Notes from the international meeting of groups engaged in workplace issues
On Saturday 18th of March, the Presentation of Anarcho-Syndicalist Groups took place in the Prague autonomous center Klinika. The event was organized by the Prague solidarity network Solis with speakers from Solis, Lithuanian solidarity network Gyvenimas per brangus (Life Is Too Expensive), Solidarity network Chceme bydlet! (We Want Housing!) and two sections of the International Workers’ Association (ZSP and PA). We hereby thank Solis for the invitation and organization of the event. Here are a few of our observations.
The event was opened by a short presentation by the organizers, focusing mostly on two recently won conflicts and one new. Solis had a similar presentation in Prague several weeks ago, so they decided to leave more space for the guests.
Gyvenimas per brangus
GPB is a relatively new solidarity network from the city of Kaunas. It was founded after mass protests against attempts to change the labour code in the summer of 2016. After the protests ended (and the changes were not passed), they wanted to continue being involved in work related issues. Their inspiration was the Seattle Solidarity Network, USA, whose procedures they managed to adapt to the local situation. (Our union as well as Solis are largely inspired by the same methods. Here you can read our afterward to a SeaSol pamphlet in which we compare solidarity networks with anarhcosyndicalist organizations). In the fall of 2016. they spread posters around town encouraging workers to get active and are currently involved in their fifth conflict. Their well-prepared presentation was livened up by a funny video from one of the protests in a campaign related to unpaid wages of a worker from a local restaurant.
Although this solidarity network from Brno is not involved in workplace conflicts, their members briefly presented their activities related to housing issues.
In our presentation we focused on the development of the organization mainly in the past five years and the reason why we have been dealing with work and workers struggles from the beginning. We explained how the initial, not particularly successful, campaign “Ideš na brigádu?“ (Are You Doing a Temporary Student Job?) developed into a more general and more successful activity called “Problémy v práci?” (Problems At Work?). The rest of the presentation was devoted to two victorious conflicts and videos describing their development in the words of the workers themselves.
Związek Syndykalistów Polski
ZSP are one of the most experienced and fastest developing contemporary anarcho-syndicalist organizations. They have been in many struggles and are able to succeed without union representatives, or even without being a registered union. They rely on the tactics of direct actions, where it’s the workers themselves who fight to improve their situation. ZSP also presented several videos from struggles and shared their experiences from the newest wave of postal worker protests, to which members of ZSP contributed significantly.
We are glad that we could take part in this event which we left satisfied and motivated also thanks to the discussions after the event.