After a welcome with reference to the impressive mobilisation at the day before we started with a brief round of presentations to learn about the composition of the meeting. Some efforts had been done sucessfully in advance to invite active workers and labour activists from various countries, who did not participate in the (Blockupy-connected) strike workshops so far and to extend the spectrum of labour struggle experiences. More than 100 persons joined the meeting in Frankfurt and present were: workers from Amazon Bad Hersfeld and Poznan; ADL Cobas and FIOM, Italy; SUD Solidaire, France (union active in Rail, Health, Call-Centers); Workers Initiative Poland and SAC Union Sweden (who know each other through anarchist union meetings); verdi and TIE Germany; And more activists from networks and organizations dealing with the issues of precarity, social centers, solidarity networks, from the UK, Ireland, Sweden, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Germany. After a reference to the printed reader with a kind of chronology of Blockupy connected activities on precarity and exploitation during last years an input was given by a friend from precarious disconnections from Bologna (in full version documented in the reader). Afterwards, a first exchange started to comment this input, to define expectations on the meeting or to describe the biggest problems and challenges. At the center of the discussion was the idea that the “politicization” of labour struggles is not just a “technical” problem but, on the contrary, it has to be faced with the ambition of producing transnational organization in order to hit the global chains of exploitation and of thinking at common demands able to hit also the institutions that enforce them.
A few excerpts from the discussion:
• The interest and need to develop a European struggle and a better coordination on thetransnational level, but also to deal with still very different national/regional conditions;
• The increasing limits of traditional forms of labour struggles and the need to find new strategies of organization;
• The ambivalent relationship to bigger (nation orientated) unions, but still one tool of organisation and often a legal precondition for strikes;
• The relationship and connection of labour struggles to struggles for commons and rights;
• The difficulty of unions to go beyond single and localized struggles and the necessity of politicizing labor struggles;
•The differences among workers in terms of labor-contract, legal status and origin, including the potential strength of multiplicity but also of concurrences, racism and internal conflicts;
• The gap between the quick process of transnationalisation of capital and the slow one of building transnational networks of workers;
• The criticism, that Blockupy started to act on the textile sector, but hopping too quick to electronics/apple in its next mobilisation.
After this first common round of discussion we presented the four workshops in order to separate ourselves in four rooms for the next slot:
I. Acting and striking along and against the global exploitation chain
II. From the workplace into society and vice versa
III. Migrant labour, migrant strike
IV. Common demands as organizational tools. Discussing European Minimum Wage, Welfare and income and EU minimum visa
It was emphasized again, that these four workshops reflect some of our key questions in earlier debates and that we are interested – as the main aim of this working meeting – to start the process of deepening. And of course with this selection other questions are not forgotten for the further debates: from the general perception of strikes to the relationship to unions and to concrete forms to organize the unorganizable.
We heared first some brief reports from the four workshops (see the respective minutes above). Afterwards we confirmed, that the mailinglist “transnational strike” will remain our main tool of communication and that we need more commitment in this communication. Quickly proposed was also the idea of a common website as additional tool of exchange: it could serve on one hand as a mapping/synapsis of the various labour conditions and rules to understand the differences in the various regions/countries. And on the other hand to create a mapping and overview of the various actors, practices and (successful and failing) experiences. The relationship between our network “towards a social transnational strike” and Blockupy was another topic in the final round. Many groups, who are part of the transnational Blockupy alliance, are interested – as the Blockupy perspective is under discussion now – to establish the “strike” as one main axis of daily struggles after the mobilisation against the opening of the ECB. It has to be decided in further Blockupy conferences and in any way the networking process on strike should go on. As appointed in earlier workshops and in the meeting in Rome in February an extra meeting (from Friday to Sunday with more space for exchange and discussion) is needed and in the final round in Frankfurt we agreed, that it should happen in a weekend of September 2015. As some groups hope for and like to propose an europeanwide day of strikes and actions in November 2015 the meeting in September might be too late. Thus we want to use thetransnational blockupy meeting (exspected for June) for another working group on transnationalstrike and as opportunity to approve a possible first common call for actions, which can be deepened in the three days meeting in September. In order to follow the various tasks of the Frankfurt meeting we decided to build a coordination group, which should be composed by singular delegates of the various networks and labour struggle realities.
Links to the minutes of the workshops