers. We act in the field of
union activity because this is where the individual really feels economic exploitation,
where class struggle takes place most clearly and can be taken up by the majority of workers.
– We are Anti-capitalists
Because anarcho-syndicalism is radically opposed to the system established by liberal
capitalism or by state capitalism in all its variants …
Capitalism, regardless of its present or future transformations, represents the economic
exploitation derived from private ownership of the means of production and the subsequent
capitalization of these by a few, regardless of whether the exploiters are represented
individually or anonymously or collectively. The capitalism of the State for its part,
appropriates property for the benefit of a privileged sector integrated into the State.
Both systems develop their institutions and their means of repression through the ruling
class, through laws, the organs of justice, prisons, police, the army etc.
– We are Anti-statists
Because we conceive the State, as one that sacralizes the economic forms of exploitation
through its estates, laws and repressive bodies of all kinds. Because it supports private
ownership of the means of production and the market economy by maintaining the current
system through repression and institutionalized terrorism.
Faced with the State, we propose the free federation of autonomous libertarian communes.
– We are Anti-militarists and Internationalists
Because it is necessary to overcome nation states and the concentration of power they
represent. This brings us to the need to act on the international level together with the
organizations related to the anarcho-syndicalism in other countries in order to maintain a
common struggle on this front.
– We are Anti-sexists
Because we work to destroy the patriarchy, for the end of sexism and any descrimination
for reason of gender or sexual orientation. We are convinced that there should not exist
hierarchies between people because of their gender and we firmly reject any social or
cultural imposition of roles. Each individual has to develop their own personality without
prejudice to their gender or sexuality. We must flee from conventionalism that set a role
for us to follow, to be „feminine” or „masculine”. We are fighting for a society in which
any form of authority will be abolished. We want all people, regardless of their gender,
to live, develop and have relations as equals and in freedom.
– We are against all forms of power
We are against all religions and churches as well as philosophical and ideological forms
that oppose the critical development of the individual. We also manifest ourselves against
any form of power that attacks nature and produces its degradation, thereby affecting the
very balance of humanity in its environment.
– We are Federalists
Understanding this as the nexus of free and solidary federation,without authoritarianism
or coercion of all the economic groups and the general relation of humanity that permits
the basic functions of social life in all its aspects.
We consider this nexus as an essential principle that must govern the structural and
internal functioning of the organization, thus guaranteeing freedom and the
decision-making equality of individuals and trade unions integrated into the organization.
Given its non-hierarchical structure and its federalist content, we reject any type of
leadership function, as well as the figure of charismatic leaders.
Federalism is not a decentralization of central power, or having different power on
different levels, but having a type of organizational structure that impedes any type of
– We are Solidary
We understand solidarity and mutual aid as something that fuses collective action in the
pursuit of the common good of the whole society.
– We are Defenders of Direct Action
Direct action is the only kind that can be assumed by our militancy. The
anti-authoritarian vision of history, the new ethics of personal and non-transferable
responsibility, the sovereign character that we ascribe to the human person to determine
their destiny, leads us to reject any form of mediation or renunciation of freedom and
individual initiative and collective in seconds or third parties, no matter who they are
leaving all the power of decision.
We understand direct action not as the individual and isolated action of the person, but
as the collective and solidary action of all workers to solve their problems in front of
the individuals who hold power or their intermediaries. And this group of workers will be
in charge at all times of arbitrating the means to apply this direct action in the way
that the group or assembly considers most appropriate in each case, provided that it does
not go against the very essence of the organization.
This direct action ultimately leads us to reject parliaments, parliamentary elections and
referendums, all institutions that are the key to intermediation.
In the field of economic claims and for the same reasons, we reject all types of
arbitration between capital and labor, as mixed juries, arbitration commissions, etc.,
manifesting in favor of the free and direct confrontation of capital and labor. It is for
all that has been said, in short, that we reject the State in all its forms.
These are the ideas and force that lead us in this project of union organization and the
future society we are fighting for.
Comrades, our aspirations, objectives and attempts to see justice for humanity are
constantly harassed and criminalized by Capital and the State. Where they see that these
ideals and forms of organization gain strength, in the different movements, they act
together for their integration into the system or, if this is not possible, for their
disarticulation by whatever means necessary.
This is also what happened on that May 1, 1886 and it will continue to happen as long as
we continue to allow it.
At present, trade unionism and worker mobilization leaves much to be desired.
Institutional unions and other political formations, comfortable in their niches of power,
convey to society that structural unemployment, job insecurity or corruption is inevitable
and necessary. And they do it because this is what they live of, with the consent of
Capital and the State.
We assume that their shameful enrichment and their survival lies largely in the degree of
consciousness, organization and struggle acquired by the exploited.
It is time to dignify what trade unionism is, it is time to spread the anarchistic ideal
further, and we believe that the best way to do this is to strengthen the anarcho-syndical
We will finish with the slogan of the International Workers’ Association, an organization
which the CNT-AIT has been part of since 1922 and which well defines the anti-delegateist
and anti-executivist message that we adhere to:
“The emancipation of the workers will be the act of the workers themselves, or it won’t be
For Anarchy and for Anarchosyndicalism as a tool to achieve it!!
No, it is not for a crime that they condemn us to death, it is for what has been said
here: they condemn us to death for anarchy, and since we are condemned for our principles,
I scream very loudly: I’m an anarchist!
I despise them, I despise their order, their laws, their power, their authority. Hang me
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