NetzwerkIT: Self-Expression of Interests versus Interest-Representation

The Netzwerk IT website is in German, in general. Below text is taken from their leaflet in English [About Us page]. NetzwerkIT is an impressive and developed case for our Social Network Unionism project! It is very similar to new transnational social network union GAIA, actually its regional level -in 4 German speaking countries- and succesful implementation  [read the interview with Dave Hollis]. 

Our main argument is that this kind of organised networking will be a way forward for labour self organising towards the 2st century, so a new unionism, which can coop with the networked and transnationalised predatory capitalism.

What is Netzwerk IT?

Netzwerk IT is a platform for the employed and unemployed. Individuals, groups of employees and campaigns can communicate with each other, organise in the workplace and network with each other in order to e.g. fend of redundancies, to legally and publicly combat sackings or to give themselves a public face.

How does Netzwerk IT work?

Netzwerk IT consists of “projects”. A project can be applied to a workplace or an issue but this is not mandatory. For instance, it can also be used for a whole company or even an industrial sector. A project is the first point of contact. It constitutes the public face.

What the project intends, what it has done, what it wants to do and a public discussion of what it has published can be found there.

Since Netzwerk IT is not restricted to a workplace, a sector or only the working environment, projects can network with and learn from each another. In every company the problems and experiences are similar.

What are the basic principles of Netzwerk IT?

Netzwerk IT has two principles: helping people to help themselves and openness. Helping people to help themselves assumes that people are not stupid. Workmates know very well what they need. However, they are often isolated and do not believe that they can change things. They therefore become resigned and give up. In the various projects are positive examples of a small minority of those who are active.

Openness for us means in particular that we do not exclude anyone. We cannot stop at national borders when companies are globalising themselves. We are foreigners almost everywhere in the world. The answer to the worldwide migration of labour is collective solidarity. Undercutting each other only results in everyone losing out.

Is Netzwerk IT something like a trade union?

No! Netzwerk IT has as a principle that we should help people to help themselves. A works council or a union is based on representation. One elects representatives who then manage everything for you. The worker then withdraws from the company or political arena and usually becomes passive except in the case of wage negotiations or other particular events.

Netzwerk IT is committed to the original goal of the unions, the employees organising themselves against imminent poverty. Where applicable, we therefore consider it necessary to also work in the unions or works councils. However, we always critically question whether such positions help or are detrimental to our basic principles of helping people to help themselves and openness.

Who can take part in Netzwerk IT?

Everyone can take part – also members of political parties – as long as they agree to our aims and do not blindly carry out party work. As a matter of principle only individuals can contribute to the work of Netzwerk IT. Neither parties nor political groups are allowed to participate.

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