Sunday, June 07, 2009
INTERNATIONAL ANARCHIST MOVEMENT-POLAND:
MOLLY IS CORRECTED:
A BRIEF HISTORICAL PRELUDE:
Thunder roared from the skies. Lightning forked from cloud to cloud and down into the innocent streets of Rome. Winds howled, ripping roofs from houses and shattering windows. It was July 18th, 1870, the last official day of meetings of Vatican Council I, presided over by Pope Pius IX. While he had begun his papal career as a liberal reformer he later became an arch conservative after having had to flee Rome during the Italian version of the revolutions of 1848. He later returned behind French bayonets in 1849 (lent by Louis Napoleon in what may have been one of the earlier examples of why nobody should trust "progressive politicians"- if the latter isn't an oxymoron). When Pius returned under the protection of his French friends he was a changed man. The liberal reformer had become someone best described, with only a little exaggeration as 'Atilla the Pope'.
So here we were at Vatican I, prepared since 1864 and opened on December 8, 1869. Prior to this Pius had attempted to define the 'Immaculate Conception' of Mary as infallible doctrine, but this controversial move was stymied by the fact that "Papal Infallibility' was, at the time, a common opinion rather than an accepted article of faith for the Catholic Church. Amongst other things to be considered (many of which never were) at Vatican I was the formal acceptance of Papal Infallibility by an Ecumenical Council.
Opinions differ as to the divisions amongst the bishops at this council. Official Catholic histories say that there was little disagreement as to the content of the declaration, only differing opinions about whether it was "opportune" to proclaim the doctrine at the time. Sources from the 'Old Catholics' who split from the Church of Rome over this issue have an entirely different view. They point out that the council was "stacked" with an artificial majority of Italian bishops, many of whose dioceses make the present Vatican City look like the late USSR in terms of geographical extent. They also point out the large number of bishops who decamped before the final vote so as not to be seen publically as opposing the Pope. In the end the ultramontanists carried the matter by an overwhelming majority, even though probably 20% of the bishops were opposed.
Thus we return to that day in 1870 as Pius read out his declaration of infallibility to the backdrop of a guttering candle and the rain poring in through a storm broken Vatican window. "I am infallible"."How do you know this ?" "Because I say so and I am infallible"
Pius later went on to die a miserable death, afflicted by erysipelas (which Molly is most familiar with as a zoonotic disease of pigs). As he aged open sores appeared on his legs, sores that refused to heal. By the time of 1877 his lesions had worsened to the point that he was immobile and had to be carried from place to place. He died on February 7, 1878 after the longest recorded Papacy in Church history, 31 years, 7 months and 23 days. Later efforts to elevate his status in Church history resulted in his being declared "venerable" in 1965 and "beatified"(the stage below official sainthood) in 2000 by, who else, Pope John Paul II who was the most busy body saint maker in Church history. Vatican I was supposed to be reconvened in the Fall of 1870, but history intervened. On September 20, 1970 the forces of the Kingdom of Italy captured Rome, and the dominion of the Papal States was ended forever. On October 20, 1870 Pius suspended the council "indefinitely".
Here we leave regular history and enter into a Molly fantasy, titled, in tribute to the late radio journalist Paul Harvey..."The rest of the story".
When those who were opposed to the declaration of Papal Infallibility left the council the story was not over. The Holy Spirit moved amongst them, and he revealed that there would some day be a fount of eternal wisdom by the name of 'Mollymew'. It was further revealed by divine dispensation that only Mollymew could be considered "infallible". The opponents of ultramontanism planned to return to Vatican I when it resumed, and they trusted in the grace of the Lord that this new revelation would sweep all before it as the Holy Spirit would touch the souls of the assembled good bishops. Unfortunately it was not to be, as secular events (see above) intervened. "And now you know...the rest of the story". Keep telling them well in the Great Beyond Harvey.
Thus we have the sad case of today. Mollymew is still a pretender to infallibility, but until this is declared by a General Council of the Church the reality is somewhat different.
So, back to reality. Back in May(see our archives) I reported a demonstration in the Polish city of Wroclaw, undertaken by the Polish Union of Syndicalists. I have received replies to this article from Poland objecting to some of the mistakes I made. Let us say that despite the support of the dissident bishops at Vatican I I make no claim to infallibility. The source of my major mistake was the-now corrected- faulty listing of the ZSP (Union of Syndicalists) Warsaw link as that of the 'Workers' Initiative'. This has been corrected, and recognizing the "competition" between the two organizations in Poland I can fully understand the reaction that this mistake provoked. Here is the first reply.
About something what puzzled you:
I am writing about your blog, (it's very interesting!) specifically post "Starbucks Picketed by Polish Syndicalists". Unfortunately you were confused some things in this text.
I am sympathizer of ZSP but not member because there is no group yet in my city. ZSP is Union of Syndicalists. I was at last picket by Starbucks in Warsaw.
ZSP is not member of IWA but made application. That's not main mistake. Main mistake is you give address for Warsaw ZSP blog and say it is blog of Workers' Initiative!!! It is a very bad mistake(I fully agree, and it has been corrected in the Links section of this blog-Molly), you can see yourself:http://www.zspwawa.blogspot.com/ If you look at this page, you can see easily that it is page of ZSP and even has name in title.
Wroclawska Sekcja Alternatywna is site made by alternative lifestyle anarchists from Wroclaw. It is not connected to ZSP. However, ZSP from Wroclaw put the information about their actions there too. I think there was a link to it because on person from this service made photographs. I don't think there are any English texts on that service.
It is impossible that what you call non-AIT site of Workers' Initiative reports action because in general they do not report actions of ZSP in sectarian way. They also did not want to go to Starbucks action in Warsaw. WI don't exist in Wroclaw. They exist in Warsaw but are small group of lifestyle anarchist squatters and students who don't do anything.
I think it is not confusing, just you confused something, I don't know why.
Laura and Zaczek from the ZSP in Warsaw and Xavier from the ZSP in Wroclaw speak English very good. You can ask them to explain if you still confused something. There is also English on CIA website http://www.cia.bzzz.net/, but it isn't regular.
And here is another reply from 'Laure' in Poland.
This is Laure from Warsaw.:
A friend of mine pointed out that you made a mistake on your blog and I believe he wrote to you about it. It concerned pickets at Starbucks held on May 17 in Warsaw and Wroclaw.
The address you gave (www.zspwawa.blogspot.com) is the address of ZSP Warsaw, as the name implies. It's not the address of Workers' Initiative.
The page which has the photos, WSA, is just a general page for "alternative stuff" in Wroclaw, and the photos were there because the person who took the photos contributes photos to that service. ZSP Wroclaw doesn't have an English blog and of course WSA site is in Polish.
I hope that clears up any confusion you might have had. I think that the post on A-Infos had all the correct information, so I'm not sure what caused that confusion.
BTW, we didn't put the description there that we are an anti-authoritarian, anti-capitalist initiative, although that is true. This is rather standard practice of A-Infos English-language editor and occasionally they do this in other languages as well. I don't see the point; for me it would make more sense to put a star and describe any groups mentioned that AREN'T anarchist or anti-authoritarian and to assume the rest are. It doesn't bother me though, but you might forward your comment to A-Infos.
As the introduction to this exchange pointed out I have no legitimate claim to infallibility. What I attempt to do in many of the posts here is process them so that they have "value added", whether this may be original attribution, further references or my own comments. In this case I erred grievously, as the commentators above have pointed out. I am grateful to them for pointing out my mistake, and the error in my Links section that led to this (I offen refer to it while writing intros or comments) has been corrected.
Let me assure the comrades of the ZSP that there was no ulterior motive behind this error. Even though regular readers of this blog may know that I am generally in favour of the tactics espoused by the syndicalist unions grouped around what used to be know as 'International Libertarian Solidarity' I am open to facts, and I think I expressed them via my opinion that the ZSP is more active and effective in Poland as opposed to the Workers' Initiative. I await further facts, and I am willing to change my opinion. This blog (and I myself) is totally independent of any organizational affiliations. I call them as I see them.
As to one point raised above...the Workers' Initiative claims a much wider representation than the one correspondent says above. To say the least I am incapable of judging this claim (walk across half a continent, swim a wide ocean and walk across another half continent to get to Poland from where I live). But at least from the admittedly biased article in Wikipedia the WI claims "offices" in four cities in Poland and supporters in many others. Maybe other Polish comrades might want to comment on this.
Another point that should be raised is the "students" description. Here's a dirty little secret that is far too often swept under the 'anarchist rug'. In their initial phase ALL anarcho-syndicalist unions in our modern world have an over-representation of university students. I have little doubt that this applies as much to the ZSP as it does to the WI. Is this a "bad thing" ? No ! Here in Canada close to 20% of the workforce has an university degree. As such they outnumber the "proletariat", as defined by Marx in 'Capital' as workers who produce products which are sold on a more or less free market. Yes, what Marx actually said is something quite different from what his followers imagine. What is important is 1)the retention of anarcho-syndicalists as they move out into the real world and 2)the ability of an anarcho-syndicalist organization to expand beyond this original 'nucleus'. This is a matter of tactics, and generally the tactics espoused by non-AIT affiliated anarcho-syndicalists are more effective. Poland may be a special case because of a general disaffection with the unions that are there. I don't know, but I'd be interested to learn more about it.
Well, it's past 1:30 in the morning, and I grow very tired. I'll try and deal with the 'buzz phrase'"anti-authoritarian, anti-capitalist" in another post. good goddamn night for now-Molly. In closing, please, pretty please with sugar on it, feel free to correct any mistakes I may make, as the two comrades above have. It's a useful tool to refine this site.