The 30th Confederal Congress of the CNT took place on the 19th, 20th and 21st of September in the Northern French town of Lille.
This Congress was important to the CNT, as it finds itself in a situation where social movements are demoralised and incapable of responding in a co-ordinatedfashion to the arrogance of Capital. Moreover the CNT is facing the frontal attacks against Union rights, in the front line against the reform of Union representation laws.
This Congress needed to determine our organisational ability to respond to the policies of the Sarkozy government and to adapt our strategy to face the new threat to union representation.
No fewer than 67 CNT locals, from all regions of France, were represented at Congress.
We were also able to welcome delegations from organisations with which we collaborate on an international basis: CGT (Spain), FAU (Germany), USI (Italy) and the ASSI (Spain).
Other organisations, unable to send delegates, send greetings to the congress: CGT (Burkina Faso), SISSA (Italie), ASOINCA (Colombia), Solidaridad Obrera (Spain), ODT (Morroco), Workers Initiative (Poland), CNTG (Guinea), IWW (Great Britain), SAC(Sweden) and ESE (Grece).
For our responses to the Reforms on Union representation please see the attached syntheses.
The Confederation will launch a campaign against bosses and the state in the months to come.
In terms of our International Strategy the congress in Lille voted by a large majority in favour of "Reinforcing International Solidarity". This motion was historic, as for the first time since our expulsion from the AIT in 1996 the CNT has decided to mandate its International Secretariat to aim, in the medium and long term, towards the creation of a new International. The International Secretariat and the CNT will be launching, in the next few months, an appeal to all of their international contacts.
The International Secretariat of the CNT, composed of fifteen members is from now on co-ordinated by three mandated members: Jérémie BERTHUIN, Fred SIMEON et David DUSLAM.
Long life anarcosyndicamlim !
Long life international solidarity !
Long life libertarian comunism !
International Committee of CNT France
Text of the Synthesis about the CNT syndical strategy :
"The CNT firmly opposes the agreement on the rules of representativity made by the big unions and translated into legislation in August 2008. The Federation invites its member unions to develop a radical critique and denouncement of this agreement which only serves to promote the co-management scheme that unites bosses-government-big unions. If called for, it will take the lead in this argument. We declare that union rights are not linked to scores in staff elections, nor even in participation.
1. Union Strategy and Representativity
The CNT reaffirms that it is the Job Branch and the Union Local that are the motors of action in the enterprise.
While respecting the principles of Anarcho Syndicalism / Revolutionary Unionism seek to take and keep union rights in the workplace.
This means that Job Branches and Local Unions may decide to pursue legal union representativity provided that they judge this to be useful for their development within the framework set by the federal congress, that they avoid the trap of co-management with the bosses, that they resist the illusion of a real union force emerging from elections.
The only justifications for participating in staff elections are the will; to protect a fellow worker from repression, to exercise such union rights as having a bulletin board inside the enterprise, to visit buildings and departments, to call strikes, to distribute literature, etc.
On the other hand, obtaining mandates in joint labour management or in co-management committees cannot justify participation in staff elections.
The CNT will not limit itself to the framework imposed by the government and the bosses. Collective direct action without delegation of decision making remains the workers’ most important weapon.
2. The Private Sector
In view of the reform the CNT takes the following positions:
the CNT reaffirms its historic rejection of the Enterprise Committees
the CNT leaves it up to its union structures closest to the shop floor to decide how best to defend workers, including possible participation in staff elections
during the coming months the CNT will study the usefulness of appointing "job section representatives" under the reformed law in terms of legal protections and empowerment
regarding the new criterion of two year presence in the industry and region, the member unions are invited to found industrial unions as quickly as possible. Failing this the CNT may fall back on its multi-professional unions whose by-laws and legal registration open up the widest and most detailed field for union work
taking note of the necessarily mutual trust among fellow workers, the CNT urges its member unions to break out of the framework of co-management unionism by developing practices that are in line with anarcho-syndicalism / revolutionary unionism such as :
elected representatives must take positions in accord with the job branch and the local union
elected representatives must report in writing on their meetings to their job branch, their local union, and to the workers in the enterprise
the CNT member unions are urged to push for staff elections at two rather than four year intervals in order to promote the rotation of elected representatives
The Federal Committee will systematically put a point about the reformed law of labour representation on its agenda. The regional unions will report exhaustively on decisions taken by their member unions so that a global analysis may be prepared for the next CNT Congress.
Regarding the acquisition of representativity at the industrial or national level, the CNT reaffirms its refusal to take part in structures that tend to provide the bosses and government with convenient permanent negotiating partners.
For better comprehension, an argued explanation of this decision will be published in the "Combat syndicalíste" and sent to all those organisations with which the CNT has links of solidarity and fraternity.
3. The Civil Service
The law on labour representativity in the civil service remains unreformed. The CNT continues to refuse participation in staff elections and joint staff management committees.
If and when there is a reform, the CNT will decide its position at its next congress.
Until then it is left to its federations, under control of the Federal Committee, to study the question of staff election participation if they find that their union rights have come to depend on that.