You are here


Découvre comment bâtir ton Syndicat!

Montreal IWW - Mon, 02/20/2017 - 03:00
Donnée sur 2 jours, le 4 et 5 mars, et en français, la formation d'organisation 101 (OT-101) permet de connaître et pratiquer les bases de la pratique d'organisation syndicale. Celle-ci vise à donner les outils nécessaires aux organisateurs et organisatrices qui pourront les utiliser sur leur lieux de travail, afin de mener des luttes syndicales dans la tradition du syndicalisme de solidarité en s'appuyant sur l'action directe.
Categories: IWW

Déclaration du SITT-IWW contre les mesures de Trump.

Montreal IWW - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 03:00
Déclaration du SITT-IWW contre l’interdiction de voyager pour les, instaurée par Trump. Soumis le lundi 6 février 2017 à 18h51 Le SITT-IWW est un syndicat pour tous les travailleurs et toutes les travailleuses qui s’oppose à toutes les formes de discrimination. Ainsi, nous sommes absolument contre la récente interdiction de voyager instauré par Trump…Lire la suite Déclaration du SITT-IWW contre les mesures de Trump.
Categories: IWW

Interview with the Health Sector Workers Network (Aotearoa/New Zealand)

Recomposition - Wed, 02/15/2017 - 21:06
Health is about life, and health work makes business of our basic human functions. It should be no surprise then that health care is under attack globally where the decay of the neoliberal order has incited conflicts over who will control health resources. Over the next few months Recomposition will explore the health care perspectives and proposals for alternatives. We are proud to present the first installment in our Health Series with an interview that comes to us from members of the Health Sector Workers Network located in Aotearoa/New Zealand. They discuss attempting to build cross-workplace and cross-trade solidarity, the recent series of Junior Doctor’s strikes (the equivalent of residents in the US), and building workers resistance to health austerity.

1. Tell us a bit about yourself. What kind of work do you do, and how did you get involved in the health workers movement?

My name is Al. I’ve worked in the public health sector, off and on, for most of my adult life, both in New Zealand and Australia. I’ve worked in Public Hospitals as a Laundry Assistant, Cleaner, Orderly and currently as a Nurse Assistant/Hospital Aide.
In all this time I’ve been a member and often a workplace delegate of whichever Union has represented workers in each area.

A couple of things have always frustrated me when it came working in the health sector. They are the internal hierarchies and the divisions created by having so many different Unions organising workers in this sector. I see this as hugely divisive as we lose our collective strength when we organise separately.

At times management/bosses will use these division to play workers off against each other, as we have recently seen with the dispute between Ambulance Officers/Paramedics from FIRST Union and St John. There are also currently five separate Unions competing for members and not working cohesively or cooperatively.

I’ve been inspired by the methods of anarcho-syndicalism and especially the activities of the IWW, Solidarity Federations in the UK and Seattle Solidarity Network in the USA. It really was the ideas of the IWW which got me thinking about establishing the Health Sector Workers Network, with the possibilities of one day seeing the ‘one big union’ approach taken in the health sector.

Just to note… the following questions have been answered and edited by a few of the HSWN members, so express a collective view, rather than just mine.

2. In October thousands of Junior Doctors (the equivalent of doctors-in-training in the US) went on strike over working conditions and safety. What conditions led to this strike and what happened with it?

Recent Junior Doctor industrial action has taken place after failed Multi Employer Collective Agreement (MECA) negotiations between the Resident Doctors Association (RDA) and the District Health Boards (DHBs). In Aotearoa/New Zealand there are 20 DHBs – which are different health boards for different regions of the country. Each of these are ‘employers’ and the MECA is the collective agreement between all workers (i.e. doctors in this instance) across all of these health board employers. Negotiations began initially in January 2016. The primary issue in this round of contract negotiations has been working conditions and patient safety. The RDA is pushing for a contractual commitment to reducing the duration of consecutive working days from 12 to 10, a maximum of 10 days per fortnight, and a change from seven consecutive nights to a maximum of four. The DHBs have not agreed to these changes. To date RDA members have gone on strike for two days in October 2016 and and three days in January 2017. A further planned strike in November was aborted after the Kaikoura earthquake. The RDA / DHBs may be moving closer to resolution but as of 22 January 2017 this has not been achieved. It is notable that the, debatably, most dangerous roster practice of 15-16 hour days (often done back to back over weekends) is not been part of proposed changes in rooster practices. The reason for this is not clear.

3. Similar strikes have happened lately in Europe, do you seen any reason why now junior doctors are organizing?

Speaking for the NZ situation this is not the first time in recent history the RDA has undertaken industrial action in the context of failing MECA negotiations. For instance, there were strikes in 2008 when RDA demands for a salary increase (on a debatable rationale of increasing staff retention) were declined by the DHBs. However, on the face of it, the basis for 2016-17 action (working conditions-patient safety) is different. It is possible that Junior Doctors, as part of wider health system changes, are recognising and placing greater emphasis on patient safety and are feeling able to question the status quo more than they have done historically. Health funding in NZ has been declining for sometime and there can be parallels drawn between what is happening here with the UK, where junior doctors went on strike as the British Government have been trying to impose changes with no increase in funding. We may well see similar attacks on our public health system as those happening to the NHS in the UK. We have a similar situation in which health funding has been declining as a proportion of GDP. This is all related to the general crisis in capitalism.

5. You’re involved in the Health Sector Workers Network of Aotearoa / New Zealand. How did this network come together and what work do you do?

HSWN is a solidarity network setup to connect workers throughout the health sector. Our aim is to bring different workers together to organise and act on issues. In Aotearoa/New Zealand, there are a number of Unions which support workers along trade/profession lines. This means often doctors are separate, social workers are in a group and Nurses are their own union. There is a lot of division in our sector, we are trying to see if we can overcome this.
So far we have:
-organised solidarity rallies for the striking Junior Doctors, joining their protest/pickets when they have twice been on strike.
-organised street collections for Ambos from FIRST Union and from doing so been effective in helping them win a backdown from St John on the 10% wage deduction for taking low level industrial action.
-participated as first aiders at a blockade of a weapons conference in Auckland.
-participated in direct actions to prevent the eviction of a tenant from a state house.
-put out a number of solidarity statements in support of other health sector workers direct actions i.e. Junior Doctors and Ambos.
-organised an education evening in Auckland.

6. What are the political goals of the project?
As we have only been in existence for just over one year, these goals have yet to be fleshed out. At this stage network members would all be in agreement that we are trying to build solidarity amongst all workers in the health sector and that our intention is to bring together the most radical health sector workers.

We are also aiming at building links with indigenous and minority groups. We are part of an ecosystem of organisations and movements. Ultimately, building connections with a wide range of groups is part of this project to build a voice and create action towards a more holistic, person centred health sector.

Where we go from here will depend on our activities but as things heat up in the health sector due to massive cuts/underfunding we will hopefully see more direct action that will attract new members.

7. What is the state of the health system in New Zealand and what are the main tasks for a health workers movement in the coming years?

There has been a massive amount of underfunding for the last 6 years, which is making it hard for workers in the health sector. Some figures put this at $1.85 Billion over this time. This is on the back of progressive neo-liberal changes to the health system since the late 1980s (i.e. increase in private providers and NGO, reduction in union membership, diversification and professionalization of workers, etc).

There is significant unmet need and inequalities across New Zealand. This has been growing year after year. The health system is trying to cope with this, but can only do so much.

We imagine the health worker movement needs to realise their potential strength, unite under a collective banner and push for change. The immediate focus concerns funding, but additional struggle around bringing back stable public funded providers, improve availability of union benefits (i.e. bargaining power) and challenge neoliberal capitalist agendas in the health system.

As well as opposing capitalism more generally, one of our goal we have discussed is to articulate a positive vision of a post-capitalist health system. What would it look like? How would it work? This is something that we and all health sector workers need to reflect on and push for in the future. It’s not enough to be critical and resist, we need to build and have vision.

8. Do you see parallels with the issues of health care and health workers in other countries?

The effects of austerity measures are pretty much everywhere. Health systems/services globally are in crisis. As the effects of capitalist economics continue to expand the inequalities inherent in class society we need to start articulating a post-capitalist vision for the health system. We need to build power from below and develop new ways of resistance.

9. Do you have any suggestions for how we can build a truly international movement for health workers and health?

The idea of solidarity should not be a radical concept. There is much that unites us and we need to articulate this through extending solidarity internationally and building links to health sector struggles everywhere. Maybe down the road we may see international federations of radical health sector workers formed and with the rise of far right politics globally, together with resurgence of nationalism, all of our collective efforts to organise are becoming more crucial.


Categories: Class Struggle, IWW

Maraudage dans le secteur de la santé ou la dérive d’un corporatisme toxique

Montreal IWW - Mon, 02/13/2017 - 03:00
Dans le maraudage se trouve la manifestation d’une autre pratique désolante : la compétition intersyndicale. Dans ce contexte, nous assistons possiblement à l’expression la plus hideuse de la dérive corporatiste des centrales syndicales québécoises, ne serait-ce que parce qu’on peut facilement faire un parallèle avec le secteur privé où diverses entreprises compétitrices se disputent le même marché, plutôt que de mettre énergie et ressources au service de la défense des intérêts des membres.
Categories: IWW

Taller de derechos laborales para trabajadores/as migrantes y refugiados/as

Bristol IWW - Thu, 02/09/2017 - 03:41

El sindicato de base y desde abajo IWW de Bristol tendrá un taller de introducción a derechos laborales en GB para migrantes y refugiad*s.

¿Cuándo? El sábado 25 de febrero de las 10.30 a las 12.30.

¿Dónde? En The Station, Silver Street (en el centro).

¿Quién puede acudir? Migrantes y refugiad*s de cualquier origen.

¿De qué hablaremos? De derechos fundamentales en el lugar de trabajo, como: tipos de contratos y trabajadores, salario mínimo, como hacer una reclamación y/o organizarse con colegas si hay problemas…

El idioma principal será el inglés. Info en el folleto

¡Os esperamos!

Categories: IWW

Les travailleurs et travailleuses des milieux associatifs en éducation se syndiquent avec les IWW

Montreal IWW - Wed, 02/08/2017 - 05:02
COMMUNIQUÉ DE PRESSE – Pour diffusion immédiate – Montréal, 8 février 2017 – Les employé-e-s des milieux associatifs en éducation, provenant d’associations étudiantes, de cafés étudiants, de coopératives étudiantes et de syndicats d’enseignement, forment un nouveau regroupement syndical au sein du Syndicat industriel des travailleurs et travailleuses (SITT-IWW). C’est dans l’objectif de contrer la précarisation…Lire la suite Les travailleurs et travailleuses des milieux associatifs en éducation se syndiquent avec les IWW
Categories: IWW

Tanné-e-s d’être précaires

Montreal IWW - Tue, 02/07/2017 - 13:32
Les membres des différentes associations étudiantes, un peu partout à travers la province, sont relativement habitué-e-s de se faire rappeler qu’il faut constamment lutter pour améliorer leurs conditions de vie et d’étude. Par contre, le mouvement étudiant, bien que souvent solidaire avec ce genre de revendications, ne s’est que très peu souvent engagé concrètement dans…Lire la suite Tanné-e-s d’être précaires
Categories: IWW

IWW Statement Against Trump's Muslim Ban

IWW - Mon, 02/06/2017 - 16:51

The IWW is a union for all workers. We oppose all forms of discrimination. Therefore, we stand firmly against Trump's recent travel ban targeting Muslims. This step towards official discrimination is an attack on all of us.

The IWW stands for organizing and building power for the most vulnerable workers, including all low-wage workers and immigrants. We are heartened to see the massive resistance that sprang up immediately after the order, with people showing their outrage at airports across the country. We are particularly excited by the New York City taxi workers who stopped service at JFK airport, and the airline workers who refused to comply with the ban. There is a palpable feeling that all decent people understand that we need to stand together on this until every non-citizen is allowed entry into the country without fear of reprisal or repercussion.

read more

Categories: IWW

Bristol IWW February meeting on Thursday 9 February

Bristol IWW - Sat, 02/04/2017 - 04:22

Well well well, January is already over…!! And it’s time for our next meeting already!

This one will be as usual at Hydra in 34 Old Market, starting at 7.30pm.

Everyone welcome, people who are not members YET as well, between 7.30 – 8.30pm.

Internal discussion and voting will be from 8.30 – 9pm, and that will be open to members only

For existing members only: our agenda will be on our Loomio group in the next few days.

You can join here, as always:

See you soon!

Categories: IWW

Labor under Trump series

Recomposition - Wed, 02/01/2017 - 10:38

In case you missed it, over the past month or so we have run a series about the possible implications of the Republican majorities in every branch of government with President Trump at it’s helm. The first piece from Brandon Sowers explored the calls for a general strike against Trump. Mark Brenner wrote a piece for Labor Notes which we republished sketching the threats and some potential response from the perspective of the main stream labor movement. S Nicholas Nappalos explores the low point that labor has found itself in, and called for a politicized revolutionary unionism as key in responding to the looming threats. For our last piece we shared David Fernandez-Barriel’s argument that the untapped potential of a radical labor movement could prove key in resisting Trump’s agenda. We hope you enjoy them, discuss them with your comrades and coworkers, and keep Recomposition in your thoughts and actions.

Categories: Class Struggle, IWW

Montana Wobblies, Antifa Out-Organize Nazis

IWW - Mon, 01/30/2017 - 12:20

Re-posted from Its Going Down

read more

Categories: IWW

Lettre de l’éditrice sortante de l’Industrial Worker

Montreal IWW - Mon, 01/30/2017 - 04:00
Après 8ans de loyaux service au poste d'éditrice du journal l'Industrial Worker (IW), la fellow worker Diane Krauthamer décida à l'automne 2016 de ne pas se représenter et de laisser la place à quelqu'un.e d'autre. Nous vous retranscrivons ici la lettre qu'elle a fait paraitre dans la dernière édition de l'IW et la remercions chaleureusement pour tout ce qu'elle à fait.
Categories: IWW

Bristol IWW Workshop for Workers of Migrant & Refugee background

Bristol IWW - Sun, 01/29/2017 - 09:08

Bristol IWW will be holding a



AT THE STATION, SILVER STREET, BS1 2AG (Triangle Room, 1st floor)

The workshop will consist of 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 your colleagues. We will be talking about things like types of contracts, pay and national minimum wage, discrimination, how to submit a grievance. You will also have a chance to ask questions.

This workshop is open to anyone from a migrant/refugee background and will be in collaboration with the migrant initiative “One Day Without Us”, which will be taking place on Monday 20th February across the UK. For information on the Bristol event, check their Facebook event.



Categories: IWW

Student Organizer Training | Feb 18-19th 2017

Providence IWW - Sun, 01/29/2017 - 06:37


IWW Student Organizer Training Pilot*
Date: Sat-Sun Feb 18-19th 11:00-5pm
Location: IWW Union Hall, 375 Smith Street, Providence RI 02908

Come learn the basic skills needed to start building power with your classmates at your school and in your communities! We will be hosting our student organizer training during the weekend of February 18th and 19th from 11-5PM.

The training is FREE and will include presentations, role-plays, and group brainstorm sessions concerning all the fundamentals of campus organizing, including mapping out your school, recruiting others through one-on-ones, planning a campaign, and taking direct action.

This training is open to both high-school and college students.

Food and refreshments will be provided.

If you are planning on attending, please fill out the fields below to register. Gathering this information will help us better plan for the training ie. ordering the appropriate amount of food, printing supplies, etc. Although we recognize that students have busy schedules, we encourage participants to commit to the two days of the training because the content covered on the first day will be built upon on the second.

We will contact you with more detailed information about the training upon registration.

If you are planning on attending, please register at the following link: Gathering this information will help us better plan for the training ie. ordering the appropriate amount of food, printing supplies, etc.

*This training will be run as a pilot session in order to better refine and improve the contents. We are looking for feedback and want to know how we can improve the training.

Categories: IWW

Is HostGator A Reliable Web Hosting Company?

Whole Foods Workers Unite - Fri, 01/27/2017 - 03:43

Whether you are a website developer, a journal site proprietor, or an e-commerce bourgeois you leave poverty a web hosting company to fastness your situation up and travel in the domain deep web.

But choosing the finest one can be a thing of great ache as there are abundance of companies that supply such services out there. If you opt the dishonorable one then your website leave hurt greatly from this slip. Yield a succeeded yet and you module be gifted with a palmy speculate in the cyberspace.

HostGator Coupon 2017 Web Hosting Services is one much companion that offers solutions to your web hosting needs. Why can you put your certainty in HostGator? Scam artists in the web are so numerous so what is the collateral that this circle is not one of them?
The HostGator rig is out of the topic

Estimate stacked on execution and reliability. HostGator is a web hosting circle which is supported in Texas, USA. It was planted in 2002 to ply place hosting, reseller hosting, and devoted servers to anyone in the class requiring these services.

On this HostGator rig retrospect we hit observed that today, the lot is a top-ranking fireman relative to over two 1000000 mitigated and grateful clients who transmit to it for their hosting demands. Their computer base born is a collection of companies as asymptomatic as somebody personalities who exact exclusive the physiologist web hosting services which is ably provided by HostGator Coupon 99 Cent.

Why prefer HostGator? Because they possess been around for over miner geezer hood in an manufacture high of upstarts and spammers. Why seek doing performing with a fellowship that lacks the change and proven bar record of reliability that they offers?

The more than two cardinal mitigated customers of Gator is concrete grounds that Crocodile is the champion web hosting society for you.
Superior up experience rate substance much line for you!

Few companies can disturb the 99.9% up second from the trustworthy computer of HostGator. Scam offers in the cyberspace publicize an up reading of 100% but don’t you get fooled by this. In fact specified a seemingly enticing up time is one of the easiest construction by which you can name companies that are exclusive out to get your money. If a complement says its up-time is 100%, apace travel departed as much an up-time is unfeasible because all sites will participate several downtime in the future.

And why is an up-time historic to you as a customer? Because you don’t deprivation your computer to be bogged mastered oft as much downtime gift stingy losses to you in position of revenues and unrecoverable opportunities. You don’t want to mean visitors absent because your site is e’er downfield. And that is why you requirement HostGator. Cheat or bad services and added competitors can only hope spell HostGator truly delivers.

Ease not impressed? Cured the complement offers to refund your defrayal for 45 life if it fails to break you a 99.9% up-time. The web hosting reserves gift not pay much a plight if it is not capable roughly its caliber of skillfulness.
Many hardware and larger bandwidth

Internet sites are effort many and statesman complicated these days as Net users enjoin piping caliber video and rottenness table to get them affixed to your tract and to piss them reaching hindmost for statesman.

The job with new web hosting companies is that their stock limits specified place strict list from being uploaded to your computer.

Not so with Hostgator. It has endowed much money to supply itself with decent store expanse and bandwidth to hold your most hard parcel requirements. Not only does this allow you to attract many visitors finished your fanciful audio and recording placements but additionally your situation instrument not be prone to lagging when your place experiences richly traffic.

HostGator has premeditated promos and bundles to meet your most demanding demands at prices that will surely tidy you smiling.

Moreover, HostGator provides infinite MySQL to cater to your approaching expansion requirements.
HostGator cheat review net thought

So why choose HostGator? Scam companies gift literally rob you of your money, otherwise competitors just cannot deal proven itinerary enter of execution and reliability. HostGator cheat inspect believe that this web hosting company can relinquish you the promo aggregation when you are search for a web hosting friendship.

Categories: IWW

Labor under Trump part 4: Time to wake up

Recomposition - Thu, 01/26/2017 - 10:30

The mood and discussions of late have largely been doom and gloom. Our series has tried to shine a light on some hope for workers resistance to counter the demobilize barrage of social and anti-social media. Our final piece in the Labor under Trump series comes from Ideas and Action the online publication of the Workers Solidarity Alliance. David Fernández-Barrial argues that there is an untapped potential within workplaces to defeat the threats looming, and take us closer to a just and equitable society.

American Labor Isn’t Dead – But Definitely Needs to Wake Up By David Fernández-Barrial  

At the dawn of the Trump era, Labor is a sleeping giant with the ability to unite diverse swaths of American society and ultimately transform it.

For many years now, a widespread cry has been raised of the imminent death of American Labor; of the end of working people as a living force in the life of the United States. We hear that the workers’ movement is currently is in its last painful death throes – irrelevant, dying, lonely and forgotten by a technologically rapacious consumerist society that has moved past Labor as a social force and relegated it to a long forgotten past.

This cry has come from many different quarters[1], including from parts of the labor movement itself, where there still lingers a strange nostalgia for a time of now- mythologized struggles. It also comes from many activist circles, who for many reasons, have fractionalized into specific issues and have removed themselves from the day-to-day concerns of regular working people, of what motivates people in our society. In adopting vanguardist positions, many have left the mass of people behind, looking at the plight of the oppressed  and the real desires of working people with a sneer – as a means to an end – in a similar vein to Evangelical Christians who embrace Jewish culture, not as worthy in itself, but as a means to initiating the “End of Days”.

And it comes from within many unions themselves, where anti-democratic tendencies have taken root on one hand, and where members do not actively engage and work to solve problems on the other.

Most pervasively of all, this death cry comes from our so-called mainstream media, where working people are constantly bombarded with messages of the futility of any sort of identity or action that is not tied to their role as active consumers in a capitalist order. Working people are not encouraged to see the basic unity of their circumstances – whether they be in the workplace, unemployed, or even retired – and instead are drawn into any number of subcultures which ultimately drain energy and purpose, and which mask the nature of our social relationship.

And now with the improbable ascent of Donald Trump to the Presidency of the United States, the prediction of the death of Labor is being hammered in, to the delight of conservatives and anti-worker rights advocates – that his “Republican-on-Steroids” administration will deal the final death blow to organized labor. The signs are all there; from a new House labor committee chair who openly questions the need for unions[2] to the use of legislative maneuvering to erase rights of public sector workers [3] – further dividing working people with the expressed intention of establishing a (doublespeak) “Right-to-Work” regime across America, rolling back basic worker protections.[4]

Donald Trump – the cry continues today – is the death knell for unions and the rights of working people.

Unions are dead, they say; the American Labor Movement is dead.

And despite this now widespread sentiment, there ironically has never been a time that unions were more needed. And not just as some calculated method to keep the “Middle Class” afloat, as some Democrats tout it – but because of the intrinsic social and economic bonds and unity of purpose that unions contain and which transform not just labor relations, but our society a whole.

That American Labor – and the Labor Movement in the United States – has in various ways been lulled into an extended torpor of complacency and division is not in doubt. But as a force, it has never really ceased to exist; it can never really cease to exist as long as we live on the planet. In fact, it isn’t terminally ill so much as dormant – asleep to its own strength as well as to its own necessity. Of the need for people to produce, create, develop, and evolve through endeavor;  as contrasted with mindlessly buying, consuming, ingesting, throwing away and buying some more that characterizes where we currently are.

Across our land, most people work; they have jobs and are meaningfully employed – and more importantly needjobs to earn a living and to survive. Working people – those that rely on an exchange of labor – that is, the vast majority of people in this country, need a way to have their real needs addressed and not be bullied, cajoled and threatened into unfair situations that hierarchical relationships engender. The very context that unions of workers provide – and will always provide.

Nevertheless, our unions have entered a deep sleep. To label this sleep a result of pure apathy on the part of working people is too simplistic and gives the lie to the people who would destroy unions and who benefit from that destruction. Many factors have led Labor to this crossroads, and it is not all rooted in the past, but in the very way unions are understood.

One factor is the pernicious illusion among people in a workplace that a union is somehow “The Union” – namely, that it is an organization outside of each member, an institution where people turn their troubles over to someone else and where they are solved. An external workplace office that deals with services and disputes in a workplace. In many places, this is self-fulfilling consciousness. In reality, unions are a direct expression of the concerns of the workforce because they are the workforce itself. The union is the collective voice of the workforce, which gains its strength through that combination. Whether it be health and safety concerns, grievances, creating a real communication among members, unions gain their power by the fact that people band together – that individuals unite – work together to find solutions and have a voice and a strength through participation. The most successful unions are those where each member understands and exercises their autonomous power, instead of a place where people “turn their problems over to Jesus.” Salvation comes from each, not from on high.

A second factor which evolves from the first – and one which gets constant play from anti-union activists – is the petrification of many union structures. With less active participation in the union, there arises slowed responses to management threats and a lack of democratic and transparent processes by union leaders. With their own hierarchies, self-censorship takes hold, and the workers in an organization begin to the mirror the very approaches of management, which only builds distrust among the rank-and-file.

People in many workplaces notice and complain about these two facets of the union challenge; conspicuously, though, they do not get involved. Members and non-members alike complain, and very few actually, actively get involved to further the conversation in each workplace around the country. The work of the union is perceived as something other than the work of the members and of the organizations in which they exist, and few are willing to engage in what becomes thankless work.

With the lack of participation and through petrification, the union conversation in America quickly turns into one of abstractions and platitudes, instead of specific work contexts.

In this crisis of engagement and action for organized unions, people – especially in the labor activist circles – talk of harnessing radical ideas and methods of Labor’s past, of infusing new blood. But, in effect, this infusion doesn’t end the torpor and raise the sleeping giant. It comes across as hollow and insincere. Like that of the Republicans in the United States, who starting, in 2008, who talked about reaching out to people of color, Gay and Lesbians, and Hispanic immigrants and who want to develop a strategy to make black people feel more comfortable in their political party[5]; but nowhere did they actually support policies or initiatives that people of color actually care about or believe in. Ideas are living actions, not medicines to be administered.

In fact, the very principles that American Labor needs right now – of federalism, of decentralization, of autogestion – that singularly beautiful Spanish word for workers’ self-management – of truly horizontal communication and decision making, these are living ideas that matter in the workplace and in our society and whose time has come, ironically enough, when pundits are calling for the end of organized labor. They are also ideas born in our collective history of American Labor and international Labor struggles and are not new – but they were ideas that we once so futuristic that people died so that those in positions of authority could ensure that they never lost their positions of privilege and power.

In the past, labor unions and federations once imported and exported ideas, the way we now export movies, computer software and soda and imports cheap manufactured goods created by exploited labor in China[6].  This is one thing that many disillusioned activists are right about: America used to export powerful ideals and examples of labor advocacy;  now it’s pop music, militarism, fast food, and soda.

Anyone who seriously considers workplaces in our country can see that American Labor is quite alive – breathing, heart pumping, feeling – but in its deep sleep, a world of dreams and fantasies, from which it needs to emerge for the good not just of American society, but of the world.  In order to rouse itself – to rouse those parts of ourselves, that have been so long asleep all we need is engagement.

If each person in every workplace reached out to their peers and communicated about work, this would change. From the most micro level, a social consciousness needs to return; a consciousness of union in its broadest sense. The relegation of work to something superficial or painful (“it’s just a job”) ignores how much of our life-breath is expended in day-to-day work and hides the relations that make work necessary in the first place. The accompanying silence about work – and the vast dearth of local work histories – helps fuel the ignorance and apathy across America.

But this isn’t limited to a workplace context alone.  Many of the critical societal issues that we are facing – inequality, racism, violence, hatred – have been somehow, somewhere carefully removed from the larger contexts where to comprehensively address them and resolve them. It’s not to say that this understanding is not recognized, simply that it does not exist in as many places as it should, becoming a source of division and weakness.

The unity of purpose among working people, the union context as properly realized, is the one area that unites broad swaths of our American Society. Despite the oft-cited divisions that this past election laid bare for many, the one factor that can bring people together is work. Not “the work of” but simply, work.

In many ways, the context which is pro-immigrant, pro-LGBTQ rights, pro-inclusivity, and at the same time anti-racist, anti-bigotry – already exists, lying dormant because the so many ignore the organic linkages that Labor provides. All one needs to do is look around, and the links to groups and camaraderie and solidarity are there, already in existence. But the consciousness of American Labor it has been lulled into a dangerous complacency that ultimately facilitates statism, authoritarianism, and despotism which has now given rise to a celebrity “culture” and a “Make America Great Again” fascism.

People who work, within various trades and as a mass of people that share a basic circumstance – of having to earn a living and be meaningfully employed or even be engaged with the economic world in retirement – and that is a facet that helps the process of rousing the sleeping giant. Not to be awakened to be used to some political end by desperate politicians or manipulated into some American Ponzi scheme – but to shake off the sleep, cast aside the lethargy and the bad dreams, and to begin to construct again, to build again, and to take pride in action.

And, yes, there is also that exceedingly rich legacy of the past, of hard-won battles which is lost to the mass of people; where people banded together in solidarity as sisters and brothers. CNN, Fox News, MSNBC would have us believe that the distant past is the Civil Rights Movement or the “Greatest Generation” of World War II – the last times of unity that mattered. When the reality is, the American Labor journey goes back a lot longer than those and continues to this day.

Besides engagement at the local level – at the workplace level, another piece that is needed is an ongoing reporting of events around the working world – including in the U.S. –  to help create an awareness among working people – something which exists, but in precious few outlets.[7] This helps working people build a consciousness of their own strength, across artificial national and ethnic boundaries.

Branching out from local workplaces, broad-based labor coalitions and federations of worker assemblies of all orientations need to come together that put aside organizational differences, so that ideas can again be the common currency. Whether based around specific issues before us in the Trump era – protection of immigrant communities, respect for different belief – local unions and their members need to reach out to sisters and brothers in their communities, in other unions, too. This is not to put aside all historical and ideological concerns – merely to invest energy in the structures that work: horizontal, non-hierarchial, truly democratic structures and relationships. To set aside all exclusory models, and to return to creating alliances to achieve a popular mass movement to defeat the Trump agenda – or whatever form the immediate and systematic attacks against self-determination and autonomy assume.  Despite the superficial differences and varieties of responses – that is, apart from those that are not authoritarian, statist, or oppressive  – there is room for conversations, dialogue, and joint actions.

At crucial moments, the American Labor movement of our distant past was a popular mass movement, where a huge variety of labor unions with logical affinities banded together under common banners[8]. Those varied voices of the past still call out, trying to drown out the siren call that would lead working people to setbacks and disasters by not reaching out to each other.

It’s a matter of shaking off the sleep, some cold water in the face, of moving the limbs, and stepping away from the bed into the world of activity. Unions can only be handed setbacks in sleep. But Labor – the concerns of working people as manifested in union activity and solidarity – will never really die. It may be handed some serious societal and global setbacks, but there has been a general march throughout human history that will not come to an end here or anywhere on the planet, as long as there are people determined to be free and who believe in equality and justice.  The names and terms will change perhaps, but the great constructive work of strengthening bonds, communicating, effecting positive change is ours to complete, We just need to wake up and see that we were already all right here, right next to each other all along,

David Fernández-Barrial is a federal librarian and union steward.

[1] Here are some notable examples: ;

[2] “The incoming chair of the congressional panel that oversees labor issues on Monday questioned the need for unions and said she wants to repeal various Obama administration labor policies. Organized labor has “sort of lost its reason for being” because of the many laws in place to protect workers, said Representative Virginia Foxx, a 73-year-old Republican from North Carolina who will become chair of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and the Workforce in January, in a telephone interview with Reuters.”



[5] Ultimately, it has been interesting to watch the Republican party in the U.S. recently shed this inclusive approach, and unite behind a candidate who used the opposite tack. Through divisiveness ironically took the prize they wanted.

[6] One almost constant feature of authoritarian Socialist regimes across the globe is the noticeable absence of free trade unions.

[7] One thing that our publication  – Ideas and Action ( )  – has done in the past, and will be focusing on in forthcoming issues – will be just that. To provide coverage on ongoing worker challenges that are being faced in the United States, as well as abroad, to show that links that already exist and which must be strengthened. A broad-based consciousness of unions and of the role of working people is necessary and ultimately results in the ripening of ideas into transformative action.

[8] The demand for Eight-Hour Day and for the end of child labor are notable examples.

Categories: Class Struggle, IWW


Montreal IWW - Thu, 01/26/2017 - 05:00
Vendredi 20 janvier et samedi 21 janvier, il y a eu de nombreuses manifestations anti-trump et anti-capitaliste. Lors de celle qui passait par l’université de Whashington à Seattle, pour contrer et empêcher un discours pro-trump du fasciste Milo Yiannopoulos (suprémaciste blanc), un membre des IWW (confédération syndicaliste révolutionnaire) a reçu une balle à bout portant.…Lire la suite UN MILITANT DES IWW BLESSÉ PAR BALLE D’UN COUP DE REVOLVER À SEATTLE
Categories: IWW

Shooter of unarmed anti-racist walks free; authorities silent

IWW - Wed, 01/25/2017 - 21:27

From the Twin Cities GDC

Victim still in Harborview Hospital; Shooter is well-known right wing gun activist.

SEATTLE, WA, January 25, 2017 — Social media activists claim to have identified the person who shot an anti-racist organizer on the University of Washington’s Seattle (UW-Seattle) campus on Friday, January 20, 2017, as a well-known right-wing gun activist attending white nationalist Milo Yiannopoulos’ event with his wife, also a gun activist. Although the shooter shot a person in a protest situation, University of Washington Police have refused to make an arrest, and released the shooter and the person who accompanied them to turn themselves into the police early Saturday morning. King County prosecutor Dan Satterberg has not indicated any plan to pursue prosecution. Local politicians have remained ominously quiet.

read more

Categories: IWW

Grèves contre l’investiture de Trump!

Montreal IWW - Mon, 01/23/2017 - 09:46
Si la multitude de memes et de parodies de la vidéo du leader suprématiste blanc Richard Spencer, se faisant frapper au visage, aurait à elle seule suffit à justifier toute la mobilisation entourant le fameux #J20 de l'investiture de Donald Trump, l'équipe du Combat Syndical, fidèle à son sérieux révolutionnaire tient néanmoins à vous présenter quelques-unes des grèves qui marquèrent cette journée nationale de contestation.
Categories: IWW

Fellow Worker and GDC Member Shot at anti-fascist protest in Seattle

IWW - Sun, 01/22/2017 - 00:31

Click here to go to the official IWW General Defense Committee fundraiser for this fellow worker. 


(UPDATE 1/23/2017: A revised press release correcting minor errors is linked at the bottom of this page.)

On the evening of Friday, January 20th, a comrade of ours was shot in the stomach in the most public place on the University of Washington’s campus in Seattle – a place called “Red Square” for the color of its bricks rather than its politics.

This Fellow Worker (what members of the IWW call ourselves) and Defender (for GDC members) is a longtime anti-fascist and dedicated activist, a member of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) and the General Defense Committee of the IWW. He’s currently in critical condition at Harborview Hospital in Seattle. They have a Level One Trauma center, so it’s likely he is receiving the best quality care available, for which we are deeply grateful.

How do we respond? We are building an expanded anti-authoritarian, anti-capitalist, anti-racist, anti-sexist, and anti-fascist presence in Seattle, and this person was spearheading that effort. Are others willing step up and replace his effort while he heals? Our response will help determine that.

There is a limited amount of time for us to make clear to the world what is clear to us: we are under armed attack. The fascist right knows where to find us – protests such as anti-Donald Trump events, or actions against police brutality. In the Twin Cities, the trial has just begun of Allen Scarsella, one of the white supremacists who came to the Fourth Precinct in Minneapolis in November, 2015 and opened fire, shooting multiple people.

We don’t have confirmation that the person who shot our comrade was a counter-protester angry at those protesting Milo’s hateful white nationalist misogyny. We do know that he turned himself into the police several hours later, claiming ‘self-defense.’ This, of course, is exactly what Scarsella did as well.

Our friend will have enormous hospital bills and undoubtedly some legal costs as well. There will be a significant loss of income. Let’s raise him so much that he won’t have to worry about that angle of things. Please give. All money will be controlled directly by them and their partner; none will go to any other cause, excepting any fees associated with the fundraising service used.

Click here to go to the official IWW General Defense Committee fundraiser for this fellow worker.

read more

Categories: IWW