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X Congress of ZSP

The X Congress of ZSP took place in Krakow on May 2-3, 2016. The Congress focused on matters of our union activity and development, as well as some international issues. It was followed by an open meeting to present our activities and tactics.

A new section from Opole was admitted at the Congress. Reports were given about groups of workers we are currently cooperating with and/or speaking to and which ones potentially could join our organization. Another part of the Congress dealt with updates on current conflicts comrades are involved in. Almost all of the affiliate organizations of ZSP are currently carrying out conflicts in a number of workplaces and all of the delegates were actively involved in at least a couple of them. The Congress showed that the organization is most active on the level of workplace conflicts and that there are lots of groups of workers interested in concrete cooperation.

A delegate made a report on legal matters such as changes in the law on unions. ZSP does not work within these laws of class collaboration but there was a discussion about whether they could have a positive or negative impact. Among the new practices that mainstream unions consider oppressive is that the state is cracking down on false membership which unions use to get sponsorship in the form of „liberated” professionals. ZSP never supported these practices, which only reinforce the representative and professionalized unions and make many unionists more concerned about their cushy jobs as reps instead of any struggle.

There was also a discussion about printing a brochure with experiences from practical struggles and carrying out more educational work. A need was seen to carry out this work on two levels: as a union organization which offers a radically different way than the mainstream unions and is more flexible in how it can act outside of the bourgeoise law and as a libertarian organization which offers another view of how organizations can function and how societies can organize.

Another part of the Congress was dedicated to international matters. This was especially due to the attempts to split the international federation to which we belong, the lnternational Workers' Association. We do not think these developments are good for anybody, but we do not see any way to get around the situation since the main issues have already been discussed thoroughly.

There was consensus against the ideas and latest actions of the split faction and a discussion about how to proceed. The Congress was very critical of the fact that all of the organizations of the split faction break agreements of the federation because they are larger and think this gives them the right. We noted the very unfair situation where the largest and richest organizations don't pay their dues meaning that our organization has been paying more than ones that have more resources. There was consensus that there was more complaining and problems coming from this sector than cooperation and solidarity. They have no way to facilitate more contacts for us in the branches and companies where we are present. Therefore, our federation with them does not have the benefits we had hoped for and only forces us to spend time dealing with problems caused by ambitions and attitudes.

ZSP considers that the recent decisions of the Congresses of the CNTE and USI attempt to split the IWA and to disaffiliate most of its member Sections or leave them without a vote; these plans are inorganic and illegitimate. Together with the refusal to pay dues, ZSP considers that these Sections have in fact decided to leave the IWA, since being in any federation is tied to following statutory obligations such as these.

The Congress specified that it maintains solidary relations with the part of the CNT which did not agree to such a division and is not opposed to these people being in the IWA. In relation to USI, we do not know if there are any groups of rank and file workers which have an interest in cooperating on concrete workplace issues.

As an organization which has always had workplace conflicts and syndical activity, ZSP is discouraged by these developments and by the tendencies towards mainstreaming noticed in the split faction. Much of this follows in line with historical tendencies. The union is against development in more hierarchical and bureaucratized directions. On the other hand, it also recognizes a need for development of more practical activities amongst workers in parts of the world where we have comrades.

ZSP approved a series of proposals to encourage the development of anarchosyndicalist organizing locally and in other parts of the world. The union thinks that this is the most positive path to take given the current situation. At the same time, it seeks to maintain and expand international contacts, especially with rank and file workers. ZSP discussed organizing a regional event aimed at strengthening movements in the area.

Due to the dynamic situation, the union decided to call its first extraordinary congress, to be held in September 2016.

The Congress also decided that the location of the next IWA Congress, which it is hosting, will be in Warsaw.

ZSP expressed its disappointment with the atmosphere of the last two IWA Congresses and hopes that the lnternational will be able to refocus on positive work.