THE WORKING-CLASS STRUGGLE AND ITS ORGANIZATIONS

مبارزه ی طبقه ی کارگر و تشکل های آن

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THE WORKING-CLASS STRUGGLE AND ITS ORGANIZATIONS

Author’s note:

This is the first time, after several years of close collaboration with the media “Asr -e- Anarshism” / https://asranarshism.com , I have challenged them for a definite political stance, to inform the interested audience. Some of the militant comrades in the “Federation of Anarchism Era” have welcomed this criticism with open arms. And I will look forward to their possible response if they realize it is necessary.

Hasse-Nima Golkar, July 4, 2021.

 

A critical view of the statement from the Federation of Anarchism Era, under the heading “STRIKE: A TOOL IN WORKERS TOOLSET”

Social struggles have la long history, and an important part of this history is the workers movement. It is the history of the struggle for the destruction of the capitalist system as one of the important factors of oppression and exploitation from individual to individual, and its replacement by a human and libertarian social system without any state; along with the fight against all the associated relevant structures (infrastructures as superstructures) which are seeking to maintain and preserve capitalism and state’s survival. This history has always had and will have many ups and downs with failure and victory.

To achieve our demands continuous struggle and resistance from simple to complex, from individual to collective against any authoritarianism, all oppression and all exploitation, is the best and most effective way to gain experience and awareness, to raise the level of knowledge in the struggle for individual and collective self-organization and democratic self-management.

The control by the first concerned of matters to realize their class interests is of first importance, from the small to the large, everywhere in the family council, in the housing council, in the factory council, education and pedagogical council etc. from a local area to a city and province, to a geographical nationally and globally area. Social demand is based on people’s different short-term, medium- and long-term class interests, but what people is looking it is namely free and peaceful coexistence, justice and equality. All those basic demands are contrary to the goals of the oppressors and exploiters.

It is obvious that, amidst the diversity of tools used in the struggle, the decision about tactics and the strategy, such as the armed struggle, is always imposed by the enemy in front of us, namely the unequal capitalism system with the state as its agent. Now, whether the workers achieve their just demands, however small or insignificant, it depends on the one hand on the repressive power of the capitalist system through its associated government, and on the other hand it is directly related to the will, solidarity and persistent resistance of the working class, through the organizing way of the workers’ organization. It is natural that every individual or political collective has the right to support or not any tactic or strategy, either strike or whatever type of strike or any other type of struggle.

From my anarcho-syndicalist point of view, adopting perfectionist and absolutist policies and observing all socio-human phenomena  with “black and white lenses”, can only mislead our struggle for freedom, justice and equality to a deadlock. I therefore believe that ambiguous positions such as: “neither the skewer nor the kebab should be burned”, or “hitting both nails and (horse) toe” [Persian proverb] that may be approached by “We don’t want one slice of the cake, we want the whole fucking bakery“, in connection with fighting forms, strikes and other social movements, also to compare them with each other without taking into account the specific circumstances of each, would be fundamentally wrong and unwise. To shout only at slogans in a voluntaristic way without theoretical-practical support and without having direct participation in the struggle in the workplace, is to beat a hollow drum whose sound is heard well only from far away, without being able to have such a structural and decisive effect on changing the essence of the phenomenon including various protest struggles and strikes. The story of human struggles has shown to go to both sides of the extremes, under any name, will inevitably lead to failure, passivity and frustration.

The very short statement by the Federation of Anarchist Era, regarding the nationwide strike by the workers in the oil, gas and petrochemical industry in Iran does not show a practical and possible solution for the workers movement. It is both vague and insufficient to write “we are supportive and enthusiastic about the workers’ protests with the possibility of increasing their active, direct, militant and destructive performance”. It would be better to explain clearly what is meant by “militant and destructive performance”: is it sabotage? and if so, how to do?

As soon as the workers leave their jobs and use the strike tool as an effective weapon, does this act count as militant and destructive performance against the labor buyer, both the private and the state, who are the plunderers of that surplus-value in the capitalist system?

The Federation of Anarchism Era statement replies to this question by a “no”, with a perfectionist, absolutist, white-and-black view of phenomena! Why? Perhaps because, even if it is not explicitly stated, militancy and destructiveness from its point of view means the provision of military equipment as well as machine guns and bombs, to shoot against the capitalists and to blow away the entire factory building, which in fact belongs to the working people themselves?

The statement, with a completely reductionist view, introduces the demand for a wage increase based on the increase in inflation, as by one hand “a small recovery of wages”, and by another hand these are not “the workers’ main demands”. Both points are incorrect and far from reality. Unfortunately, the statement has easily passed over of all other points expressed at this stage of the struggle. According to available documents that the workers themselves have published in their Telegram channel, those points are the following:

1-The increase in the wage level in relation to rising of inflation. The minimum wage must be in the amount of twelve million Tomans. [at today’s exchange rate about $ 285. Of course, an amount to eat and not die].

2-The change of work days, namely 20 days working, with 10 days leave. In other words, increasing the rest days from four days to ten days a month.

3-The stable work security [permanent employment].

4-The reclaiming of unpaid wages.

5-The abolition of contractor companies.

In addition to all this:

6-The right to form a free trade union.

7-The right to housing.

8-The right to receive social and employment insurance.

9-The right to free education and medical treatment, and so on.

Are all these “small”!? Are those demands from the workers under the current specific conditions given the imbalance in the class force and the deep and dramatic weakness in the theory and practice of the workers movement, not militant and destructive enough? The Federation’s answer is also No. Why? Because the workers are not armed to overthrow the capitalist system now at once!

Where and how a worker who does not have water, bread, housing and rest for himself and his family, and while the workers movement after more than forty years has not yet formed a militant organization and a stable strike fund, can procure military equipment for a “militant and destructive” confrontation against a bloodthirsty enemy, armed up to the teeth?

Whether the workers achieve their just demands through the union struggle alone or not depends on other factors, such as the intense and fascist oppression of the capitalist state.

In order for the workers movement to prevent the conciliatory policies of the leaders, there is no alternative but to upgrade to a higher and more advanced level than a “union”, namely the creation of a political trade union organization. That is, an anarchosyndicalist union.

The unionist and syndicalist movements, although both are related to the union organizations of the workers, but do not count as a political organization and they are fundamentally different from each other. However, the anarchist movement has always been a political organization and has not had a trade union character.

And this is the important factor that has misled the Federation’s statement and caused a misjudgment of workers’ periodic demands under today’s specific circumstances. Without implementing this type of workers’ organization, that level of expectation is raised too high, so that they expect fish to fly and bird to swim in the deep sea!!

But what are these fundamental differences between the union movement and the anarchosyndicalist movement?

The conventional “unionism” has always believed in and emphasized the necessary existence of the state, parliament, the representative and a centralized vertical (top-down) leadership system. It has often been affiliated with a political party or has had a strong tendency to do so.

But anarchosyndicalism, in contrast to the characteristics of the union, has not believed in any state, parliament or leadership in any form or essence. It has a strategic guidance system for self-management councils that is decentralized and horizontal. All the members of an anarchosyndicalist organization are workers.

They participate individually or collectively in all disputed bargaining meetings with the labor buyer – small or large – and the ruling government (“labor court”), who representing their own specific class interests, without having any leader (master over workers’ heads). There is only a “spokesperson” who works on a voluntary basis. This is in one hundred and eighty degrees in contrast to unions whose representatives are often union’s employees and not workers.

The union representatives often do not consult directly with the workers about their specific demands in the workplace, against the labor buyer or the government (“labor court”). Often workers are not included in the negotiation sessions. Representatives decide by themselves over the interests of the workers, because they believe that their knowledge and skills are superior than the workers’ capacities. On this basis, they always pursue the interests of their own and of the political party their union is affiliated to.

While the anarchosyndicalist spokesperson is always in direct contact with the workers [as it is choosen from them] and allows them to participate in all negotiations with the labor buyer and the government (“labor court”). In this way, they try to resolve disputes together, without being able to exercise their own personal opinions and interests in any way.

The unionist leaders actively participate in all parliamentary elections and rise to the level of President or Prime Minister of a capitalist state and forget, as usual, their background as workers.

But anarchosyndicalists, on the contrary, because of their anti-capitalist character and because anarchism (libertarian socialism) is their purpose, do not take part in any parliamentary elections and will not stand for election as president or prime minister. They do not accept and have no state or regional administrative political positions in society. Historical experience (like Spanish Civil War 1936 – 1939) definitely convinced them of the error to participate in any State institution.

There are two important things in the Federation’s statement that need to be reminded of:

1-Sometimes only the word “worker” has been used in the singular noun form, instead of working class or at least the workers in the plural noun form. Why?

2-There is no logical connection and concordance between the published picture and the oil workers’ strike. Does not this example show that the Federation only defends the workers movement that existed under the social conditions of the 1930s in Spain, where the anarchosyndicalist arose with a very large and strong organizational presence?

Is it not induced to the public that the statement, consciously or unconsciously, intends to diminish the value of the workers struggle in Iran, because they are not the same as the syndicalist-anarchist workers’ struggle in Spain?

The reality of the workers movement in Iran today shows that the number of fighting trade unionists and self-organized anarchosyndicalist present in the movement is unfortunately too small to influence the rise of trade union-political demands and the choice of slogans.

On this basis: perfectionism, absolutism and above all voluntarism in this statement do not help to raise the working class (and in this case the oil industry workers) mentality. Not openly supporting them, especially in the current specific given situation in society, in my opinion, deserves criticism.

I have no problem with the Federation’s militant goals and ambitions in a general perspective. But; it is better to pay attention to this bitter fact that one of the biggest problems in assessing today’s complex social conditions, especially the workers movement, which lives in a deep theoretical-political-organizational poverty and the indescribable confusion, has removed us from our demands and the demands of the workers movement.

I, as a retired worker and supporter of anarchosyndicalism (*), perceive that the Iranian workers movement has been most by some important and effective traces of the global syndicalist movement and not by an anarchist current. Until that time, will be needed to promote and expand as much as possible the anarchist-syndicalist literature, the transmission of our learned experiences and world experiences, together with the experience of the inevitable defeat and victory of the struggle. With only voluntarism and prescription writing, without direct participation in the daily struggle of the workers movement, it is not possible to raise its level in order to be driven towards the overthrow of the corrupt and inhuman capitalist system.

(*) – I think that the separation of these two merged twins (syndicalism-anarchism) from each other is not correct and effective for the construction of a human libertarian socialist society in the future.

But despite of all this fact, regardless of all the small and big problems, strengths and weaknesses, it is not appropriate for us today to stand still with our arms crossed and not support it. Such support is a political duty and a responsibility for a struggling syndicalist-anarchist movement around the world!

The political struggle for fundamental social change of any kind is not a straight line or a dyeing workshop, which without getting involved in the problems from simple to complicated, and not passing through the maze, it is not possible to achieve a desired result in a day or within a few days.

The struggle for change, small or large in a corrupt capitalist system that governs the world, begins with the protest against the slave-growing authoritarian policy in the pedagogical education of the family, kindergarten, elementary school, high school and university, and continues with protests for workers and citizens’ rights. Even if they are “insignificant”.

This is the best way during the long course of the struggle that the working people are trained, become aware, gain experience and in that way are “armed” to different levels of the knowledge of struggle to the fundamental and radical changes they themselves want and show interest and also wants to defend its preservation. No matter how many years and centuries it may take.

I believe that until these goals and ambitions are to be realized, it is not appropriate on the pretext that the hypocritical right-wings and backward forces “support” the strike, to ”not make any move on chess-board”, letting ourselves to be silent, not to support them as much as we can. We should not leave the fighting workers alone in the mouth of the thousand-headed dragon, namely the ruling Shia-Islamic state in Iran.

“We ate what others planted before; now we plant for the others to eat”! (Persian proverb).

Long live the unity and solidarity of the working class, together with its enlightening supporters for all the rights of the working people against the capitalist system and all kinds of oppression and exploitation of the individual by the individual!

https://asranarshism.com/1400/04/09/strike-a-tool-in-workers-toolset



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