Wednesday, January 16, 2008



POLAND:

ZSP: SOLIDARITY WITH REPRESSED WORKERS IN AUCHAN SUPERMARKET:

Seems that Molly's Blog has been doing too much heavy duty theoretical slogging lately. Anyways, here's a break from tiny, itty, bitty equations. The following article is reprinted from the Polish anarchist news service Centrum Informaji Anarchistcznej , and it describes a recent solidarity action that one of the Polish anarcho-syndicalist groups, the Union of Syndicalists- Poland (ZSP) held in support of a worker fired at the Auchen Supermarket in Wroclaw. The "clincher" is that the worker in question belonged to the rival anarcho-syndicalist group in Poland, the Workers' Initiative. For the uninitiated (ie most sentient life forms in the universe) this division of the Polish syndicalists mirrors the worldwide division of anarcho-syndicalists into the ILS and AIT camps. The ZSP is the newer group, formed last March/April, and Molly has just added them to her links list (with the English section of their website rather than the Polish one). what Molly finds so inspiring about this action is that, unlike the situation in other countries where AIT and non-AIT anarchosyndicalists are usually sniping at each other- at best- here is an example where people have put aside their organizational loyalties for a more important cause. Molly may also be wrong in another impression she has drawn from reading about these two groups, that in Poland, unlike in most other countries, the AIT group is the more active and dynamic of the pair. Am I wrong ? Polish readers please comment. Anyways...
"On Friday (Jan 11- Molly) the Wroclaw section of the Union of Syndicalists (ZSP) held a solidarity picket for a fired activist of Workers' initiative in front of an Auchan supermarket. The activist was fired from Auchan in Zielona Gora shortly after there was an action demanding better wages and work conditions there.
ZSP members and supporters gave out a few hundred leaflets and had a banner which read 'Enough Repression for Workers' Activism'. After some 40 minutes a security guard tried to verbally intimidate the protesters and asked them to follow him inside the building. The protesters ignored him. About 15 minutes later, all the leaflets were already gone and the activists were ready to go home when the guard came back with eight of his colleagues and the director of security. They tried to threaten the activists which made them resolved to stay.
The activists turned the main entrance of the supermarket into an arena for discussion of exploitation in the market. They also discussed the meaning of freedom of speech and assembly and public spaces. The head of security for some strange reason tried to convince the activists to take their protest to the Volvoidship Office, where she claimed those types of protests belong and, when that failed, claimed that they had the "wrong Auchan" and that supermarket was owned by "a different Auchan". The security guards' boss claimed that "repression of workers was something that existed under Stalinism:\" and that "these days if somebody is repressed, it's his own fault and it means that he's a loser". The ZSp activists tried to ask the security guards how much they earn and how much their bosses earn. The head of security intervened and tried to claim that she earns less than supermarket cashiers. She also said she was a member of the Solidarity Union and claimed that "workers don't need crusaders like you". When she ran out of arguments she decided to offer the ZSP activists immediate employment at Auchan...as security guards !!!
The security people claimed they really need workers as there are too many vacancies. ZSP activists pointed out that this must be a testament to the working conditions in the firm if nobody wants to work there. The activists responded that it is more likely that one day the security guards will join them than that they will join the security guards."
Whooo...Molly's best guess is that the protesters interrupted some serious drinking session here, and that the boss turned into a friendly drunk. It's hard to explain such a bizarre offer any other way. Or maybe the protesters looked like they could indeed handle themselves, and the director tried to take any opportunity that might come her way. Anyways, very strange. Still, the Polish anarcho-syndicalists get full marks for solidarity and initiative.

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