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Bristol Branch Meeting

Bristol IWW - 3 hours 42 min ago

Workshop with the Incarcerated Workers Organising Committee (IWOC).

Come and join us in Hydra Books, Old Market, Bristol on 14 September at 7.30pm.

Categories: IWW

Bristol vigil for Heather Heyer

Bristol IWW - Wed, 08/16/2017 - 15:09
On Tuesday the 14th of August, Bristol IWW attended the vigil in memory of Heather Heyer on College Green. The vigil was organised by Fred, a member of Young Labour and was attended by a variety of local groups, residents and anti-fascists.

 

Heather Heyer was an American civil rights activist who was killed whilst demonstrating against the the fascist ‘Unite the Right’ rally in Charlottesville, Virginia on the 12th of August. Her killer, if video footage is to believed, was James Fields who was seen to be marching with and bearing a shield with the insignia of Vanguard America, a white nationalist group. Fields attacked the group of anti-fascists that Heather was part of by ramming his car into them, killing Heather and wounding a further 19 counter demonstrators. In the immediate aftermath of her death, it was reported that Heather was a member of Industrial Workers of the World and Democratic Socialists of America however the union has not been able to verify this.

At the vigil, one of our members kicked off the speeches with a call out to unite and fight fascism together:

“Heather Heyer didn’t want to be an antifascist, she wanted to be a civil rights worker. She wanted to work on positive campaigns to make the world better. The same way that I’m sure all of you would rather be here talking about workers rights, talking about the environment, talking about feminism but the thing that Heather Understood, and we all need to understand, is that when you hear the call you have to answer. There’s a long history of fascism that we all know about, it can never be allowed to happen again. In order for it not to happen again, society, all of the people that Fred mentioned, all of the different types of people, need to come together. And wherever fascism tries to build it’s movement, we HAVE to destroy it. It is a negative thing, but we HAVE to destroy fascism. Because if fascism flourishes, we all wither.”

Whether Heather was an IWW member or not, we send our love and solidarity to her friends, family and comrades. She was one of us and her death will not be in vain. Bristol IWW and WISE-RA reaffirm our commitment to building a strong, combative anti-fascist union. We will ensure that whenever and wherever violent fascists raise their ugly heads we will be at the forefront of the resistance, defending our community and each other from hatred and intolerance. The EDL front group Gays Against Sharia are planning to hold a rally in Bristol on the 10th of September and we will be there to help send them packing.

No pasarán!

Categories: IWW

Stelllungnahme des GDC der IWW (NARA), zum faschistischen Anschlag in Charlottesvill (USA)

IWW Austria - Sun, 08/13/2017 - 04:55
Folgend eine Stellungnahme des GDC zu dem faschistischen Anschlag in Charlottesvill (USA) in deutscher Sprache. Übersetzung durch das Kommunikationskomitee der IWW-Wien (GLAMROC). Rückfragen an: wien@iww.or.at.

Nach dem Mord von Charlottesville müssen wir uns zusammenschließen, um uns und einander zu verteidigen.

In Charlottesville, Virginia veranstaltete heute ein Bündnis verschiedener faschistischer Gruppierungen eine Kundgebung unter dem Motto „Vereint die Rechte!“, auf welcher sie einen weiteren Mord verübten. Ein Faschist fuhr sein Auto mit voller Geschwindigkeit gezielt in mehrere Fahrzeuge nahe der antirassistischen Gegendemonstration und machte diese zu einer auf die Protestierenden gerichteten Waffe. Dabei starb eine 32-jährige Frau und viele weitere Personen wurden verletzt.

Wir sind entsetzt, aber nicht überrascht über die anwachsende politische Gewalt der „Alt-Right“-Bewegung und anderer faschistischer Gruppen im ganzen Land. Der heutige Mord war kein Einzelfall, sondern der letzte in einer Reihe gewalttätiger faschistischer Angriffe und Morde. In Seattle war ein Mitglied der IWW/GDC angeschossen, in Portland zwei Personen durch Messerstiche getötet und in Minnesota kürzlich ein Bombenanschlag auf eine Moschee verübt worden.

Faschismus ist eine tödliche Bedrohung für uns alle. Wir kommen nicht drum herum, dem entgegenzutreten. Politiker*innen, die Polizei und Universitäten werden uns nicht retten. Und auch keine Wahlen. Wie immer unterstützte und schützte die Polizei die Faschist*innen, ließ Gewalt gegen die Gegendemonstrant*innen zu bzw. wirkte dabei mit. Universitätsbedienstete weigerten sich, Studierende und Andere durch das Sicherheitspersonal vor einer Bande hunderter Faschist*innen zu schützen.

Das General Defense Committee (Allgemeines Verteidigungskomitee) ruft alle Menschen, die das Leben, die Freiheit und die Würde der Menschen wertschätzen, auf, sich dem Kampf gegen den Faschismus auf jede ihnen mögliche Weise anzuschließen. Unterstützt die Überlebenden und die Angehörigen der Ermordeten mit Geldspenden. Sprecht mit euren Familien und Freund*innen, euren Arbeitskolleg*innen, euren Nachbar*innen und entwickelt einen Weg, dem faschistischen Hass direkt und konkret entgegenzutreten, wo auch immer er zum Vorschein kommt. Wenn du kannst, schließe dich dem nächsten General Defense Committee oder einer anderen antifaschistischen Gruppe an.

Dies könnte der Beginn einer neuen Phase im Kampf gegen den Faschismus sein. Wir müssen den vor uns liegenden Herausforderungen ins Auge blicken, uns wehren und die Faschist*innen besiegen. Wir müssen einander verteidigen. Wir alle sind dazu aufgerufen.

Ein Angriff auf eine(n) ist ein Angriff auf alle!

Das General Defense Committee (GDC) der Industrial Workers of the World (IWW).

Categories: IWW

Candle-Light Vigil for Charlottesville victims of right wing terrorism.

Ottawa IWW - Sat, 08/12/2017 - 21:56

Ottawa Outaouais IWW members will be offering our support and  solidarity to those injured and killed resisting the violent right wing terror attack yesterday in Charlottesville with a candle-light vigil at 7PM tonight at the Human Rights Memorial (161 Elgin).

An IWW contingent counter-protesting the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville were attacked by a white supremacist who drove through the crowds with their vehicle injuring many and killing one protester. Additionally, there are accounts of white supremacist groups terrorizing the streets with drive by shootings using vans and assault rifles.

We encourage everyone to come out and show your support for the victims and opposition to violent right ring terrorism.

Facebook Event

A fundraiser has been setup to cover the medical costs for the many victims.

Go Fund Me

Categories: IWW

Cartoon „Geschichte der IWW 1905-1924“

IWW Austria - Tue, 08/08/2017 - 06:26

Den Cartoon “ A cartoon history of the IWW (1905-1924)“, in englischer Sprache aus dem Jahr 1993 könnt ihr euch hier downloaden (Achtung 30MB Datei) oder online Lesen.

Categories: IWW

Statement on Sexual Assault within the Providence IWW

Providence IWW - Mon, 08/07/2017 - 17:18

There have been two separate instances of sexual assault, committed by two of our now former members. The first was expelled by vote at our April meeting. This was after he had being found guilty in an IWW charges process by an impartial committee of his peers, and after refusing to make good on the terms laid out by the survivor and the committee. The second was asked to resign in June after we received testimony from the survivor, this was done by the Branch Secretary in accordance with the Sexual Assault Policy detailed below. In addition, due to the connections of the second perpetrator with the property at 375 Smith St, the members of the Providence Branch of the IWW have decided that it will no longer serve as our Union Hall.

In an effort to prevent similar things from happening again and in order to be better prepared to handle such matters in the future we have drafted new polices. In March the IWW dedicated time to investigate preventative practices such as consent & anti-harassment training. One of our non-binary members previously has worked for the Women’s Resource Center of Newport and Bristol Counties and has relationships with the Women’s Center at URI. We are hoping to secure trainings or training materials via these avenues, as well as looking elsewhere and welcome any feedback on trainings your group is aware of.

In lieu of such training in April for Sexual Assault Awareness month we paid for multiple men in our organization to attend this educational symposium on April 11th by the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence:

“Changing the Culture, Stopping the Violence: A CALL TO MEN Symposium”. http://www.ricadv.org/en/what-we-do/training-ricadv/training-calendar/event/77-changing-the-culture-stopping-the-violence-a-call-to-men-symposium

These same men and other members did personal study of the series “Patriarchy on the Left” written by women members of the group Unity & Struggle to advance their analysis of patriarchy. http://unityandstruggle.org/2016/12/26/patriarchyontheleftpart3/

At our March meeting we also formed a local iteration of the IWW’s Gender Equity Committee. Our local GEC is composed of a super majority survivors, women, LGBTQ, and non-binary folks with participation of only one male ally. This is not just happenstance but a requirement of the committee’s founding, so policy can be formed by listening to those most directly affected.

Members of this committee prior to it’s founding started working on collecting resources from other organizations as well as harassment and sexual assault policies used by our union in other regions. Together in April they spent the time to further develop clear steps for our union to act for community safety in a sensitive, swift, and survivor-focused manner, by writing and passing at our April meeting these policies which are all easily accessible to the public via a link on our website:

Interpersonal Violence Policy
https://providenceiww.wordpress.com/about/interpersonal-violence-policy/

Harassment Policy
https://providenceiww.wordpress.com/about/harassment-policy/

Sexual Assault Policy
https://providenceiww.wordpress.com/about/322-2/

All members and organizers involved in union activity have been made aware of these policy, and we have welcomed internal and external feedback for their continued improvement. The policies also govern the IWW‘s General Defense Committee and Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee. You will notice they allow for any member or non-member to submit complaints of interpersonal violence, harassment, or sexual assault.

“In the case of sexual assault there needs to be a complainant who is willing to discuss their knowledge and/or experiences in a safe, supportive setting. There is no need to show that sexual assault was the intended effect. A person can commit sexual assault without intending to do so. The deciding factor in initiating a review process is that the survivor perceives sexual assault to (have) be(en) taking place. The survivor is to be presumed innocent and should be presumed to be a reliable witness of their own account. Therefore, beyond testimony, no further evidence of sexual assault or rape has to be provided.”

We consider transformative justice incredibly important as opposed to carceral, state based, and vigilante approaches to accountability. In fact we offered such a process as detailed in a previous letter to the former member expelled from IWW membership for refusing to participate in such a process at our April meeting. The transformative justice approach we aspire to follow going forward is based on the Community Accountability Creative Intervention’s Toolkit. https://communityaccountability.wordpress.com/creative-interventions-toolkit/

If you or your group has any feedback we welcome it.

-Providence IWW


Categories: IWW

Wealthy frequent flyers are the real problem when it comes to aviation growth – and it's time we did something about it

Plane Stupid - Wed, 07/26/2017 - 08:34


Uprooted communities, spiralling greenhouse gas emissions and a revolving door between industry and government. Radical protest in recent years has been a vital means of highlighting these darker sides of aviation, so rarely mentioned in public debate, argues Richard Collett-White. [A French version of this article was published on Reporterre:
https://reporterre.net/Les-riches-sont-majoritairement-responsables-du-desastre-climatique-qu-est-l]

Catching a flight – is there anything that so powerfully represents the seemingly effortless mobility offered to us by super-charged economic development, or the apparent limitlessness of human ingenuity? Anything more scientifically staggering than the giant metal birds which soar above the clouds?

Unfortunately, this airbrushed image of flying, featured in glossy industry magazines, is exactly that – a facade which conceals some very uncomfortable realities that airport owners would prefer you not to think about.

In addition to the localised noise and air pollution impacts, well known to anyone living near an airport, flying takes a heavy toll on the climate. It is now the fastest-growing cause of climate change, and here
in the UK, where we fly more per capita than anywhere else, the industry accounts for 6% of emissions (with a warming impact of double that if you include non-CO2 effects at altitude).

According to the UK's own Department for Transport, if passenger numbers are allowed to increase at current rates, they will almost double by 2050. Globally, we're set to hit that mark by 2035. With growth of this kind, making emissions reduction targets impossible to meet, you might assume moves were being made to do something about it.

Yet while every other sector of the economy is rightly being expected to become greener (albeit not fast enough), and reduce emissions in absolute terms, the aviation industry seems to slip through the net
every time. Not only are there no targets for aviation in the UK's Climate Change Act, aviation (along with shipping) was conspicuously absent from the final version of the global Paris Climate Accord. And last October, all the UN body entrusted with regulating the industry could agree on was the dubious concept of 'carbon neutral growth by 2020': something that is only possible with the use of discredited offsetting schemes which deflect responsibility to other sectors of the economy. This 'light-touch' approach may be frustrating for climate campaigners but is hardly surprising when the industry and government are so close to one another, with staff often switching between the two during the course of their careers.

Does all of the above mean, then, that we are all equally responsible for getting us into this situation, and that families taking their one getaway break a year should be made to feel guilty about their actions? No. Flying trends, just as much as anything else, are shaped by the economic inequalities that define our societies. So in the UK, while more than half of the population doesn't even fly in a given year, and 33% take one or two flights, the remaining 15% are taking 70% of all the flights, most of which are leisure, not business. With average annual earnings of more than £115,000, it is these frequent flyers who mainly bear responsibility for the supposedly unstoppable demand. Contrast the wealth of these binge flyers with the poverty of those overwhelmingly suffering the effects of climate change – which studies suggest is already causing 150,000-400,000 deaths per year, particularly in sub-saharan Africa – and the global injustice of it becomes painfully clear.

At this point, it might be tempting to look optimistically to technology for a quick-fix solution. Certainly, the industry itself assures us that energy efficiency and biofuels will be enough to bring down emissions. But the evidence points the other way: passenger growth is outrunning efficiency improvements and there are no signs that biofuels could replace energy-dense kerosene (which powers jet planes – and happens to be exempt from taxation as a result of a 70-year old international treaty) to any significant degree. Add to that the fact that biofuels use up valuable land needed for agriculture and it should be obvious that techno-fixes alone are not going to cut it.

So it was in this context – of a high-polluting industry thirsty for growth finding itself in conflict with the unalterable facts of climate science, and the political world turning a blind eye to it – that Plane Stupid was set up 12 years ago. The group has taken direct action ever since, occupying runways, invading conferences and even (somehow) managing to drop a banner from the top of Parliament. It was part of the
opposition that helped to see off the many airport expansion plans pushed by Tony Blair's New Labour, and in the last two years has focused on Heathrow's plan for a new runway (revived yet again after numerous promises not to) which would increase flights by 50% and wipe out two whole villages. The scope of anti-aviation activism has also broadened, drawing links between different but connected issues, with groups occupying City Airport to highlight the racial inequalities inherent in climate change, and Stansted in order to stop a mass deportation flight heading to Nigeria and Ghana, carrying people who feared for their lives, often as a result of their sexuality, if they returned.

Plane Stupid has never called, though, for the aviation industry to simply be shut down, and supports moves in the right direction, like the frequent flyers tax popularised by A Free Ride, which would curb flying in a progressive way, leaving the lowest-earners (who are most likely to take only one or two flights per year) better off than at present.

Indeed, it is the bringing together of these different sides of the spectrum that makes the gathering in Toulouse this August so exciting: direct action activists, NGOs, academics and scientists, sharing knowledge and experience and discussing strategies for how to tackle this issue. Struggles from Mexico City, Austria, the UK and your own NDDL came together in solidarity last October in an international week of action and this meeting will be a valuable continuation of that process. The  struggle against aviation growth should be as global as the industry itself!

DC IWW Supports the TPSS Co-Op Workers Union for $15/hour and a Union

D.C. Industrial Workers of the World - Wed, 07/26/2017 - 06:48

 

The DC General Membership Branch of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) supports the TPSS Co-op workers in their  struggle to unionize. Wages lag behind the rising cost of living in the DC metropolitan area. In Takoma Park, the average cost of living is much higher than in other parts of Maryland, and even a starting salary of $11.50 is unacceptable. A starting wage of $15/hour–though not ideal–is a reasonable demand that allows workers the chance to afford rent, transportation, child care and sustenance in one of the most expensive metropolitan areas in the country.

We further support the rights of all workers to unionize, ensuring fair and equitable treatment during these trying times. Moreover, a union will foster a spirit of unity and cooperation among workers so TPSS Co-op can continue to be a place of respect, dignity, and community.

TPSS Co-op is a member-owned cooperative, and the IWW shares many of the the values and goals of the Co-op: a healthy planet, democratic/cooperative ownership, and community-sourced goods and resources. A fully democratically organized workplace is necessary to help strengthen the bonds between the co-op, its workers, its members, and the community at-large.  The financial statements, publically available on the TPSS Co-op website,  indicate good financial health through growth, profitability, and the ability to consistently meet its obligations. To remain successful, the co-op must also fulfill its obligations of utmost importance – paying a reasonable wage to its workers and providing improved working conditions.

We encourage the membership, the Board of Representatives, and the greater Takoma Park community to support the workers of the TPSS co-op in creating a truly democratic community.

We believe such a community is in the best interest of everyone and that a productive conversation, centering the workers’ needs, will build a stronger relationship–grounded in solidarity–between the TPSS workers and the Takoma Park Community.

We the membership of the DC General Membership Branch of the IWW hereby fully endorse the efforts of the TPSS Co-op workers’ union and pledge our support, solidarity and aid to our fellow workers.

DC General Membership Branch – Industrial Workers of the World (IWW)

(e) dc.iww.gmb@gmail.com | (w) www.dciww.org | (p) 202-630-9620

Links & Attachments:

[.PDF] DC IWW Supports the TPSS Co-op Workers Union for 15 and a Union

[Community Petition] Support TPSS Co-op Workers

 

Categories: IWW

Stand With Lac Megantic Defendants

Ottawa IWW - Sun, 07/23/2017 - 16:12

From the Ottawa-Outaouais General Membership Branch

Whereas, the railroad and the government has sought to blame the employees for the natural result of the combined reckless work rules and policies that undercut safety and even basic common sense.

Whereas, the Canadian Transportation Safety Board’s 18 causes for the disaster are all company policy driven.

Whereas, the MMA (Montreal Maine & Atlantic Railway) has declared bankruptcy and will face no charges for their own negligence.

Whereas, two railroad workers face criminal charges and a life sentence for a tragedy caused by unsafe railroad management policies.

Whereas, the Ottawa – Outaouais IWW stand in solidarity with all workers facing unsafe work conditions and persecution from bosses and state agents

Be it resolved that, the Ottawa – Outaouais IWW fully endorses the Railroad Workers United hardingdefense.org campaign to have all charges dropped against railroad workers Tom Harding and Richard Labrie.

Solidarity with the victims. Solidarity with the workers. Hold the bosses to account!

More Info

Donate Here

Railroad Workers United

Twin Cities GDC Fundraiser Event

Categories: IWW

Dossier: Die Anti-Israelische Kampagne „BDS“ und die IWW

IWW Germany - Sat, 07/22/2017 - 02:44

Im Jahre 2010 unterstützte die IWW im Referendum die Anti-Israelische Kampagne „BDS“. Diese Unterstützung ist nicht unumstritten. Unter anderem distanzierten sich die Ortsgruppen Rostock und Bremen von dem Beschluss 2013. Aktuell ist der Beschluss ungültig, da durch eine weltweite Strukturreform zum 01.01.2017 keine organisationsweiten Beschlüsse mehr aus der Vergangenheit Gültigkeit besitzen.

Die genaue Debatte innerhalb der IWW dokumentieren wir im folgenden Dossier, erstellt vom Redaktionskomitee der IWW im deutschsprachigen Raum. Anlässlich einer Veranstaltung mit der FAU Berlin.

Herunterladen des Dossiers

Der Beitrag Dossier: Die Anti-Israelische Kampagne „BDS“ und die IWW erschien zuerst auf Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) im deutschsprachigen Raum.

Categories: IWW

Strafmaßandrohung bis zu 75 Jahre für Gewerkschafter*innen

IWW Germany - Wed, 07/19/2017 - 13:00

BRIEF DER J20 DEFENSE CAMPAIGN DES MID-ATLANTIC GENERAL DEFENSE KOMMITTEES DER INDUSTRIAL WORKERS OF THE WORLD.

Am 20. Januar 2017 gingen Tausende in Washington D.C. auf die Straße, um gegen die Angelobung Donald Trumps als Präsident zu protestieren. Während einer der vielen Protestmärsche, die an diesem Angelobungstag stattfanden, zeigte die Metropolitan Police von D.C. der Welt, auf welche Art sie vorhatte, in Zukunft mit Widerspruch umzugehen: Kurz nach Beginn des Protests wurden hunderte Protestierende mit Pfefferspray, Gummigeschossen und Gummiknüppeln angegriffen. Die Polizei kesselte über 200 Personen stundenlang ein und verhaftete sie im Anschluss. Die Mobiltelefone von allen Verhafteten wurden als Beweismittel konfisziert und durchsucht. Bei der Entlassung wurde ihnen eine Anklage wegen Ausschreitungen überreicht. Monate später legte der US Bundesstaatsanwalt nach und erhob Anklage wegen acht weiterer schwerer Verbrechen, unter anderem „Verschwörung zu Ausschreitungen“. Die Protestierenden sind mit Strafmaßandrohungen von bis zu 75 Jahren Haft konfrontiert – alles für die Teilnahme an einer Demonstration.
Unter den Verhafteten waren über zwei Dutzend Mitglieder unserer Gewerkschaft, der Industrial Workers of the World und des für Rechtshilfe und Gemeinwesenarbeit zuständigen angegliederten IWW General Defense Kommittees (GDC). Als IWW und GDC wenden wir uns nicht ab von unseren Mitgliedern, sondern unterstützen ihr Recht, ihre politischen Standpunkte in Form von Protesten und Demonstrationen auszudrücken. Dies entspricht einer Tradition in unserer Gewerkschaft, die bis zu den Kämpfen für freie Meinungsäußerung des frühen 20. Jahrhunderts zurückreicht.
Seit den Verhaftungen haben die Staatsanwälte und die Polizei von D.C. eine Welle der Repression entfacht, die einem verstörenden Muster folgt und auch spezifisch gegen Mitglieder der IWW und des GDC gerichtet ist. So wurden
Mitgliedskarten und Buttons als Beweise beschlagnahmt. Monate nach dem Protest wurde gegen drei Personen (zwei davon bekannte Mitglieder der IWW Ortsgruppe in D.C.) Haftbefehl wegen Verschwörung zu Ausschreitungen erlassen. Bevor diese Haftbefehle ausgestellt wurden, hatte das Büro des Staatsanwalts verlautbart, dass es separate Verfahren für verschiedene Gruppen geben würde. Einschließlich einer Gruppe, die fast ausschließlich Angeklagte umfasst, die Mitglieder der IWW oder GDC sind. Auch wenn sie dies nicht öffentlich zugeben werden, ist es offensichtlich, dass die städtischen Staatsanwälte von Washington D.C. die Mitgliedschaft in unserer Gewerkschaft als Beweis für eine kriminelle Handlung verwenden werden.
Dies ist nicht das erste und höchstwahrscheinlich nicht das letzte Mal, dass die IWW ins Visier der Repression genommen wird. Der Angriff auf Protestierende in D.C. ist Teil eines größeren Versuchs, Widerstand von Arbeiter*innen und Ausgegrenzten zu kriminalisieren und zum Schweigen zu bringen. D.C. ist nur einer von über einem Dutzend Staaten, die versuchen, Widerstand durch ihre Gesetzgebung und rigoros harte Strafen zu unterdrücken. Dies ist kein Zufall. Die Mächtigen wollen, dass Aktivist*innen und Organisationen Angst davor haben, gegen die Politik Trumps zu protestieren.
Die Arbeiter*innenbewegung kann keinen Erfolg haben, wenn Gewerkschaftsmitglieder wie Kriminelle behandelt werden, wenn sie gegen gewerkschafts- und arbeiter*innenfeindliche Politik und Politiker*innen protestieren. Keine soziale Bewegung kann in derart repressiven Umständen tätig sein. Wir sind immer dem Prinzip gefolgt „Ein Angriff auf eine*n ist ein Angriff auf alle“. In diesem Sinn rufen wir unsere Freund*innen und Verbündete in der Arbeiter*innen-Bewegung und in verbündeten progressiven oder linken Gruppen auf, diesen Brief zu verbreiten und den folgenden Antrag in ihren lokalen Gewerkschaften oder Organisationen zu behandeln:
„Wir sind tief besorgt über die rigorose Repression gegen alle Demonstrant*innen, die am 20. Januar 2017 ihre im ersten Zusatzartikel der Verfassung garantierten Rechte in Washington D.C. wahrgenommen haben und dafür angeklagt wurden. Wir unterstützen die Forderung, alle Anklagen gegen Protestierende fallen zu lassen. Zudem erklären wir uns bereit:
1. info@midatlanticGDC.com zu kontaktieren, um den Namen unserer Organisation zu den Unterstützer*innen dieses Briefs anzufügen. Der Brief ist auf  http://www.midatlanticgdc.com/letter abrufbar.
2. Dass wir in angemessenen individuellen Beiträgen auf den Kanälen
unserer Organisation in den verschiedenen Sozialen Medien unsere Unterstützung für diesen Brief ausdrücken.
3. Dass wir die zustündigen Beamten oder Personen au ordern, eine Unterstützungserklärung für dieses Anliegen an den Bundesstaatsanwalt zu schicken: United States Attorney’s O ce, ATTN: Channing Phillips, 555 4th Street NW, Washington, DC 20530
4. Unsere Mitglieder zu ermutigen, sich an der Unterstützung der Angeklagten über die Webseiten www.defendj20resistance.org und www.midatlanticGDC.com zu beteiligen.

vielen Dank für die Übersetzung an die GMB Wien

Der Beitrag Strafmaßandrohung bis zu 75 Jahre für Gewerkschafter*innen erschien zuerst auf Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) im deutschsprachigen Raum.

Categories: IWW

Bis zu 75 Jahre Haft für Gewerkschafter*innen!

IWW Austria - Tue, 07/18/2017 - 22:53

Brief der J20 Defense Campaign des Mid-Atlantic General Defense Kommittees der Industrial Workers of the World.

(Übersetzung der IWW-Wien | www.iww.or.at)

Am 20. Januar 2017 gingen Tausende in Washington D.C. auf die Straße, um gegen die Angelobung Donald Trumps als Präsident zu protestieren. Während einer der vielen Protestmärsche, die an diesem Angelobungstag stattfanden, zeigte die Metropolitan Police von D.C. der Welt, auf welche Art sie vorhatte, in Zukunft mit Widerspruch umzugehen: Kurz nach Beginn des Protests wurden hunderte Protestierende mit Pfefferspray, Gummigeschossen und Gummiknüppeln angegriffen. Die Polizei kesselte über 200 Personen stundenlang ein und verhaftete sie im Anschluss. Die Mobiltelefone von allen Verhafteten wurden als Beweismittel konfisziert und durchsucht. Bei der Entlassung wurde ihnen eine Anklage wegen Ausschreitungen überreicht. Monate später legte der US Bundesstaatsanwalt nach und erhob Anklage wegen acht weiterer schwerer Verbrechen, unter anderem „Verschwörung zu Ausschreitungen“. Die Protestierenden sind mit Strafmaßandrohungen von bis zu 75 Jahren Haft konfrontiert – alles für die Teilnahme an einer Demonstration.

Unter den Verhafteten waren über zwei Dutzend Mitglieder unserer Gewerkschaft, der Industrial Workers of the World und des für Rechtshilfe und Gemeinwesenarbeit zuständigen angegliederten IWW General Defense Kommittees (GDC). Als IWW und GDC wenden wir uns nicht ab von unseren Mitgliedern, sondern unterstützen ihr Recht, ihre politischen Standpunkte in Form von Protesten und Demonstrationen auszudrücken. Dies entspricht einer Tradition in unserer Gewerkschaft, die bis zu den Kämpfen für freie Meinungsäußerung des frühen 20. Jahrhunderts zurückreicht.

Seit den Verhaftungen haben die Staatsanwälte und die Polizei von D.C. eine Welle der Repression entfacht, die einem verstörenden Muster folgt und auch spezifisch gegen Mitglieder der IWW und des GDC gerichtet ist. So wurden Mitgliedskarten und Buttons als Beweise beschlagnahmt. Monate nach dem Protest wurde gegen drei Personen (zwei davon bekannte Mitglieder der IWW Ortsgruppe in D.C.) Haftbefehl wegen Verschwörung zu Ausschreitungen erlassen. Bevor diese Haftbefehle ausgestellt wurden, hatte das Büro des Staatsanwalts verlautbart, dass es separate Verfahren für verschiedene Gruppen geben würde. Einschließlich einer Gruppe, die fast ausschließlich Angeklagte umfasst, die Mitglieder der IWW oder GDC sind. Auch wenn sie dies nicht öffentlich zugeben werden, ist es offensichtlich, dass die städtischen Staatsanwälte von Washington D.C. die Mitgliedschaft in unserer Gewerkschaft als Beweis für eine kriminelle Handlung verwenden werden.

Dies ist nicht das erste und höchstwahrscheinlich nicht das letzte Mal, dass die IWW ins Visier der Repression genommen wird. Der Angriff auf Protestierende in D.C. ist Teil eines größeren Versuchs, Widerstand von Arbeiter*innen und Ausgegrenzten zu kriminalisieren und zum Schweigen zu bringen. D.C. ist nur einer von über einem Dutzend Staaten, die versuchen, Widerstand durch ihre Gesetzgebung und rigoros harte Strafen zu unterdrücken. Dies ist kein Zufall. Die Mächtigen wollen, dass Aktivist*innen und Organisationen Angst davor haben, gegen die Politik Trumps zu protestieren.

Die Arbeiter*innenbewegung kann keinen Erfolg haben, wenn Gewerkschaftsmitglieder wie Kriminelle behandelt werden, wenn sie gegen gewerkschafts- und arbeiter*innenfeindliche Politik und Politiker*innen protestieren. Keine soziale Bewegung kann in derart repressiven Umständen tätig sein. Wir sind immer dem Prinzip gefolgt „Ein Angriff auf eine*n ist ein Angriff auf alle“. In diesem Sinn rufen wir unsere Freund*innen und Verbündete in der Arbeiter*innen-Bewegung und in verbündeten progressiven oder linken Gruppen auf, diesen Brief zu verbreiten und den folgenden Antrag in ihren lokalen Gewerkschaften oder Organisationen zu behandeln:

Wir sind tief besorgt über die rigorose Repression gegen alle Demonstrant*innen, die am 20. Januar 2017 ihre im ersten Zusatzartikel der Verfassung garantierten Rechte in Washington D.C. wahrgenommen haben und dafür angeklagt wurden. Wir unterstützen die Forderung, alle Anklagen gegen Protestierende fallen zu lassen. Zudem erklären wir uns bereit:

  1. info@midatlanticGDC.com zu kontaktieren, um den Namen unserer Organisation zu den Unterstützer*innen dieses Briefs anzufügen. Der Brief ist auf http://www.midatlanticgdc.com/letter abrufbar.

  2. Dass wir in angemessenen individuellen Beiträgen auf den Kanälen unserer Organisation in den verschiedenen Sozialen Medien unsere Unterstützung für diesen Brief ausdrücken.

  3. Dass wir die zuständigen Beamten oder Personen auffordern, eine Unterstützungserklärung für dieses Anliegen an den Bundesstaatsanwalt zu schicken: United States Attorney’s Office, ATTN: Channing Phillips, 555 4th Street NW, Washington, DC 20530

  4. Unsere Mitglieder zu ermutigen, sich an der Unterstützung der Angeklagten über die Webseiten www.defendj20resistance.org und www.midatlanticGDC.com zu beteiligen.

Categories: IWW

Sma Shot Day 2017 – Paisley

IWW Scotland - Fri, 06/30/2017 - 08:46


Categories: IWW

Segensreiche Sozialpartnerschaft

IWW Austria - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 04:23

ÖGB und GPA-djp können sich nicht so ganz entscheiden, wie toll der jahrzehntelange Klassenfriede nun wirklich ist

Wir sehen es als Basisgewerkschaft nun wirklich nicht als unsere primäre Aufgabe an, ständig die großen Sozialpartnerschafts-Gewerkschaft ÖGB zu kritisieren – das machen die durch ihre Arbeit (Stichwort alljährliche Kollektivabschlüsse unter Inflation) schon selber. Aber manchmal muss man halt einfach. Dieser Tage flattert GPA-djp-Mitgliedern das aktuelle Zeitschriftenpaket ins Haus, bestehend aus der Kompetenz, dem Magazin der GPA, und dem ÖGB-Magazin Solidarität. Beim Durchblättern der Solidarität bleibt man an einem Artikel hängen, der sich im hinteren Drittel versteckt. „Die Sozialpartnerschaft – eine Stärke Österreichs“, lautet der Titel. Auf einer ganzen Seite wird hier der seit 1945 praktizierte Klassenfriede beschworen und als Erfolgsmodell gepriesen. Da zuletzt von rechten PolitikerInnen und von Industriellenvertretern die Sozialpartnerschaft immer wieder in Frage gestellt wurde, sieht sich der ÖGB bemüßigt, diese ihren Mitgliedern zu erklären. „Die Sozialpartner bemühen sich, Probleme und Herausforderungen im Dialog – also ohne offene Austragung von Konflikten – zu lösen und für alle Beteiligten akzeptable Lösungen zu erreichen.“ Eine Gewerkschaft, die Konflikte „offen“ austragen würde – wo kämen wir da hin? Jedenfalls nicht zu dem Erfolg, den die Solidarität-Redakteure besonders hervorheben: „Weil viele Interessen auf dieses Art und Weise verhandelt und gelöst werden, gibt es in Österreich einen ausgeprägten sozialen Frieden und EU-weit am wenigsten Streiks.“ Ja wunderbar, denn Stress und Konflikte mag ja wirklich niemand.

Aber halt, könnte sich das lesende ÖGB-Mitglied nun fragen: kann das überhaupt funktionieren? Immerhin will mein Chef immer was anderes als ich! Keine Angst, versichern da die ÖGB-RedakteurInnen: „Sozialpartnerschaft bedeutet nicht, dass unterschiedliche Interessen negiert werden oder dass es keine Auseinandersetzungen gibt. Vielmehr ist es so, dass zwischen den gegensätzlichen Interessen durch die Bereitschaft zum Kompromiss ein Ausgleich zum Vorteil aller gefunden werden kann.“

Zum Vorteil aller?

Uff, nochmal Glück gehabt. „Zum Vorteil aller“ klingt ja wirklich super! Entspannt nimmt das ÖGB-Mitglied nun die Kompetenz in die Hand und blättert. Da, etwa in der Mitte des Blattes, bleibt der Blick auf einer Seite voller groß gedruckter Zahlen hängen. „51-mal so viel wie seine MitarbeiterInnen verdient ein ATX-Manager“, steht da. „1,500.000 € verdiente im Schnitt ein Vorstand eines ATX-Unternehmens im Vorjahr“. Hm, na gut, denkt das ÖGB-Mitglied nun, vielleicht haben die Bosse der zwanzig größten börsennotierten Unternehmen unseres Landes halt doch so viel Verantwortung, dass sie so viel verdienen müssen?

Doch was liest man da in der nächsten Zeile: „172 % sind die Vorstandsgagen seit 2003 gestiegen – 30 % stieg in derselben Zeit das Medianeinkommen“, also das mittlere Einkommen. Oha, das betrifft mich dann vielleicht doch direkt, denkt sich nun das ÖGB-Mitglied. Und was hat das eigentlich mit „Partnerschaft“ und „zum Vorteil aller“ zu tun, wie es in dem anderen Artikel beschrieben wurde?

Auch die weiteren Fakten, die in der Kompetenz aufgelistet sind, sprechen eine deutliche Sprache:

„1/3 der Beschäftigten sieht sich Burn-out-gefährdet und jeder Dritte kennt Fälle von Burn-out.“

„52 % der Beschäftigten machen gelegentlich, 17 Prozent sogar häufig Überstunden.“

„70% aller Beschäftigten, die häufig Überstunden machen, wünschen sich kürzere Arbeitszeiten.“

„41,5 Std. beträgt die durchschnittliche Normalarbeitszeit in Österreich. Im EU-Schnitt sind es 40,3 Stunden. Nur in Großbritannien und Portugal wird länger gearbeitet.“

„1975 – also vor 42 Jahren – wurde zum letzten Mal die gesetzliche Arbeitszeit verkürzt: Es wurde die 40-Stunden-Woche eingeführt.“

Könnte das heißen, dass während der vergangenen 42 Jahre vielleicht doch eher die Interessen der Unternehmer und Industriellen zum Zug gekommen sind, und nicht jene der arbeitenden Menschen? Danke ÖGB, eure „Sozialpartnerschaft“ scheint ja wirklich super zu funktionieren.

 

X362256

Categories: IWW

Anarchistische Buchmesse Yppenplatz

IWW Austria - Sun, 06/04/2017 - 00:51

Zwei Tage mit Sonnenschein und am Schluss mit einem gewaltigen Wolkenbruch am Yppenplatz. Interessante Gespräche, neue Kontakte und viele neue Infos wurden an unserem Infotisch auf der anarchistischen Buchmesse ausgetauscht.

Categories: IWW

April/May Newsletter for Bristol IWW

Bristol IWW - Fri, 05/19/2017 - 13:41

WISERA conference 2017. Something like this but with fewer fancy hats.

Dear members and supporters of Bristol IWW,

As we move into the summer months much of our attention is naturally drawn to the annual conference for the WISERA section of the IWW but before I get into that, here’s some of the other things we got up to.

On the 16th of April we joined Bristol Radical History Group for a guided walk around the docks where we learnt about the emergence of ‘new unionism’ in Bristol at the turn of the 20th century and the events of ‘Black Friday’, 1982. A group of around 10 Fellow Workers were in attendance, along with 20 assorted history-loving Bristolians. We peaked the interest of a few and will hopefully be welcoming two new members off the back of the day. We’d like to extend our thanks to BRHG and Roger Ball who led the walk, looking forward to doing more in the future.

On April 22nd we went over to Cardiff to join IWW Cymru in an evening of officer training and scheme hatching followed by a good old-fashioned knees-up. A lovely evening was had by all and it was nice to touch base with our friends from over the bridge.

On April 28th a few of our members took part in Workers Memorial Day, which saw a few hundred strong march from Tony Benn House to a wreath laying ceremony at Bristol’s commemorative plaque, in Castle Park, which remembers those killed whilst at work.  Organised by the Bristol Trades Council, marchers included members of Unite, GMB, Unison, Bristol Hazards Group, and the IWW.

On Mayday, a few Wobblys who hadn’t made their way to Derby for the conference were part of a National Day of Action against Maypole Ltd. called by the Incarcerated Workers Organising Committee.  Actions took place in Bristol, Bath, Liverpool and Leicester.

Maypole Ltd is a company that uses prison labour to make trailer boards for stores like Blacks and Millets. Prisoners are paid between £6 – £25 for a full working week. If they don’t work they are punished. IWOC is asking Blacks and Millets to stop stocking Maypole products until they stop exploiting prisoners. Thousands of leaflets were distributed and we spoke to many ex-prisoners on the streets too who had been employed in workshops such as these while incarcerated.

For more information on this campaign and the IWOC, check out their website.

This brings us onto the main event of May, the IWW annual conference which this year took place in the Peak District at Thornbridge Outdoors Centre in Derby.

Speaking to our delegates yesterday it was clear that they were very impressed with the location and the accessibility it provided for fellow workers with young children, who reportedly had a grand old time tearing around in the great outdoors.

I won’t go into too much detail on the motions portion of the weekend as these should be appearing on Loomio shortly but items up for debate included the organising summit, gender balance on the DEC and whether a regional casework coordinator is needed.

As necessary as motions are they can be hard work and as such we were all relieved to finish going through them and spending the rest of the weekend participating in the various workshops on offer. First up was a discussion on how best to provide support to the ROCs (Regional Organising Committees) affiliated to WISERA (the Wales, Scotland, Ireland and England branch of the union). At present we have GlamROC (the German-speaking countries), AusROC (Australia), GreROC (Greece) and IceROC (Iceland) affiliated to WISERA with a view to supporting and advising them until such a time when they’re able to set themselves up as regional administrations. Through this we’ve established contacts in several other radical unions, notably the German FAU who we’re working with in the Deliveroo campaign.

Other important topics were the IWW’s decision to establish an anti-fascist committee, the setting of participatory budgets and how we put together training material in future. We also heard from the ‘Leeds 6‘ Deliveroo riders about their victory, their continuing struggle for worker status, the links they’ve helped establish with riders throughout the UK, Germany and France as well as how they plan to continue to spread their message on the job through the use of spoke cards and starter packs for new riders.

All in all another successful conference but it’s time to look forward again and not take our eye off the organising ball despite another madcap electoral season. Two meetings on the horizon at the moment are:

Another radical history walk, Sunday 4th June at 2pm, from Hydra Books, Old Market. Led by Mike Richardson, the topic is the “Bristol Strike Wave of 1889-90, Socialists, New Unionists and New Women“. The walk will take about 2 hours, or so, followed by pub. Please bring along your family, friends and history buffs.

An open meeting on Thursday 8th June at 7.30, Hydra Books, Old Market. This gathering will be with a view to informally induct our new members which we’ve not had time to do so far this year. If you’re interested in being part of a ‘strong and stable’ union, then there’s no better time to come and see what we’re about.

In the meantime, try not to get overwhelmed by electoral guff and take care of each other out there.

Tom / Bristol IWW

Categories: IWW

1. Mai 2017…

IWW Austria - Wed, 05/10/2017 - 00:23

Es war ein schöner 1. Mai mit Sonnenschein, fliegenden Fahnen und vielen interessanten Gesprächen an unserem Infostand im Sigmund-Freud-Park in Wien. Voller Frühlingselan gehts jetzt in die nächsten Kämpfe! Hier ein paar Eindrücke:

Categories: IWW

Notre nouveau site web est prêt!

Montreal IWW - Fri, 05/05/2017 - 11:29
Venez nous-rejoindre au https://sittiww.org/   Pour un syndicalisme de solidarité révolutionnaire et fort! Pour l’avènement de la démocratie industrielle ! Solidarité!    
Categories: IWW

Tigertown Beats Nazis Down: Reflections on Auburn and Mass Anti-fascism

Life-Long Wobbly - Thu, 05/04/2017 - 09:44

Written by three members of the Atlanta General Defense Committee[1]

“Outside Agitators” – but who’s agitating?

The scene in Auburn, AL when we showed up was one of the most bizarre we’ve ever seen in a political context. Neo-nazi spokesperson Richard Spencer had just been allowed to begin his speech in Foy Hall, after a local judge negated Auburn University’s decision to cancel his event. The live stream showed a packed audience, though some were opponents. Outside, there was a large crowd of students and onlookers. Standing in the crowd, looking to our left and right, it was often impossible to tell if our neighbors were spectators, trolls, anti-Spencer Auburn students, college republicans, or fascists.[2] We were able to identify some people in the crowd as fascists due to their MAGA hats or giant American flags, but they did a much better job of blending into the crowd than many of the anti-fascists did.[3] Many of the anti-fascists were dressed in black and  were armed in helmets and other aspects of the “uniform” that made them stand out from anyone from Auburn.[4] The most visible fascists themselves were already in the auditorium, which meant that for the next several hours, the only visible “outsiders” for the crowd were the anti-fascists. For people in the crowd, anti-fascism looked like a specialized thing, while the fascists themselves were abstract and out-of-sight.

Before we talk more about what happened, let’s talk about Alabama and Auburn. It seems unlikely that many anti-fascists were familiar with Auburn before Spencer’s speech was announced or had ever spent time in Alabama.. We don’t mean to score cheap points here. Obviously, most of us have not been to most parts of the US, and may not have heard of every city. However, we think that the US left simultaneously ignores and scorns the South in general and the “deep south” in particular. Furthermore, Auburn – home to one of Alabama’s two main universities – has its own particular culture and significance within Alabama. Think of the biggest deal you can imagine people making of college football – double that, and add a little more for good measure. That’s how important football is for Alabama, and Auburn is their number two school. To say the town’s culture revolves around football, and the state’s culture revolves around the football of the University of Alabama and Auburn University, would be an understatement. Alabama head coach Nick Saban has been called “the most powerful man in Alabama,” and that’s probably not an exaggeration.[5] Indeed, it seems that one of the biggest missteps Spencer took in Auburn was to speak against black football players and berate people for supporting them – attacking Auburn football may have galvanized the school and the town against him in a serious way.[6]

There is a dominant stereotype that white people in the Deep South are ignorant conservatives. This stereotype comes from liberal institutions (think of the character Kenneth on 30 Rock), and it carries over into the left if it is not consciously challenged (which it usually isn’t). Of course this contributes to a hostile or skeptical attitude from Alabamians when there is any engagement. There hasn’t been any meaningful Left presence in Alabama since the 70s, and very few attempts by contemporary left groups to engage seriously with Alabama.[7] When the US left spends decades ignoring the deep South, we are telling ourselves and the rest of the world that we don’t believe there’s any meaningful organizing to be done there. The right wing doesn’t make the same mistake. In Alabama, groups like “The League of the South” have open meeting halls, billboards by the highway, and have announced the formation of a “Southern Defence Force”.

This is important because it heavily influences how we approach a situation like this. For those of us who believe in a mass-based, working-class-oriented anti-fascism, it comes down to some central questions. Can we imagine a mass anti-fascist movement in Alabama? Can we actually imagine that large numbers of Alabamians would agree with our program and strategy for fighting fascism? Or do we basically think that mass anti-fascism might theoretically work elsewhere, but not in a place like Alabama?

These questions deserve attention because they had a huge impact on our orientations towards this situation. Entering unfamiliar terrain with preconceptions about the political territory set up a situation that would characterize the rest of the night – a theatrical production of specialized antifascists versus specialized fascists, where everyone else was just in the way.[8] We saw little talk beforehand about how Auburn students might engage, or how we might relate to them. It seems that all of us (present authors included) made decisions based to some degree on a lack of faith in the possibility for mass anti-fascism in Alabama. Most of us would probably say that we think mass anti-fascism is an ideal, preferable to “squad-vs-squad” style anti-fascism.[9] However, in practice we tended to write off the possibility that large numbers of Alabamians might actually agree with our program for fighting fascism if we actually presented it to them. If we want to stop the normalization of fascism, then we have to “normalize” anti-fascism – even (maybe especially) in places like Alabama.

There were some attempts on our side to preemptively address some of these concerns.We had designed flyers to explain our positions to the crowd, but due to haste and confusion these were not distributed. There had been some attempts on reddit and elsewhere to connect with folks in Auburn ahead of time, which was a good start, but we should have followed up on them more systematically. By the time Spencer’s speech was starting, the damage had been done – the bloc was isolated and pressed between a police barricade and a crowd ranging from indifferent to hostile. Onlookers, potential allies, and low-key fascists were all intermingled in an incoherent mass, with police scattered throughout. Furthermore it was getting dark, making it harder to talk with people and less likely that people would read or care about flyers. The only clear distinction was between the black-clad antifascist activists (who were visibly not from Auburn) on the one hand and the jumble of people with illegible politics (but generally from Auburn or looking like they could be) on the other.

In short: we treated them like “others” who might get in our way and ruin things for us; is it any wonder they treated us the same?

Auburn’s “White Students Union” had been agitating against “Atlanta Antifa” ahead of time. They put up posters around campus warning people against “Atlanta Antifa” as scary outsiders who might attack bystanders. The spectacle that the black bloc provided played right into this.

On the other hand, we have to recognize that there were low-key fascists blended within the crowd, at some points agitating or “trolling” us quite effectively.[10] This was separate from a noticeable trend of random individuals who had come out to troll for less clear reasons: there were some individuals who seemed to be mostly trying for jokes, but others were in small groups, wearing MAGA hats or carrying flags, and communicating closely with each other. In other words, the fascists attempted to seize the possibility for agitation that we had abandoned. In fact, at some points it did seem that the fascists or trolls were able to influence the crowd, but because they were blending in well, it was tough to determine exactly when this was happening.

“Spectators” only exist when spectacles produce them

As we were arriving, we were seeing messages that people felt “trapped” by the crowd, that the crowd was full of “trolls” and “spectators” and “stupid liberals.” This seemed improbable to us. When we arrived we saw more context.

There were several hundred people in the crowd, most of whom looked like traditional Auburn students. Interspersed were small pockets of people dressed in all black. Shortly after we arrived, one of the black-clad people started walking through the crowd, shouting and attempting to agitate them. The crowd quickly felt like it was being yelled at by a person that had obviously marked themselves as separate from the crowd, and subsequently tensed up.[11] People began to crowd around and heckle this person, filming them at the same time. At one point as tensions rose it seemed like there could be a fistfight between this white punk-looking antifascist person and a black person in the crowd – which would have been an absolute disaster the moment it hit the internet.

This was just one early example that antifascists were treating the crowd as the “other” and were displaying anti-fascism as a specialized activity, not something for Alabamians unfamiliar with urban political scenes to take up and make their own.

The bloc continued to make these kinds of decisions throughout the night – at one point the bloc had managed to maneuver out of the middle of the crowd and down a street. Other people, many of whom looked like frat members, followed closely behind the bloc, seemingly looking for excitement. We worried that as the bloc tried to disperse, some of the people following them might try to pick fights. Luckily, some pigs on bikes zoomed in a divergent direction and led those followers astray, buying the group time and space. The bloc deliberated and decided to head straight back into the crowd, placing themselves again in the middle and riling the crowd up in its procession. This time we were sure that violence would break out – only, a Holocaust denier stole the show and locals congregated around him instead, mostly to confront him . The bloc consistently reinserted itself into the crowd and made itself the object of spectatorship, rather than something the crowd could engage with, or at the very least, accept and act along sides. The spectacle of specialized anti-fascism undermined the concrete possibility of mass anti-fascism.

Possibly the most dangerous moment came when about twenty or so people in black were chanting together and were getting hemmed in by the larger crowd. Some of the crowd may have been spectating, some hostile – it’s hard to tell. The vibe was already tense when the group began chanting what sounded like “Atlanta, Atlanta, Antifascista”.[12] In response, someone in the crowd began an Auburn fight song that none of the out-of-towners knew. Everyone from Auburn immediately joined in, fists pumping, and those of us from out of town were conspicuously silent, confused, vastly outnumbered, pressed in, and scared. It felt like the situation was on the razor’s edge of a brawl, which would have have ended very, very badly for everyone wearing black.. By showing ourselves as outsiders, we handed the MAGA bro’s an opportunity to throw a punch and start a brawl, potentially with popular support. Luckily, they didn’t seize this opportunity. After Berkeley, that would have been an absolute disaster, and a demoralizing turn on the national level.

Tigertown Beats Nazis Down – but the black bloc doesn’t

Eventually the fascists had to leave Foy Hall. The police had barricades set up so that the crowd was all along the edge of the path that the fascists took towards the edge of the campus. This was part parade, part walk of shame. As the fascists were parading out in full insignia, our people took the opportunity to rile the crowd up and remind them that these were actual, flesh-and-blood nazis, helping to stir up militant chants along the route. It seems that allowing people to actually see that the nazis were real, not abstract and not a joke, did a lot to reorient the tensions – antifa were no longer the only people who were visibly not from Auburn.

At a certain point, the barricades ended, and the nazis and the crowd met. A confrontation developed directly between some students and the fascists. Some fascists, outnumbered and overpowered, had to flee at a sprint from the students.[13] There were some antifascists there when this started, but they were far outnumbered by the students who chased the fascists off campus and into the downtown area. The militant vanguard of the students seemed to be  “good ol’ boys,” the same type that we had been writing off or at least vaguely wary of the whole night. They not only ran the nazis off campus, they caught up to some of them in the town and pushed, beat, or taunted at least a few of them to chants of “Tigertown Beats Nazis Down”. This sudden militancy of the crowd was a victory salvaged from the jaws of defeat; the militant posture of the black bloc was not only completely ineffective, but at several points it led to the edge of disaster. We have to wonder at this point whether the presence of the black bloc had any positive impact.

Pride of Alabama: victory belongs to the Auburn students, not us

Before the events, outsiders travelling to Auburn had discussed goals and the roles we could we play as outside militants. At one meeting, we discussed that shutting down the event would probably not be likely. Other goals we discussed were to maintain a radical space and presence and defend it if need be (presumably in some kind of bloc formation). One of us had raised ideas of being among the crowd, with the goal of promoting militancy and resiliency among the crowd, explaining our positions, and building links for future organizing, but this idea did not receive much interest. It seems that the “default” option of going as the bloc was never seriously challenged. In reflection, we think that these goals all assume that we would be the most militant force present, the most organized and able. We also notice that the goals don’t include anything about building relationships with students who were coming out to oppose fascism. Each goal we could imagine, stated or unstated, we failed to meet that day.

We failed, but the Auburn students did not. They were the most militant, the most able. While they weren’t organized in any political fashion, loose social networks and an identity around their school allowed them to move quickly and decisively to chase out the fascists from the campus and run them out of town.

This was fundamentally different than previous experiences of “spontaneity” we’ve witnessed – and parts of it are difficult to reckon with.[14] This was not a preconceived political act from an organized body, nor was it a spontaneous action of oppressed people who feel powerful in a moment. This was mostly “bro”-looking football fans – many of whom we suspect initially attended as spectators – suddenly catapulted into a political act.[15] It’s likely that the scene of organized, decked-out neo-Nazis riled some students up – they realized this was real, these were really neo-Nazis. It’s possible that some out-of-town antifascists in the crowd were able to effectively encourage a more militant approach towards the nazis at this point. It’s likely many students broke into a run simply because others were running. And it’s also possible that the scene of any visible “outsiders” – be it the black bloc, the fascists, or another football team’s fans – could have roused a similar sentiment: This is our campus, our town, and outsiders are not welcome.[16]

But what happens when a group of students, with little understanding of the current threat of fascism, with little experience with political protests, not “activists” or even necessarily politically concerned, and many not directly affected by the current threat, find themselves suddenly thrust into a political act? Activity changes consciousness. Many of these students now have an experience of running fascists out of town, an experience they identify with, and which will impact their consciousness in unexpected ways in the future.[17]

Lessons Auburn Ain’t Atlanta

 One of the central principles of mass anti-fascism is that “we don’t cede territory.” This means that we should not just assume that the far right has a monopoly on places likes rural Alabama, but instead we should actively seek allies, build relationships, and support the development of an organized anti-capitalist, anti-racist militancy. Many of us are still defaulting to squad-vs-squad skirmishes, but the fascists are not.  The speaking events of Milo or Spencer are about recruiting and building a mass base for fascism. We think the most promising way to prevent the development of mass fascism is through mass anti-fascism. The worst thing we can do right now is to keep insisting on the black bloc as the default tactic. This is the path towards catastrophic failure.

In order to make friends, we’ll have to understand the limits of certain tactics. Black bloc is a tactic, not a strategy or an identity, and a single tactic should never be our default. Instead, we’ll have to put our goals up front, then decide on a strategy to achieve those goals, and tactics that might be useful as part of that strategy. Furthermore, those who insist on bringing the “black bloc” identity, regardless of the local context, will end up being obstacles to building a mass anti-fascist movement. They have to be struggled with, or left behind.[18]

One alternative tactic is to just dress in clothing that won’t stand out and mingle throughout the crowd, not appearing to be an organized force.[19] This can provide safety, so that no small group is singled out by police or hostile forces; it can also allow space for comrades to build relationships with people in the crowd, to feel out the mood, and to try to raise the militancy throughout the crowd. We should take seriously the old Maoist idea of being among the people “like fish in the sea”. This is something that at least some of the fascists were doing in Auburn, and we can’t cede that space to them.

This doesn’t mean that the black bloc tactic will never be useful in some situations. Keep a bandanna in your literal and figurative back pocket – or keep two in case someone else needs one. But otherwise, we think we might begin by dressing in a way that doesn’t immediately set us apart from the rest of the crowd.

Recovering the art of the agitator

Agitating a crowd in a political context isn’t the kind of skill that any of us are born with or develop accidentally. When there have been successful labor or socialist movements in the past, this was a skill that movements deliberately trained people in.[20] This is something that we have been mostly ignoring for decades, and we are paying for it now. But we have to begin somewhere.

The Picket/Guard Training that has been developed by the General Defense Committee identifies some possible roles that can apply in a mass public action, such as picket captain, marshal/security, and MC. We think “agitator” should be added to this list as a possible useful role, especially for actions like this one in Auburn or anywhere else where we will be acting within a larger crowd and trying to raise the militancy and resiliency within it. We envision that agitators can work in pairs throughout the crowd, in coordination with each other and other parts of the group, with the goal of raising the temperature of the crowd, encouraging it to defend itself, or supporting any other goals. Working in pairs allows for immediate feedback if something seems not to be working, or working well, and also allows for better debriefing (and security). Of course, like with any other “role” there should be some fluidity – it’s not to say that only some specialized people will try to agitate the crowd while others don’t at all. Rather, it’s that some people would be focusing on this while others are focusing on other useful tasks.

A mass approach requires a higher level of coordination. If we’re serious about confronting fascism– and doing so in a way that allows for mass engagement and helps develop mass militancy– then we’ll need to get serious about group cohesion, group discipline, and accountability. As we mentioned above, at one point there was one person trying to “agitate” the crowd but who only succeeded in agitating them against the black bloc. The movement that we need now has to move beyond that kind of individual, unaccountable behavior.

Communications – One Big Signal Group isn’t working

It seems that the only plan for communication in Auburn was to put everybody who was coming into town on one Signal group, and leave it at that. What this meant was that there was a lot of confusing chatter and there was no plan about how to keep communication on essential topics. Furthermore, many of the people did not know each other, so it was often unclear who was giving certain information or ideas, there were a lot of texts like “Who is 867-5309?”, and there were times where it felt like the conversation was totally hijacked by one or two people. Furthermore, if we didn’t check it for a few minutes, there might be 100 messages waiting to be read. It wasn’t totally useless, but often close. This should be assessed before future actions. There should be plans for smaller communication groups over a variety of apps/mediums, including walkie talkie apps or physical walkie talkies, as well as people who are designated as “runners”. Of course, all of this requires actual organization ahead of time.

Avoiding false lessons

It’s Going Down wrote that “it was the ability of the police to control the crowd that allowed Spencer to speak – not the ability of the Alt-Right to hold their ground.” Although the article was generally good, we disagree with that point. We don’t think the police played the only critical role in controlling the crowd in this situation. Another major factor was the inability of antifascists to actually engage with the crowd. Berkeley and Auburn both require some serious self-criticism and evaluation of our strategies up to this point, and probably a total overhaul of the way we engage in anti-fascist organizing. We’ve tried to outline what we think are some key points above, and we’ll summarize them again.

First, to prevent fascism from “normalizing”, we have to “normalize” anti-fascism and make it something that people who are not already activists can identify with, and find a way to participate in.[21] We have to ditch the Black Black as a uniform. We have to assess each situation in its own context, but we think the default should be to dress like how we expect the crowd to dress, while keeping the bandannas in our back pockets.

Second, to keep fascism from developing a mass base, we need to build a mass base for anti-fascism. To a large degree that means organization, both in the day-to-day when we are not physically confronting fascists, and on the more tense days when we are. We should approach any confrontation with fascists by setting goals, and figuring out the strategy and tactics that will achieve them. This means being organized ahead of an action to apply that strategy. The Picket/Guard training from the General Defence Committee has a good framework for how to approach this.

We still have the possibility to develop a mass anti-fascist movement in the US. But time is not favoring us, and if we continue to apply old strategies like always showing up in black bloc, we will begin to see worse and more demoralizing defeats. On the other hand, if we develop our mass approach, we could end up being really surprised by how many people might be open to it. If even Southern, white football “bros” are open to running fascists out of town, then our approach and program could inspire and unite a lot more people than we expect.

[1] This piece was originally written and distributed locally. We are publicizing it in order to contribute to debate within the broader movement. At the time of writing, we had the benefit of a YouTube video made by two Auburn weight-lifting “bros” that reinforced many of our observations or suspicions. Unfortunately, that video has been removed. We have had to adjust some points as a result. “Tigertown” is another name for Auburn, after the mascot.

[2] Most anti-fascist events don’t have this kind of intermingling.. The usual events include two camps, both standing on opposite sides of a barricade, with at least one line of cops in between them.

[3] Many of the white men in the crowd were dressed like “Good ol’ boys”: Baseball caps, polo shirts, cargo shorts, and sandals. Most of the fascists were dressed the same. At the time we caught ourselves assuming that anyone dressed this way was conservative, but at several points they confronted the fascists most directly. (MAGA = Make America Great Again.)

[4] Some images show a good example: someone in all black holding an Anti-Fascist Action sign and staring stand-offishly into the distance behind black sunglasses, studiously avoiding interaction with anyone around them.

[5]The next most influential man in his state is probably Governor Robert Bentley. But Saban is Nos. 1 through 10 on the list of Alabama power brokers. He would be in the top 10 even without his three national titles with the Crimson Tide. The position itself—head football coach at Alabama—gives you a platform of power. But because of the program’s wild success, Saban is the best-liked person in the state. He has the most visible job in the state, and given the religiosity with which Alabamians apply themselves to college football, Saban now has another title: the pontiff of pigskin.Source.

[6] It is not clear how much of the crowd was aware of this when it happened or how much this contributed to student anger in the moment. Some of this observation is coming from reading comments on reddit.com/r/auburn. Or, as the students in the video said, “He said we shouldn’t watch football and came to Auburn – probably not a good idea.”

[7] Until recently, the only Left organizations that had even tried to build a presence in Alabama were Socialist Alternative and the IWW. (The IWW came close to establishing a branch, but many of the key members walked away in disgust over what they perceived as a bureaucratic, authoritarian, and distant attitude from the executive board when they were chartering in 2015.) Recently, it seems that the Socialist Party and DSA have built groups in Alabama as well.

[8] In the General Defense Committee’s Picket/Guard training, we learn to think of pickets, protests, or marches as a theatre performance, where many roles might be filled. In this case, we think that most anti-fascists generally tended to see people from Auburn as “spectators” of the theatre rather than participants in it; likewise, many students considered themselves spectators.

[9] “Squad vs Squad” or “Vanguard vs Vanguard” is shorthand for the kind of anti-fascism that was dominant in the 80s and 90s, where small, specialized groups of anti-fascist punks and skinheads engaged in street fights with small, specialized groups of fascist punks and skinheads. This is in contrast to “mass anti-fascism”, which focuses on organizing as broadly as possible within the community to oppose fascists.

[10] There are some interesting overlaps between agitation and “trolling” – this is beyond the scope of this piece, but worth thinking about, especially insofar as all of the time and energy that fascists spend trolling means that they are honing their agitational skills much more than we are.

[11] The content of what they were yelling was also problematic. In form, it was antagonistic towards the crowd, treating the crowd as antagonists towards the black bloc. In content, it was about how the black bloc was there to “protect marginalized communities that couldn’t protect themselves” – a racist and vanguardist attitude. At a recent debrief meeting, several of us agreed that we failed to intervene.

[12] It’s Going Down reported that the chant was “Alerta, Alerta, Antifascista,” but many of us heard it as “Atlanta”, and we suspect the crowd did as well. In contrast, we noticed that we got pretty good responses when we turned some of their football chants against Spencer. We might’ve missed a good opportunity for a “War Damn Antifa” banner.

[13] Several fascists have tried to claim that the crowd ran right through them, which is a lie. It’s true that some groups escaped attention and were able to walk away, but the crowd did chase after several Nazis, and those Nazis did eventually have to escape the crowd under police escort.

[14] We acknowledge that on this section in particular we are theorizing “blindly”. There are many question marks. Was it totally spontaneous? Were there networks (fraternities, for example) that weren’t visible to us that had planned for something like this? Did it start as a small scuffle that pulled in more students, or was there a large group ready to throw down already? Did any antifascists from outside Auburn play a role in the start of the scuffle? How much were the students looking to fight fascists, and how much would they have settled on any fight, for example with the black bloc?

[15] We spoke to many people who explained, “I’m here to see what’s going to happen. Some sh** might go down.” Some brought up the potential for scuffles between antifa-types and fascists; some planned to hit the bars after.

[16] This is part of why we think the threat of a brawl between antifa and the crowd was real. We also have to point out here or elsewhere that to many of the students, the anti-fascists looked much more like the fascists (especially the “Traditionalist Workers Party”, who were dressed in all black, with helmets, and keeping a bloc formation) than they looked like Auburn students. There were some times where even we couldn’t easily tell which side people were on.

[17] On the flipside – what would have happened if the students had had the “experience” of running antifascists out of town?

[18] This problem of people who attach themselves to a movement precisely because of its irrelevance is not new. Harvey Swados nails it perfectly in Standing Fast, his excellent novel about American Trotskyists in the ‘30s and ‘40s: “Let’s be frank,” Joe said. “There are guys who are in the Party now because we’re small. If we really grew, if we really became an influence, they’d flee.”

[19]Sometimes people talk about “grey bloc” but that isn’t quite the same. That’s more of a modified version of black bloc, and not what we’re proposing.

[20] Standing Fast also has some great descriptions of how agitators used to be trained deliberately, almost in an apprenticeship with an older, more experienced agitator.

[21] To be clear, we mean something more akin to “popularize.” When we say “normal” we put it in quotes because the concept of “normal” is gendered, sexualized, and racialized, and it’s used against people. We really mean “people that do not dress in black bloc at actions, do not identify with a certain politics, and are unfamiliar with the political scenes specific to many large US cities.”


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