We will end this report with an event that happened a couple of days before we were elected as members of the IWA-Secretariat by the NSF in January. A person telephoned and said the Secretary of the SAC, Hannele Peltonen, had mailed him and said she wanted to meet the IWA-Secretariat now when it was in Norway. The SAC and the IWA could sit down and talk together in the same language. It was also mentioned SAC`s Congress decision of 1998 about the IWA. To this it was answered that the IWA-Secretariat would not break the IWA-decision of no contact to the SAC, but if they had something new to say, they could send it to us, and the information could be passed to the Sections.
As NSF members we read Swedish, and we knew the content of the decision of the SAC Congress in 1998. Anyway, we thought it seemed somewhat strange that the SAC after knowing the results of IWA`s 20th Congress decided that their International Committee should actively work towards and investigate the possibilities for the reentrance of the SAC into the IWA before SAC`s next Congress. (in 2002) The IWA-Congress in Madrid in 1996 accepted the CNTF and USI (not the Vignoles and Rome). It had clear decisions against class collaboration, state subsidies and paid union officials and it made a decision of no contact at any level with the SAC.
The NSF did not pay so much attention to the SAC-decision since it also contains words saying that the SAC will continue to cooperate in concrete issues and projects with other libertarians and independent socialist movements. In other terms, they will continue to co-operate with the CGTE, Vignoles etc. It should also be noted that the SAC Congress did nothing to get rid of the full timers and state subsidies to change the policy or orientation towards the IWA!
In 1995 the NSF passed a report to the IWA called "Who are banging the war drums" analysing the SAC as an organisation, and the tactics of the SAC and the libertarian reformists. The tactics of the SAC is described as a "Giant Slalom" where they in the beginning of the seventies tried to set up networks, and in the end of the seventies decided that "the SAC in principle should be member of a syndicalist international". The SAC hoped to build this international around an established axis with the reformists in the CNT when they had the National Committee.
The SAC failed as everyone knows, because their friends walked out of CNT`s 5th Congress in 1979, and later together with the second split of the CNT in 1984, they formed a fake "renewed -CNT". It is obvious that the SAC was not, and never has been, "neutral" in the hard conflict between the CNT and the split. SAC international activists were also disappointed when the historical patrimony went to the CNT, and the split had to change name to CGT.
Then in 1990, a new phase of the "Giant Slalom" appeared. The SAC decided a new international program saying that they "will not be members of no one of the existing internationals and that they do not try to build a new international". Only one year later, the International Secretary Annika Hjelm said to the CNTF that "presently, we don`t advocate the creation of another International as the relations are not yet sufficient developed".
In the beginning of the nineties to 1995 the IWA was going through a period of destabilisation. There were splits in Australia, Norway , Japan, Germany, France, Italy and Spain. In this situation the SAC travelled around and visited IWA- Sections frequently, and their goal was obvious. The NSF report says:
"The International Secretary of the SAC, Kieran Casey, wrote an interesting article in SAC`s IB, the Syndikalisten no. 7/8 1995. The title was "The time hasn`t stopped- is it time to re-affiliate to the IWA?" He says that IWA`s SAC boycott came from the fifties, but that the time is progressing and that the time is more ripe for a normalisation at the official level. Most IWA Sections are not the problem in this process, but the Spanish problem is throwing shadows and it is more difficult to solve. He says that the SAC will try to solve it. They mean that the CGT and the CNT should fix their problems and unite. He says further that the SAC will not encourage the IWA Sections to break their own decision of not having official contacts to the SAC. Instead they send an appeal to the IWA Sections and ask them to cancel the decision of not having official contacts. That must be done at the next IWA Congress"
This next Congress was IWA`s 20th Congress in 1996 in Madrid. The conclusion of the NSF report was that it would be a disaster for the IWA and the anarchosyndicalism if the Congress had followed the recommendations of a so-called "normalisation" to the SAC. Especially if the splits in France and Italy were not solved. It would have increased the conflicts, tensions and fights inside the IWA and possibly have destroyed it.
The reports of the Granada IWA-Secretariat to IWA- Plenaries and the 21st Congress of IWA in Granada in December 2000, tells a lot of the multiple initiatives and conferences of the CGT, SAC and Vignoles from 1997 to 2000. And the strong critics against the FAU at the IWA Congress shows that the situation was not less infected by FAU`s parallel activities and contacts.
To contribute to an analysis of today`s situation, we will additionally mention the following: The first event was in the autumn of 1999. It was a discussion in the internal bulletin of the Vignoles if the Vignoles should sign the so-called "Malaga declaration" from July 1999. The majority was against the signing of it according to the Bureau Confederal. This vote was a manipulation, said Jacques Toublet of the "Syndicat de la Communication".
We don`t know who was majority, but Toublet is in the BI November 99 criticizing the Vignoles International Secretariat saying the following about the "European Marches” and the "European Conferences of Alternative Unions": "We are at present time trying hard to organise an anarchosyndicalist/revolutionary syndicalist pole/fraction of SAC, FAU (Germany) and a large part of the base of the CGT". Then Toublet, who had contacts to the General Secretary of the CGTE, Olaizola, asked if this was an attempt to organise a fraction inside and to short-circuit the elected committees in the CGTE?
The second event is from "Por une Autre Futur" at the First of May 2000 in Paris where the CGT General Secretary Olaizola said that "all libertarians should unite in one strong International". After the First of May the International Secretary of Vignoles, Corto Ravena was interviewed in "Arbetaren" of his thoughts about the future: "Who knows? I do not know, but perhaps the result is a new international in a 5 to 10 years time. At the moment we are organising projects together and we are making the first bricks for a new international network". In other words: At the same time as they are appealing for libertarian unity, they are themselves building an increasingly stronger organised parallell structure!
Then in January 2001, this unofficial attempt or initiative of talks with the IWA, came from the SAC as we have described. And in Madrid the 30th of March to 1st of April 2001 the CGTE etc. organised a conference about "Anarchism in the 21st Century" with the goal of uniting all libertarian forces in one "International Libertarian Solidarity Network" with Congresses etc. One of the agreements of the "network" founded in Madrid was to make projects, as in Brazil supporting the FAG, the organisation making so much problems for our Section the FORGS-COB. At the same time the CGT in Spain had a Congress obviously trying to put ahead their new “libertarian” image. They were also electing a new General Secretary.
This year, we have also seen other initiatives of the CGT, SAC and Vignoles as the “European syndicalist unions conference" in Gothenburg in June. The IWA- Secretariat has in the "Attention" on the IWA-web, translated parts of an "Arbetaren" article reporting from a summercamp in Masseube in France. The views of these members of the CGT, Vignoles, SAC are that a new international is a good idea in sight, but that the majority ment the time is not mature. The translation is also showing SAC`s cooperation with the police in Gothenburg.
It should be no doubt that the "Giant Slalom" described in the NSF report, continues. Today, it is extremely important to be aware of that these international manouvers do not only come from the SAC, but also from a CGTE with new "libertarian" clothes, the Vignoles and other associates. We have reasons to fear attempts to pick up IWA-Sections, or parts of IWA-Sections in the name of "libertarian" unity. All in order to make an increasingly stronger parallell structure, and then form a new International.
The IWA- Secretariat has asked the IWA- Sections and Friends to analyse the situation. On the SAC, we have a SAC-Commission consisting of the Direct, FSA, FAU and NSF. They can provide the IWA with information. And on the CGT it would be central to have the analysis of the CNTE, and on the Vignoles the CNTF. Don`t forget either the OSL (Argentine) the FAU (Uruguay) and the FAG (Brazil) and here our Sections and Friends in Latin-America and the US can provide information.
IWA`s 21st Congress made the decision called "The defence of the IWA and the anarchosyndicalism and its strategical re-launch". After criticizing the unions more or less comprimised with the institutional logic and the attempt to create another international, it says that the defence of the IWA has to take place at a double level: That of re-asserting our contents and libertarian self-managing methods, and that of making a more visible and stronger IWA "being the leading ones in basic union movements, in social and anti-military struggle, giving voice to the masses continuously moved by immigration flows".
The Congress decision gives the Sections, Friends and the IWA- Secretariat obligations in times when global capitalism shows its true character and the IWA is approaching its 80th Anniversary!
Oslo the 20th of November 2001
With anarchosyndicalist greetings
from the IWA-Secretariat