One does not have to search far to find examples of how the police and the state apparatus is used during moments of resistance to exploitation and oppression. Around the world we see how time after time, workers protests are quelled by police, how movements of the oppressed are put down by force. The role of the state in maintaining the power of the elites has long been clear.
The IWA is pleased to announce the success of its first Congress ever in the Balkan Region. The Congress marks a new era for the IWA, which has shown its commitment to development and spreading anarchosyndicalism in more new regions around the world.
On November 3-5, 2017 an Extraordinary Congress of the IWA took place in Belgrade, Serbia. The Congress was held, extraordinarily, less than one year after the XXVI Congress, that took place in Warsaw. Despite this technical challenge, the Congress again went smoothly and was accompanied by discussion on practical matters and public presentations of the work of the Sections.
The choice to hold an important Congress in Belgrade can be seen as an act of defiance against the authoritarian state, that tried to criminalize comrades in this country on more than one occasion.
Drivers around the world have protested against UberExploitation. In Indonesia, drivers organized in KUMAN, along with comrades from PPAS, have organized protests and a strike against the bad working conditions and more protests and strike actions are being planned.
On August 19, hundreds of drivers went on strike. A few hundred rallied at the Uber office in Jakarta while drivers in some other cities also joined in by turning off their apps and not taking any jobs.
KUMAN sent a list of demands to Uber, concerning pay and conditions and met with the company, which did not allow it to bring legal representation. Among the demands are raised rates and not forcing the drivers to take free fares as part of Uber promos.
Each May Day we remember the history of workers in struggle for the 8-hour day, which is behind the holiday. This struggle is still relevant. The material conditions of the working class in many places is abysmal and the 8-hour day is still a goal to be achieved, not only because of its absence but because many people simply cannot afford to live on what they could earn in 8 hours. In many places where decent conditions were won due to historic struggles, these gains have been eroded by the advance of the capitalist offensive. Hundreds of millions of working people live in stress and anxiety due to their precarious situation, often not able to afford the basic necessities of life – nevermind fully enjoying the fruits of their labour.
At the same time that this is happening, another, much more dangerous thing is spreading around the world. Anxiety and frustration has driven parts of the working class, always with the manipulation of elites, into worldviews that are both extremely divisive for the working class, as well as highly authoritarian and anti-libertarian in their nature. Scores of working people have turned to nationalist rhetoric and different forms of social conservatism, wrongly thinking that measures such as building walls or stepping up the police state will somehow save them.
At this time in history, we, members of the International Workers' Association, face a number of extremely hard tasks, in light of a mass shift in the ideas which dominate in some of the places we operate and in light of urgency to counter these trends. The IWA has never been just a union federation. It has never only been about just organizing workers in their economic struggles. The IWA is the workers' federation which stands for the new world in our hearts, where all of humanity is equal and the ideologies which divide us, drive us to war, hatred, discrimination etc., are replaced by the libertarian ideal of freedom, respect and dignity for all.
We are sorry to hear of the death of long-time anarchist militant and member of the CNT Spain, Jose Luis Garcia Rua. Garcia Rua passed peacefully on Friday morning, January 6 at the age of 93. Rua was born in 1923 in Asturias, Spain. His father had been a member of the CNT who perished on the Oveido front during the Civil War. In 1939, he was forced into exile in France, eventually winding up in a concentration camp of Argelers and Barcarès, however he was able to return later than year.
Garcia Rua began a career as an academic, but worked in construction, metal and mines. He was involved in anti-Francoist activity and ultimately repressed for his role in a miners' strike. He lost his job in academia for some time but ultimately became a professor of philosophy in the University of Granada in the mid-70s. In 1977, after the death of Franco, he was chosen Secretary of the Andalucian region of the CNT, a position he held twice. Between 1986-1990, he served as the General Secretary of the CNT and from 1997-2000, as the General Secretary of the IWA.
He is the author of numerous articles and books, both related to anarchosyndicalism as well as his academic interests. On May Day 2015, he made an impassioned speech about the International Workers Assocation, calling on comrades to continue the tradition of militant anarchosyndicalism. This was the last speech that he made in public.
We send our condolences to his family.
The NSF had an 100th Anniversary event on October 29th as start for the NSF Centennial. It was held in a wooden house in Grunerløkka in Oslo and it was very well attended. Greetings were held from IWA Secretariat (with seat in Poland) by the General Secretary, a comrade from SFManchester,
and a comrade from Ørestad LS, which is an IWA Friends organization. Later, it appeared 9 workers from a new grassroot initiative of transport workers from the big transport terminals in Oslo and surroundings, and they made a greeting to the NSF.
There were first speeches about the founding of NSF on December 28th of 1916 and the numerous direct actions the following years. The NSF was also in the forefront of making actions by taking the 8th hour day, and started to agitate for the 6th hour day as early as in 1919. A health worker/ historian , who is writing two books about the NSF, spoke about the development in Rjukan, a community where the NSF had 600 affiliates in 1920, and how the local branch of the main Confederation, the LO, sometimes cooperated, but most times undermined the NSF and its direct actions.
Another speech was about NSF activities in the twenties and thirties. The NSF joined the IWA at its founding Congress in 1922, and has since taken actively part in it. The NSF kept organizing in the twenties and thirties. They had also a women`s group that actively took part in the NSF
organizing efforts, and many of its members were also arrested during the World War II for illegal work against the Nazis.