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Statement of the CNT Barcelona

The witchhunting continues: Investigation against the CNT-AIT Barcelona as a criminal organisation

In May, the CNT Barcelona learned that they were the subject of a criminal investigation. The CNT is an anarcho-syndicalist union just like the FAU. Much like the injunction against the FAU, charges were laid against the CNT by a restaurant owner, who is involved in a conflict with the CNT. The District Attorney in Barcelona has taken up the case, and is now investigating whether the CNT is in fact a criminal organization. Just like the FAU, attempts are thus being made to criminalize the CNT's union activities.

Barcelona, 17th May 2016

With this statement, the CNT-Barcelona would like to call attention to the harassment and ideological persecution that our union is being subjected to by the Catalonian police, led by the District Attorney for Hate Crime and Discrimination. They have taken the charges filed by a restaurant owner that we are in conflict with, and constructed an investigation against militants in our syndicate that goes beyond this one conflict. The investigation attacks the very foundation of anarcho-syndicalism. It is an attempt to criminalize the direct action that we take as a union. After the wave of police repression against militant anarchists in Spain in the last years, we are not surprised by this totalitarian tendency.


It is in the very nature of power to try to perpetuate itself at any price, to disregard categorically its own rules, and to use criminal law as a tool to eliminate dissent. "The powers that be" are committed to ending all alternative political and union struggles that are based on self-organisation, where the people defend their own interests directly. On the one hand they reward those unions that have turned into mere agents of the law. On the other hand, they attack the unions that do not play their predefined role in the labour relationship.

The history of the revolutionary unions nourishes us: Workers from revolutionary unions fought for the rights that we enjoy today. However, these same rights have been combined with legislation that seeks to limit and weaken our position in the labour relationship. We have not forgotten that the improvements to working conditions were brought about through collective action and not through the courts. Our power lays in the strength of our union and the direct action we take against our bosses. However, we lose this power when we fall for our opponents traps, i.e. when we limit our field of action to the courts.

And so our legal rights in the labour relationships cannot represent the limit of our union's action. In reality they should act as the starting points, and all action must be directed to improving these rights to better our working conditions. Because it is a labour movement's duty to overcome those limits which impede the social revolution.

They accused us of extorting and coercing a business owner, and now they want to charge us as a criminal organisation because the workers organise themselves in our union to take action as a union and defend their own interests directly and with the classic tools of the workers' movement. The CNT Barcelona, far from playing the victim, continues to believe in its union model, which is based on direct action and mutual aid between workers of all sectors. It is the only tool we have to build a future of dignity for the oppressed.

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