Saturday 29 December 2007

New Non-hierarchical Union Formed

On 21 December KFP union was registered. It became a representative union in one international corporation's Poland office.

The union is formed on the basis of direct democracy. There are no leaders of the union. Delegates have a strict mandate and decisions are made as democratically as possible.

Members of ZSP were active in forming the union and hopefully the union will grow to other workplaces. Read more!

Monday 17 December 2007

Killer Cola Action

We organized a little action in the framework of the Killer Cola campaign.

During the action the half-paramilitary/half-Santa Claus actor loaded his weapons when he saw Coca-Cola's trade unionists giving out information about Coke's crimes. One by one he assassinated the workers, with impunity. 3 activists staged a die-in while playing the roles of the slain Coca-Cola employees and former SINALTRAINAL trade union leaders.

The narrator explained the desperate circumstances for Coca-Cola's trade unionist employees in Colombia and appealed to the public to show solidarity with the families of the deceased and other workers by demanding Coca-Cola use their influence and profits to safeguard their employees security.

Damian's account:

Another Killer Coke Christmas street action is planned for 12 noon next Saturday, December 22nd, at Galeria Centrum (opposite H&M) Read more!

Tuesday 11 December 2007

Second Congress of the Union of Syndicalists

On Dec. 8-9 the second congress of ZSP was held in Wroclaw. The first Congress, held in March 2007, was the founding Congress in Gliwice at which the general ideas of association were discussed.

People from 8 cities were in attendance.
The following topics were discussed and decided at the Congress:

1. Some changes were made to the draft statute.

2.Ongoing campaigns.
a. To broaden the campaign against work agencies.
b. To invite people working in or interested in the automobile
industry in Eastern Europe to carry out a joint project.
c. Work on the Coca Cola boycott. ZSP is making a network
of bars and spaces that refuse to sell or serve Coke and working on a
pressure campaign on NGOs sponsored by Coke.

Other recent ideas for actions, for example in support of repressed unionists in Indian and activists in the Clean Clothes campaign, did not get on the agenda of the Congress.

3.Union – KFP
A report was made on the status of the union federation KFP.
(Some members of ZSP will be members of this union, while there are also a couple of members of IP in ZSP.) Writing the statutes of the union took quite a while, but they are quite radical for Polish reality. There is still no decision from the registration court.

4.ZSP Newspaper and Web Pages
Decision to publish the paper Zaplata every 6 months and to improve look of web
pages and A local Warsaw page will
also be made.

It was decided to publish more theoretical works.

4.Mail / contact. Main e-mail contact. Can answer mails/ receive texts
in different languages, esp. English, German, French, Russian,

Other local addresses:

5. Discussion about proposal for cooperation on defending repressed workers.

6.The Congress set the issue of dues and selected a Treasurer, The Treasurer is elected for a term of 2 years.

7.The next Congress will be held in Szczecin. Congresses will be held once a year. Some informal meetings are loosely planned for the time between the Congresses. Read more!

Friday 8 June 2007

Supermarket Critical Mass

On June 7th, anarchists from the Union of Syndicalists and FA Praga, together with the family of one striking cashier, held the first Supermarket Critical Mass in Carrefour in support of supermarket workers who were holding a slow-down strike. --- Supermarket workers around Poland decided to announce a work slow-down to protest against having to work on holidays. (The strike fell on the occasion of the so-called "Corpus Christi", which is a state holiday in Poland.) The workers demand days off on all state holidays. With this strike, they were hoping to dissuade people from shopping on holidays by making it a hassle. --- Supermarket workers, often (but not always) poor, middle-aged women are among the most exploited in Poland. Compulsory overtime is normal in many markets, as well as having to perform other tasks, such as moving boxes; cashiers as complain about having to sit at the registers for long hours without any breaks at work which often results in repetitive motion injuries. Wages at the supermarkets are rock bottom, often 225 euros a month or less as many supermarket workers are employed "part time". Supermarket chains however tend to report record profits.

The idea of the action was to help to "slow things down" in the supermarket by creating a traffic jam by parading up and down the most narrow aisle - next to the cash registers. A group of shoppers, some in T-shirts that read "Stop Exploitation", took carts and went down the aisles in rows of two, stopping at almost every product to examine the ingredients, thus creating a bit of chaos. There was no trouble with security guards who immediately recognized this as an action in
support of the strike and asked the anarchists to bring them the same T-shirts.

The anarchists had originally planned on blocking the registers even more by bringing items without codes to the registers and playing other "tricks", but in fact there were so few people there in the supermarket that there were no people to slow down. So instead, each protestor bought a carrot, a grape and a potato each and headed to the counters where leaflets and newspapers were given out. The workers were happy that people supported the strike. Afterwards there was an
action with giving out leaflets in the mall where the supermarket was located explaining a little about the strike and the economics of supermarkets. Read more!

Wednesday 2 May 2007

May Day Demo

Anarchists organized a May Day march in Warsaw. It drew about 150 people but was cursed with a few problems with broken equipment and police - it even snowed during the demonstration. Things started late and some people left early, meaning that the demonstration did not "accidentally" run into the demonstration of the left parties as had been planned. Perhaps that saved us; there had been rumours and the radio announced that they were expecting riots in Warsaw so a large group of police were staked out around the corner from the demo.

The march planned to visit a few sites: the McDonalds recruitment center, the Ministry of Finance, the Labour Court and the Ministry of Labour. At McDonalds, we protested against not only the working conditions there, but against the growing amount of McJobs being created. At the Minister of Finanse, we spoke about the Thatcherite economics of our Minister, criticizing draconian budget cuts and the false idea that cutting taxes and passing on the social security, health care and pension burdens to workers will create new jobs. There were some big funny pictures of our Finance Minister and she was cut into pieces in the action.

There was a problem with snow and with both technical equipment and the permission to move down the street with our crazy vehicle which delayed the march, so two protest stops were cut so we could attempt to catch up with the red bourgeoise who were going to have a picnic; anarchists organized a picnic next to them. Unfortunately, the politicians were all hiding inside their party HQ celebrating the anniversary of Poland's accession to the EU, so they didn't get a chance to get a piece of anarchist "birthday cake" or to have a chat with us. But there was a lively exchange with the few body-builder trade union bureaucrats who stayed at the picnic behind some rows of police and private security. Anarchists criticized their type of bureaucratic, sell-out unionism and were called "fucking socialists" by the unionists. Read more!

Ideas and Action Conference in Warsaw

On April 28-29, the Ideas and Action conference took place in Warsaw. The main goals of the conference were to discuss some ideas about non-hierarchical, radical anti-capitalist workplace struggle and to network people who were interested in both promoting these practices and engaging in ongoing and new campaigns.

There were people present from different groups; although the conference was called by the Anarchist Federation Praga, it was taken over by the Union of Syndicalists of Poland (ZSP) who were the main group represented at the conference. Other people from Poland came from the Anarchist Federation, Freedom Equality and Solidarity, CK-LA and Workers’ Initiative plus a couple of non-aligned people. Visitors mostly were from the IWA but also our guest from the International Communist Left made a lively interlocutor. People from Slovakia, Czech Republic, Serbia and Turkey were able to make it to the conference.

There were a number of presentations and discussions. In the global era where many people work in multinational companies, the topic of linking workers internationally cropped up a number of times. One comrade from ZSP described how the capitalists’ tools for controlling and fucking over workers can be used against them. He told us about some methods of sabotage used by workers, such as witholding or sabotaging knowledge in databases or “know-how” systems which capitalists often us to replaced skilled and experience workers with unskilled ones. He also examined the interaction between people working in international companies in different companies, especially those on different levels of the wage ladder and explored how they can act togther effectively when capitalism is training them to compete with each other.

Another topic relating to connecting workers had to do with the automobile industry. The center of this industry will soon be in an industrial triangle made up of Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia and people discussed ways of agitating and organizing in this industry. One worker present was from a car factory and several live in the regions where this industry is a growing employer. Plans were made to pursue a joint campaign in the fall and to meet again in the summer to discuss the details.

Questions of ideology and strategy also came up. Our comrade from Priama Akcja in Slovakia talked about their experiences in one struggle and examined some of the difficulties involved, particularly with other unions. Activists from Poland related some similar experiences and strategy for mre effective organize were discussed.

Since there were people from groups with different ideas as to work with leftist parties or reformist unions or as to means of organizing, a discussion of these strategies took place. Clearly nobody’s mind was changed but perhaps some misinformation was corrected and people clarified their positions.

At the end of the day, the organizers of the conference felt that some fruitful things occurred and that it was a good opportunity to meet people and develop a few projects and cooperation. Read more!