The Confederación Nacional del Trabajo ("National Confederation of Labour" or "CNT"), founded in Barcelona, Spain, in 1910, was at one time that country's largest labor organization.
It is the main Anarchist organization in Spain.
It was prominent in combating the coup d'état by General Francisco Franco that led to the Spanish Civil War in 1936. It is also the name of Marxist or Syndicalist labor confederations in countries from France to Panama.
The CNT was born with the objective of creating an outstanding force in opposition to the majority union, the socialist General Union of Workers (UGT). Its initial foundation found it in the Catalan anarcho-syndicalism of Labor Solidarity, born in 1908. In the I Congress of the CNT (taken place in 1911, year in which the union received its name officially) a general strike, reason for the one was already summoned which the union was declared illegal up to 1914. From 1916, the Confederation changed its performance strategy regarding the UGT: it began relationships with this union and both reached the agreement of summoning the general strike of 1917 jointly. The bonds among both organizations were narrowed and, in the II Congress of the CNT (1919), the possibility was formulated of unifying the two unions to propitiate the cohesion of the proletariat. In this congress the provisional linking was approved from the CNT to Third International but, after the visit of the directing Ángel Lash to the Federated Soviet Socialist Republic of Russia (the territorial nucleus of where in 1922 the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics would arise), this dissuaded the incorporation, and in 1922 the CNT moved definitively away from that organization.
The significant invigoration of the anarchist union took place starting from 1918, moment in that the crisis of the Catalan industry impelled to workers' thousands to affiliate to the organization.
With the purpose of counteracting the force acquired by the organized labor mass, the bosses financed pistolerismo ("gunfighterism"), who attacked unions.
In 1923, after the installation of the dictatorship of general Miguel Primo de Rivera, the CNT entered in the secrecy. Divided internally because of the pressure exercised by the radical wing of the Iberian Anarchist Federation (FAI), constituted in 1927 to increase the anarchist control on the union, its activity during that period was marked by the participation in several combines directed to finish with the régime.
After the Spanish transition to democracy , the CNT became legal again, but wasn't as prominent as before the war.
CNT refused to participate in the system of elections for workers' representatives.
This refusal caused a faction of the CNT to split from the CNT creating the Confederación General del Trabajo.
To develop in the workers the association spirit, to practice the mutual support and the solidarity among the workers, to represent, to defend and to promote the economic, social interests, professionals and cultural of the members, as well as to program the necessary actions to get the social and economic improvements, as much for the members as for the workers in general.
The CNT flag has a diagonal dividing it in one red and one black halves. It is interesting to note that many authoritarian left wing and right wing movements have made a point of appropriating the colors of anarcho-syndicalists in particular in order to try to lessen or re-direct their popularity and impact at crucial times in history.