The CNT-AIT is an anarcho-syndicalist union, known to many people around the world. Unfortunately, for several years now, it has come under attack by another organization,
the Spanish affiliate of CIT, which also claims the name CNT.
These attacks, which are vindictive in nature, threaten not only the CNT-AIT, but also the historical traditions of anarcho-syndicalism in Spain. They are carried out through the statist apparatus and threaten to see members of the CNT-AIT put in jail. Their aim is to receive money and property from the CNT-AIT in order to destroy that organization.
The IWA considers an attack on any of our comrades to be an attack on all of us, so we stand united in calling for an end to these outrageous legal actions.
Legal actions and lack of ethics
These lawsuits are in strict contradiction to anarcho-syndicalist ethics in several ways:
1. In the lawsuits, the Spanish section of CIT claims huge sums of money for damages because they say members of the CNT-AIT criticized them publicly.
Freedom to criticize is a fundamental right of all members of unions and other organizations. Ideally, this should be done in a way that avoids slander and is based on the merits of arguments. Anarchists do not resolve such matters in courts by seeking punishment and material damages, only they seek to resolve things in other ways. This is a fundamental idea.
By comparison, we know of many slanderous statements and articles made by the Spanish section of CIT, its representatives or individual members but we don't know of any IWA members who have sued these people. (Then again, some of the most vicious ones were made anonymously, in contrast to those unions being sued, who collectively agreed statements and signed them.)
2. In some cases, the lawyer for the Spanish Section of CIT constructed cases that could land people in jail.
Anarchists simply do not believe in the state jails, especially for „crimes” such as criticizing something. These are the method of authoritarian states, not of anarchists.
3. The amounts of money asked for in damages would bankrupt many of these organizations and taken together, destroy the CNT-AIT. (That's what these lawsuits are about.) In addition, in some cases, the office holders of some of the registered entities could be personally liable for tens of thousands of euros.
This is about bullying people in silence and fear, not about promoting anarcho-syndicalism. This is also about wiping out those who do not go with the CIT's turn of direction. If successful, it would create long-term damage on the movement in many areas of Spain.
4. The Spanish Section of CIT looks to evict many unions from spaces by claiming „property rights”. The reality is complicated as many of the spaces only exist because of the years-long effort of members of the CNT-AIT to obtain them and maintain them.
Property questions are tricky but even in divorce cases, bourgeois courts acknowledge the division of property. Some unions of the CNT-AIT registered property as the property of the federation, CNT-AIT. That was their collective organization. Nobody ever registered property for CNT-CIT, but that organization claims it. When comrades have failed to give them what they demand, members of the Spanish Section of CIT have even resorted to violence and theft, such as the library in Cadiz.
Anarchists are supposed to have another idea about private property. Spaces belong to the people who started them and worked to maintain them and actually use them. Members of the Spanish Section of CIT have made multiple decisions to just liquidate places and get cash for them. This is an attempt to destroy the meeting places of CNT-AIT, some which even predate the existence of the CNT, to make a profit and undermine that organization.
The attacks against CNT-AIT are vindictive, by an organization that on the one hand, seems to treat the CNT-AIT as „competition” but, on the other hand, pretends CNT-AIT is insignificant.
The very fact that these suits exist is an abominable breach of anarcho-syndicalist ethics. It cannot be tolerated by anybody who takes these ethics seriously.