Storytelling on the Road to Socialism: Episode 5: Fisher People Speak

Individuals, Society and Nature

By Leonard Mortensen - IWW Environmental Union Caucus, April 12, 2023

Anarchist, social ecological and ecomarxist theories and analyzes have always been interested in explaining the nexus between humans, society and nature and how it is composed to mutually strengthen and survive. The anarchist theorist Kropotkin has written in his work Mutual Aid how many animal species, including the human species, depend on helping each other to survive as a species. Many animal species have better chances of survival through mutual help, have zoological documents, which Kropotkin has just pointed out. And how is this to be understood in an ecological and social perspective for humanity? Here are some classic bids with a new twist.

Storytelling on the Road to Socialism: Episode 4: A Coal Miner Speaks

Urban Ore Ore Workers Win Union Certification Election With IWW

By Comms Officer - Bay Area IWW, April 10, 2023

Urban Ore workers join IWW to build more sustainable working conditions as business booms.

(Berkeley, CA, April 7, 2023) Workers at Urban Ore, a 3-acre salvage operation in Berkeley, have successfully won their organizing campaign with the Industrial Workers of the World's (IWW), San Francisco Bay Area Branch. The victory comes after more than a year of organizing and building solidarity within the workplace, community outreach and a delayed election, culminating in a successful union election on April 7, 2023.

"I'm incredibly proud of my coworkers and the hard work we ve done to reach this moment," said Receiving Department worker Benno Giammarinaro. "It's been a tiring year and a half of planning and supporting each other, but achieving union certification makes me excited to continue building a collective voice in our workplace." AJ Abrams, a worker in Urban Ore's General Store, is ready to carry the momentum of the election to the bargaining table. "The solidarity and resolve of our workforce as represented by these election results is definitely worth celebrating. But, we have a lot more work ahead in our efforts to bargain for a fair contract."

"I'm confident that we can make Urban Ore a more sustainable place for everyone. not just the owners. I am thrilled that we now have a seat at the bargaining table where the voices of the workers can finally be heard" said Receiving Department worker Sarah Mossier.

Workers began organizing amidst the COVlD-19 pandemic in a push to implement better safety and health protocols, win more stable wages and correct chronic understaffing. Since the onset of the pandemic, the company has experienced both unprecedented turnover and unprecedented profit.

Workers announced their union campaign on February 1, 2023 and have received overwhelming support from the community. Tati, one of the clothing specialists, attended a majority of the customer support days that took place after the vote was announced. "I loved talking with our patrons about what's going on at Urban Ore. Hearing their questions and doing my best to answer. One of the top questions was 'Isn't Urban re a co-op?'. No, not yet. But the union may help us finally make that transition after twenty years of talking about it!"

The victory at Urban Ore is another example of the power of worker solidarity and the strength of the labor movement in fighting back against corporate greed and exploitation. The IWW remains committed to supporting workers in their struggles for better working conditions, higher wages, and greater dignity on the job.

The workers of Urban Ore join a long tradition of labor organizing with the IWW, a union founded on the principles of industrial democracy and direct action. The IWW has a proud history of successful campaigns in industries ranging from agriculture to entertainment.

The victory at Urban Ore is another example of the power of worker solidarity and the strength of the labor movement in fighting back against corporate greed and exploitation. The IWW remains committed to supporting workers in their struggles for better working conditions, higher wages, and great dignity on the job.

Editorial: The Jevons Paradox Myth

By x344543 - IWW Environmental Union Caucus, April 6, 2023

As the climate crises deepens and the push to decarbonize the world's energy systems intensifies, a chorus of skeptical and pessimistic voices continually warns against placing hope in renewable energy as a solution (whether partial or wholly), arguing instead for vastly reducing energy consumption (as well as everything else). One of the most commonly invoked pieces of putative evidence made to bolster the argument is the oft cited, but poorly understood concept known as "Jevon's Paradox" (see also Wikipedia for a quick reference).

For example, in an article featured on the degrowth blog, Resilience (run by degrowth advocate Richard Heinberg), "Resources for a better future: Jevons Paradox", author Sam Bliss declares:

In 1865, (English economist William Stanley) Jevons found that as each new steam engine design made the use of coal more efficient, Britain used more coal overall, not less.

These efficiency improvements made coal cheaper, because steam engines, including the ones used to pump water out of coal mines, required less coal to produce a given amount of useful energy. Yet increasingly efficient steam engines made coal more valuable too, since so much useful energy could be produced from a given amount of coal.

That might be the real paradox: the ability to use a resource more efficiently makes it both cheaper and more valuable at the same time.

In Jevons’ time, more and more coal became profitable to extract as more and more uses of coal became profitable. Incomes increased as coal-fired industrial capitalism took off, and profits were continually invested to expand production further.
A century and a half later, researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that as industrial processes have gotten more efficient at using dozens of different materials and energy sources, the overall use of these materials and energy sources has grown in nearly every case. The few exceptions are almost all materials whose use has been limited or banned for reasons of toxicity, like asbestos and mercury.

In an economy designed to grow, the Jevons paradox is all but inevitable. Some call it the Jevons phenomenon because of its ubiquity. Purposefully limiting ourselves might provide a way out.

This is by no means the only such example, nor is it even necessarily the most illustrative one, but it perfectly summarizes the all too often careless application of what is an overused and debatable trope.

There are several problems with Jevon’s Paradox and the way in which Bliss presents it:

Chapter 11 : I Knew Nothin’ Till I Met Judi

By Steve Ongerth - From the book, Redwood Uprising: Book 1

Download a free PDF version of this chapter.

Now there’s one thing she really did for me, (did for me),
Was teach me all ‘bout labor history, (history)
So now I can relate to the workin’ slob, (workin’ slob),
Even though I never had a job.

—Lyrics excerpted from “I Knew Nothin’ Till I Met Judi”, by Darryl Cherney, ca. 1990.

Judi Bari (ne Barisciano), the second of three daughters, was born on November 7, 1949 in a working class neighborhood in a suburb of Baltimore, Maryland, where most of the nearby families were employed in the local steel mills. Bari’s mother Ruth, however, had made history by earning the first PhD ever awarded to a woman studying mathematics at Johns Hopkins University. Bari’s father, Arthur, was a diamond setter, and from him, Bari developed extremely steady hands, which later became a boon to her considerable artistic skills. Bari’s older sister, none other than Gina Kolata, became a famous science writer for the New York Times and Science (although many Earth First!ers, including Bari herself, would argue that Bari’s older sister’s “science” is distorted by corporate lenses), while her younger sister, Martha, was, by Bari’s description, “a perpetual student”. Judi Bari’s upbringing may have been “Middle Class” by most definitions, but her parents, survivors of the McCarthy era in the 1950s, passed on their closet radicalism to their receptive middle daughter, including teaching Bari old IWW songs (and admonishing Bari not to reveal her source) and lecturing all of their daughters against racial and ethnic prejudice. From the get-go, Bari had radical roots.[1]

Judi Bari, in spite of her background as a “red diaper baby”, became politically radicalized on her own accord, having at first been apolitical, even into her first years at the University of Maryland, choosing at first to follow the high school football team, even seeking dates from some of the players as her primary social activity. However, Bari soon became disillusioned with the sexist and racist culture of high school football, having been told not to date an African American player by some of the white ones, who threatened to ostracize her socially if she did. Bari gave in to this threat, an act she later regretted, though this was her first and only capitulation to the status quo. From that point onward, Bari grew increasingly radical. [2]

Storytelling on the Road to Socialism: Episode 2: Forest Defenders Speak

Storytelling on the Road to Socialism: Episode 1: A Storyteller Speaks

By Candace Wolf - Storytelling on the Road to Socialism, April 4, 2023

Candace Wolf reflects on her storytelling craft and her experiences collecting spoken histories

Music:

  • The Internationale - Workers Party of Jamaica In-House Raggae Group
  • Socialism is Better - Words & music by Bruce Wolf; performed by Bruce Wolf, Noah Wolf, Gaby Gignoux-Wolfsohn

Storytelling on the Road to Socialism: Episode 3: A Bicycle Repairman Speaks

By Candace Wolf - Storytelling on the Road to Socialism, April 4, 2023

On this episode, a bicycle repairman in Los Angeles talks about seeking alternatives to the fossil-fuel-powered transportation system

Music:

  • The Internationale - Workers Party of Jamaixca In-House Raggae Group
  • Bycicle Race - by Queen
  • Socialism is Better - Words & music by Bruce Wolf; performed by Bruce Wolf, Noah Wolf, Gaby Gagnoux-Wolfsohn

The first signs of an ecological class struggle in Germany

By Franziska Heinisch and Julia Kaiser - Progressive International, March 31, 2023

On 3 March 2023, on the occasion of the global climate strike, a special political alliance took to the streets in Germany: side-by-side, climate activists and public transport workers went on strike. In at least 30 cities, climate activists visited workers’ pickets and brought them along for joint demonstrations. According to Fridays for Future, a total of 200,000 people participated in the nation-wide protests.

The way employers reacted showed that this alliance of workers and climate activists is a potential threat to the ruling class. Steffen Kampeter, CEO of the Confederation of German Employers (BDA), publicly denounced them on the morning of the joint strike day as “a dangerous crossing of the line”. He said that the German service union ver.di was blurring the lines between strikes for collective bargaining and general political concerns, thereby entering the terrain of political strikes. To the delight of campaigners, this accusation contributed to the fact that the joint strike dominated the news that day.

This unity between the labour and climate movement was long overdue: a wider and more affordable public transport system is one of the central measures to achieve socially just climate protection. However, the mobility transition in Germany has so far been made impossible: many employees in local transport work in shifts under terrible conditions and barely make ends meet — with salaries just above the minimum wage. Many therefore decide to quit their jobs. There is already a shortage of tens of thousands of drivers. And this problem will only get worse in the coming years. At the same time, ticket prices are rising steadily and the passenger transport systems, especially in rural areas, are thinned out.

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