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Flag of the CNT-FAI

The Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (National Confederation of Labour - CNT) is a Spanish confederation of anarcho-syndicalist labor unions affiliated with the Federación Anarquista Ibérica (Iberian Anarchist Federation - FAI). In this capacity it is referred to as the CNT-FAI.




The 1911 Congress.

The CNT was founded in 1910 in Barcelona from groups brought together by the trade union Solidaridad Obrera. In 1911, coinciding with its first congress, the CNT initiated a general strike that provoked a Barcelona judge to declare the union illegal until 1914. From 1921 on, after the end of the Weltkrieg, the CNT grew stronger, but so did its bureaucracy. In 1927, with the aim of keeping the CNT on an Anarchist path by challenging its bureaucracy, the Federación Anarquista Ibérica (FAI), an association of anarchist affinity groups, was created in Valencia. The FAI would play an important role during the following years, encouraging the labor union not to move away from its anarchist principles, an influence that continues today.


As a union organization, and in accordance with its bylaws, the aims of the CNT-FAI are to "develop a sense of solidarity among workers"; hoping to improve their conditions under the current social system, and prepare them for future emancipation, when the means of production have been attained, to practice mutual aid amongst CNT-FAI collectives, and maintain relationships with other like-minded groups, hoping for emancipation of the entire working class.

The CNT-FAI is also concerned with issues beyond the working class, desiring a radical transformation of society through revolutionary syndicalism. To achieve their goal of social revolution the organisation has outlined a social-economic system through the confederal concept of anarchist syndicalism, which consists of a series of general ideas proposed for the organisation of an anarchist society.The CNT-FAI draws inspiration from anarchist ideas, and also identifies with the struggles of different social movements. The CNT-FAI is internationalist, but also supports communities' right of self-determination and their sovereignty over the states.


The organisational structure of the CNT-FAI is based on direct democracy. Unlike organizations that are organized from the top down, the CNT-FAI organises itself in an anarchistic fashion, from the bottom up, through different levels of confederations.The reason for favoring this structure is intended to limit homogeneity in committees, and keep them from having politics or programs. It is also intended to minimize the power of individuals who may be more active in the organization.

The regional confederations send representative delegations to the national plenary assembly, which constitutes the national confederation. The national plenary of regional confederations elects a national General Secretary, who moves the CNT-FAI headquarters to his/her place of residence. Hence, the CNT-FAI has no fixed headquarters. The General Secretary and the rest of the secretaries form the Permanent Secretariat of the National Committee of the CNT-FAI (Comitè Central de la CNT-FAI, in Spanish).

As of now, the General Secretary is Josè Diaz Ramos.


In these days the CNT-FAI functions primarily in Catalonia, but has also gained importance in other regions, such as Andalusia and Aragon. Internationally, it has connections and good relations with the syndicalist government of Commune of France, Union of Britain and Socialist Republic of Italy. It also has good relations with similar movements, such as the União Anarquista Portuguesa in Portugal and the Combined Syndicates of America in the United States.

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