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(en) France, Union Communiste Libertaire AL #301 - unionism, The first lessons of a historic strike (fr, it, pt)[machine translation]

Date Sun, 26 Jan 2020 13:27:11 +0200

At the 43 th day of strike, how will evolve the fight ? Will it run out of steam or rebound in an unexpected form ? Whatever the outcome, it is possible to ask a first series of reflections on a movement that will have lasting consequences. ---- As with every massive and lasting strike movement, the chroniclers seem to rediscover the class struggle. And those who own the means of production are rediscovering that their employees are essential for the production of wealth ! Conversely, the too slow and too weak extension of the strike to other sectors negatively reveals that the employees have only one real power: to stop producing collectively and sustainably. And all of a sudden, all the tactics of avoiding strikes or actions seeking to replace them revealed their limits: leapfrog days, Saturday demonstrations, street riots, blockages of flows, are all tools that may be useful, but in no way comparable to a broad and deep " arms crossed insurrection ".

A brake: the loss of militant know-how
A lasting and massive strike, a serious strike, it is preparing ... seriously. It is not enough to announce the date well in advance and put up some posters ! Delegates have to turn and come back, employees have to take over the project and save money. We need a battle plan. Unfortunately, it is the collapse of political consciousness and know-how that has been exposed in the majority of branches and departments. The results are so different from one region to another, from one branch to another, that making a general assessment is impossible. Thousands of delegates, despite specific calls from their national, local and professional organizations, have not gone on strike for a single day ! And this frightening observation must be our main concern.

But the movement will also have revealed the failure of too many intermediate militant teams, UL, UD, territorial professional unions ... disconnected, purring, timid or sectarian. So many structures to revitalize, to rebuild, to evolve by aiming at the reconstruction of local industry unions with a local interprofessional practice. But how can militant teams be freed from these tasks when, in their own company, union life is dying ? Because you do not become a credible and effective manager if you are not supported on a solid basis. This crudely repeats, over and over again, the question of the professional orientation of revolutionary activists.

Paris, December 5, 2019.
cc Daniel Maunoury
Tenacity: no truce for confectioners
The strikers held up during the Christmas holidays ! In all public services, certain deeply held taboos are crumbling before the steamroller of governments which methodically destroy the school, the hospital, transport, Social Security. Strike of exams, strike of care, strike of departure on vacation respond to the liberal offensive. And despite the difficulties caused in daily life, it is remarkable that a majority of the population still supports the movement. As if everyone was aware that public services were destroyed to offer the education, care, transport or social protection markets to private interests.

So, on January 9, the police had instructed to strike even harder in the hope of stopping the movement after returning from vacation. The success of the collections reinforces this observation: people have understood the issue, and there is just a spark missing so that the strike becomes generalized. It's annoying but not hopeless !

We have never known such a large and lasting unity on such a clear slogan: withdrawal. The entry of the GSC into the inter-union is in itself a significant event. By clearly delimiting the boundaries between confederations, it is to be hoped that the built unity, not without difficulty of course, will be rebuilt in future agendas. It also updates the question of the unification of combative union organizations in the face of the block of accompanying unionism.

In the departmental unions which have generally served as organizers (for better and for worse ...) of the movement, important bonds of trust have often been woven, including towards other forces such as the yellow vests. This is precious for future mobilizations. In some companies, intersyndicals have rediscovered the unity and power of GAs. At RATP, the renewed conflict has already turned the tables.

Read also: " RATP: The strike that overturns all benchmarks " , Alternative libertarian, January 2020.

The picket line at the Pleyel bus depot, an obligatory meeting point in Saint-Denis (93).
cc Solidaires-RATP
The real power of GA
An internal CGT circular will have surprised the attentive activist teams: it talked about the appropriation of the strike by the strikers, regular GAs, the mandate and revocation of strikers to represent their comrades ... In short, the perfect manual for the self-managed union member !

Like the strike, the GA again revealed its power, in positive as in negative. On the downside when, too lightly attended (this was the case with the SNCF), they did not allow the momentum towards a coordination of strike committees and the appropriation of the movement by the strikers. On the positive side, in inter-union city or departmental GAs which have allowed a multiplication of initiatives - despite the reluctance of union officials who sometimes discouraged more daring actions.

Paris, December 10, 2019.
cc Daniel Maunoury
A word on certain self-proclaimed " AG interpros " which have arisen again in a few places, often worn by political activists but all with their own agenda and too often fueling a demobilizing anti-unionism. However, some have played a positive role in imagining and carrying out useful actions, but always within the limits of substitute actions for the strike. And often without the efficiency of being built by the strikers' delegates, even less by the mass of the strikers.

Read also: " Rail: Basta of the" Christmas truce " " , Alternative libertarian, January 2020.
In case of failure, bitterness, corporate withdrawal, and disillusioned renouncements will occur. And yet it seems that the rage, the joy and the pride of having fought will remain the defining feature for the strikers, who will also learn from non-extension, just like non-strikers who will find that only the professions in struggle will have preserved gains.

In short, this movement gives reason to the militants of the general strike, and that will shake up in the structures. How to imagine that the direction of Unsa is not hit by its base in education and transport ? How can we imagine that the most combative sectors in Solidaires do not come out strengthened ? And in the CGT, the debates are open, and they are quite different than ten years ago, if we compare the federal management of Thibault in 2010, explicitly refusing to accelerate towards generalization, and the calls of Martinez in 2020, who unfortunately find it difficult to be followed. The reconstruction of a combat unionism begins today !

Jean-Yves (UCL Limousin),
Christian (UCL Paris Banlieue Sud-Est),
January 20, 2020

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