The IWA Days of Action concided with a general strike and were marked by campaigns against capitalist exploitation in concrete workplaces and by protests against capitalism, austerity measures and other attacks against the working class. Actions of different sorts took place in many countries. Below is a summary of different actions which we have received accounts of. Some of these actions are described in more detail in separate articles in this bulletin.
Day One: March 29
Without a doubt, the most extensive action held that day was the general strike in Spain, called by the CNT-AIT. (See the separate news on the strike in Spain)
Comrades from dozens of cities took part in blockades, pickets at workplaces where the CNT have conflicts, offices of political parties, municipalities and other places. Some unions held their own demonstrations, some went as blocks in joint demos. There were many successful blockades of scabs and closures of some businesses for the day, there were clashes with police, there were actions day and night.
Solidarity actions were organized internationally, in Lisbon, Warsaw, Berlin, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Nurnberg and Oslo.
From Friday March 23 - Sunday March 25, 2012, the XX national congress of the Italian Syndicalist Union, USI-AIT took place near the self-managed space „Free Factory” in Modena. Dozens of delegates took part. They represented sections from Modena, Bologna, Trieste, Parma, Reggio-Emilia, Florence, Livorno, San Vicenzo, Trento, Ancona, Brescia, Carrara and Sarno.
International greetings were given from the Secretariat of the IWA by Rolf-Petter Larson (Secretary of the IWA) and Einar Nyomen. The Free Workers' Union from Germany (FAU) also gave greetings and wishes for successful work from the comrades present, Lars Rohm and Julia. The work of the congress, as always, was highly intensive, broad and open for discussion.
This year’s May Day has special significance as it marks the 125 Anniversary of the murder of the Haymarket Martyrs by the government of the United States in 1887. In 1886 an international campaign was launched in support of the 8 hour day. As part of that campaign a strike was called in Chicago on May 1st 1886. On May 4th during a demonstration called in support of the strike, a provocateur bomb exploded. The state sought to blame the anarchist who had been at the forefront of the campaign.
The government arrested 8 Anarchists, Parsons, Fischer, Engel, Spies, Lingg, Schwab, Neebe and Fielden. Though clearly innocent, Parsons, Fischer, Engel and Spies were hanged November 11 1887 and Lingg died in prison. The murder of the four men, who become known as the Haymarket Martyrs, sparked a massive international protest and lead to May 1st being declared International Workers Day. A day born out of the brutality of the state and the heroic struggle of the workers and one that belongs to the international proletariat.
The CNT-AIT called for a general strike against the Labor Reform and held direct actions and mass rallies and demonstrations all around the country. The extent of the actions were so vast and the actions so varied that it would take a whole bulletin to list them all. In many cities, the comrades went around all night, many starting their actions on March 28 or midnight March 29. Many workplaces where the CNT has current conflicts were visited.
In Madrid, the comrades, starting at midnight, visited many workplaces like the Post Office, Indra (which outsources IT workers), the National Library, the Complutense University, Roche, Carrefour, Atento, RTVE, Telecinco and others. In the evening a large demonstration of the CNT was held. The CNT-Comarcal Sur visited an industrial poligon, some local bus companies, the municipality, Riva Madrid TV station, Humanus and other places before joining a demonstration in the south of Madrid.
The CNT union of SOV Madrid has seen a satisfactory conclusion to a conflict it had maintained for several months with PIZZA JARDÍN.
At the end of December last year, members of the SOV Madrid union formed a union section of the CNT in the restaurant PIZZA JARDÍN. It started to carry out intense union activity from the beginning, (presenting a list of demands, making denunciations to the work inspectorate) with the goal of improving some work conditions which were like those in the 19th century: no possibility to have sick leave, the obligation to make up vacation days by working extra, etc....
The labour dispute between a worker and gambling machine manufacturer Bally Wulff in Berlin, which started in September 2011, ended in March 2012 with a court settlement. After a proceeding case against FAU Berlin about statements made by the FAU building and technical section in Berlin, which the gambling machine manufacturer had already lost, it now agreed on a settlement. Information about it will be spread soon. The section evaluates this as a successful end to protect the interests of its member.
In support of the IWA Days of action in the UK, the Solidarity Federation called for campaign of direct action against workfare. The idea was to use the IWA 3 Days of action to launch a concerted campaign to put an end to unpaid work. This is in support of the ongoing Boycot Workfare campaign, that is being organised in conjunction with numerous other groups and organisations.
At a time of unprecedented youth unemployment in the UK , which now stands at over 22%, the government is subsidising businesses by sending the unemployed to work for them without pay and with the new Youth Contract it intends to expand these schemes even further.
On March 31, a rally-picket was held in Moscow as part of global protest days against anti-social policies and austerity measures at the call of the International Workers Association (IWA). The action was organized by the section of the IWA in Russia (KRAS-IWA).
It was attended by a total of about 40 people: representatives of various social organizations (KRAS-IWA, Autonomous Action, Committee of 19 January, trade union "Teacher", civil initiatives, etc.). The rally was held on the square “Krasnopresnenskaya zastava” with the monument to the heroes of the revolution of 1905-1907. Dozens of passing people stopped to listen to the speakers. The newspaper "Direct action" of the Russian section of IWA was distributed. The action covered by the public television network (SOTV.RF).
The comrades in Brisbane wrote an open protest letter and in Melbourne they visited Roche offices.
Protest Action in support of ZSP-IWA (Polish Section) by ASF Melbourne
IWA Day of Action in Melbourne, a protest action in solidarity with dismissed ZSP (Polish Section) comrade from ROCHE Polska by ASF Melbourne took place in Victoria Sales Office of Roche Pharmaceuticals.
The manager was confronted and a letter of protest was handed to the manager directly.
Long live the IWA and anarchosyndicalism!
Today, Priama akcia-Bratislava organized a protest visit to two branches of Roche in Bratislava, Slovakia. It was the third day of March solidarity activities called by ZSP in support of their sacked member Jakub. During all three days we informed about the development of the struggle and provided people with an easy way to send protest e-mails via web. We also sent faxes to Roche branches in Poland, Switzerland and Slovakia.