Comrades attended Modena from Brazil, France, Great Britain, Italy, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Serbia, Slovakia, and Spain and the Plenary was excellently organized by the USI-AIT. On Saturday evening the Centenary of the USI-AIT was celebrated by a demonstration, speeches and with events in the evening as Modena is the place in which the USI was founded hundred years ago. Both the Plenary and the Centenary was held in a very comradely spirit!
There has in the period since the last IWA Plenary in Warsaw in the end of October 2011 to the Modena Plenary, not only been austerity measures and cuts, but also an ideological campaign against the workers. This campaign tries to convince working people that the austerity and crisis is ‘their fault’ and not the reckless speculation and deregulation of the world economy. The “solution” of the states and capitalists is to dictate the workers to accept what they call “the logic of the market” and austerity measures and attacks are presented as “financial” necessities and “laws”.
The websites of the Sections, the IWA website and IWA`s External Bulletin show that the IWA and its Sections and Friends day by day are increasing their mobilizations, presence, activities and direct actions: It has in these eleven months since the last Plenary been IWA Days of actions against Austerity measures, exploitation and oppression from March 29 to 31, a General Strike in Spain March 29 and in Spain and Portugal etc. on November 14 that were support by the Sections, and a lot of Urgent actions in support of workers in conflict!
A referendum in the IWA in the end of January 2012 that the next Plenary should discuss and decide about further mobilizations. Items for discussion in the Plenary in Modena were: Assessment of past mobilizations. These included IWA Days of Actions, international solidarity calls or other mobilizations the Sections have taken part in. Strategic value of international mobilizations and how to pick potential partners.
The Plenary decided International Days of Action against job cuts and dismissals and in support of unemployed people, Days of Action related to housing and new International Days of Action against austerity measures, exploitation and oppression. It will also be actions against the destruction of a Spanish Cemetery in Brazil. All the actions will be announced in good time before they will be put into practice.
The Plenary in Modena was also discussing a lot of organizational issues. The 24th IWA Congress in Porto Alegre in December 2009 decided that the 25th IWA Congress should be in Spain in December 2013, and by this the Plenary could clarify issues before the Congress and also improve the present functioning of the IWA. It was also decided to establish a Syndical Education commission, it was treated issues relating to IWA expansion, the COB-AIT (Brazil) informed about projects and information was an agenda point called “Defence of the IWA and Anarchosyndicalism” in which information was exchanged.
And concerning the Centenary of USI-AIT, the organization was founded in Modena in 1912, and the organization took ten years later actively part in the organizational life from the re-founding of the International Workers Association (IWA) in Berlin 1922. USI was then dissolved by fascists violence and oppression, but attempts of reorganizing were made in the fifties (Liguria, Toscana) until the reactivation of the USI-AIT in the Parma Congress in 1979. The USI has since been and is active in several working place sectors, and the organization is heavily engaged in antimilitarist issues!
In the afternoon on Saturday 24, a demonstration gathered on the 1st of May Square and marched through the city to the main square. People shouted "Long live USI", "Union, Action and Self-Management", "General Strike" and other slogans, even in other languages. On the square, speeches were given on the state of the workers' struggles, anarcho-syndicalism and the IWA, amongst other things. Guests from other countries also spoke in different languages.
One of the appeals in the main square was from a USI-AIT comrade of the San Raffaele hospital in Milan where there is a strike against the dismissal of 244 workers and against the cancellation of the contract agreements which were won after many years of struggle. After some time, the demonstration went back through the street, with comrades singing revolutionary anarchist songs. Afterwards there was a meal and a concert.
Long live the USI-AIT
Long live the IWA and Anarchosyndicalism!
Oslo, December 1- 2012