In contrast to the unions which are organized within the DGB – a big, reformist German Union Alliance, we rely on our self-organizing power! Our labour disputes are organized by the persons concerned. That’s why we have a lot of small struggles where we use tools like direct action, publishing facts about bad working conditions in the direct neighbourhood of a company, and other forms of intervention that directly affect the everyday routines of employees. We also and especially do this in sections where people have bad and insecure working conditions. We work as a grassroots organisation, decide things together, and we have a world wide network with other syndicates like us. We are a DIY Union and you can get involved in a lot of different fields. We support each other in juristic issues and help each other to get organised in our fields of work.
FAU – Free Workers‘ Union? Who we are and what we do
Many of us have experiences with very bad working conditions. Many of us get cheated by our bosses. This works fine for them as long as we are isolated and everybody struggles alone. We are organised within the FAU to defend ourselves. We fight together for good working conditions, we educate each other about our rights and about the possibilities to get into action. We’re people from different sectors with different experiences. This gives us lots of skills and resources. Some of us have been active union members for years, others are new and provide their ideas and perspectives. Our plurality is what makes us strong. We work on several levels of action: we provide individual and practical support on particular issues people have at work, for example, we fight for outstanding wages or vacation days. We also work in the long term and put up solidarity campaigns. We help members to get organized in their work places and fight for better conditions.
What we do and how we do it is decided together. Everybody can join us! We are a combative, union, we never give up or stop believing in our capabilities. If we, the people who are in dependent working relations, fight together, we can find a way out of exploitation, poverty, and discrimination.
Principles and Basics of the FAU (German language)
How we understand union organising
For us, union organisation means free association of working class people. When we come together, we can be strong and fight exploitation. The working class consists of all the people that work for wages, more or less regularly, and whose lives depend on earning wages. Or in other words: people, that have to work to get money and can’t gain money through investments or heritages and do not protect or represent capital owners. As people dependent of wages, our goals and interests stand in opposition to those who pay us: We are forced to create as much value with our labour-power as possible and earn as little as possible – otherwise there wouldn’t be any profits for employers. But if we fight together and help each other, we are able to push for our interests. The best instrument to do so is to strike, the withdrawal of our labour-power, in all its variations.
Our labour-power has two effects: First, it generates surplus value for capital. Secondly, we produce useful commodities and our jobs can also be fulfilling – although often that’s not the case under current conditions. That is why unions should be the places in which we reflect about ways of organising work in general. The long term goal is overcoming wage labour at all – and on this way the chance to have good work without the compulsions of capital and market economy.
Behind the scenes of democratic union organisation – digital feature (German language)
Mrs. Anarcho-syndicalism – who’s that?
The main task of anarcho-syndicalism is the creation of organisations that empower wage workers to determine their work themselves. The goal of this organising process is the take-over of companies by their employees. In this way the people that really do the work can decide together how and under which conditions they want to work. For this purpose site groups are crucial. In site groups, union members associate and talk about their work, support each other in conflicts, and build up countervailing power to the commands of the bosses and principals. In the unions, decisions are made by the members in union assemblies or meetings of whole branches. Unions are fighting organisations that push the interests of workers against the interests of capital. But they are also there to build up and prepare a democratic economy, to learn, and to fight for this aim.
Background: From localism to anarcho-syndicalism. The anarcho-syndicalist movement in Germany (German language)
Statutes of the FAU Potsdam and other important documents (German language)
The statutes describe how we work. In the statutes of the FAU federation Germany you can find the rules for all the FAU syndicates in Germany. Additionally there are the Principles and Basics of the FAU where you can quickly read what all of the FAU syndicates want to achieve and in which ways we criticise our current society and capitalism.
Statutes of the of the FAU federation Germany