CGT host anarchist conference in Madrid

Over the weekend of March 31st an international libertarian/anarchist gathering was held in Madrid. It was hosted by the largest anarchist union in the world, the Spanish CGT, which has around 50,000 members. A number of other large libertarian unions attended including the SAC of Sweden and the Italian UNICOBAS.

Also in attendance were a number of smaller libertarian groups including Marmitag (Greece), ORAS-Solidarita (Czech Rep.), Al Badil al Taharouri (Lebanon), CIPO (Mexico), FAG (Brazil), FAU (Uruguay), OSL (Argentina), OSL (Switzerland), CNT (France), No Pasaran (France), Alternative Libertaire (France) and Alternativa Libertaria (Catalunya).

The meeting ended with an agreed declaration. At the time of going to print only a draft version was available. It opens with a definition of what is meant by libertarian.

* Direct action as a method of struggle
* Opposition to capitalism, authoritarianism and all forms of domination.
* Using self-management as their internal and external method of operation.

As might be expected quite a lot of space is taken up with capitalist globalisation, its origins and the opposition to it. It warns against those who argue against capitalist globalisation but in effect argue for a world government. " Encouraging any type of world government, arising from the current political situation, will only lead to legitimising the driving forces of capitalism, accelerating the consolidation of political structures which are totally out of the control of the inhabitants and peoples of the world." "Neither a State nor a world government, the only government acceptable is the self-management of society from local collectives coordinated regionally and world-wide, ... in which decisions are made from the bottom up and in which federalism is the formula for cooperation. No, to competition and free trade areas. Yes, to mutual aid and solidarity amongst peoples ... ends and means are one and the same in the libertarian strategy. ... at the same time as we fight against and pull down the power of capital we must also construct the libertarian alternative, step by step, minute by minute."

The discussion on revolutionary or anarcho-syndicalism is particularly interesting for its honesty as the largest participating organisations are anarcho-syndicalist. They point out that from the " 20th century until the beginning of the Second World War, revolutionary syndicalism and anarcho - syndicalism have been the central point of the major organisational initiatives of anarchist groups and organisations". But that since then changing conditions mean today "its presence is generally marginal in almost all parts of the planet". However "all the new social movements re-launched from the 60's onwards, ecology, feminism, anti-militarism, etc. have been a reflowering of libertarian flowers." This leads to the conclusion that "Libertarianism should currently strive towards encouraging convergence, the interaction of social movements - including the workers' movement - in a solid social movement antagonistic to capital and its present true face: economic globalisation and all other types of domination. This antagonistic social movement does not have, and nor should it have, a single organisational expression. It is plural, based on current reality, coming and acting together in the same territory, re-creating a common territorial identity, composed of many single identities".

The call was also made for a specifically libertarian "international network ... against capitalism" . The purpose of such a network was defined as including the spread of mutual aid, solidarity in struggle, information and debate, the organisation of international meetings and training schools. This meeting and document represents a significant step for a section of the anarchist movement. It is a step away from organising internationally on the basis of ideological purity. While we emphasise the need for an international organisation based on an agreed strategy on core issues and struggles it also makes sense to have a much looser and broader network like that proposed. In any case the meeting represents a step forward in co-ordinating global libertarian opposition to capitalism.

 Full text of statement

This article was first published in 'Workers Solidarity' No64 published in May 2001

WORDS: Andrew Flood (Follow Andrew on Twitter )


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