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Extinction Rebellion and the Environmental Unionism Caucus

Bristol IWW - Thu, 11/15/2018 - 03:22
Bristol IWW has voted to give it’s full support to Rising Up! and it’s Extinction Rebellion campaign and establish an Environmental Unionism Caucus. Please join us in London this Saturday to demand action on the impending climate catastrophe. The inaction and indifference of the mainstream unions on this matter is unacceptable. In the face of a global environmental crisis that will affect the most vulnerable first, Unite and GMB have voiced their support for expanding Stansted airport as well as building a third runway at Heathrow. It is vital that organisations like the IWW take the lead on this issue and push the workers movement into urgent action. For more info please see: ecology.iww.org.uk/node/2849 or this article on Left Foot Forward by one of our members, Alex.
Categories: C1. IWW

WWI: Remember the Dead, Remember Those Who Resisted

IWW Scotland - Sat, 11/10/2018 - 16:57

Today, 11th November, is the 100th anniversary of the 1918 armistice which ended the First World War. More than ever, the build-up to Remembrance Day has been used to push a pro-militarist agenda, and attack dissenting views. It pushes ‘patriotism’ and ignores class, gender, race, disability and other sources of power and inequality.

We mourn the millions of soldiers on both sides who were deceived or forced into fighting, particularly those who lost their lives or were injured.  We mourn the millions of civilians who were injured or killed.  We mourn the millions of people on both sides who continued to suffer after the war, often from post traumatic stress, generally without receiving the support they needed.  We mourn for all the young working class people who suffered the guilt of being forced to kill others just like them or build armaments to support the ‘war effort’.   We condemn the ruling class on both sides that caused this war through their greed and desire for more power and domination.

For us, as internationalists and anti-militarists, we will cherish the memory of all those who stood on principle against the war or who came to resist it. These included:

  • Over 16,000 conscientious objectors in Britain, many of whom endured long stretches of hard labour and prison;
  • Socialists and anarchists who campaigned against the war and conscription, and faced down jingoistic mobs;
  • The left-wing women’s movement, led especially by Agnes Dollan and Helen Crawfurd, whose Women’s Peace Crusades attracted thousands in Glasgow;
  • John MacLean, who became the voice of the anti-war movement, and who would never recover from the punishment he received from the state;
  • And the soldiers themselves – not just from Britain, but Russia, France and Germany – who came to refuse orders, shirk, desert and ultimately mutiny. It was, after all, the Kiel mutiny of German sailors who brought an end to the war and ushered in the German Revolution.

The Industrial Workers of the World itself has a long history of resisting all capitalists’ wars from American intervention in Mexico in the 1910s to the wars of the present day.

During the First World War, Wobblies carried out anti-war campaigning and were imprisoned for refusing to serve in the army in Britain, Australia and New Zealand. In the USA, it is true, there was more debate over the best course to follow. The union was overwhelmingly against the war, but the majority of the leadership wanted to save the organisation from destruction by muting its anti-war stance. As it turned out, the state launched a full-scale attack on the union anyway.

Rank-and-file American Wobblies did actively struggle against the war machine, however, and they were led by organiser Frank Little. He argued that the war had brought a ‘mad chaos of bloodshed and slaughter’, and that it could ‘only serve to further rivet the chains of slavery on our necks, and render still more secure the power of the few to control the destinies of the many’ (Chester 2014: 129). Little was murdered by hired thugs in August 1917.

Here, we reproduce a resolution passed by the American IWW in 1916. It might be over a hundred years old but it’s as relevant as ever.

This history is not dead. Anti-militarism is not a side issue to our organising; it’s a necessary part of organising for a better world.

Anti-war resolution passed by the 1916 convention of the (US) Industrial Workers of the World:

We, the Industrial Workers of the World, in convention assembled, hereby re-affirm our adherence to the principles of industrial unionism, and rededicate ourselves to the unflinching, unfaltering prosecution of the struggle for the abolition of wage slavery and the realization of our ideals in Industrial Democracy.

With the European war for conquest and exploitation raging and destroying our lives, class consciousness and the unity of the workers, and the ever-growing agitation for military preparedness clouding the main issues and delaying the realization of our ultimate aim with patriotic and therefore capitalistic aspirations, we openly declare ourselves the determined opponents of all nationalistic sectionalism, or patriotism, and the militarism preached and supported by our one enemy, the capitalist class.

We condemn all wars, and for the prevention of such, we proclaim the anti-militaristic propaganda in time of peace, thus promoting class solidarity among the workers of the entire world, and, in time of war, the general strike, in all industries.

We extend assurances of both moral and material support to all workers who suffer at the hands of the capitalist class for their adherence to these principles, and call on all workers to unite themselves with us, that the reign of the exploiters may cease, and this earth be made fair through the establishment of industrial democracy.

(This resolution was previously published online at iww.org.)

 

 

Further information:

For a good account of conscientious objection in Scotland and Britain, see Spirit of Revolt’s recent talk on this subject.

The best summary of conscientious objection and resistance to WWI in Scotland is Robert Duncan’s Objectors and Resisters: Opposition to Conscription and War in Scotland 1914-1918 (2015).

Eric Chester’s Wobblies in Their Heyday (2014) has a useful discussion of the American IWW during the First World War.

Two great essays on the British army during the war are Dave Lamb’s Mutinies 1917-1920, and Why Blackadder Goes Forth Could Have Been a Lot Funnier, by the Bristol Radical History Group, which looks at the ways in which soldiers would avoid killing.

Categories: C1. IWW

What the hell happened in Centralia? AKA The Centralia Tragedy.

Olympia IWW - Sat, 11/10/2018 - 12:07

The history of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) is filled with tragedy, as well as victory. For some reason all lot of the events took place in the month of November and several of them took place here in the Northwest. One of these such events is known as the Centralia Tragedy. What follows is a brief history of that event which will have its 100th anniversary next year.

Even to this day some people still have strong feelings about the Tragedy. For a long time there has been a monument to the American Legion. The side that attacked and lynched the wobblies. While only about ten years ago was a mural created in Centralia recognizing the tragedy as such.

The American Legion in its early years was little better then a collection of fascist sympathizers and organized vigilantes. In 1923, a just a few years after the Centralia Tragedy, American Legion Commander Alvin Owsley cited Italian Fascism as a model for defending the nation against the forces of the left. Owsley said: “If ever needed, The American Legion stands ready to protect our country’s institutions and ideals as the Fascisti dealt with the deconstructionists who menaced Italy!… The American Legion is fighting every element that threatens our democratic government – Soviets, anarchists, IWW, revolutionary socialists and every other red… Do not forget that the Fascisti are to Italy what The American Legion is to the United States.”

So this gives you an idea of what kind of people the Legion was made up of. November 11th 1919 was the 1st anniversary of the end of World War I. Then it was known as Armistice day. Today it is known as Veterans Day. That war was also called the war to end all wars. That clearly wasn’t the case so they later had to celebrate the end of other wars. Or just celebrate war, who can tell.

Anyway, in Centralia that day the Legion, as well as some other groups, had planned a parade. There had been talk that they would try and attack the IWW union hall. So the wobblies were somewhat prepared. We should note that there were veterans of WWI on the union side as well. Particularly Wesley Everest. As the parade when down the street where the union hall was. It stopped in front. Legion members stormed the hall. As I said the wobblies were not entirely caught by surprise. They opened fire at the invaders. Also, across the street on a hill union members had been stationed with guns to set up a cross fire, if the Legion attacked.

A mob further attacked and burned out the union hall. Everest was one who fled the hall as it was being attacked. He was eventually caught and was dragged back to town to be lynched, however, the police intervened and put him in jail. Later that night vigilantes/legion members went into the jail, without resistance, and took Everest to a railroad bridge that crosses the Chehalis River.

Everest was hung twice from the bridge because the first time his neck didn’t break. After that the mob used their cars to spot light him and they took turns shooting at him. Some time in the night the body was cut down taken back to the jail where it was put back in the cell with his friends for the rest of the night.

Of course since the wobblies were the ones that were attacked 12 of them were indicted for murder and six of them were later convicted.

This is what happen in Centralia.

Categories: C1. IWW

Workshop: What are your rights at work in the UK?

Bristol IWW - Thu, 11/08/2018 - 12:17

A short introduction to basic work rights in the UK with some practical tips on how to deal with issues in the workplace, either individually or with other workers. We will be discussing things like types of contracts, pay and national minimum wage, discrimination, and how to submit a grievance. You will also have a chance to ask questions.

This workshop is open to anyone but is primarily intended for migrant workers and will be in collaboration with Opening Bristol’s Borders.

https://openingbristolsborders.wordpress.com

Thursday 22nd November 7pm @ Assisi Centre.

Categories: C1. IWW

Bauarbeiter*innenstreik in Lausanne

IWW Germany - Wed, 11/07/2018 - 08:15

In Lausanne streiken über 4000 Bauarbeiter*innen aus dem Kanton Waadt. Das ist eindrücklich – und die stärkste Beteiligung an den Regionalen Prostesttagen der Gewerkschaften bisher.

Bereits die hohe Mobilisierungen im Vorfeld im Tessin, in Genf, Freiburg, Neuenburg, im Jura und sogar im Wallis zeigen: Die Bauarbeiter*innen sind wütend. Die hinterhältigen Angriffe des SBV sind nicht unbemerkt an ihnen vorbei gegangen, obwohl sich die Baumeister*innen in der Öffentlichkeit als lösungsorientierte Wohltäter*innen verkaufen, die z.B. Praktikant*innen den Einstieg ins Berufsleben ermöglichen wollen (ohne Mindestlöhne = Lohndumping!) oder den Bauleuten längere Ferien im Winter gewähren (bei 300 flexiblen Arbeitsstunden = 12 Stunden Arbeitstage im Sommer). Diese Heuchler*innen! Die Arbeiter*innen haben zum Glück längst gemerkt, dass es den Boss*innen einfach um mehr Gewinn geht, die materiellen Interessen der Arbeiter*innen (Gesundheit, Freizeit, Rente, Lohn) stehen dem halt einfach diametral entgegen…

Die Waadtländer Bauarbeiter*innen werden auch morgen wieder streiken. Ein Teil von ihnen wird dann nach Zürich reisen, um die Genoss*innen dort beim Streik zu unterstützen. Tun wir es ihnen gleich!

Der Beitrag Bauarbeiter*innenstreik in Lausanne erschien zuerst auf Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) im deutschsprachigen Raum.

Categories: C1. IWW

Statement in Support of Just Housing.

Olympia IWW - Tue, 11/06/2018 - 16:17

Capitalism is not in crisis. It is the crisis. As long as the United States has existed, even before the Revolution, the ruling class has been pushing the narrative that the rich are wealthy by virtue of their own hard work, and that the poor are so because they are lazy. This is a lie and always has been. The rich get their money on the backs of the poor and working class.

The Industrial Workers of the World was founded to organize the workers, and the poor, to destroy capitalism.

As it says in the preamble to our constitution. “Between these two classes a struggle must go on until the workers of the world organize as a class, take possession of the means of production, abolish the wage system, and live in harmony with the earth.”

Here in Olympia this struggle is happening. You can easily see it in the streets. The business class and their lackeys in the city government want to sweep the houseless away. This is their solution to the “problem.” The business class’s problem is the people themselves.

Just Housing has been in this fight on the side of the poor for years now. We the Olympia Industrial Workers of the World wish to express our solidarity. We stand with Just Housing in their fight to help the houseless have more of the better things in life and not be pushed around by the cops and the hired security of the business class.

An injury to one, is an injury to all.

Categories: C1. IWW

Fall 2018 Industrial Worker

IWW - Thu, 11/01/2018 - 13:03

Fellow Workers,

This is our time to remember.

We remember the friends and Fellow Workers we have lost. We remember our personal losses. And we remember the losses around the world—of workers lost while toiling in unsafe workplaces (though those workers and their surviving colleagues told them of the problems numerous times), and of prisoners who, while possibly imprisoned lawfully, were supposed to receive humane treatment while incarcerated.

We remember workers we may have not known, not of our union, but who worked as leaders for many of the same goals we do: "the right of ... workers to have dignity, security, and a better life."

We also remember the struggles of workers who are finally being heard and recognized for their contributions to all of us. The victory of La Via Campesina—the farm workers around the world—to have their rights recognized by the UN Human Rights groups, after so many years of being devalued and ignored, is a sweet one.

Still shouting to be heard about fair pay for the work they do and the right to work without sexual harassment are fast-food workers. They should learn from Stardust Family United, who shared the same struggles until they united with the IWW and used their strength in numbers to effect lasting changes. Perhaps soon we will be able to remember fast-food workers' struggles and celebrate their victories.

Until then, we will remember. But we will use those memories to strengthen us in our resolve to keep fighting for workers everywhere. Because as we all know, an injury to one is an injury to all.

Download a free PDF of this issue.

read more

Categories: C1. IWW

Dear SNP: The Past Misdemeanours of Labour and Union Leaders are not the Concern of Women on Strike Today

IWW Scotland - Sun, 10/28/2018 - 13:28

This was written by a Dundee Wobbly (in personal capacity) on 24th October – the second day of the Glasgow women’s equal pay strike. 

There are 8,000 women on strike in Glasgow today demanding equal pay. They are spread across three trade unions, each of whose balloted members provided a support rate of between 90% and 98%. The dispute stretches back to 2006, when Glasgow City Council – led by a Labour administration – made a purported attempt to eliminate gender pay inequality by introducing a “Workforce Pay and Benefits Review”. However, the resulting changes actually discriminated against women workers, given that:

  1. a payment protection arrangement for men was not extended to women;
  2. those working over 37 hours qualified for extra payments, but most women (70% of the workforce) worked fewer than 35 hours; and
  3. workers in female-dominated roles, e.g. home care, received much less than those in broadly equivalent male-dominated jobs

Despite the decision to strike being taken by the workers themselves, the SNP – from leadership to lay supporters – have criticised Labour and the trade unions for their supposed hypocrisy, given that the former implemented the very discrimination in question, and that they both decided to do nothing about it until Labour was eventually ousted by an SNP administration in May 2017. While there certainly are criticisms to be levelled, I believe concentrating on the misactions of a political party and union leaderships between 2006 and 2017 in response to a strike led by union members today is patronising, with the implication being the women are mere pawns of Labour and the unions, who have tricked them into clandestinely attacking the SNP. Thus, while lip-service is paid to the strike, all agency is removed from the women themselves, who voted over 90% in favour of striking.

This is not an equally opportunistic piece by a Labour supporter. I do not believe meaningful improvements for the working class have ever been delivered by political parties, including Labour. Throughout history, all significant improvements for the working class, such as the abolition of slavery, the end of child labour, the eight hour day, mandatory weekends, the welfare state, and anti-discrimination legislation, were not the gift of benevolent statesmen. They were won through long, and often bloody, struggle by workers, women, black people, LGBT people, and many others, who took collective direct action in the face of state violence. Eventually, when faced with the real prospect of widespread unrest or revolution, the ruling class had to make such concessions to ensure continuance of the capitalist mode of production. Even then, such concessions remain in constant peril and are inevitably clawed back when not defended by extra-parliamentary means. This is exemplified by the dismantling of the welfare state and crushing of organised labour. Therefore, just as we cannot rely on political parties to grant us concessions, we cannot rely on them to defend those concessions already won.

Back to the Women’s Strike: There are justifiable criticisms of Labour and the trade unions during Labour’s previous tenure of Glasgow City Council. I have no desire to defend or explain away their actions; that political parties act primarily in their own interest and not those of the working class is sufficient explanation. Trade unions can be similarly flawed, particularly when dominated by men and engaging in utterly myopic thinking, like supporting the renewal of Trident or campaigning for a four day work week by 2100, when we have just a decade to completely restructure all aspects of production and consumption (read: abolish capitalism) so as not to bequeath an inhospitable planet to our children. Accordingly, Nicola Sturgeon says she “feels contempt for a Labour Party expressing solidarity now when, in power, they took these women to court to deny equal pay”. It is worth mentioning that the policy agenda of Corbyn’s Labour is a clear departure to the left from the neoliberal agenda of New Labour. So it’s no real surprise that it expresses support for the strike. And given both parties’ supposed support of trade unionism, surely a strike instigated and undertaken by workers of all and no party stripes is a cause for unity among two apparently pro-trade union parties? Indeed, division among the workforce sounds the death knell for any strike action. So why would the SNP sow such division?

Ultimately, the SNP fears that Labour may gain political ground from this strike. A successful trade union strike may lead to an increase of support for a party rightly or wrongly associated with organised labour. The SNP, like any governing party, is keen to cling to power. Thus, self-interest rules the day and the need to portray Labour negatively takes precedence over the potential disunity their stance may cause among the striking workforce. It also neatly detracts from their own failure to resolve the issue. This is a common political tactic: watch Question Time on any given week and you are absolutely guaranteed to hear one of the many Tory panellists bemoan the mess Labour left the country in, despite their having not been in power for eight years.

So yes, Labour made massive failures in Glasgow and everywhere else. Yes, the unions – led by, and likely acting in the interest of, men, (consciously or unconsciously) – failed in their duty to challenge pay discrimination against women workers. Certainly, there are many lessons to be learned for trade unionists. But the fact is that today women across Glasgow, regardless of their political affiliation, strike to end a long-standing injustice. They lead from the front and they deserve our unconditional support.

This whole tawdry affair just emphasises the utter impotence of party politics to effect real economic change and the need for trade unions to be organised from the bottom-up with women and other oppressed groups playing a decisive role therein. We win when we take collective direct action ourselves rather than wait for a dawdling and ultimately belligerent political class.

Victory to the Glasgow Women’s Strike.

Categories: C1. IWW

Summer 2018 Industrial Worker

IWW - Wed, 10/10/2018 - 18:39

The Summer 2018 Industrial Worker is finally out. It looks back at some pivotal events for the IWW and workers that have shaped the direction of the union, its members, its detractors, and its beneficiaries. The issue also examines current events that affect workers across the United States in both negative and positive ways.

In 1917, copper-mine workers organizing for parity in wages with the IWW’s help endured the Bisbee Deportation (see Industrial Worker Summer 2017, #1780). One hundred and one years later comes the powerful film Bisbee ’17, about 2017 Bisbee, Ariz., in which the community reenacts the atrocity and faces up to a very dark time in the city’s history. The Summer 2018 issue of IW has a review of the film.

Writer Andy Piascik revisits he Lawrence textile strike of 1912, emphasizing that its success was due to two major factors: It was led primarily by women, who insisted that the strikers remain peaceful, without retaliating against massive military and police opposition; and IWW representatives went to Lawrence, Mass.—at the strikers’ request—but rather than taking over the strike, as so many union leaders do, they advised the strikers in tactics but trusted them to follow their instincts.

It’s 100 years since Eugene V. Debs was tried and imprisoned for treason and sedition for his speech in Canton, Ohio. And at least 100 Wobblies were rounded up and tried for treason and sedition, as well. Their “crime” was not supporting U.S. involvement in World War I—the Great War—and arguing against participation in it because it was a war between rulers vying for power and had nothing to do with workers and the people. Two short articles express sentiments that still apply today.

The Janus decision by the Supreme Court struck a blow to public-sector unions when it ruled that paying dues to the unions is no longer mandatory. However, there are two edges to the Janus sword. As a dual-cardholding Wobbly writes: “[W]ith the West Virginia Teachers Strike . . . the teachers were through with bosses and took up the model of solidarity. They used the power of the worker united.”

Finally, an article full of facts and figures provides a stark picture why teachers in the U.S. have fallen so far behind in their pay and benefits that public education is suffering from a shortage of good teachers: “Teachers and parents are protesting cutbacks in education spending and a squeeze on teacher pay that persist well into the economic recovery from the Great Recession. These spending cuts are not the result of weak state economies. Rather, state legislatures have enacted them to finance tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations.” It’s a bleak picture that can be improved only by forcing the powers that be into enacting legislation for the people and not the rich.

Download a free PDF of this issue.

read more

Categories: C1. IWW

The Food Industry Has Been Notoriously Hard To Organize. Could These Tactics Bring It New Life?

Los Angeles IWW - Wed, 10/10/2018 - 09:58
When Amanda Cestare started working at New York City’s famous Ellen’s Stardust Diner in 2008, she didn’t know much about leftist politics or the labor movement. Ten years later, she’s helping to build a local chapter of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), one of the most radical unions in history. The group of 50 restaurant workers has found success through direct action, rather than taking the conventional route of trying to negotiate a contract with management.Though small, the Stardust effort is one of several recent campaigns bringing fresh energy and ideas to the beleaguered labor movement as it tries to stage a comeback in the food and drink industry.Read more at Huffington Post...
Categories: C1. IWW

Salzburg: Widerstand bleibt notwendig!

IWW Austria - Mon, 10/01/2018 - 01:12

Ein Beitrag von Mitgliedern der IWW in Salzburg zum EU-Gipfel 2018.

Am 20. September 2018 trafen sich die Staats- und Regierungschef*innen im Rahmen der österreichischen EU-Ratspräsidentschaft zum informellen Treffen in Salzburg.

Zentrale Themen waren „ein Europa, das schützt“ „innere Sicherheit“, „Schutz“ der EU-Außengrenzen und „Cybersicherheit“.

Um dieses Treffen zu ermöglichen wurden Sperrzonen errichtet so wie der Luftraum überwacht. Zusätzlich belagerten unzählige Polizist*innen, Soldat*innen und sonstige Sicherheitskräfte die Stadt und sorgten für eine Verschlechterung im Alltag vieler Arbeitnehmer*innen. Um rechtzeitig am Arbeitsplatz anzukommen musste man früher aufstehen, da der Personenverkehr umgeleitet wurde. Aufgrund der hohen Polizeipräsenz kam es auch vermehrt zu Polizeikontrollen am Bahnhof, was ebenfalls zu Verspätungen in der Arbeit führen konnte.

Beim EU-Gipfel werden zwei Seiten derselben Medaille verhandelt: Die brutale Abwehr von Flüchtenden und Migrant*innen nach außen und im Inneren Aufrüstung, Überwachung und mehr soziale Kontrolle sowie die Disziplinierung aller marginalisierter Menschen.

Da der Kurs aller EU-Regierungen zurzeit durch eine Abschiebungs- und neoliberale Ausbeutungspolitik bestimmt wird, haben wir uns entschlossen diesem rechts-konservativen Ungerechtigkeitsgipfel entgegenzustellen.

Während die EU-Regierungschef*innen abseits der Öffentlichkeit über die Zukunft der Menschen innerhalb und außerhalb der EU-Grenzen entschieden, gingen mehr als tausend Demonstrant*innen auf die Straße. Den Repressionsorganen des Staates missfiel dies sehr, und so zeigten sie sich wieder von ihrer “besten” Seite. Sie begannen wahllos vermeintliche Straftäter*innen einzukesseln und zu kontrollieren und im weiteren Verlauf mit reichlich Pfefferspray anzugreifen.

Die Bilanz: ca. 40 verletzte Personen und 5 Festnahmen, von denen zumindest eine durch die Hilfe solidarischer Demonstrant*innen verhindert werden konnte. Um ihren unverhältnismäßigen Einsatz zu rechtfertigen und kritische Stimmen einzuschüchtern, wurde gegen einen Aktivisten vorläufig U-Haft verhängt.

Jedoch lassen wir uns nicht so einfach einschüchtern und stellen uns mehr denn je gegen Ausbeutung am Arbeitsplatz, Kürzungen der Sozialleistungen und das Hetzen gegen migrantische Arbeiter*innen.

Für eine solidarische Gesellschaft, frei von Ausbeutung und Unterdrückung!

Categories: C1. IWW

101 Organizer*innentraining – Baue das Komitee auf

IWW Austria - Wed, 09/26/2018 - 23:08

In diesem zweittägigen Training werden von erfahrenen Trainer*innen der IWW die Grundlagen des Organizings vermittelt. Z.B. Wie komme ich ins Gespräch? Was sind die wichtigen Themen bei dir am Arbeitsplatz? Wie baue ich Vertrauen auf? Wie achte ich auf meine persönlichen Ressourcen und vor allem wie funktioniert erfolgreiches Orgainzing?

Am 15. und 16. Dezember 2018 in Wien.

Der Workshop steht allen Mitglieder der IWW offen. Hier geht es zur Anmeldung!

Categories: C1. IWW

Official Tent Cities Come to Olympia

Olympia IWW - Tue, 09/18/2018 - 09:52

In mid July, the Olympia City Council declared a state of emergency regarding the recent growth of the houseless population in the city, or rather, the growing visibility of houseless people. There are indeed more houseless people in Thurston County than there were in 2017. Roughly 828 according to a census commissioned by the city, almost three hundred more than the year before.


However, city government, a business interest group known as Olympia Downtown Alliance, and The Olympian repeatedly choose to frame this increase as a crisis of optics: “Some downtown merchants who sit in the bull’s-eye of a growing homeless presence in the city’s commercial core are getting flighty over the possibility of seeing more activity catering to the destitute in what is also a business zone . . . our city needs a commercially vibrant downtown that attracts shoppers as well as new residents to the hundreds of new dwelling units that have been coming on line.”


In this article entitled, “Homeless Tent Camps Belong Outside City Core,” The Olympian worries that the creation of two permanent houseless encampments that the city plans to move forward with in the coming months, each to have space for 40 individuals, will frighten away the yuppies that the newer luxury condominiums were created for.
It doesn’t take much effort to see that these high end “dwelling units” and the houseless people who supposedly threaten the interests of downtown landlords and business people are dialectically entangled beyond the relation The Olympian imagines them to share.


Elsewhere, the same newspaper recognizes an aspect of the actual relationship between houselessness and the encroachment of luxury condos in Olympia when it quotes a city employee who states, “’I think it’s fair to say homelessness grew . . . with West Coast rent increases.’” Houseless people are not a threat to landlords, they are the victims of landlords.


What we’re seeing in Olympia is an example of how class warfare waged from above is a self perpetuating battle instead of one that can be decisively put to rest: coast-wide rent increases begets houselessness and the urgent need on the side of the capitalist class to conceal houselessness if it wants to create the kind of sanitized environment that encourages the well off to move in and start shopping.


With the advent of large scale, centralized production in factories, bosses faced a similar dilemma: they were suddenly able to hoard more capital than they could possibly spend, but they had also placed a large number of workers who shared the same lot in daily contact with another, thus making industrial organizing not only possible but necessary for survival. Capitalism, because it is based on this manner of class war, cannot operate without breeding these crises.

Furthermore, the bosses of the industrial era and the landlords and business owners of Olympia share a set of techniques to manage, on the one hand, houseless people, and on the other hand, industrial workers. You can find the police wherever mass strike action takes place and you can find them enforcing the criminalization of houseless people. Olympia Downtown Alliance has even hired a private security firm, Pacific Coast Security, to make sure the harassment never stops.


At least there is some hope for eighty individuals who will benefit from the new permanent camps the city plans to create along with the Low Income Housing Institute, a Seattle-based non profit that owns over forty properties around the Puget Sound (including three in Thurston County, with one located in downtown Olympia) and manages tent and tiny house cities in Seattle. Sadly, however, we don’t need to do that much digging to unearth some dirt on the way LIHI runs other tent cities and its transitional housing program.

While The Olympian wrings its hands over “activity catering to the destitute . . . in a business zone,” there’s nothing stopping LIHI from transforming transitional housing and tent cities into “business zones.” Unfortunately, it is difficult to find what most would refer to as a “reliable source” on the kind of organization LIHI really is. As one tenant of the LIHI-owned building in Olympia put it when I asked about their thoughts on the non-profit, “they’re just terrible … but when you come here you come here off the streets,” which makes it much less likely that tenants will speak up about unjust practices.


A Facebook group called Victims of Seattle LIHI, however, calls the organization slumlords and accuses them of profiting off of the houseless and systematically evicting people without just cause from apartments originally built with the aid of the Low Income Housing Tax Credit which extends credit to developers with the caveat that they operate with rent caps in place, thereby subsidizing the creation of low income housing. These evictions, which are usually issued shortly before the lease on one of their apartment ends, not only allow LIHI to steal deposits but are also illegal since they are never accompanied by the “good cause” that the LIHTC program requires.

A Seattle Solidarity Network campaign based on a LIHI deposit theft from 2012 also suggests this is not a new practice. It’s not just the deposit thefts, either. LIHI and an affiliated group, SHARE, have been accused of “misusing public money, illegally withholding bus tickets, and forcing the homeless into activism” over the course of their management of different tent cities in Seattle, according to a Seattle Times article entitled, “Homeless group’s tough tactics draw criticism.” You’ve got to wonder how non-profit the organization is when you hear that one of the tenants of the LIHI owned building in Olympia pays $600 in rent, only $40 of which was covered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD. Another said LIHI refused to do repairs around the building and were not receptive to complaints regarding the way the building is managed. Though LIHI files its taxes as a non-profit, they nevertheless operate with the same motives and structures that all landlords share, only their tenants have even less power or social capital than your average renter. They own and control the spaces they rent, not the tenants.


As the new permanent tent cities take shape in Olympia, we need to remember LIHI’s history, listen to the occupants, and be prepared to act in solidarity in any way we can.



Categories: C1. IWW

Unpaid wages? Fight back with the IWW!

IWW Australia - Tue, 09/11/2018 - 01:00

Wage theft has reached epidemic proportions across Australia. Whether it’s celebrity chefs paying employees only half the hours that they actually work, the biggest retail chains in the country stealing literally hundreds of millions of dollars from their staff, or agribusiness bosses casually paying workers $5 an hour or less, systematic stealing on a massive scale is now a normal business model for entire industries.

Employers can get away with ripping us off because we’re divided and disorganised. But when we unite and fight together using protest and collective action, we can turn the tables and reclaim what’s ours. IWW members organising in the Sydney Solidarity network have helped win thousands of dollars in backpay from wage-thieving businesses, and IWW branches from North America to the UK have achieved similar successes.

If you or someone you know is getting ripped off and wants to do something about it, then get in touch with one of our branches and let’s fight to win!

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Categories: C1. IWW

SOLID! Nr. 3/2018 ist erschienen

IWW Austria - Thu, 09/06/2018 - 12:44

Die neue Ausgabe der Flugschrift (SOLID! Nr. 3/2018) könnt ihr euch ab sofort runterladen. Gerne schicken wir euch ein oder mehrere Exemplare zu.

Diesmal mit folgenden Themen: Für mehr heiß im Herbst/Interview Gender und Arbeitskampf/Schluss mit der Einschüchterung/Knastsklaverei beenden/Handeln statt schimpfen/Demonstration der Arbeitslosen.

Hier geht es zum Download!

Categories: C1. IWW

IWW Couriers Network launches first national campaign

Bristol IWW - Wed, 08/29/2018 - 03:57

The IWW Couriers Network has launched the “We’re playing your game but you won’t tell us the rules!” campaign to force gig economy food companies to radically improve their approach to transparency and the information that they share with their couriers.

It comes after Deliveroo has attracted criticism from couriers for forcibly switching – or sacking – couriers employed on an older Pay Per Hour contract, as opposed to the new, piecemeal, Pay Per Drop contract, without telling couriers why.

Courier X, who was sacked by Deliveroo in Edinburgh and whose identity we’ve protected, tells us:

“Deliveroo fired me without warning or explanation after two years of work. Despite asking them for information, I’m still none the wiser. As a rider, I’m bottom of the food chain and this needs to change.”

UberEats has also provoked anger from its couriers in recent months for deliberate pushing down bonus payment rates on deliveries– the main way that couriers make money – again, with little communication about why these remain so low.

Couriers from both companies, organised within the IWW Couriers Network, are directly leading the campaign and are fighting for a range of demands including:

  • Transparency of termination: Clarity regarding the exact reasons for terminations of our contracts so we can know why we’re out of a job and the right to a fair appeals process.
  • Transparency of orders: A weekly report in the app letting us know the deliveries per couriers per hour in each zone of our respective locations, so we can plan our work week accordingly.
  • Transparency of pay: An easier to understand payslip so we can more easily process our tax returns.

William, a courier involved with the campaign, said:

“They call us ‘partners’ but they don’t tell us anything. We have to accept jobs not knowing what they are or how much we’ll get paid, they can sack us without any real explanation, and they have all these little games to trick us into logging on when they know there are no jobs. We need more transparency. If I’m working for an algorithm, I want to know how it works.“

Currently organising in cities and towns across the UK and Republic of Ireland, the IWW Couriers Network has grown significantly since starting in January 2018. With hundreds of members across Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Dublin, Derry and Cork, the union’s innovative direct-democracy network model for organising workers – where couriers rather than union officials lead the campaign and make key decisions– is introducing a whole new generation to collective action and unions.

What can I do to help?

Categories: C1. IWW

Solidarity needed to help Italian worker co-operative Ri-MAFLOW survive.

Bristol IWW - Wed, 08/29/2018 - 03:46

The below is a statement translated by one of our members from Italian comrades seeking international solidarity. Please share and donate if you can.

SOME TIME AGO, the owners of a factory in a deprived area of South West Milan dismissed all of the workers and shut down the factory. 330 people lost their jobs in one day. The factory was abandoned.

THEN, about 6 years ago some people got together and reclaimed the factory. They started a self managed co-op. They started experimenting with reusing and recycling raw materials. They built a network with local businesses to help this deprived area flourish. Together with other groups, they founded a bloody awesome grassroots economy and social project called FuoriMercato (Outside the Market). They employed 120 people.

NOW, the local authorities have shut Ri-MAFLOW down. Their President Massimo Lettieri was arrested and charged with criminal activities linked to unlawful waste treatment. From its start, Ri-MAFLOW has been at the forefront of experimenting with reclaiming and reusing raw materials in an ecological way. Because of this, they are now accused of playing an active part in unlawful treatment of waste materials.

Their assets have been seized. Everyone has lost their job and their wages. Massimo Lettieri has been in jail for a couple of months and because he is under investigation he cannot receive any letters or messages of solidarity from outside.

SO, there is some stuff in English you can download from their website and share (link below). You can donate money. You can ask your activist groups, networks, organisations, to publish a statement of solidarity with Ri-MAFLOW.

I stand with Ri-MAFLOW.

https://rimaflow.it/index.php/2018/08/10/rimaflow-vivra-materiali-per-la-campagna/

 

Categories: C1. IWW

Olympia, Wa – September 22nd & 23rd: IWW Organizer Training 101 “Building The Committee”

Olympia IWW - Mon, 08/27/2018 - 22:28

Education. Emancipation. Organization.

Interested in organizing your workplace? Interested in worker’s rights? Interested in a better world? Come to the Organizer Training 101 hosted by the Olympia IWW, and learn the basic skills for creating better working conditions. Food will be provided. It’s FREE and open to all workers! RSVP requested. Ask about child care.

The Organizer Training will be on September 22nd & 23rd.  From 8am to 5pm both days.  It will be held at 115 Legion Way SW, Olympia.

We are asking folks to register to insure that we have enough training materials, breakfast & lunch for everyone. Registration is FREE. The Training is completely FREE. The Union pays for it. All that we ask is that folks plan to attend the entire two days of the training. All workers are welcome. To sign up please fill out this form.

About the Training:

The ‘Organizer Training 101: Building & Maintaining The Committee’ is one of the most comprehensive trainings of its kind aimed towards rank and file workers, union members, and worker organizers.

The two-days of content is more than most advanced training programs. It’s a great opportunity to inspire workers and provide the the basic tools needed to organize so we can live and practice the idea of “every worker a leader.”

More than anything, the training is about giving workers the confidence they need to begin organizing with their fellow workers.

Questions: Organize@OlympiaIWW.com or call 360-362-0112

Hope to see many of you there!

Solidarity.

Categories: C1. IWW

Statement regarding the ongoing Nationwide Prison Strike issued August 22, 2018, Day 2 of the strike.

Olympia IWW - Thu, 08/23/2018 - 08:15

Issued by the Prison Strike Media Team

Amani Sawari
official outside media representative of Jailhouse Lawyers Speak
prisonstrikemedia@gmail.com

Jared Ware
Freelance Journalist covering prisoner movements
jaybeware@gmail.com
@jaybeware on Twitter

Brooke Terpstra 
Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC)
National Media Committee
brooke@incarceratedworkers.org
@IWW_IWOC on twitter


Statement
August 22, 2018

So the prisoner strike has been underway for more than 24 hours now. In the first day we got word of actions coming out from the prisons from Halifax, Nova Scotia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Washington and Folsom Prison in California reported strike action.

We saw outside solidarity actions in at least 21 cities around the US and as far abroad as Leipzig, Germany. We saw Palestinian political prisoners give a statement of solidarity from their prisons in occupied Palestine.

We called this conference call because those of us who have been coordinating media relations on the outside have been overwhelmed by the number of reporters and outlets who are covering the strike. Some of us who were involved with media relations in 2016 can say that the difference is dramatic and we thank you for your interest in this prisoner-led movement. Many of you have the same questions and so we want to give you all an opportunity to hear our responses in one place.

We want to note that although there aren’t widespread reports of actions coming out of prisons that people need to understand that the tactics being used in this strike are not always visible. Prisoners are boycotting commissaries, they are engaging in hunger strikes which can take days for the state to acknowledge, and they will be engaging in sit-ins and work strikes which are not always reported to the outside. As we saw in 2016, Departments of Corrections are not reliable sources of information for these actions and will deny them and seek to repress those who are engaged in them.

We have spoken with family members who have suggested that cell phone lines may be being jammed at multiple prisons in South Carolina, New Mexico had a statewide lockdown yesterday. The Departments of Corrections in this country are working overtime to try and prevent strike action and to try and prevent word from getting out about actions that are taking place.

As you report the strike, we encourage you to uplift the actions that we do know about, but also acknowledge that strikers may be resisting in ways that are tougher to quantify and view. We encourage outlets to issue FOIA requests to prisons that we believe will show attempts to quell the strike and also evidence of boycotts and other strike activity.

We also really want to remind the media that this strike is about ten different demands. While prison slavery has become a galvanizing force in the public eye, and it is a key element that prisoners are protesting against, they have given you ten specific demands and it is important to talk about all of them or report on them individually. People need to understand how truth in sentencing laws function, how gang enhancement laws function, and how the prison litigation reform act works and why these are things that prisoners are targeting their protest around. We need to be talking about the lack of rehabilitation programs, mental health care, and the lack of education programs and how this undermines the ostensibly rehabilitative nature of the prison system itself.

Prisoners crafted these demands carefully through national organizing, based on the circumstances of the Lee Prison violence that occurred earlier this year, in an understanding of how the state brings about the conditions of violence like that, and the types of changes that are necessary to prevent that sort of violence from recurring. This is a human rights campaign and each of these demands should be understood through a human rights lens. 

Categories: C1. IWW

Seattle IWW Local 650 Day of Action Round Up Against Grassroots Campaign

IWW - Wed, 08/22/2018 - 18:00

By Seattle IWW - It's Going Down, August 13, 2018

Report back on recent day of action in solidarity with Seattle IWW local 650 who are fighting against an illegal lockout by Grassroots Campaigns.

Fellow Workers from the Seattle IWW Industrial Union local 650 (IU650) at Grassroots Campaigns (GCI) are facing an illegal office closure by the GCI bosses in retaliation for an Unfair Labor Practice Strike action protesting egregious labor violations. Just under a week after the office closed, Wobblies at the Seattle GCI job branch called for a National Day of Action on Friday, August 10th. Wobblies in other GCI offices around the country are starting to face increased heat from management’s aggressive union busting. Most are fighting back – and winning. Here’s a quick roundup from each of the seven actions.

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Categories: C1. IWW

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