Friday, October 01, 2010


The pieces are falling down from the sky, and both sides in the dispute about government austerity (the government and the popular organizations) are taking stock of what happened two days ago. Much ink is being spilled about how "neither side won". The claims of the larger union federations (the CCOO and the UGT) about either 70% adherence or 10 million strikers are unrealistic in addition to being contradictory to each other (10 million strikers would equal about 42% of Spain's workforce). The government, on the other hand, has been so humbled by the actually large and unexpected turnout that they haven't even been willing to counter such exaggerations with their own lies as most governments in such situations do. they mumble about "minimal disruption", obviously shell shocked by what actually happened.

Whatever the actual figures, something that will probably never be properly estimated, there is little doubt that the numbers participating were large, much larger than the government had been prepared to see and much larger than similar strikes in France. The UGT and CCOO are no doubt pleased as in gives them 'bargaining power' in trying to extract minimal concessions from the ruling Socialist Party and thereby giving them the appearance of "usefulness".

Unlike in most countries, however, we anarchists and anarchosyndicalists actually have "a dog in the fight" in Spain in the form of the various anarchosyndicalist unions (CGT, Solidaridad Obrera, CNT-AIT, CNT-JC) who have a no means tiny following. Here is the statement of the Spanish CGT summing up the strike. To my deep pleasure my own comrades don't engage in the triumphalist making up of statistics that the UGT and CCOO do. This is despite the fact that places where anarchosyndicalism is well represented in Spain had some of the best turnouts, just as was true in the public sector general strike earlier this summer. This may be very much a chicken and egg puzzle. Are the anarchosyndicalist unions 'responsible' for the greater militancy in such places or do the more militant workers naturally gravitate to anarchosyndicalism ? Your guess is as good as mine. The English translation of this was done by the Italian FdCA and posted recently on the Anarkismo site.
CGT statement on the General Strike of 29 September
The outcome of the strike

These are our initial impressions of the outcome of today's General Strike. In certain key sectors, there was mass participation in the strike in almost the entire country. By way of example: food markets in Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Valladolid, Seville and Zaragoza; the (Seat) Ford, Renault, Opel and Volkswagen car factories; petro-chemical and steel factories and plants, minerals sector, gas distribution, public services such as waste disposal and post offices, large-scale construction, port workers in Barcelona, Valencia, Algeciras and so on.
It is important to note that the demand for electricity dropped by over 20% compared to normal days.

Another sector with a very high percentage of participation was that of audio-visual communications, with the complete closure of Canale Sur and Telemadrid, and remaining public media running with minimum levels of service.

Public transport is running with the standard 25% of minimum services, while large areas of the private transport sector (airlines, road transport and marine transport of both cargo and passengers) are participating in the strike.

The CGT wishes to underline that this success has been achieved in spite of the long media campaign by authorities and industrialists against the trade union organizations and the criminalization of labour and social activities.

Similarly, the CGT wishes to express its gratitude to over one hundred labour and social organizations from all over the world who supported the General Strike.

We should also mention the numerous information pickets that were set up at the principal labour centres, something that demonstrates the enormous sense of resentment felt by the workers as a result of the unbearable situation we are being to live through because of the attack under way by politicians and industrialists.

The CGT also wishes to denounce in the strongest possible terms the brutality of the police attacks against workers who were simply exercising their freely-held right to strike and the right to provide information at factory gates.

As a consequence of the indiscriminate police charges, there have been several arrests and dozens of injured workers, some of whom (CGT members) are currently being held without charge.

The CGT also denounces the harassing and arrest of a group of cyclists in the Atoch zone of Madrid, which is a grave offence to their rights and freedom.

Finally, the CGT condemns the injury of a union comrade who was struck by a van belonging to the Boyaca company at the gates of the Bermont factory in Coslada (Madrid). Her injuries, though not severe, required hospital treatment.

Permanent Secretary of the CGT Confederal Committee
Wednesday, 29 September 2010
Translation by FdCA - International Relations Office

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