the statutes of Revolutionary Unionism (IWA)

The Statutes of Revolutionary Unionism (IWA)
(Last updated, January 2020)


The history of humankind is formed by the struggle between the  exploiters and the exploited, which is currently manifested in the  attacks of Capitalism and the State on the working class in all areas of  life.

Capitalists, managers and politicians are organizing themselves to  advance their interests as much as possible. If we want to stand up  against them, advance our own interests and build the society which we  desire, we have to overcome the weakness and disorganization of the  workers’ movement.

In order to achieve this, it is necessary to organize ourselves in a  fighting structure which unites all revolutionary workers from all over  the world. The actions of such an organization have to show that it is  capable of overcoming Capitalism and the State.

A movement for emancipation built in this way cannot accept the line  of action urged by those currents of the workers’ movement that aspire  to a harmony between capital and labour, desiring an international peace  with Capitalism and incorporation into the State. Neither can it accept  those currents that propagate the existence of the state or the  dictatorship of the proletariat, which is contrary to our goal of a  society based upon the greatest possible liberty and well-being for all.

Against the offensive of Capital and politicians of all hues, all the  revolutionary workers of the world must build a real International  Workers’ Association, in which, each member will know that the  emancipation of the working class will only be possible when the workers  themselves, in their capacities as producers, manage to prepare  themselves in their political-economic organizations to take possession  of the land and the factories and enable themselves to administer them  jointly, in such a way that they will be able to continue production and  social life.

Considering this perspective and goal, the duty of the workers is to  participate in all actions that lead towards a revolutionary  transformation of society, always striving to move towards our final  goals. We must make our strength felt through this participation, always  striving to give our movement, through organization, action and  propaganda, the necessary means to supplant our adversaries. Similarly,  wherever possible, we must realize our social system through models and  examples, and our organizations must exert, to the limits of their  possibilities, the greatest possible influence on other tendencies in  order that they can be incorporated into our struggle, which is the  common struggle against all statist and capitalist adversaries, always  keeping in mind the circumstances of place and time, but remaining  faithful to the goals of the movement for workers’ emancipation.


1. Revolutionary unionism, basing itself on the class struggle, aims  to unite all workers in combative economic organizations, which fight to  free themselves from the double yoke of capital and the State. Its goal  is the reorganization of social life on the basis of Libertarian  Communism via the revolutionary action of the working class. Since only  the economic organizations of the proletariat are capable of achieving  this objective, revolutionary unionism addresses itself to workers in  their capacity as producers, creators of social wealth, to take root and  develop amongst them, in opposition to the modern workers’ parties,  which it declares are incapable of the economic reorganization of  society.

2. Revolutionary unionism is the staunch enemy of all social and  economic monopoly, and aims at its abolition by the establishment of  economic communities and administrative organs run by the workers in the  field and factories, forming a system of free councils without  subordination to any authority or political party, bar none. As an  alternative to the politics of State and parties, revolutionary unionism  posits the economic reorganization of production, replacing the rule of  man over man with the administrative management of things.  Consequently, the goal of revolutionary unionism is not the conquest of  political power, but the abolition of all state functions in the life of  society. Revolutionary unionism considers that along with the  disappearance of the monopoly of property, must come the disappearance  of the monopoly of domination; and that no form of State, however  camouflaged, can ever be an instrument for human liberation, but that on  the contrary, it will always be the creator of new monopolies and new  privileges.

3. Revolutionary unionism has a two-fold function: to carry on the  day-to-day revolutionary struggle for the economic, social and  intellectual advancement of the working class within the limits of  present-day society, and to educate the masses so that they will be  ready to independently manage the processes of production and  distribution when the time comes to take possession of all the elements  of social life. Revolutionary unionism does not accept the idea that the  organization of a social system based exclusively on the producing  class can be ordered by simple governmental decrees and maintains that  it can only be obtained through the common action of all manual and  intellectual workers, in every branch of industry, by self-management of  the workers, such that every group, factory or branch of industry is an  autonomous member of the greater economic organism and systematically  runs the production and distribution processes according to the  interests of the community, on an agreed-upon plan and on the basis of  mutual accord.

4. Revolutionary unionism is opposed to all organizational tendencies  inspired by the centralism of State and Church, because these can only  serve to prolong the survival of the State and authority and to  systematically stifle the spirit of initiative and the independence of  thought. Centralism is and artificial organization that subjects the  so-called lower classes to those who claim to be superior, and that  leaves in the hands of the few the affairs of the whole community - the  individual being turned into a robot with controlled gestures and  movements. In the centralized organization, society’s good is  subordinated to the interests of the few, variety is replaced by  uniformity and personal responsibility is replaced by rigid discipline.  Consequently, revolutionary unionism bases its social vision on a broad  federalist organization; i.e., an organization stemming from the bottom  up, the uniting of all forces in the defense of common ideas and  interests.

5. Revolutionary unionism rejects all parliamentary activity and all  collaboration with legislative bodies; because it knows that even the  freest voting system cannot bring about the disappearance of the clear  contradictions at the core of present-day society and because the  parliamentary system has only one goal: to lend a pretense of legitimacy  to the reign of falsehood and social injustice.

6. Revolutionary Unionism rejects all political and national  frontiers, which are arbitrarily created, and declares that so-called  nationalism is just the religion of the modern state, behind which is  concealed the material interests of the propertied classes.  Revolutionary unionism recognizes only economic differences, whether  regional or national, that produce hierarchies, privileges and every  kind of oppressions (because of race, sex and any false or real  difference), and in the spirit of solidarity claims the right to  self-determination for all economic groups.

7. For the identical reason, revolutionary unionism fights against  militarism and war. Revolutionary unionism advocates anti-war propaganda  and the replacement of standing armies, which are only the instruments  of counter-revolution at the service of capitalism, by workers’  militias, which, during the revolution, will be controlled by the  workers’ unions; it demands, as well, the boycott and embargo of all raw  materials and products necessary for war, with the exception of a  country where the workers are in the midst of social revolution, in  which case we should help them defend the revolution. Finally,  revolutionary unionism advocates the preventive and revolutionary  general strike as a means of opposing war and militarism.

8. Revolutionary unionism recognizes the need of a production that  does not damage the environment, and that tries to minimize the use of  non-renewable resources and uses, whenever possible, renewable  alternatives. It does not admit ignorance as the origin of the  present-day environmental crisis, but the thirst for earnings.  Capitalist production always seeks to minimize costs in order to get  more earnings to survive, and it is unable to protect the environment.  To sum up, the world debt crisis has sped up the tendency to commercial  harvest to the detriment of subsistence agriculture. This fact has  produced the destruction of the tropical forest, starvation and disease.  The fight to save our planet and the fight to destroy capitalism must  be joint or both of them will fail.

9. Revolutionary unionism asserts itself to be a supporter of the  method of direct action, and aids and encourages all struggles that are  not in contradiction to its own goals. Its methods of struggle are:  strikes, boycotts, sabotage, etc. Direct action reaches its deepest  expression in the general strike, which should also be, from the point  of view of revolutionary unionism, the prelude to the social revolution.

10. While revolutionary unionism is opposed to all organised violence  regardless of the kind of government, it realizes that there will be  extremely violent clashes during the decisive struggles between the  capitalism of today and the free communism of tomorrow. Consequently, it  recognizes as valid that violence may be used as a means of defense  against the violent methods used by the ruling classes during the  struggles that lead up to the revolutionary populace expropriating the  lands and means of production. As this expropriation can only be carried  out and brought to a successful conclusion by the direct intervention  of the workers’ revolutionary economic organizations, defense of the  revolution must also be the task of these economic organizations and not  of a military or quasi-military body developing independently of them.

11. Only in the economic and revolutionary organizations of the  working class are there forces capable of bringing about its liberation  and the necessary creative energy for the reorganization of society on  the basis of libertarian communism.


The international bond of struggle and solidarity that unites the  revolutionary unionist organizations of the world is called the  International Workers’ Association (IWA).


The IWA has the following objectives:

To organize and press for revolutionary struggle in all countries  with the aim of destroying once and for all the present political and  economic régimes and to establish Libertarian Communism.

To give the economic unionist organizations a national and industrial  base and, where that already exists, to strengthen those organizations  which are determined to fight for the destruction of capitalism and the  State.

To prevent the infiltration of any political parties into the  economic unionist organizations and to resolutely fight every attempt by  political parties to control unions.

Where circumstances demand it, to establish through a course of  action that is not in contradiction with a), b), and c), provisional  alliances with other proletarian, union and revolutionary organizations,  with the objective of planning and carrying out common international  actions in the interest of the working class. Such alliances must never  be with political parties, i.e., with organizations that accept the  state as system of social organization. Revolutionary Unionism rejects  the class collaboration that is characterized by the participation in  committees organized under state corporate schemes (for example, in  union elections for enterprise committees) and by the acceptance of  subsidies, paid union professionals and other practices that can spoil  anarchosyndicalism.

To unmask and fight the arbitrary violence of all governments against  revolutionaries dedicated to the cause of the Social Revolution.

To examine all problems of concern to the world proletariat in order  to strengthen and develop movements, in one country or several, which  help to defend the rights and new conquests of the working class or to  organize the revolution for emancipation itself.

To undertake actions of mutual aid in the event of important economic  struggles or critical struggles against the overt or covert enemies of  the working class.

To give moral and material help to the working class movements in  each country in which the leadership of the struggle is in the hands of  the national economic organization of the proletariat.

The International intervenes in the union affairs of a country only  when its affiliated organization in that country requests it or when the  affiliate violates the general principles of the International.

V. Conditions of affiliation

The following can affiliate to the IWA:

- National Revolutionary Syndicalist Organizations that do not belong  to any other international. In every case only one section will exist  in each country. The affiliated sections have to ratify the Principles,  Tactics and Aims of the IWA, and send a copy of its Statutes and  Principles to the Secretariat. The International Secretariat of the IWA  will inform sections of the origin of the contact or contacts that have  applied to affiliate.

- Minorities of Revolutionary syndicalists organized inside other  national organizations affiliated to other trade union internationals.

- Union organizations, crafts, industrial or general that are  independent or affiliated to national organisations that do not belong  to the IWA, which accept the Declaration of Principles and Goals of the  IWA.

- Every organization of revolutionary unionist propaganda that  accepts the Declaration of Principles and Goals of the IWA and that  works in a country where there is no national organization affiliated to  the IWA.

Since the IWA only consists of legal or illegal sections, with direct  connection within the respective countries, the only groups that can be  recognized as Sections of the IWA are those exiled groups that can give  clear evidence to the IWA-Secretariat that they are authentic  representatives of organizations that act and work in the respective  countries.

In any case only one Section will be able to exist for each country.

The following types of behaviour may lead to disaffiliation or suspension:

- Failure to comply with the Principles, Tactics and Aims of the IWA.

- Failure to pay affiliation fees. If a Section fails to pay its fees  for a year, the Congress will have to consider the Sections'  disafilliation.

- If a Section does not attend meetings and Congresses of the  International, nor responds to requests for contact by the Secretariat  of the IWA nor by the Sections, without explanation.

Afilliation and disaffiliation takes place at IWA Congress. A Section  may disaffiliate itself from the IWA in the period between Congresses.

Suspension can be agreed during a Plenary or Congress based on a  previous motion, or by referendum if a Plenary or Congress agrees.

A Section can be suspended for reasons of non-compliance with the  Statutes or action against the agreements of Congress or the interest of  the IWA. To be accorded by a motion and decision of the Sections.

Membership may be suspended because of a split or confusion as to  whether a Section still remains, pending an investigation by a  commission.

If a Section is not in good standing (fails to pay its dues for a  year), but the Congress decided not to disaffiliate it, the Section may  be suspended.

Suspension means that the Section does not have voting rights at  Congresses, Plenaries or in referenda, nor the right to submit motions.  It maintains the same rights as Friends of the IWA to receive documents,  attend all Congresses and to give opinions.

If a Section remains suspended for some period of time, Congress may decide to change its status to Friends, upon such a motion.

VI. The International Congresses

The International Congresses of the IWA are held every third year.

The Secretariat shall sufficiently in advance of the Congress ask the  Sections for issues or suggestions to be dealt with by the Congress.  The Secretariat shall then draw up the Agenda, which together with the  motions that have been presented, shall be sent to the affiliated  organizations at least six months before the Congress starts. Each  Plenary or Congress is recorded and minutes are produced as faithfully  as possible. The Minutes are subject to the approval of the Sections.

The agreements and resolutions adopted by the International  Congresses are binding for all affiliated organizations, except when  those organizations, by a resolution of a National Congress or by  referendum, reject the agreements of the international Congress.

At the request of at least three national affiliated Organizations,  an international agreement can be submitted for revision by a general  referendum within all Sections.

In the international referendums and Congresses, every Section has  one vote, and it is recommended that unanimity be sought before one  proceeds to the voting.

VII. International transfer

Every member of an organization affiliated to the IWA that has paid all  his/her affiliation fees, but who resides in a country other than the  one in which s/he became affiliated, should no later than one month  after his/her arrival carry out his/her transfer to the corresponding  organization of the national organization affiliated to the IWA. This  transfer must be approved by the said national organization without an  entry registration contribution.

In the case of a forced massive exile, the affiliation is voluntary  if there exists an affiliation to an exiled organization recognized by  the IWA.

VIII. The Secretariat

To coordinate the international activities of the IWA, to obtain and  to organize accurate information regarding the propaganda and the  struggle in all of the countries, to implement in the best manner the  resolutions of the international Congresses and to take care of all of  IWA’s work, a Secretariat is elected consisting of at least three  persons, from one or more Sections. The Section(s) holding the  Secretariat is (or are) chosen by the Congress or by international  referendum. Usually the Secretariat is held by one Section but this task  may be shared. The Secretary General, Treasurer and any other members  will be chosen by those who hold the Secretariat. The members of the  Secretariat shall distribute the tasks and work amongst themselves. They  may also delegate certain tasks to other Sections.

Members of political parties may not hold any responsible positions in the IWA.

The Secretariat is elected as indicated above for the period from one  regular Congress to the next. The same Section(s) should only serve two  terms consecutively. The Section(s) holding the Secretariat should  rotate. The Secretariat may return to a Section which previously held it  only after some period of rotation.

In the event of extraordinary circumstances where the Congress fails  to elect a new Secretariat, it must agree on measures to be taken.

The Secretariat shall not take a salary or any personal payments for fulfilling its mandate.

The Secretariat shall provide periodic financial reports to the IWA.  It is responsible for the distribution of written communication to all  the Sections and Friends and for keeping proper records thereof. It must  make a written report about its activities during the period between  Congresses and Plenaries. The report must be presented sufficiently in  advance to allow the affiliated Sections to acquaint themselves with it  before the holding of the Congress and Plenary. At the same time, an  administrative-economic report shall be presented and sent to the  Sections. The Congress and Plenary shall name a commission which during  the Congress and Plenary shall carry out an inspection of the accounts.


A Vice-Secretariat is also elected by Congress or by referendum. The  Vice-Secretariat is only mandated to serve as a replacement for the  Secretariat, in case it becomes totally inoperable or is recalled by the  Sections. It is not mandated to represent the IWA or fulfill any other  functions, unless these are tasks delegated by the Secretariat.


The Secretariat may be recalled upon a referendum of the Sections of  the IWA. In order to initiate the referendum, at least three Sections of  the IWA must support a motion. Upon the motion supported by three  Sections, a referendum must be announced immediately and the Sections  have 90 days to vote.

In the event that the Secretariat does not commence the referendum  process within one week (from the time the third Section supported the  motion), the Vice-Secretariat should do so.

Should the Secretariat be recalled, the Vice-Secretariat should assume its role until the next Congress is held.

In special circumstances, the Vice-Secretariat must replace the Secretariat.

a) In cases of political repression, arrest, war or other force  majeure events which make the execution of the position impossible.

In these cases, the Secretariat is not considered recalled, but  replaced. If it is possible and feasible, the Secretariat may be later  transferred back to that Section.

b) If the Secretariat has not functioned for a period of time over  three months, not answering correspondence, calls or producing  bulletins, or if it has failed to properly convoke the Congress or  Plenary, without reason or agreement, causing it to be postponed for  more than three months, the Vice-Secretariat should assume the functions  of the Secretariat to ensure the proper functioning of the IWA.

Upon assumption of these duties, the Vice-Secretariat should inform  the Sections and motion to recall the Secretariat by the referendum  process described above.

IX. Finances

To allow the IWA to carry out and to strengthen its international  activities and to give its written propaganda a solid foundation; to  allow it to publish its periodic publications at regular intervals; to  allow it to participate in all manifestations of the life of the  revolutionary syndicalism in the different countries; to make it capable  to promote the ideas of revolutionary syndicalism in countries where  our ideas and tactics are scarcely represented; and, finally, to allow  the IWA to respond satisfactorily and immediately to the calls for  solidarity that it may receive, every member of an organization  affiliated to the IWA shall pay monthly, as an international affiliation  fee, the amount of one US dollar (1 US$) or the equivalent amount in  national currency, taking into consideration the exchange value in the  countries concerned.

For those Sections that are in a difficult situation, the dues are established in agreement with the rest of the IWA.

Every affiliate Section shall decide by itself the procedure to be  followed to receive the affiliation fee from their members. The IWA has a  special seal for stamping the membership card for those Sections that  would like to do so.
The affiliate Section shall send to the IWA the stipulated affiliation fee on a quarterly basis.

X. Publications

The Secretariat publishes:

A publication that should be published as frequently as possible. It  is desirable that all newspapers published by organizations affiliated  to the IWA or sympathising with it, should reserve a special space on  its pages for information from the IWA, for calls for international  solidarity and for general propaganda.

Propaganda leaflets, aimed principally at where our movement does not have any national affiliate organization.

All other publications, periodical or not, that the Congress may decide.


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