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Student Workers: Organise! Bristol IWW at Bath Spa Uni

Bristol IWW - Fri, 10/06/2017 - 01:16

On the 12th of October we’ve been invited to meet with Bath Spa University Socialist Society to discuss issues surrounding student workers.

If you’re funding your studies with a part-time job, you don’t have to put up with second rate treatment. We can help you get organised and win better conditions. We have a team of experienced casework representatives who can support and advise you if you have a problem at your job and our network of members can help you take action against your employer.

The meeting will take place at 8pm in the Common Room. All welcome.

There’s a Facebook event if you need reminding nearer the time.

Categories: IWW

Catalonia Solidarity Action

Bristol IWW - Fri, 10/06/2017 - 01:00

On the 3rd of October Bristol IWW and Marea Granate Bristol held a demonstration in solidarity with the Catalonians facing brutal state repression in light of the general strike and more broadly, the independence referendum.

The demo took place on College Green and was attended by 60 people at it’s peak. These were mostly Catalan and Spaniard people resident in Bristol. People told first-hand accounts of what happened, others from other parts of Spain expressed support and solidarity. Some tears, some cheers, some roars of defiance!

Our very-own Fabienne, who travelled back home to vote gave the following speech :

I went to Catalunya this weekend, I was not sure if they were going to let me vote, but what I knew for sure is that I wanted to be there as we were going to make history. But I never thought that they were going to do what they did. I am not going to tell you what happened, I’m sure you’ve seen the images. I’m going to tell you what I felt:

 

I felt happiness when I arrived at 7 in the morning and the polling station was crowded with people, ready to vote and to defend the ballot boxes. I felt sad when the state police helicopter flew over us 45 minutes later.

 

I felt happiness seeing elderly people crying of emotion whilst voting, no matter their origins, the language they speak or the intention of their vote. I felt sad for seeing them scared remembering past times that they thought would never come back.

 

I felt happiness seeing the civil society organising and coordinating the polling stations. I felt sad seeing my dad and many others so stressed and worried being responsible for making the referendum properly so that it had international guarantees, instead of being free and happy to go, vote and just wait at home for the results.

 

I felt happiness seeing all workers together, firefighters and farmers defending people and polling stations from the state police aggression. I felt sad seeing police men beating up people with their hands in the air, shouting “we’re peaceful people, we just want to vote”.

 

I felt happiness when I saw that more than 2 million people voted. I felt sad when I saw that more than 800 were injured, some of them seriously.

 

I felt happiness for all the support received, people taking streets in many Spanish cities and abroad, I feel happy to see you all here, this is the Europe I want to be part of. I felt sad when I saw that the European Commission is not going to intervene and they keep saying this is an internal problem, this is not the Europe that I want to be part of.

 

I feel happy and proud to see that today, my whole little country, joined the general strike and as always, is taking the streets peacefully and smiling, but determined and without fear.

 

To the Spanish working class: start your way to freedom, you will always find us in that fight. As David Fernández says: For those who preceded us in much worse conditions, for those who will come in much better conditions.

 

And as we sang on Sunday: els carrers sempre seran nostres, streets will always be ours! Visca la terra!

 

—————————————————————–

 

Vaig anar a Catalunya aquest cap de setmana, no estava segura de que em deixessin votar, però el que sabia amb seguretat és que volia ser-hi perque anàvem a fer història. Però mai vaig pensar que farien el que van fer. No us explicaré el que va passar, segur que heu vist les imatges. Us explicaré el que vaig sentir:

 

Vaig sentir felicitat quan vaig arribar a les 7 del matí i el col·legi electoral estava ple de gent disposada a votar i a defensar les urnes. Vaig sentir tristor quan l’helicòpter de la policia estatal ens va sobrevolar 45 minuts més tard.

 

Vaig sentir felicitat veient a gent gran plorant d’emoció mentre votava, sense importar els seus orígens, el seu idioma o la intenció del seu vot. Vaig sentir tristor per veure’ls espantats recordant els temps passats que pensaven que mai tornarien.

 

Vaig sentir felicitat de veure la societat civil organitzar i coordinar els col·legis electorals. Vaig sentir tristesa per veure el meu pare i molts altres tan estressats i preocupats per ser responsables de fer el referèndum correctament perquè tingués garanties internacionals, en comptes de ser lliures i feliços d’anar, votar i tornar cap a casa per esperar els resultats.

 

Vaig sentir felicitat de veure tots els treballadors junts, els bombers i els agricultors que defensaven les persones de les agressions de la policia nacional. Vaig sentir tristor veient que la policia apallissava persones amb les mans en l’aire, cridant “som gent de pau, només volem votar”.

 

Em vaig sentir feliç quan vaig veure que més de 2 milions de persones van votar. Vaig sentir tristesa quan vaig veure que més de 800 van resultar ferides, algunes d’elles de gravetat.

 

Vaig sentir felicitat per tot el suport rebut, persones que sortien als carrers a moltes ciutats espanyoles i a l’estranger. Em sento feliç de veure-us aquí, aquesta és l’Europa de la que vull formar part. Em vaig sentir trista quan vaig veure que la Comissió Europea no ha intervingut i que segueixen dient que es tracta d’un problema intern, aquesta no és l’Europa de la qual vull formar part.

 

Em sento contenta i orgullosa de veure que avui, tot el meu petit país s’ha unit a la vaga general i, com sempre, ha pres els carrers pacíficament i somrient, però determinats i sense por.

 

A la classe treballadora espanyola: comenceu el camí cap a la llibertat, sempre ens trobareu en aquesta lluita. Com diu David Fernández: per aquells que ens van precedir en condicions molt pitjors, per aquells que vindran en condicions molt millors.

 

I com vam cantar diumenge: els carrers sempre seran nostres! Visca la terra!

 

Categories: IWW

Aufruf der CNT zum Generalstreik

IWW Austria - Wed, 10/04/2017 - 09:34

 
Katalonien stehen große Veränderungen bevor, wie auch immer die kommenden Tage verlaufen werden. Unsere Schwestergewerkschaft CNT hat im Zuge des Unabhängigkeitsreferendums zum Generalstreik aufgerufen. Wir möchten dies hier mit einer Übersetzung ins deutsche dokumentieren.

Als Gewerkschaften der CNT von Katalonien und den Balearen wollen wir unsere Unterstützung für die Selbstbestimmung der katalanischen Bevölkerung ausdrücken.
Aufgrund unserer anarchosyndikalistischen Grundsätze denken wir nicht, dass politische Veränderungen innerhalb einer kapitalistischen Welt auch jene sozialen Veränderungen beinhalten, die wir anstreben. Eine Gesellschaft, in der die Arbeitenden Produktion und Aufteilung von Gütern selbst verwalten. Deshalb gilt unser täglicher Kampf nicht der Schaffung von neuen Staaten oder parlamentarischen Initiativen.
Nichtsdestotrotz können wir nicht wegsehen, wenn Menschen von einem Staat angegriffen und unterdrückt werden. In diesem Fall einem Staat, der seine Maske abgelegt hat und seinen wirklich autoritären, post-frankistischen Charakter offenbart hat. So wie auch schon bei früheren Gelegenheiten (Arbeitsrechtsreformen, Bankenrettungen, Korruptionsskandale, Kürzungen in der Gesundheitsversorgung, Zwangsräumungen), die teilweise von der katalanischen Regierung mitgetragen worden waren.
Als CNT von Katalonien und den Balearen begrüßen wir den zivilen Ungehorsam gegen einen autoritären, reaktionären und diskriminierenden Staatsapparat und wollen unsere Ablehnung ausdrücken gegenüber dieser Repression gegen Arbeiter*innen und jenen, die diese Repression ausgeübt haben.
Als Frauen und Männer der CNT werden wir, wenn nötig, unsere Nachbar*innen unterstützen, sich zu verteidigen, so wie es in einer anarchosyndikalistischen und somit revolutionären Organisation selbstverständlich ist.

Der Beitrag Aufruf der CNT zum Generalstreik erschien zuerst auf Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) im deutschsprachigen Raum.

Categories: IWW

Aufruf der CNT zum Generalstreik

IWW Germany - Wed, 10/04/2017 - 09:34

 
Katalonien stehen große Veränderungen bevor, wie auch immer die kommenden Tage verlaufen werden. Unsere Schwestergewerkschaft CNT hat im Zuge des Unabhängigkeitsreferendums zum Generalstreik aufgerufen. Wir möchten dies hier mit einer Übersetzung ins deutsche dokumentieren.

Als Gewerkschaften der CNT von Katalonien und den Balearen wollen wir unsere Unterstützung für die Selbstbestimmung der katalanischen Bevölkerung ausdrücken.
Aufgrund unserer anarchosyndikalistischen Grundsätze denken wir nicht, dass politische Veränderungen innerhalb einer kapitalistischen Welt auch jene sozialen Veränderungen beinhalten, die wir anstreben. Eine Gesellschaft, in der die Arbeitenden Produktion und Aufteilung von Gütern selbst verwalten. Deshalb gilt unser täglicher Kampf nicht der Schaffung von neuen Staaten oder parlamentarischen Initiativen.
Nichtsdestotrotz können wir nicht wegsehen, wenn Menschen von einem Staat angegriffen und unterdrückt werden. In diesem Fall einem Staat, der seine Maske abgelegt hat und seinen wirklich autoritären, post-frankistischen Charakter offenbart hat. So wie auch schon bei früheren Gelegenheiten (Arbeitsrechtsreformen, Bankenrettungen, Korruptionsskandale, Kürzungen in der Gesundheitsversorgung, Zwangsräumungen), die teilweise von der katalanischen Regierung mitgetragen worden waren.
Als CNT von Katalonien und den Balearen begrüßen wir den zivilen Ungehorsam gegen einen autoritären, reaktionären und diskriminierenden Staatsapparat und wollen unsere Ablehnung ausdrücken gegenüber dieser Repression gegen Arbeiter*innen und jenen, die diese Repression ausgeübt haben.
Als Frauen und Männer der CNT werden wir, wenn nötig, unsere Nachbar*innen unterstützen, sich zu verteidigen, so wie es in einer anarchosyndikalistischen und somit revolutionären Organisation selbstverständlich ist.

Der Beitrag Aufruf der CNT zum Generalstreik erschien zuerst auf Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) im deutschsprachigen Raum.

Categories: IWW

From ‘Man Monsters’ to Revolutionary, Democratic, Industrial Union

Life-Long Wobbly - Mon, 10/02/2017 - 14:59
Understanding and Changing the IWW’s Structure and Culture

Note: This article is a guest post from DB.

Introduction

 

This is a shorter version of a longer unfinished piece documenting my personal experience of becoming an ‘IWW man monster,’ focused on providing a concise yet thorough analysis of the current culture and structure of the IWW in North America, and how they reinforce each other and undermine our work. Shorthanded in the creation of “man monster” organizers throughout the IWW (see fuller description below).

With this diagnosis, I will provide concrete ways to prevent and cure this pattern of “man monster” creation, one that has greatly hindered the IWW over my last decade in the union. While the below is slightly overstated – despite our monster culture and structure we remain very much human – I do so to make clear the culture and structure we are embedded in that can and must change.

There is a tension here between showing how this whole culture and structure is gendered, raced, and classed, as it is, and showing how it’s hurting everyone’s effectiveness regardless of those positions, which it is. I hope to sufficiently show this combined reality, knowing at some level it will be inadequate and that there are many stories that importantly reveal the costs and consequences of these dynamics, most of which are not mine to tell, and which I encourage others to share.

I write this article with ten years of IWW experience in North America, all of which have been rooted in one of the union’s most functional branches during that period – the Twin Cities branch. Nevertheless, this analysis very well applies to my branch as well as to my experiences around the union in trips, conventions, and summits; giving trainings; and more. I was a core member of the Jimmy John’s Workers Union, Chair of the Organizing Department Board, Co-Chair of Work People’s College and the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee, and am a current member of the Social Justice Education Movement, as well as participating in a number of other lesser known IWW campaigns and projects. All of the below only applies to North America, I can’t speak beyond that but am curious if there is connections or differences, there are always lessons to be learned.

 

From Organizing Robots to Man Monsters

 

We live in a messed up world full of people messed up by it, yet the IWW seems to have a special gift for creating a certain type of “man monsters”. Particularly at our national level, but elsewhere too. Even more interesting, these tend to be nice, hard working, college educated, feminist, Robert’s Rules knowing, man monsters. I know, as I was (am?) one of them.

And while none of us monsters are the same, nor even all men, I think it is a good term because it is appropriately silly, describing “old beards” and more recent generations of IWW organizers alike.

This language is also intentionally repurposing a recent IWW slang term of IWW or class struggle robots. I’d like us to start replacing this term – part compliment, part awe, part apt description of people working their lives away and treating themselves and all of us like machines, which we are not – with “man monster”. If you are an organizing robot you are likely already a man monster, or on a Frankensteinian path to becoming one! And how we do this is deeply gendered, as well as raced and classed, with women, people of color, and low wage workers vastly underrepresented in the IWW and its leadership, and this is reflected and reproduced in our culture and structure.

Or rather, I think “man monster” – understood as white, male, and often middle class – better describes what we are creating in this organization of ours, despite real if not always sufficiently understood commitments from the overwhelming majority to feminist, racial justice, and class struggle politics. Understanding why this happens is, I believe, key to diagnosing and changing the deep and persistent flaws with the IWW’s current culture and structure, and in doing so, allow for the transformation of our membership and organizational effectiveness.

I also believe that doing so can be accomplished by a series of relatively minor re-orientations and cultural revolutions, and that we hurt ourselves and our role in the movement by not doing so immediately.

 

Understanding the IWW’s Culture & Structure: Creating Man Monsters in Seven Easy Steps

 

Step 1: Revolutionary Self Starters 

The IWW is a tiny organization that mostly provides little material benefit to members besides an ambitious vision of a transformed society through revolutionary industrial unionism. As such, we grow through the small bursts of energy from revolutionary self-starters attracted to the history of this vision and the real possibilities of it. Yet, we all know who the “industrial unionism” nerds are these days: white, male, often college educated, nerdy, or punky. A person whose most visceral initial sense of oppression in an insanely oppressive society is as a “worker” – a limited pool indeed, and one that prioritizes particularly male, combative, and insider forms of political expression, priorities, conversation, and practices.

 

Step 2: Organizers as Overworked, Overcommitted, and Socializing Others to Do The Same

The IWW has a culture of over-commitment (taking on too many projects) and overwork (spending too much time on our projects). People are socialized into doing too many things and spending too much time doing them creates a steady stream of infinite tasks to give to anyone not already over-committed and overworked. This is wrongly seen as ‘leadership development’ rather than collective self-mutilation, emphasizing a model of organizer that most people don’t want to be, or be around, and increasing the chances of using others to meet unmet needs, organizing or otherwise. This has particularly strong consequences for women and femmes in the movement as they are in a collective relationship with many more men with unmet needs, and as such often end up doing unacknowledged emotional or care labor, can be treated as sexual objects rather than full organizers, or bear the brunt of people’s shit sliding downhill.

Given the the time constraints of capitalist life.and the existing center of the IWW in college educated, middle class, white men, the culture, pace of work, and informal spaces of conversation are also centered on them or creating whole organizing approaches that don’t consider actual materials, emotional, and spiritual needs. When this happens it greatly reduces the quality and stability of our work by resulting in ignoring or de-prioritizing crucial parts of organizing. Like addressing conflicts, deep relationship building, medium term goals, training in new members, mutual aid, quality administration, true love for one another, etc. Cleaning up the resulting messes further overburdens those who do such work, as does facing the consequences of others’ stress or internalized superiority or trauma. Or rather, if we want to be a viable project we cannot be an organization of the converted with stable enough incomes and thick skin, but a revolutionary organizing church of the working class.

 

Step 3: A “Worker Only” Approach to Organizing – Creating ‘Excess People’ 

This culture of overwork is co-created by a “worker only” approach to organizing, where only those working at a job can be on the organizing committee there. While workers in control is crucial, “worker only” campaigns creates a culture of lonely silos mostly without critical mass, a sad sense of limited resources including salts, empowers unaccountable controlling behavior that is overwhelmingly male, and increases skepticism/combative typically egotistic male view of others’ work as few people truly know what’s going on. If you want to join the club, organize your workplace by yourself! This also fails to see the ways in which workers are not just workers, facing sites of struggle across the social order.

Further, despite being an “industrial union” we almost exclusively take on company-specific campaigns, preventing the creation of greater industrial concentrations to find more people involved and well suited to support “worker only” campaigns. (We have found doing industrial style organizing very helpful with the Social Justice Education Movement in the Twin Cities, our K12 organizing committee, and hope more people build on our experiences). This usually results in insufficient amount of meaningful feedback and support for organizers, that, combined with the culture of overwork and over-commitment often results in burnout, increases chance of campaign failure, and can make critical feedback seem like an ‘attack’ because they are ‘talking not helping’.

 

Step 4: Branch ‘Excess People’ and the Creation of Branch Subculture  

The “worker only” approach also means that anyone who isn’t organizing at their workplace as part of an IWW campaign is by definition not useful, unless they can serve as an organizing mentor, which means non-experienced members aren’t getting trained in these skills through practice – only in OT 101s or just going for it. This increases the number of people who make mistakes in campaigns, reducing the pool of branch organizers, and lowering branch quality. Also, because middle class white men are the ‘organizing center’ of the IWW this models leadership in a way that makes more such people see themselves as ‘ready to go’ creating both foolish mistakes that come from their position in society and make others less likely to ‘go it alone’ by taking up organizing. It can also make mentoring tricky by combining consistent organizational power and gender/race dynamics. We would all be better served by a more supportive and collaborative structure of organizing.

Right now however this ‘excess’ pool of people then goes about finding work for themselves in branches – not as an extension of campaigns but something separate to them. This creates a branch subculture, typically even more separate, awkward, and male then the core organizers themselves. This quickly makes branches something for organizers to defend their co-workers from, or at least inoculate them about, as opposed to a magnet to attract militant workers, particular women and people of color. It also means that most IWW members organized off the shop floor have no real tie to the branch until their campaign goes public, and often disappear in the ups and downs of organizing before that happens. Worse, it means that the small group of core organizers in a growing campaign are overburdened with all the technical and mobilizing tasks required to fight a campaign rather than having their branch take on those tasks allowing them to focus on the organizing only they can do. Best case, some of this is offloaded on an ad hoc “solidarity committee” one often not well versed in the campaign, carrying real skills, or ready to truly integrate branch support into the overall work. Again, this contributes to a culture of overwork, worse results, more likely (white male) bad behavior, and burnout.

 

Step 5: Branches as “Business Only” and “Center of the Union” 

Branch meetings could be the place to address this culture of overwork/commitment, power dynamics, etc, by being an extension of organizing campaigns and support for them, a place to allow for delegation, reflection, and realistic prioritizing. Instead branchs have an explicitly “business only” approach. As well as business decision-making being gendered as male, this prevents the natural solution to the culture of overwork and overcommitment by preventing meaningful collective prioritizing and reflection. It also deeply hinders collective goal setting, accountability, and strategy – pushing all of these tasks into informal networks, which end up tending towards cliquey decision-making and fights over informal status, power, and control. This also pushes out of formal discussion and time the crucial and therefore invisibilized and feminized labor of relationship building, administration, and mutual aid, creating a sense of scarcity of time and words for non-central mostly white male members, rather than the true substance of much of our work, which is mutual aid, love, and the fierce desire, self-education, and fight for a better world. Our current cultural practices are well critiqued as white supremacy culture.

This “business only” approach to meetings also means that parliamentary business is often seen as “the center of the union” and how to “be a union member,” not the central skills necessary for organizing. Membership should mean relationship building, organizing practice, political education, collective prioritizing and strategy, personal development, accountability, and goal setting. This again reproduces gender dynamics with the white male “Rusty’s Rules” or “bylaws” nerd, or the strong “meeting chair” given power they do not earn through organizing but rather by attending, but not necessarily advancing, lots of meetings. This center proceeds to create a social club for itself and its subculture, or a platform for politicians who want to play parliamentary dungeons and dragons, instead of being a support structure for industrial organizing or community syndicalism and a means to train militants into these tasks by doing that work. This bad modeling also results in people flailing in and out of activism or often ill conceived solidarity projects to at least “do something,” another common and unnecessary IWW local problem, also more likely done by people who don’t have significant material problems of their own.

 

Step 6: “Business Only” at the National Level and the Creation of Drama 

The problems with branches are amplified at the national level. Instead of focusing, prioritizing, and modeling organizing we model an “overseeing” parliamentarism, a separate administrative apparatus disconnected from the actual organizing work. This creates a realm of 19th century busy work, formalism, or destructive fantasy on top of it all. It is also a world with too few women, people of color and working class people for reasons previously mentioned and this reproduces many of our already toxic cultural problems.

Worse, due to an absence of useful mass mechanisms and limits on time and relationships across geography, a tiny core of ~50 people, overwhelmingly white men who are national officers or regularly attend Conventions determine the course of the entire national union. This is a self-reproducing clique which forces people to either adapt or be pushed out, maybe even more so than in at the branch level. Despite this, they (or we) almost always do so poorly, due to the “business only” framework for doing so, a framework that cannot be sufficiently addressed by changing who is in that clique.

Moreover, the absence of clear mandates for national officers at Convention nor coordinated election blocks leads to a hodgepodge set of national officers pushing their own pet projects, rather than carrying out prioritized core needs of the union as a whole. On top of that the “business only” model of Convention prevents this from even being discussed, much less the even more important process of learning from each other, prioritizing work, and doing reflection and strategy at a national level. Combined with (male/etc) individualism and egos, true union wide coordination and updating seems like an unattainable task. Overwhelming officer mandates (job descriptions) and a feeling that if “we don’t do it no one will” make reporting, paperwork, and ’emergencies’ a treadmill rather than meaningful work that advances the union, while a general inability to solely prioritize national work due to local needs makes it all more messy and ineffective.

Resulting silos and using email as a primary medium of communication worsen this situation as it is so easy to project one’s’ misassumptions on others, while overwork and anonymity lead to regular and public toxic exchanges. Democratic instructions from groups of members is what takes the ego out of decision-making at Convention – this is something we can do more generally. Lack of accountability to any actual body (say a region or Industrial Union) results in officers acting like politicians and often being from non-functional IWW locations or being at large members, while keeping conversation out of real mass participation and debate. Worse, widely dispersed geography and lack of regular mass in-person situations mean bad behavior elsewhere from high status people is almost always relegated to the rumor mill or kept unknown. Those victimized by such situations are typically unheard or subject to political maneuvering, not the creation of a cohesive, positive, accountable IWW culture – again disproportionately impacting marginalized groups within the union, if they remain in it.

These together lead to a personalization of internal union change and related personal level drama of a masculinist sort. A proposal cannot but stink of un-democracy if something is seen as “David’s proposal” (and it is rarely just David’s) even when such a proposal is responding to a need seen by a vast majority of the membership. Moreover, even if “David’s proposal” was a good idea (often it’s not), the lack of good mechanisms and venues for discussing and developing proposals at a mass level means the vast majority of union members are separated or alienated from these discussions and we miss out on their collective wisdom, participation, and energy to advance, even when it was crafted by a ‘national committee’. Moreover, given the small pool of true decision makers – the 50 or so people who run the national union – It also means everything is by definition undemocratic, a favorite email swear word and real, pressing union problem. It also ensures our work will not be scalable as per the old adage – “your meeting will never get bigger than the room it’s held in”. We need to have structures that facilitate mass participation and growth, not those that stifle it.

 

Step 7:  Frustration, Overreach, Accountability – the Cycle Continues 

The lack of effectiveness, venue for discussion that’s not business, little support for organizing, and cliquey center of the union create deserved frustration among national level organizers. High status people attempt to push things through undemocratically, amplifying a culture of toxic communication, manipulation, masculine posturing, and eventual targeting and pushing out of previously positive high profile people who are now officially IWW-wide man monsters.

 

That said, very rarely is “accountability” anything but kicking people out, though before this happens many people tend to quit or withdraw before solutions are enforced and many people, seeing the lack of functionality simply quit in frustration without having done anything wrong. As such, we don’t create a real culture of accountability for our comrades nor ourselves – rather we attack and push out enemies. Nor do we learn from nor retain many of our most experienced organizers. And so the cycle of creating man monsters continues.

 

From Diagnosis to Prevention and Cure

 

While the above ‘diagnosis’ is necessarily limited I hope it is comprehensive enough to well name the most crucial problems we face, how they interrelate, and hence provide real means for critique of this analysis and the possibility of suggesting effective cures to these problems. Cures proposed here are necessarily provisional and an offering for greater conversation. I hope though that the analysis above and solutions suggested will help us better shift our personal and collective approaches to create the type of revolutionary industrial/community organizing and organization we want to be a part of.

 

From Revolutionary Self-Starters To Rooted Revolutionaries

We want to continue to find self-starters but through projecting organizing work that shows people that the IWW is a union for prisoners, educators, transport or service workers, for those who want to fight police terror, enforce accountability for survivors of rape, and defend the earth from human caused destruction. That is the IWW if ro people directly impacted by actual capitalism, not people whose most visible oppression is being a (white, male) worker. Doing so requires individual and collective focusing on the areas where we can have the biggest impact to organize proto and eventually actual, industrial unions, while creating frameworks, experience, and roles that better support all organizing. This is necessarily experiment but modeling successful strategies people can join or re-apply elsewhere is how we will grow.

 

We also want to extend our pool of leaders from self-starters by providing more meaningful ways to train and develop new or interested organizers, through supporting campaigns, building support infrastructure, or being part of winning material victories on the job.

 

Creating Accountability – Ending a Culture of Overcommitment and Overwork 

Instead of modeling the organizer that is constantly giving other people work outside their focus areas, we need to push ourselves, our committees, and branches to create a culture where everyone focuses their energy and to support each other in doing so.

I’d propose we all have no more than two lanes of work – a primary one to master and a secondary one to develop another skill set. Less truly is more, as effective organizing builds relationships and plans three steps ahead of the current work. Scrambling to do too much at once necessarily makes that impossible and sabotages our work. Moreover, doing less means we provide more places for people to step up as militants and we can mentor people into high level skillsets and systems rather than a game of hot potato for whatever we have ‘assigned’ ourselves. This will create a higher quality of work as standard, and a clearer sense of what we expect of each other.

In addition, Campaign/Committee expectations should be created to model these behaviors, prevent high fliers from being on 5 Committees at once, and create a framework for responding to tension, conflict, and running interventions. Combining more focused work and clearer expectations will prevent a whole set of problems that undermine our work with unequal impacts by giving us all time and headspace for the most important organizing tasks: real relationships, reflection, mutual aid, conflict resolution, and strategy. It will also result in less damaged relationships, power dynamics missed or ignored, and more experience for creating the types of setups and accountability we want to be modeling personally and politically.

Accountability should become a consistent, preventative thing, built into daily conversations and practices, something we ask for and expect, and a continual challenge to all of us. I have had to be directly pushed to be accountable and do the same to others – with potential and real consequences for not doing so. This needs to happen and not as a one-way street but as a mutual process of collective improvement. We also need some people to specialize in training and developing better practices locally and across the union. If we can’t learn from conflict, and our mistakes, we can’t get anywhere. Continuing to evolve our conflict resolution and charges process at a national level is important as well.

Finally, we need to remind ourselves that outside of true emergencies we should all be operating at 50% capacity time-wise, spending half of our free time on our life not organizing, working smarter not harder. Otherwise we will be useless when an emergency happens, as it always does. This is what we can do and love life insofar as that is possible under capitalism, not collectively transforming ourselves into man monsters trying to offload work on others, instrumentalizing others, ignoring conflicts or bad behavior, and meeting our human needs in compressed and often fucked up ways.

 

From “Worker Only” to Industrial Organizing 

Instead of a “worker only” and company specific campaigns we should build industrial organizing, creating a broad network of workers in an industry we can commit to for the long term, and to do targeted campaigns within that industry – a campaign minimum being anything started by 2 or more long term committed IWW militants at a single target.

Non-campaign workers should create branch infrastructure (like administration, legal, media, research, graphic design, new member development, cooking, childcare, etc) to directly support the growth of industrial committee(s). Better if they are willing to commit to a sufficiently long involvement, have their lane be to join Industrial Committees, sit in on meetings and one one ones with potential organizers, take on tasks or roles as they come up, and grow to extending the organizing base of the campaign. This will also lead to more salts and more social networks bringing in or finding more organizers in the campaign or industry, and lead to a sense of support and connection to the broader union from the beginning, not a strange new entity that only shows up to pickets. Instead of only workers in a specific campaign doing organizing, have the entire IWW be involved in growing long term industrial organizing, training in a far greater pool of skilled militants and seed the possibility of big upsurges in struggle or membership. This will also sensitize all IWWs to becoming better organizers and people persons. We all need to welcome in new people, not choose conversations that exclude people, and generally work on our shit such that we can clearly provide self-accountability and meaningfully contributions to the movement.

 

From “Business Only” Subculture to Infrastructure for, and Extension of, Industrial Organizing 

Instead of only doing “business”,branch meetings will be infrastructure to support campaigns and model and practice core organizing skills, depending on the status of existing organizing. These include: relationship building, reflection, mutual aid and campaign support, political and organizing education, accountability and conflict resolution, times to limit overwork and overcommitment by redistributing work and narrowing focus to collective priorities, and when possible, concrete work. Doing so is well within our reach but will require experimentation. We need to model valuing rather than making invisible such work, as well as including everyone, not just the core organizers at the bar in crucial directional discussions. Electing co-facilitators to run meetings and get feedback from members until a good format is found seems wisest to me – then sharing various lessons/formats around the union, including practices to equalize power dynamics and make people feel comfortable and empowered at meetings.

There should also be occasional special meetings solely dedicated to things like annual reflection, goal setting, budgeting, strategizing, convention proposals, audits of power dynamics, and so on. There will also be business items on the agenda but they will be subordinate to industrial organizing and an extension of it, not an extra workload of tending an alienating and alienated subculture of parliamentary dungeons and dragons, though Rusty’s Rules will still be used for such decisions.

Point being branch meetings and Conventions should be an extension and support of organizing work, not tending an extra and irrelevant bureaucratic or subcultural world done because ‘this is how we do things’. We can and should highlight and center those who are members or hold real connections to oppressed communities and who employ the often feminized skills of relationship building, mutual aid, and care.

 

Creating Mutually Supportive Regional and Industrial Infrastructure 

Like branches, the North American structure will be a direct support structure of organizing, not a separate parliamentary stage “overseeing it”.

Regional and Industrial infrastructure and gatherings will be created to allow for mass participation in reflection, lessons, prioritizing, and joining Industrial Union work. Conflict will not disappear but frustration will shrink – as conflict will be grounded in the work itself and as such be seen as revealing a need for some improvement or change. Better, people won’t be able to be ‘big names’ getting things done by being rude on email and polite in person, as in person conversations and non-anonymous interactions will increasingly be the sites of actual development of work and decision-making. Similarly, Regional and Industrial officers will replace “reporting” with relationships of support and accountability, and reduce overwhelming national mandates to coordinating support and advancing high level tasks, while regional assemblies will create a mass increase in horizontal relationships, greater familiarity and connection to existing union resources, stronger communications and better ideas.

Like our redefined branch meetings, twice a year Regional Summits that prioritize industrial breakouts and involving at large members in proto-Industrial Unions will include relationship building, learning, prioritizing, and strategizing, as well as reflecting on, developing, and advancing proposals for the coming Convention – to be passed on to other regional meetings prior to final proposals being created. Caucuses by race and gender, etc, should be encouraged, creating regular and regionally or industrially specific ways to increase representation from across the class.

Such Summits are also the basis from which to elect recallable Regional GEB Delegates and other Regional Officers until they can be replaced or overlapped with Industrial Unions (which could happen fast if we collectively decide that to be so), though maintaining a regional network is crucial for growth in countries as big as those in North America and for getting people to see themselves as lifelong wobblies.

Officer mandates will be set by Conventions and be much narrower to be accomplishable and tied to long term union goals. Officers will be elected based on these goals and mandates – not to achieve each elected person’s pet projects. Everyone will know that going in, reducing typically male ego and image to a more collaborative and collective process.

Perhaps, union-wide political tendencies would facilitate communication and debate and election slates, doing the real work of organizing to understand and reflect the opinions of their members doing organizing, while ideas good and bad from small groupings will be considered and critiqued but not seen as existential threats. That said, I hope bottom-up democracy and relationship building reduces the need for this to bigger strategic questions, not the core improvements of the union.

Administration – restructured locally, regionally, industrially, and nationally – will be an extension and boon for organizing work and not a separate oversight body on top of, distracting and competing with it, centering (white, male) grandstanding. This will lead to growth and new problems, but not the unaccountable mistreatment of FWs, personalization of collective problems and the collectivization of person problems. New problems but not undemocratic explosions of frustration and manipulation due to lack of internal communication, and the regular burnout and occasional expulsions of formerly leading members.

 

Conclusion

Despite updating our organizing model, and creating a transformed culture and structure we will still have a world to win and capitalism, the state, borders, patriarchy, white supremacy, each other, and ourselves – and more – in our way… but not “man monsters”. There is no time like the present.

Thoughts? Want to work towards a complementary vision for remaking the culture and/or structure in the IWW? Contact me at – dboehnke at gmail.

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Categories: IWW

Statement from CNT on Catalonian referendum

Bristol IWW - Tue, 09/26/2017 - 04:08

The International Solidarity Department has received and is happy to share this statement from the CNT Catalonia & Balearic Islands:

The CNT local unions from Catalonia and the Balearic Islands publicly state our support for the self-determination of the Catalan people.

As anarcho-syndicalists, we don’t think that political reforms within a capitalist framework can reflect our desire for social transformation, a change that would place production and consumption means in workers’ hands. Because of this, our daily struggles do not focus on creating new states or backing parliamentary initiatives.

However, we can’t look the other way when regular people are being attacked and repressed by any state. A state that has, in this case, removed its mask and revealed itself as an authoritarian rule, the true heir of the Franco regime. This is something that could be glimpsed before through many instances, such as labour law reforms, bank bail-outs, cuts on health and education, mass evictions of out-of-work families…many of which were implemented by the Catalan government itself.

CNT Catalonia and the Balearic greet this spirit of disobedience against a dictatorial state, a discriminatory and fascist state, and want to assert our strongest denunciation of repression against workers and of those who carry it out.

The men and women in CNT will stand as one to defend their neighbours and townsfolks, as couldn´t be otherwise with an anarcho-syndicalist, and henceforth revolutionary, organisation.”

You can also view the original statement published here in Catalan, Spanish and English.

We have been working closely with the CNT for the last year or so and consider them fellow travellers in the radical unionism’ journey leading to the abolition of the wage system.

More news to follow on how to support the CNT internationally, keep posted.

Categories: IWW

Empty Cages Collective – The End Toxic Prisons Tour

Bristol IWW - Mon, 09/25/2017 - 02:17

The End Toxic Prisons Tour (starts Thursday this week)
http://www.prisonabolition.org/end-toxic-prisons-tour-dates-details/

SUNDAY 1ST OCTOBER
Bristol
With Bristol Anarchist Black Cross
7pm, Kebele, 14 Robertson Road, Bristol, BS5 6JZ
https://www.facebook.com/events/686514301554356/ [1]

This Autumn, the Campaign to Fight Toxic Prisons [2] from the US will be
touring the UK with Community Action on Prison Expansion. [3]

All over the world prisons are toxic environments causing social and
ecological harm. Folks from the US have been organising resistance at
the intersection of mass incarceration and the environment, successfully
delaying the only current Federal prison construction for over 2 years!

Through grassroots organizing, advocacy and direct action they have been
challenging the prison system which is putting prisoners at risk of
dangerous environmental conditions, as well as impacting surrounding
communities and ecosystems by their construction and operation. Learn
about their strategy and tactics, as well as broader struggles of prison
abolition, anti-racism, and environmental justice.

Information will then be shared about resistance to the six new
mega-prisons in England and Wales, which themselves are proposed for
toxic sites, including radiological contamination and asbestos
pollution, as well as habitat destruction at every site. Learn how you
can get involved!

LEARN MORE:

Check out a recent article we wrote: Fight Toxic Prions: Mass
Incarceration and Ecology –
http://www.prisonabolition.org/fighting-toxic-prisons-mass-incarceration-ecology
[4]
Campaign to Fight Toxic Prisons – fighttoxicprisons.org [5]
Community Action on Prison Expansion – cape-campaign.org [6]
Empty Cages Collective – prisonabolition.org [7]

THURSDAY 28TH SEPTEMBER
London
7pm, 125 Caledonian Road, London, N1 9RG
https://www.facebook.com/events/114869449183950/ [8]

FRIDAY 29TH SEPTEMBER
Cardiff
With IWW Cymru Wales and No Prisons De Cymru
Connect International English Academy, First Floor, 26-28 Churchill
Way, CF10 2DY Cardiff
https://www.facebook.com/events/129793397664005/ [9]

SATURDAY 30TH SEPTEMBER
Port Talbot
10.30am, Aberavon Beach Hotel, The Princess Margaret Way, Swansea Bay,
Port Talbot, SA12 6QP
https://www.facebook.com/events/116023012410416/ [10]

SWANSEA
With No Prisons De Cymru
7pm, Swansea Environment Centre, SA1 1RY
https://www.facebook.com/events/115834292452554/ [11]

SUNDAY 1ST OCTOBER
Bristol
With Bristol Anarchist Black Cross
7pm, Kebele, 14 Robertson Road, Bristol, BS5 6JZ
https://www.facebook.com/events/686514301554356/ [12]

MONDAY 2ND OCTOBER
Manchester
With Manchester No Prisons
11am, Partisan Collective, 19 Cheetham Hill Road, M4 4FY Manchester,
https://www.facebook.com/events/695802160615245/ [13]

TUESDAY 3RD OCTOBER
Leeds
With Yorkshire Campaign Against Prisons
Wharf Chambers, 23-25 Wharf St, Leeds LS2 7EQ
https://www.facebook.com/events/262431267610681/ [14]

WEDNESDAY 4TH OCTOBER
Leicester
With Leicester Prison Resistance
Venue TBA
https://www.facebook.com/events/664969193699307/ [15]

THURSDAY 5TH OCTOBER
Norwich
With DIT Collective
Space Studio, Swan Lane, Norwich, NR2 1HZ
https://www.facebook.com/events/538149689910439/ [16]

Links:
——
[1] https://www.facebook.com/events/686514301554356/
[2] http://www.fighttoxicprisons.org
[3] http://www.cape-campaign.org
[4] http://www.prisonabolition.org/fighting-toxic-prisons-mass-incarceration-ecology
[5] http://www.fighttoxicprisons.org
[6] http://www.cape-campaign.org
[7] http://www.prisonabolition.org
[8] https://www.facebook.com/events/114869449183950/
[9] https://www.facebook.com/events/129793397664005/
[10] https://www.facebook.com/events/116023012410416/
[11] https://www.facebook.com/events/115834292452554/
[12] https://www.facebook.com/events/686514301554356/
[13] https://www.facebook.com/events/695802160615245/
[14] https://www.facebook.com/events/262431267610681/
[15] https://www.facebook.com/events/664969193699307/
[16] https://www.facebook.com/events/538149689910439/

Categories: IWW

Einfühlsamkeit + Aktivismus = Solidarität (Langversion mit Videos)

IWW Austria - Thu, 09/07/2017 - 10:19
Ein Rückblick auf einen berührendern Abend mit Billy Bragg.

Billy Bragg (Credit: Michael Barbour)

Am 12. August, kurz bevor uns die erschütternden Nachrichten vom Nazi-Angriff in Charlottesville erreichten, erlebten wir, ein paar Wobblys,  im Wiener WUK ein in vielerlei Hinsicht außergewöhnliches Konzert. Billy Bragg, der linke Liedermacher aus Großbritannien war nach Wien gekommen. Nicht nur, um uns seine Balladen und Protestlieder zu singen, sondern auch, um uns Mut zu machen. Mut, weiterzukämpfen und nicht wegen der gefährlichen politischen Lage aufzugeben oder in Zynismus zu versinken.
Das Konzert beginnt vergleichsweise ruhig – ohne Ansagen und mit minimalistischer, weißer Beleuchtung, die nur sporadisch mit Farbnuancen im Hintergrund gewürzt wird.

 

 

Dann aber fängt Bragg plötzlich an, zwischen den Liedern zu den Menschen im Publikum zu sprechen und spannt ein Band, das bis zum letzten Ton des Abends nicht reißen sollte.
Mit einer wirklich außergewöhnlichen Einfühlsamkeit erzählt er in seinen Liedern und Geschichten von der Liebe und den großen und vermeintlich kleinen Schwierigkeiten und sozialen Kämpfen, mit denen wir uns in unseren Leben herumschlagen müssen. Dabei gibt er uns das Gefühl, das uns sonst kaum jemand öffentlich zu geben vermag: das wir alle wertvoll sind. Dies fühlt sich nicht nur gut an, sondern ist auch bemerkenswert in einer Zeit, in der das verächtliche Herabwürdigen von Menschen, die weniger Geld haben, allgemein akzeptiert und oft beklatscht wird.

Francisco Goyas Kunstwerk Der Schlaf der Vernunft gebiert Ungeheuer (Originaltitel: El sueño de la razón produce monstruos).

Billy Bragg nennt diese Politik den Krieg gegen die Einfühlsamkeit. Ein Krieg mit dem Ziel, den Zusammenhalt unter den Ausgebeuteten gegen die Angriffe des Kapitals zu verhindern.

Mit dem Lied The Sleep of Reason, das vom gleichnamigen Kunstwerk Francisco Goyas inspiriert ist, reflektiert Bragg die BREXIT-Abstimmung und den Wahlsieg Donald Trumps. Er hinterfragt, warum nicht einmal über die für die Menschen existentiell wichtigen Fragen wie Einkommen, Gesundheitsversorgung und Bildung abgestimmt wird, sondern die persönliche Unsicherheit auf die Zuwanderung gelenkt wird.

In The King’s Tyde and the Sunny Day Flood erzählt er vom Anstieg des Meeresspiegels durch den Klimawandel. Im Süden der USA führt dies beispielsweise dazu, dass tausende Menschen ihre Häuser verlassen müssen, weil diese durch die monatlichen Überflutungen unbewohnbar werden. Besonders betroffen sind davon Menschen, die sich ein neues Zuhause nicht leisten können und für die sich die Stadtverwaltungen nicht interessieren – auch der Klimawandel ist eine Klassenfrage.

Zwischendurch nimmt Billy Bragg einen kurzen Abstecher zur Folk-Musik. Am 20. Jänner, dem Tag der Angelobung von Donald Trump, hatte er einen neuen Text für Bob Dylan’s The Times They Are A-Changin‘ geschrieben, in dem er beschreibt, wie die Rechten die Zeit zurückdrehen und eine von Unterdrückung bestimmte Gesellschaft errichten wollen.
Zum Repertoire Braggs gehören neben den Protestliedern auch eine Menge Lieder über glückliche und unglückliche Liebe. Shirley, A New England oder Milkman of Human Kindness sind nur drei der Balladen, die er an diesem Samstagabend für uns singt.

 

 

Für Billy Bragg besonders inspirierend war der us-amerikanische Liedermacher Woody Guthrie gewesen. Mit dessen She Came Along to Me drückt seine Solidarität mit den Frauen aus, die für ihre Selbstbestimmung und gegen das lauter werdende frauenfeindliche, konservative Geschrei kämpfen. Aber er ruft auch die Männer auf, sich von patriarchalen Rollenerwartungen zu befreien. Handyman Blues ist eine Hommage und ein Weckruf an alle Männer, die die Schnauze voll davon haben, gute Heimwerker sein zu müssen.

 

Don’t be expecting me to put up shelves or build a garden shed
But I can write a song that tells the world how much I love you instead
I’m not any good at pottery so let’s lose the ‚t‘ and just shift back the ‚e‘
And I’ll find a way to make my poetry build a roof over our heads.
(Handyman Blues)

 

Als Billy Bragg auf der Bühne spricht, betont er immer wieder, wie wichtig die Musik ist. Mit ihr könnten Geschichten erzählt werden, die die Herzen, nicht nur die Hirne erreichen. So wichtig die Musik für unseren Zusammenhalt und unsere Ermutigung sei, kann sie uns nicht ersparen, dass wir aktiv werden. Denn Einfühlsamkeit plus Aktivismus ist Solidarität. Diese ist bekanntlich unsere einzige Waffe und wie mächtig sie ist, erklärte Bragg gegen Ende des Abends mit seiner alten Gewerkschaftshymne There is Power in a Union.

 

There is power in a factory, power in the land
Power in the hands of a worker
But it all amounts to nothing if together we don’t stand
There is power in a Union
(There is Power in a Union.)

 

Wir können auf ein in vielerlei Hinsicht sehr ergreifendes Konzert zurückblicken und hoffen, Billy Bragg noch oft zuhören zu können. Den Nazis in Charlottesville wollen wir folgende Worte ausrichten, die Woody Guthrie 1942 niedergeschrieben hat: You’re bound to lose, you fascists bound to lose!

 

Categories: IWW

September

Bristol IWW - Mon, 09/04/2017 - 11:16

Dear members and supporters of Bristol IWW,

We’ve got a busy September coming up, so here’s the details of events you can get involved with.

This Saturday, the 9th of September, there is an IWW contingent joining the anti-austerity march and rally called by Bristol People’s Assembly on College Green. Facebook event here. Look for the IWW banner.

Sadly on the 10th of September, fascists will be descending upon our city from outside Bristol attempting to whip up Islamophobia and hatred. This time we’re dealing with Tommy Robinson front group ‘Gays Against Sharia’ who will be attempting to use the LGBT community to peddle known fascist speakers such as former BNP youth activist Jack BuckbyPaul Weston of Pegida UK/Liberty GB, figurehead of the EDL’s deluded LGBT grouping Tommy Cook aka Tommy English and wingnut fash-favourite, UKIP leadership candidate Anne Marie Waters. Bristol Queercaf have already called a counter demonstration and Bristol IWW encourages all members and supporters to go along. Fascist groups have never had much success at organising in our brilliant city but we need to keep opposing until they finally get the message. Again look for our banner or check Loomio for on the day plans.

On the 14th of September we have our branch meeting, which will include a workshop with our FWs from the Incarcerated Workers’ Organising Committee (IWOC). Come and find out how IWOC supports prisoners to organise & fight back against prison slavery and the prison system itself. After the meeting we generally go for a drink in a local pub.

On the 16th of September we’ll be running our usual stall at the Bristol Anarchist Bookfair with t-shirts, badges and other IWW merchandise. If you can help with the stall, then put your name down on the rota on Loomio. If not, then just turn up for a chat. This year’s event will be at St Werburghs Community Centre BS2 9TJ

Finally on the 17th of September Bristol Radical History Group will be holding a Radical History Festival at the M-Shed, which looks to be a really interesting event with some contributions from local Wobblies.

Whatever you’re doing have a lovely September and we hope to see you sometime.

Tom / Bristol IWW

Categories: IWW

Sept 16th Anti-Oppression Workshop with Thane Robyn

Ottawa IWW - Sat, 09/02/2017 - 18:22

 

Ottawa-Outaouais General Membership Branch are hosting an open Anti-Oppression Training Workshop by trainer Thane Robyn of Robyn Media

This event is taking place on the traditional unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishnaabeg people.

Venue is fully wheelchair accessible

Facebook Event

Registration Form

GoFundMe

More Info

Sept 16th 1-3pm

Bronson Centre (211 Bronson) Room 222
3hr Training will include 3 segments with breaks for coffee and snacks

1. Anti-Oppression 101
2. Ant-Oppression Application
3. Anti-Oppression Community Building

Suggested donation is $15.
No one turned away for lack of funds.

Categories: IWW

SOLID! Ausgabe 2 2017 erschienen

IWW Austria - Wed, 08/30/2017 - 23:42

Die 2. SOLID! (Flugschrift der IWW-Wien) für dieses Jahr ist nun erschienen.

Aus dem Inhalt:

  • Solidarisch statt flexibel
  • Arbeitskämpfe bei VW
  • Proteste und wilde Streiks in Bulgarien
  • #Deliverunion
  • Einfühlsamkeit + Aktivismus = Solidarität
  • Vor 90 Jahren: Massaker in der Columbine Mine
  • Frank Little – vor 100 Jahren ermordet

Die aktuelle Ausgabe könnt ihr euch hier runterladen, in ausgewählten Bibliotheken und Buchhandlungen zur freien Entnahme. Gerne schicken wir euch ein gedrucktes Exemplar kostenlos zu (Bestellung via E-Mail an wien@iww.or.at).

Categories: IWW

Bristol Branch Meeting

Bristol IWW - Thu, 08/17/2017 - 02:53

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

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