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(en) France, CNT-AIT: Anarchosyndicalisme #185 - Browsing through the archives, we have... (ca, de, fr, it, pt, tr)[machine translation]

Date Wed, 3 Apr 2024 09:34:22 +0300

Leafing through the archives, we found this text published in the CNT-AIT newspaper, Le Combat syndicaliste, n°134 of July 1955, but which still seems very relevant to us! ---- The division born from two tendencies which clash in the congresses and assemblies of the CNT comes from the fact that, for some, so-called revolutionary trade unionism must be and remain neutral of any philosophy or economic system: it is sufficient to himself, they say; for others, classic unionism having as its emblem the charter of Amiens cannot lead to social transformation without privilege, it is necessary to give men the philosophical and social economic principles of anarchism, without which society would inevitably fall back under the authority of a party.

I am one of those who espouse this latter way of seeing, rejecting the Charter of Paris (a sort of improved Charter of Amiens adopted at the Congress creating the CNT in 1946), as well as the current structure of the CNT, revealing itself to be the faithful continuation of the old CGT[from the 1900s]. Will the first way of seeing have the same fate as the second? Or will the anarcho-syndicalists react against this union neutrality in order to restore an emancipatory character to the CNT?

The anarchist ideal must be the driving force of the CNT, without which it would have no meaning and would be hardly better than the other centrals; neutralism is not enough, it is a question of knowing what we want and whether or not we are moving towards what we want.

Will we work alongside activists whose only motive for action is their wallets, ready to make concessions for units that relegate our principles and make us something other than bastard revolutionaries without convictions?

Will we accept that the structure of the CNT is still federation corporatism, while we advocate economic equality and thus divided in action, we go against what we proclaim in our declarations? Will we keep for a long time this structure which lets each federation title its own demands, draw up its own leaflets, organize in a word its federal, compartmentalized union work, pumping a good number of activists into the office, etc.? So much time, money and physical expenditure absorbed by this disappointing system. We must immediately shake up this routine and come strictly to the local, departmental unions, leaving the industry federations in the shadows until after the social revolution.

Do our present demands live up to what we claim to be? Do they correspond to reality? No. We set a minimum subsistence level of 35,000 francs and are only ahead of other centers on this point; can we honestly believe that an average family of three can live on this amount? Considering that living in this century means being able to access the benefits of modernism in the home, or would our struggles be limited only to subsistence?

Can we follow the activists advising our participation in organizations such as works councils, even for tactical reasons, since we know that inevitably, this would mean collaborating directly with our enemies, whether they are bosses or workers, and working together to consolidate the operation?

Should the possibility of becoming a staff representative in a company encourage us to be elected for reasons of impunity and comfort in action alone; because, in fact, what is our power once elected: to defend the legality of collective agreements, to demand, for those who work excessive overtime, that these hours be well paid; take an interest in the boss's loyal employees who are exploited like no other, but who never strike and come to work during; take care of a lot of little things, showers, toilets, sinks, etc., ultimately a lot of wind for not much; our position must be clear on this subject (non-participation), delegates on the job[during a strike and designated by the assembly of strikers], yes, and for the duration of the engaged struggle only.

It is time to become serious about our orientation, our structure, our Charter, we have to clarify what we must really be (anarchosyndicalists) with all that that entails, and not revolutionary syndicalists without baggage, without definition, we we will also avoid the regrettable confusion which allows a good number of Marxists and neo-Marxists (revolutionaries, too) to come and cause trouble in our organization; we will also prevent pure syndicalists from wasting their time among us, who have chosen anarchism as a system of existence.

Let the activists of the CNT understand all this and work accordingly, shouting matches and fist fights do not improve an inevitable situation permitted by a Charter which is not at all clear. It would be good to take an example from the organization of the FORA, which seems to me of certain value in terms of its firmness.


Postscript: 50 years later, the activists of the CNT-AIT arrived at the same conclusions and drew the consequence, affirming that yes, the CNT-AIT is clearly anarchosyndicalist - and therefore anarchist - and not vaguely "revolutionary syndicalist ". To find out more about the experience of the FORA, you can read the brochures: THE FORA: ANARCHIST WORKER ORGANIZATION and GLOBALIST ANARCHISM AGAINST "REVOLUTIONARY UNIONISM" Send electronic versions by request to contactchezcnt-ait.info, to receive the printed version write in the newspaper.

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