The first reports are coming in from the Foundational Congress for a New International — an effort to draw together some of the biggest syndicalist unions worldwide.
Update, May 13th: The new name for the international is reportedly the Confederación Internacional del Trabajo (International Confederation of Labour). Besides the CNT (Spain), USI (Italy) and FAU (Germany), IWW (USA and Canada), ESE (Greece), FORA (Argentina) and IP (Poland) have affiliated to a basic set of statutes. Interest was shown by CNT-F (France), FOB (Brazil), Vrije Bond (Netherlands and Belgium), GG / BO (as observers) Germany) and the UVW (England).
The Congress, which began yesterday in Parma, Italy, is being held at the headquarters of USI and participants have said they view it as a continuity of the ideals of the International Working Men’s Association, the largest anarchist organisation ever formed in 1922. In a statement ahead of the gathering, organisers said:
Yesterday, as today, and even more so tomorrow, a combative libertarian, assembly and international trade union organisation is needed in order to defend workers effectively today and, at the same time, establish the pillars to build a new society in freedom and equality, without relation to the mechanisms of political and economic power.
Participants include unions which split away from the anarcho-syndicalist IWA in 2016 in a bitter dispute over the international’s future direction, such as CNT (Spain), FAU (Germany), USI (Italy) and FORA (Argentina) as well as independent groups such as ESE (Greece), IP (Poland), ARS (Bulgaria) and the IWW (USA, Europe).
A CNT* report on the first day of discussions noted:
Friday began in a relaxed manner with a tour of revolutionary points of interest of the city of Parma. By midmorning the accreditations of delegates and delegates had been collected. Subsequently, the collective “Cucine del Popolo” organised a social buffet offering lunch, snacks and drinks throughout the day.
The afternoon began with a greeting and official welcome to all attendees by USI. The first table was composed of members of IWW, USI and FAU, which gave presentations, starting with the GGBO of Germany, an organisation that fights for the labour rights of prisoners. Next was Cucine del Popolo, from Italy, an anarchist organisation that defends the principles of freedom, solidarity and internationalism and functions in an assembly and independent manner.
Presentations continued with the ARS (Bulgaria autonomous workers union) CNT France-Vignol (which has been intensely involved with struggles against Macron’s labour reform, Deliveroo and sections of Amazon), the newly-formed Popular Movement Rifeño and the Organization / Association of Workers of Brazil, which focuses on the precariousness of the education, oil and health sectors. Salutations continued with the WAS of Vienna, the IWW of the United Kingdom, the Argentine FORA and the Vraije Bond of the Netherlands and Belgium.
There is a dispute at present over the CNT name, with affiliates of both the new international and the IWA claiming it.