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ON SOLIDARITY

June 2005

On the basis of the struggles we have waged, Batay Ouvriye has obtained various forms of solidarity coming from different organizations or groups. For a better relation with all, we find it useful to circulate this statement that will allow all our friends following our practices and wishing themselves also to offer their support, to understand our positions, our practices, in the framework of these relations.

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  • As a first principle, we feel it is possible to sit down and discuss with all organizations who wish to do so as long as this presents is beneficial to the struggle of the workers in their own interest. First of all, we inform those we are in discussion with of our stands and practices and, if we have an opinion on theirs, we communicate it to them in the same spirit. If, on this basis, they wish to initiate or continue a relation with us in the interest of the workers’ struggle, we are disposed to do so in the respect of mutual independence.
  • In doing so, the theme of solidarity is invoked. Sometimes, to approach it, we are asked how, from a foreign country, to support Batay Ouvriye’s struggles. In this sense, our answer is always clear: the main element, for us, is militant support, given our political line which sets the problem of imperialist domination (even if it is sometimes deformed, since we are often discussing with organizations having a humanist orientation) while also setting that of exploitation (here again, and for the same reason, at times limited to it’s forms and scope). Also, as soon as possible, in approaching this question, we insist on presenting, as much as possible, that material contributions help the workers’ struggles in their own interest but that these contributions are of a different nature than militant support. Certain organizations, given their own nature, have more capacity for the militant support we give priority to. Others, rather, can contribute more to the workers’ struggles with material support. Some, finally, have the capacity to operate at both levels. What is important, in all cases, is to clearly show that political independence will always remain the fundamental principle guiding us in all forms of articulation.
  • On this angle, we always insist on specifying that the workers’ struggle occurs in a dominated social formation thus, the latter have tremendous difficulties to survive, given the ferocious exploitation they undergo. Naturally, this gives rise to important struggles but, once again, one of the key elements to carry them out is material capacity. We have no delusion: this support can be very useful in this sense. Nevertheless, in the framework of the construction of the workers’ movement’s material independence, we will always try to count on our own forces, but, especially, material solidarity should have no negative incidence on our line or our practices. On another hand, imperialist domination causes a value transfer from dominated countries towards imperialist ones. Thus, a return of transferred valued must occur without, once again, putting our independence in question.

On these bases, we even manage to develop relations with organizations who would like to “help”. Sometimes, within a lapse of time, this “help” is cut off. We consider this normal; since we are aware of the political limits of such an approach, we anticipated such a possible development. However, in other cases, these relations manage to reproduce themselves: this is because the solidarity base was more real and solid. Despite all of this, practice reveals that the organizations in support often also have their limits. Here again, we consider this normal.

Another important solidarity axis is the development of relations between dominated countries where their struggles are developing. Here, where militancy takes the form of coordination, our practices remain limited and much must be done. We need to work in this sense with all the means we have towards this end.

One of the contradictions we face is where the funds some of these organizations wishing to help us come from. We respect their independence: our relations are of a bilateral nature, the most important aspect being the respect of our independence and, in this sense, our capacity to take all politically necessary stands, our capacity to develop all struggles going leading towards the exploited workers’ interests, nationally and internationally. We are aware of the fact that this has sometimes been the cause of the support’s “cutting off”; but this again remains secondary for us: the struggle for the advancement of the workers’ struggles must remain before all independent, even when rendered very difficult by this cause. It even happens that sometimes these organizations’ financers convey these “support” funds in the logic of worldwide imperialist development. We see through this clearly. Nevertheless, within these relationships, our stands remain the same, on the principle of complete political independence, while we accept all support, solidarity or even “help” as long as it goes in the workers’ independence.

This carries consequences. It may occur that the organizations give us “support” and that this places them in contradiction with their own financers. In this case, it’s important they realize that we are in no way implied in this contradiction. Even if we accept to discuss the point, it is their responsibility. And, from this moment on, if their solidarity was real, then they will decide on the basis of this fundamental stand.

As we mentioned, many comrades are following our practices. This is positive. We also believe this stand may help them. To avoid all forms of dogmatism, however, we consider it important for them to follow our practices, for them to take position on the basis of the stands here taken. We are always open to debate these questions, as much as possible.

The practice of solidarity, just like social phenomena in general, is complex and should be considered in the framework of this complexity, with a clear line guiding in which the essential remains the firmness of a position always corresponding to the exploited workers’ interests, particularly in their struggles and starting from their general interests. In this sense, the most important is the permanent respect of political independence. Nevertheless, we must always consider all other aspects that may help to specify tactical orientations. This is especially valid for solidarity, militant before all. Amongst workers’ organizations, it will be approached in one way, with others, differently, with inherent limits.

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