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"Class Power on Zero-Hours" by Angry Workers

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AngryWorkersWorld
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Sep 15 2020 07:28
R Totale wrote:
That is a big question. My rough answer would go something like, political organisations are only worthwhile or meaningful if they're in some way reflective of a wider mood, or culture or consciousness or whatever, so you can't have an FAI without a CNT, or a Potere Operaio/Lotta Continua without a hot autumn if that's your preferred reference point.

My question was simpler, not in the sense of why is there no mass organisation, but why does it seem difficult to get even 40 to 50 comrades together for a committed collaboration. People split their engagement into 'useful practical things' and the Labour Party or antifa and Marx reading group - but rarely try to form a political collective in the sense of unity of analysis and practice.

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Red Marriott
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Sep 15 2020 10:48
AWW wrote:
Our main question to people on forums such as this one is how comrades think that we can re-build a revolutionary working class organisation - or if people see no need for this. Why does it seem so difficult to create political collectives or commitment if it is not mediated by some delusion of a historical mission or vanguardist duty?

Surely an organisation that would define itself as "revolutionary" would be "mediated" to some extent by the goal of "a historical mission"?

asn
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Sep 15 2020 11:24

"People split their engagement into 'useful practical things' and the Labour Party or antifa and Marx reading group - but rarely try to form a political collective in the sense of unity of analysis and practice."

I'm not for your political collective stuff. However in regard to your point - you need to look at the sect phenomena - people joining various 'formally' socialist/single issue groups due to middle class leftist oppression mongering and the influence of identity politics, to get over the alienation of bourgeois society, looking for excuses for social occasions, having unwholesome fun participating in group's micro bureaucracies, developing 'safe spaces policies', and rituals etc in the context of low morale and a low level of industrial action in the workers movement. They don't tell you all this but this is likely to be their hidden agendas.
In the case of the IWW here in Australia in the early 20th Century, you had the Chicago and Detroit IWW's. The latter connected with the Socialist Labour Party. The Detroit IWW would fit into this sect phenomena - they focused on the Marx reading group style stuff you mention, putting out abstract propaganda, 'preaching' for socialism at the Domains or speakers corners on Sunday afternoons etc. A sort of socialist micro pseudo church. It had no impact regarding getting workers direct action going or workers control directed activity at this time. In contrast the Chicago line IWW was as we know was heavily involved in promoting direct action, job control, shop committees, anti-militarism, opposing to WWI, etc and faced massive repression during WWI. The Detroit line IWW was left alone by the repressive forces of the State. However around the end of WWI the Detroit line IWW which had not been molested by the State - started to get heavily involved in workers control directed activity - they became heavily involved in the workers control/boards of control movement in the meat industry in Qld and SA and the union. This change must be seen in the context of the revolutionary wave associated with the Russian Revolution and a host of other attempted revolutions/uprisings, strike waves of this time raising the morale of the workers in the Detroit line IWW.

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R Totale
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Sep 15 2020 14:44
Hieronymous wrote:
Here's what McAlevey has to say:

No Shortcuts wrote:
The process of building a majority and testing its commitment level also allows a far more systematic method of assessing which ordinary people have preexisting leadership within the various structures, a method called leadership identification. These informal leaders, whom I will call organic leaders, seldom self- identify as leaders and rarely have any official titles, but they are identifiable by their natural influence with their peers. Knowing how to recognize them makes decisions about whom to prioritize for leadership development far more effective. Developing their leadership skill set is more fruitful than training random volunteers, because these organic leaders start with a base of followers. They are the key to scale.

So who to trust? Those who you know with 100% certainty will have your back. And if you don't know who those people at your workplace are, it's your responsibility to go find them...

My trusted two fellow workers were what McAlevey calls "organic leaders." They didn't wear their politics on their sleeves, but everyone knew they could be trusted. But when dealing with a workforce like in the Chicago's Teachers' Union (CTU) the, point about "leadership identification" becomes even more urgent.

Oh yeah, I appreciate all that, I was thinking more of the critiques that AWW made, which are (and this is just me summarising from memory, so apologies if my summary is stupider than their actual points): 1) that the position of "organic leader" isn't something that just gets sprinkled through the workforce randomly, but will often intersect, for want of a better word, with the various hierarchies that structure that workforce, whether those are by race/ethnicity, gender, sexuality, ability, nationality, caste or whatever else, and 2) that a halfway sensible and competent employer - which I appreciate is not guaranteed - will also be carrying out their own processes of leadership identification and leadership development in order to win organic leaders, and so their followers, over to their side. None of which is to say that we shouldn't care about those workers who have some level of trust and influence within the workforce, but I think it does all complicate things somewhat. And it does make me think again that we need a better collective theory around supervisors and team leaders.

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R Totale
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Sep 15 2020 14:51
AngryWorkersWorld wrote:
My question was simpler, not in the sense of why is there no mass organisation, but why does it seem difficult to get even 40 to 50 comrades together for a committed collaboration. People split their engagement into 'useful practical things' and the Labour Party or antifa and Marx reading group - but rarely try to form a political collective in the sense of unity of analysis and practice.

Oh right, yeah, I don't have much in the way of a well-worked-out answer to that. I suppose that you do seem to ask for quite a high level of commitment, which I'm not saying is wrong, but is inevitably going to draw less numbers than just asking for people to pay dues and turn out to vote every five years or whatever. Also, perhaps an obvious point, but it is a bit of a crowded pond already, in that I imagine a lot of the people who share your analysis, think that a political organisation is important, and have some level of time and energy available for political work have probably already committed that time and energy to something like the ACG or SolFed or IWW or Plan C or AFed, or maybe even Acorn or Momentum or one of the trot groups.

ZJW
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Sep 21 2020 05:22

asn:

Quote:
There is a very interesting new book out which looks at the development of Maoism in the USA. It shows based on newly released FBI files -

What is the name of this book?

asn
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Joined: 2-01-07
Sep 21 2020 10:14

A Threat of the First Magnitude by Aaron J. Leonard and Conor Gallagher