First English translation of Folkrörelselinje!

A good friend has agreed to translate a short text for me from Swedish, one of the basic texts by Folkrörelselinje. I’m interested in Folkrörelselinje because they apparently apply many of the ideas of Faceless Resistance within a trade union setting. This is pretty interesting since Kämpa Tillsammans in general promote union indifference, i.e. organising the workers collective is the prime political goal, relating this to the union is typically a pragmatic decision.

The text is only half done (hopefully finished tomorrow) and needs a stern editing, since it still retains some rather bizarre direct translations from Swedish. We’ll work on this over the next few days.  And how the hell should we translate ‘Folkrörelselinje’ anyway? People’s-Movement-Union Line sounds like something from a Japanese infomercial!

En folkrörelselinje i facket

Working conditions are getting worse and attacks on workers similar to what we on Bagarn (the Baker) had to go through in 1995 is nothing unique, on the contrary. And surely there are others fighting against it.
But what is heard most of all is that nothing can be done – that such are the times. That kind of spirit creates such times!

How come we took the struggle and won the way we did?

I think the answer lays in the unionline that our club uses. Maybe we would have reacted and risen up against the harsh attacks, even without that line. But would we have been able to resist the threats for such a long time? Would we who negotiated trust the members to keep going? Would the members have confidence in us struggling on? I honestly don’t think so. We needed all the experience and all the methods we had gotten during several years.

The most important experience we have is that you have to dare to trust in the members.

We at Bagarn are just as fuzzy and slow and bickering and impossible as all workers are – and together we have the same enormous strength that all other workers have.
When we who lead the unionclub have had confidence in that strength, we have succeeded. When we have missed out on it, forgotten or not had courage to address the members, we’ve fucked up. We had enough experiences of both success and failures to handle a stretched-out struggle.

We gained those experiences during the years we have tried to develop a struggling, independent unionline ruled by the members.

Our method and our goal is that people should be active – in movement – that is a peoples movement unionline! The people should take the decisions and the people should act. The ideas vi develop should come out of this movement.

The organisation should be set in movement, going from experience to experience, from worker to worker, from members to the elected representatives and back again.

Inform the members about everything – speak clearly

We do this, amongst other channels of communication, through our info-paper Livstecken (Life-sign). It’s a simple A4-paper handed out to all members where we try to inform everyone about what’s going on.

Ask, don’t guess, what the members think that the club should be doing.

We use members-referendums, surveys and meetings where we discuss a single issue. When we develop our demands and suggestions, we often run them through a cycle of meeting, survey, meeting and referendum. If the company makes a move or comes with a suggestion, then we have to reach our members in the same extent, and ask them what they think about the company’s latest move and how the club should act. Each time we have thought that we could skip this step, we have overlooked something important – and let our members down.

Not another referendum! Our colleagues sigh sometimes. But it’s better that they complain about us nagging on them, than us not asking them. We would rather ask to often than to seldom. And it is right to put demand on the members, to show them that everything depends on them. That it is a strength for the club to have a members-decision to back it up, and to vote about the deals with the company, probably doesn’t need to be explained.

We don’t just ask what demands and suggestions our members have, but also how important the different demands are. If you ask – what do you want?, you easily get a bunch of tough suggestions. But you also have to ask – are you prepared to fight for it? What does this mean for the company, what will their countermove be? And then what, how far are we willing to go?

Questions like that can make the members soften up their demands – but we make people aware of the fact that we aren’t getting anything else than what we are prepared to fight for!

Don’t underestimate the members!

…More to come over the next few days

Original text is here

~ by swedishzine on June 9, 2009.

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