The Charter of Amiens

Confédération générale du travail

October 1906

The Confederal Congress at Amiens confirms Article 2, constituting the CGT:

The CGT groups, outside of every political school, all workers conscious of the struggle to be undertaken for the disappearance of wage-workers and bosses.

The Congress considers this declaration as a recognition of the class struggle which pits on the economic field workers in revolt against all forms of exploitation and oppression, both material and moral, carried out by the capitalist class against the working class.

The Congress clarifies, by the following points, this theoretical assertion: in day-to-day work demands, trade unionism pursues the coordination of workers efforts, the increase of workers well-being by the achievement of immediate improvements, such as the reduction of working hours, the increase of wages, etc. But this task is only one aspect of the work of trade unionism: on the one hand, it prepares for complete emancipation, which can only be achieved by the expropriation of the capitalist, and, on the other hand, it advocates a general strike as a means of action and considers that the union, today a grouping of resistance, will be, in the future, the production and distribution group, the basis of social reorganisation.

The Congress declares that this double task, day-to-day and future, derives from the position of wage-earners which weighs on the working class and which makes it a duty for all workers, whatever their opinions or their political or philosophical tendencies, to belong to the essential group that is the union.

As a consequence, as far as individuals are concerned, the Congress asserts the complete freedom for the union member to participate, outside of the trade grouping, in such forms of struggle that correspond to his philosophical or political concepts, merely asking, in return, not to introduce into the union the opinions that he professes outside it. As far as organisations are concerned, the Congress declares that in order for trade unionism to reach its maximum effect, economic action must be exerted directly against the bosses, Confederate organisations do not, as union groupings, have to be concerned about the parties and sects which can, outside and alongside, pursue social transformation with complete freedom.