Wisconsin protests: updates and discussion

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Samotnaf
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Feb 26 2011 19:38

Steven and my posts crossed, hence my

Quote:
- police are saying today that the occupation of the capitol ends today - Saturday night at 6p.m. for security reasons. we'll see if this generates some resistance or new arenas of struggle...or just passive acqiescence.

seems to have been superceded by this:

Quote:
“Police have just announced to the crowds inside the occupied State Capitol of Wisconsin: ‘We have been ordered by the legislature to kick you all out at 4:00 today. But we know what’s right from wrong. We will not be kicking anyone out, in fact, we will be sleeping here with you!’

Strange bedfellows...sleeping with the enemy or what?

Maybe the cops there have loads of friends and family who'll be effected by Scott Walker's moves...?

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Joseph Kay
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Feb 26 2011 19:42
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jesuithitsquad
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Feb 26 2011 19:58

lots of 'solidarity with wisconsin' signs at today's rally in indianapolis. probably around 3,000 on statehouse steps.

Kinglear
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Feb 27 2011 01:32
jesuithitsquad wrote:
lots of 'solidarity with wisconsin' signs at today's rally in indianapolis. probably around 3,000 on statehouse steps.

Lots of solidarity means we're finding our feet and feeling our power. Don't give it away to the Unions though. They're on the other side.

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Juan Conatz
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Feb 27 2011 04:25

Just got back from Madison. Word on the street was there was over 100,000 people there today, and that's police estimates. This was probably more than 10x the amount than when I was up there on Monday. Despite, this, personally, it was a lot more underwhelming than Monday. It was just a sea of liberal Democratic patriotic talk of the "middle class" and all that. No anarchist presence at all. Very little IWW presence, and what was there could not be differentiated from any other contingent, except for the one guy with the "General Strike Now" sign. ISO probably had the biggest red precense. Socialist Workers Party and RCP were also there in lesser amounts.

Police stopped letting people into the capitol building after 6pm. Supposedly at 4pm Sunday, every has to leave. Couldn't even get in today because the line was 45minutes-90minute wait and it was 20 something degrees out and snowing, wasn't gonna go through that...lol

Far from disrupting things there, if anything, these protests have injected what I imagine equals millions of dollars into the local economy through all the shops and restaurants surrounding the capitol. Special points awarded if there's a sign in the window indicating some level of support with the protesters, even if its slave wage labor chain bullshit like Quiznos...

Don't know how I feel about this situation right now. I don't really see any good coming out of it. Even if the bill is killed, nothing in the form of working class activity would have seemed to have been done at this point.

soyonstout
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Feb 27 2011 15:06

Unfortunately, what Juan describes reminds me a lot of what I've seen at the solidarity with Wisconsin workers rallies I attended on the East Coast, called by the unions or different "progressive" democrat groups, most of the signs I saw that weren't handed out by the unions were all about the Tea Party (one guy in a union that hasn't had a contract in a couple years was holding one saying "where's OUR contract"). There were Trots all around with cheerleading leaflets and one of my coworkers (who isn't a socialist, I don't think) took one of them, but the second rally was officially "To Save the American Dream."

I think this IS something that has made a lot of workers (and high schoolers and pensioners) want to do something to defend themselves and their class brothers, and was a serious class struggle, but I don't think it's been able to brake out of being manipulated by different parts of the ruling class for their faction-fight. It looks like the attempts to do that may be on the wane as well. I hope I'm wrong.

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Chilli Sauce
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Feb 27 2011 15:45

Not in the WSA (but respect them) and this came into my inbox today:

Quote:
WSA extends solidarity and our most sincere wishes for victory to the workers of Wisconsin in their current fight. And to all public sector workers now struggling against attacks on their pensions and their rights.

The rank-and-file workers have demonstrated the best aspects of the combative spirit of the working class, and may help ramp up the lagging spirit of solidarity in the American labor movement.

We also condemn the actions of top union officials to control and suppress the fighting spirit of the workers involved. The official’s desire to narrow the struggle has come at a time when
broadening the struggle is most needed. Instead of limiting the struggle to the public sector, it must be expanded to encompass the entire working class. Instead of accepting the concessionary demands of the state, it should be attacking the state’s corporate masters.

For many years those in power have tried to paint the term “class war” as dirty words. For the past 30 years the bosses assaulted workers in the private sector. Year after year, decade after decade workers have seen their jobs decimated, whole communities destroyed and union
bureaucrat after union bureaucrat surrendering to the boss class. After rendering most private sector industrial unions weak and almost useless, the assault now turns on to public sector workers. “Class war” can only be the way to describe wave after wave of attacks on
working people.

The class war being waged by the capitalists against working people is not limited to the public sector. The public sector is only the latest target. The politicians and their masters will not be satisfied until ALL working people are reduced to the level of indentured servants. We recognize that the fight in Wisconsin, and elsewhere, is a defensive fight. A fight to stave off the worst of the bosses attacks. We also recognize the potential of rank-and-file workers from different worksites, institutions, agencies and industries and services informally talking together, networking, building
worker-to-worker relationships, bonds and solidarity. These relations are key and cornerstones for building a fight-back. But rank-and-file workplace organization linking workplaces is also needed to carry the struggle forward and deepen the relationships. Whatever form these inter-workplace organizations may take, the key to enhancing our power is by making sure they are membership controlled and organized from the bottom up.

We call on all workers, public sector and private, to unite in solidarity and fight back against the politicians, the capitalists and union bureaucrats, to build a grassroots workers movement from below that demands nothing less than everything.

The fight will not end in Wisconsin. It's only the beginning.

Workers Solidarity Alliance (W.S.A.)

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Juan Conatz
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Feb 28 2011 01:27

Wobs are printing 15,000 of these for tomorrow
http://www.iww.org/sites/default/files/GSpamphlet.pdf

Poster from burntbookmobile on general strike
http://burntbookmobile.wordpress.com/2011/02/27/poster-general-strike-means-nobody-and-nothing-works/

Police said everyone had to go by 4PM, but around 700-1000 stayed, now:

Quote:
MotherJones Mother Jones
Police spox says ppl can stay overnight. No sleeping bags, air mattresses. Can't leave and reenter. Limited food avail #wiunion #wearewi
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Juan Conatz
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Feb 28 2011 03:54
Quote:
Could a general strike happen here? Experts say maybe

The confrontation between labor and politics at the Wisconsin Capitol was just starting as workers in Egypt who left their jobs and took to the streets toppled a government, and it wasn't long before activists in Madison began invoking the spirit of that uprising. "Fight like an Egyptian" emerged one cry as picket signs cheering the people's revolt half a world away were raised in protests on the Capitol Square.

Thousands have thronged the Capitol daily since large scale demonstrations began Feb. 14. Madison school teachers called in sick for several days to protest and on Feb. 21, the Madison-based South Central Federation of Labor took the unprecedented step of endorsing a general strike among its 45,000 members if Gov. Scott Walker's controversial budget repair bill is made law.

Could such a radical action get off the ground here?

Local labor leaders are careful to point out that no strikes have been called; the federation does not have the authority to call a strike and several union leaders stressed that job actions would be individual workers' decisions. But students of labor point to a confluence of circumstances in Madison with dramatic potential.

It is just possible, they say, that it could happen here.

General strikes have been very rare in the United States. Strikes widespread enough to interrupt general commerce date back to the Great Depression of the 1930s when longshoremen in San Francisco, autoworkers in Toledo, Ohio, and teamsters in Minneapolis touched off protests that helped establish industrial unions.

And while the labor struggle in Madison is unfolding in the context of budget deficits exacerbated by the severest economic downturn since the Depression, labor activists say the real conflict is over union power and partisan political influence.

It is dissatisfaction with the political system, not economic desperation, that sets the stage for a general strike, says Reza Rezazadeh, a professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville who has studied revolutionary strikes against repressive regimes in his native Iran and elsewhere. In the United States, he says, activists are challenging a political system that, despite freedom of the press and freedom of speech, is shaped by the influence of the economic elite and corporations.

Walker's challenge to union power is part of an established movement by the Republican Party to cripple unions, the most influential funding source for Democratic candidates and causes, say analysts of the showdown in Wisconsin. Aside from increasing contributions by employees for pension and health care costs, Walker's budget repair bill would also sharply restrict the power of most public unions to bargain with their employers. "It is viewed nationally and correctly as a decisive turning point for the future of labor nationally and for the Democratic Party more broadly," says Harley Shaiken, a labor expert and professor at the University of California-Berkeley.

Whether a general strike would be an effective tool for labor, local leaders will have to decide, Shaiken says. But the likely public reaction to any widespread job action would be an important consideration, and polls show a majority are opposed to stripping public workers of collective bargaining rights, he points out. A nationwide Gallup poll released last week found 61 percent of respondents opposed to an erosion of collective bargaining rights among public unions, and even a Wisconsin poll funded by the conservative-leaning Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity found 56 percent in favor of public unions' collective bargaining powers.

To mount a general strike, labor unions would have to take a more unified stance than is usual, with truck drivers and food service workers finding common cause with public sector workers, says Gene Carroll, director of the Union Leadership Institute at the New York City campus of Cornell University. To gain public support to allow it to be effective, an even more embracing class perspective would need to take shape, he says. "In Wisconsin, to the extent that people who are not in the public sector begin to understand that the designs of the government to break collective unions' bargaining rights are in fact an attack on the economic and political rights of anyone working for a living - the possibility of a general strike is conceivable."

On the other hand, a strike that does not win public support can be a public relations disaster, says Don Taylor, an assistant professor at the School for Workers at University of Wisconsin-Extension. But in Madison, where the battle over collective bargaining is centered, circumstances favor support for widespread job actions, he says.

Not only does the area have many public workers whose families have a direct interest in the issue, but it also has many other residents who are sticking up for their rights. "A lot of people not connected to the labor movement have a strong progressive outlook on issues of people's rights and social justice," Taylor says.

"Do I anticipate every worker in and out of a union would walk off the job? No. Could a strike be large enough to have significant leverage? Yes," he says.

Even the prospect of such an action might unnerve business leaders and other citizens, prompting them to call the governor's office and say "fix this thing," says Taylor.

The political standoff over workers' rights continues into a third week, but some of the urgency for labor unions locally has been relieved by the actions of their public employers. The Madison School District delayed until May the issuance of pink slips for teachers despite looming state funding cuts; the Madison City Council met in special session on Feb. 17 to approve outstanding labor contracts.

Nonetheless, David Poklinkoski, president of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 2304, says area labor is more united than it ever has been. Meetings of the Labor Federation -- which covers 97 labor organizations in six counties -- can be tense over competing interests, he says, but the vote to endorse a general strike was unanimous. "The breadth and depth of solidarity in the labor movement right now is unbelievable," says Poklinkoski, whose union represents employees of Madison Gas & Electric.

"We know the private sector is next," he says of efforts to strip workers' rights. "Local unions are trying to figure out what to do if the governor doesn't change his mind and work out a reasonable solution to this." That includes studying general strike actions of the past, as well as the budget repair bill's impacts beyond collective bargaining.

"The local union will not call a general strike - it would be each person's individual decision," he says.

Leaders of Local 60 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which includes many city of Madison and some non-teacher Madison Metropolitan School District employees, are asking their members to think about a general strike.

"We've been asking people to think about what they would do," says President Donald Coyier, so that if the union calls for a job action, they are ready.

Idling transportation is a key element of general strike efforts, Rezazadeh says, but there's no sense yet if that could happen in Madison. Teamsters Local 695, the union that represents Madison bus drivers, is not a member of the Labor Federation. Recording secretary Gene Gowey says union members are protesting and transporting other protesters to the Capitol Square, but as to a strike, he says his members are "attempting to address issues in a peaceful, law-abiding way."

The stakes are high for strikers. State law restricts strikes by public employees, but job actions in protest of proposed legislation might not be considered a "strike" under state law. Private sector workers might not be protected by federal law in general strikes not related to contract provisions or unfair labor practices, meaning that they could be fired.

Meanwhile, some Madison residents are beginning to meet and talk about how the community might respond to a general strike. One of them, union supporter Judith Zukerman-Kaufman, recalls how during a 1960s parent protest that kept Chicago schoolchildren out of classrooms, alternative schools were established. Creating similar set-ups to teach children about civil rights or labor history is one thing people are starting to talk about here, she says. "There are seeds of some ideas."

Madison teacher Susan Stern says that the focus of her union continues to be legal protest. "But people are starting to ask: ‘What if?'"

http://host.madison.com/ct/news/local/govt-and-politics/article_6e4ebcb8-422c-11e0-81c2-001cc4c002e0.html

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Juan Conatz
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Feb 28 2011 21:23

Police are not allowing anyone inside and windows have been bolted shut to apparently prevent people seeking food to people inside?
http://twitpic.com/44ssy1
http://twitpic.com/44stct

Live stream from Fox News
http://interactive.foxnews.com/livestream/live.html?chanId=1

Capitol Building Still Closed, Windows Welded Shut, Other Shenanigans
http://news.firedoglake.com/2011/02/28/capitol-building-still-closed-windows-welded-shut-other-shenanigans/

Quote:
Meanwhile, Capitol Police staff are welding the windows shut. The lack of access to the Capitol means that food and supplies cannot be sent in to those who remain. People inside can leave the Capitol building but not return, at least for the moment. So people had been passing food and other supplies through the windows. So according to multiple witnesses, the windows are being welded shut to break down the supply line. Attorneys for labor unions are collecting affidavits on this, as well as the illegal denial of access into a public building, which under the Wisconsin state constitution is prohibited. The victory of last night is turning into a very bitter one indeed.

From Twitter

Quote:
IWW_News Industrial Worker
Call 608 266-8797 and demand that protesters be let in to the capital. Please share widely!
Samotnaf
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Feb 28 2011 22:08

Cops for Labor!
So what happened to those speeches by cops in "solidarity"? Talk is cheap...

As for the

Quote:
Wobs are printing 15,000 of these for tomorrow
http://www.iww.org/sites/default/files/GSpamphlet.pdf

Distributing 15,000 sleeping pills might be better. It's just anarcho-leftist voluntarism as opposed to insurrectionist voluntarism (which is a bit better, imo).

Quote:
Without collective bargaining,
we have no legally-recognized way to influence
how we are treated at our jobs. Workers with ac-
cess to a union have an opportunity to make their
workplaces more democratic...Trade unions enable large groups of people a
powerful, unified voice, from the local and its of-
ficers, representatives, stewards, and negotiators
up to the level of a union

No mention of how the union has already agreed to accept all the health insurance and pension crap that Walker's demanded. As has already been mentioned. 100 years of the unions integration into the capitalist system never gets mentioned by the IWW - for good reason because, iirc, a section of the IWW agreed to a no strike deal a few years back. Anybody who wants things to go further in Madison and Wisconsin are going to have to take on the IWW as well as the other cops, I reckon. Or have I missed something here? (I admit, I've followed very little about the modern IWW, but it just seems like another obstacle, part of the spectacle of opposition, no integrity whatsoever).

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Juan Conatz
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Feb 28 2011 22:45

Yeah, I don't think you know what you're talking about in reference to the IWW. As I believe has been stated probably a million times in the last 10 years in which insurrectionary and left communism has been a little less marginal than usual, the IWW is NOT an anarchist organization nor a communist one. There is a variety of tendencies within the union and that is reflected by the contracts, tactics and propaganda that are produced at any given time in a given place.

If someone is looking for ideological purity in the IWW to align with their anarchist or communist viewpoints, you'd be better off being a rugged individual or joining a political organization. That's fine. I don't care if abstention from unpure organizations is something people feel is fine. But to turn that into claiming the Wobs are something that needs to be "taken on", well that is batshit forum posturing.

The Wobs are basically THE only libertarian group doing anything worth speaking of in Madison. Their dual carders pushed for the SCLF's endorsement of a general strike and they've basically provided housing for a lot of other Wobs and libertarians headed to Madison to help out. They are one of the few entities that have both been pushing for more radical tactics and are actually connected to the situation, unlike the ebbs and flows of out of state detached Trotskyist students or the insurrectionaries with their one-size-fits-all badly xeroxed 'zines'. Even the anarchist political organizations have a detached relationship to this situation.

I don't agree with the language in a number of their press releases or propaganda, but I recognize their role is a positive one. Particularly because, as over tasked and under-resourced as they are, they're in a better position than all of the anarchist or left communist political organizations, "affinity groups" and lone individuals to actually have a positive effect on this situation.

syndicalist
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Feb 28 2011 23:11

I'm not IWW, think their leaflet is missing something.... but I agree with Dead End here on the role of the madision IWW (and all the midwest Wobs going to Madison):

"I recognize their role is a positive one. Particularly because, as over tasked and under-resourced as they are, they're in a better position than all of the anarchist or left communist political organizations, "affinity groups" and lone individuals to actually have a positive effect on this situation. "

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Ed
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Mar 1 2011 00:07

I agree with Juan and syndicalist here, but I think Samotnaf's view isn't groundless even if I'd say his post doesn't pick up on the nuances within the IWW, the different tendencies within it etc.. def wouldn't say the IWW needs to be 'taken on' but I'd hazard a guess Sam is talking without knowing rather than any ideological purism.. could be wrong like, but that's my assumption.

That said, Sam is spot on about the 'Cops for Labour'.. where the fuck did they go? confused

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devoration1
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Mar 1 2011 01:30
Ed wrote:
That said, Sam is spot on about the 'Cops for Labour'.. where the fuck did they go? confused

They went to get their welders torches.

Samotnaf
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Mar 1 2011 04:46

Well, I did say

Quote:
Or have I missed something here? (I admit, I've followed very little about the modern IWW, but it just seems like another obstacle, part of the spectacle of opposition, no integrity whatsoever).

I'll withdraw some of what i said, and reserve judgement on them for the moment - practically they seem to do some good stuff, but their propaganda is dire and reflects the repression of their disgust and anger. If they don't criticise the unions stance, I'd guess it's for populist reasons - don't potentially antagonise their potential constituents/recruits. If things are to develop in the States (and elsewhere), it seems patently obvious that the unions' blatant complicity with/submission to the attacks of the ruling class are part of the problem, and have to be confronted.

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Mar 2 2011 21:16

I wouldn't say dire, but there are some things that I think are flawed in there. That said, it's practical activity and practical advice that's important here and the leaflet seems like a pretty good starting point for that.

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Juan Conatz
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Mar 2 2011 23:04

From SDSer @ University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Quote:
100 people occupying UW-Milwaukee theater to demand end to budget bill and no privatization of our schools! #wiunion

I think there was a walk-out, as well.

Some of the unions also filed temporary restraining orders to keep the capitol open to the public and some Republcian state rep or senator was chased down protesters and confronted, but then he got away.

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Nate
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Mar 3 2011 00:35

in actual activity one simply does not compare anyone else to the cops as people who need to be 'dealt with' without some information first, doing so based on lazy conjecture plus whatever theoretical framework you're operating from is despicable.

As for the rest, well, y'all who want to name call what we in the IWW have put out should write and layout some better stuff. I mean, the criticisms here - Sama helped set the tone - most definitely don't appear constructive, at best even y'all who are being nice are like "oh, I wish this was better." Well no shit sherlock, who doesn't? Lay out some specifics of how, or better yet, help suggest some additional language for leaflets. It's not like these events are over yet. This stuff is hard to write and get done, especially on short notice in response to circumstances that it's hard to understand. These events came up really fast, everyone in the damn world was taken by surprise and a great many people have put a ton of time and energy into this stuff on top of everything else in our lives in response to a situation that most of us (the ones under 40 anyway, which is by far the majority) have never seen up close and personal. Absolutely everything we've done has been deeply flawed and last minute. I'd like to see any of the rest of you show me anything you've done that's been otherwise.

I also want to say that part of why we felt compelled to respond is that there was a massive vacuum in these events. I happend to be in Madison for my job the second day or so of the protests so I went up to the capital several times, there were tons of people there, it was entirely run by the officials of the unions and there was literally zero left presence in anything I saw. Perhaps there was some inside the capital building itself but I walked around in a crowd of 10-15,000 people and saw nothing. The next day or two I saw two people from vanguardist groups putting out stuff. Madison has a population of about 200,000 people with what I'm told is a fairly well developed left. The thing is a well developed left for a town of 200,000 is not going to be prepared for mobilizations of 10,000 let alone the 70-100,000 people that things turned into. So the view of several of the individual IWW members who plugged in (and I think I know all the ones who pushed hard to get others to come out) was that this was really important to get involved in if anything at all was going to happen beyond a very typical union-called protest of union members. Hence the additional urgency and the need to put out some material.

I also want to add, I suspect that some of y'all mostly think of written materials (I'm looking at you Sama) in abstraction and isolation. The paper is largely an excuse to have a conversation as part of working with people face to face and building relationships as well as a way to layout some points to think about afterward and for people to use to open up further conversations. Written words on paper (and even less, on screen) no matter how brilliant they are matter a lot less than real time interactions tied in with them, that was also part of the push to get these done, to help with conversations - I believe about 20 of us from out of town have been in and out of Madison since this started (I live about a 5 hour drive from there), a few are staying long term for the duration of these events or are commuting up regularly after work, in addition to the IWW members who live there.

Admin edit - no flaming, play nice.

syndicalist
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Mar 3 2011 01:10

My comment was based on the fact that I think the IWW leafflet and even the WSA are both missing something.

Here's from an internal conversation WSA members were having relative to WI written material. For the record, I laid no specific criticism on the leaflet, just thought it was "missing something"..... as with the WSA statement.

Quote:

M wrote:

I think there's good stuff in the flier, but even when we were
writing the WSA statement, there seemed (to me) something else
missing.

S. askes:

"M. , did you have particular criticisms beyond the lead slogan of
'kill the bill'?"

My reply to Ss question would be to pose the same things I wrote
in my last email:

".... A "kill the bill" slogan simply means killing the
aspect of revoking collective bargaining....the trade unions have
already announced they would grant major economic concessions.
....

Realistically, what do we have to say? What do we have to suggest? How
do we try and rachet stuff up (where we can) without seeming to be
aliens from Mars or one of it's trotskyists orbiting planets. I guess
this is where I always get a bit hamstrung."

So maybe, at times, a tactical leaflet is all's that required. Maybe
this is one of those times. But the broader questions (concessions)
beyond a defensive strike is defered. I don't think there's an easy
answer and, like I said, one wants to be constructive in suggestions
and not be like the Martian trots.

Anyways, some of what I'm doing is thinking out loud, some to have a discussion.

Soli.,

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Jazzhands
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Mar 3 2011 02:45

If the problem is that the left isn't getting enough of a presence over there, I saw a video where a protester took a few journalists on a tour of the occupied capitol.

For those of you too lazy to look at the link, they have this board where they list places they're getting supply donations from. I know this sounds ridiculous, but maybe the IWW could organize a supply donation drive so they can get their name on the board? Obviously this is in addition to all their leaflet and on-site agitation work, not replacing it. The reason is, every Trot org in the US is going to be shipping leaflets out by the hundreds, but the reason nobody cares about them is that their actual help to workers' causes is limited to their own newspapers nobody reads.

But if the key is to make a splash in Wisconsin so we can get people listening to a leftist message, getting our name in as many places as possible is the way to go. But we have to make sure that we have something CONCRETE we can point to to show that we're actually helping the workers.

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Hieronymous
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Mar 3 2011 08:10
Juan Conatz wrote:
Quote:
General strikes have been very rare in the United States. Strikes widespread enough to interrupt general commerce date back to the Great Depression of the 1930s when longshoremen in San Francisco, autoworkers in Toledo, Ohio, and teamsters in Minneapolis touched off protests that helped establish industrial unions.

I beg to differ.

According to my research, the following general strikes have occurred in the U.S.:

1835 Philadelphia, the first
1877 St. Louis General Strike as part of The Great Upheaval Railroad Strike
1886 May Day strikes, Haymarket affair in Chicago
1892 New Orleans
1894 Pullman Strike, especially in Chicago
1910 Philadelphia
1919 Seattle
1934 (3) San Francisco, Minneapolis and Toledo
1935 Terre Haute, Indiana
1936 Pekin, Illinois
1946 (6) Stamford, Connecticut; Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Houston, Texas; Rochester, New York; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Oakland, California

Taft-Hartley was passed 6 months after Oakland, making illegal the kind of sympathy strikes that made all those general strikes possible.

We've only come near a nationwide general strike twice; the first time was the 1877 Great Upheaval on the railroads that spread from coast to coast. The second was in the spring of 1946 when soft-coal miners went on strike at the same time as railroad engineers and trainmen, bringing national commerce to standstill -- that was furthered when striking bituminous coal miners caused national brown-outs. When President Truman threatened to break the strike with the National Guard, the famous reply was "you can't mine coal with bayonets." The 1946 strikes were a continuation of the post-war strike wave where oil workers, coal miners, textile workers, autoworkers, electrical workers, and meat packers went out in 1945. In January 1946, 750,000 steel workers walked out in the largest single-industry strike in U.S. history.

Juan Conatz wrote:
Quote:
To gain public support to allow it to be effective, an even more embracing class perspective would need to take shape

All of the above general strikes did exactly that; they were based on a class perspective where sectoral divisions evaporated and the strikers' solidarity was based on the principle "an injury to one is an injury to all."

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Mar 3 2011 08:26

Nate, seriously, what's wrong with the air where you are? Read again the key part that Juan wrote (and that me and syndicalist are agreeing with):

Quote:
I recognize their role is a positive one. Particularly because, as over tasked and under-resourced as they are, they're in a better position than all of the anarchist or left communist political organizations, "affinity groups" and lone individuals to actually have a positive effect on this situation.

I'd say this was very praising (though maybe I'll have children with severe emotional problems, who knows..).. what more do you want? I think what you say about the leaflet is true; it's an 'in', a way to start a conversation, not something that will transform people into libertarian communist militants on reading and hence why, even if there are bits of the leaflet people don't like, the IWWs "role is a positive one".

Fuck man, even within an organisation you probably won't get everyone saying "shit, that leaflet was perfect" so I don't get what your problem is. In Solfed, we had a newsletter published with a shite headline, someone called us out on libcom and when we looked at it, most of SFers on libcom thought, "yeah, actually that's pretty shit" and said so. I mean, you've got your criticisms of aspects of the IWW, I don't get why those outside can't have some as well.

As for constructive criticism, I dunno, I think Sam was in his last post: a little more on the unions. Sam probably also wanted more pictures of rioting wink Anyway, maybe the anti-union thing was avoided so as to play the populist card? I dunno, I'm asking, not saying, you're in a better position than me to know but I just don't think there's anything to get so defensive about. Generally, I think that people here view the IWW as doing some great work in the US and are glad to see them active in Wisconsin..

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Awesome Dude
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Mar 3 2011 10:37

It might help if comrades remained focused on reporting whats going on the ground and those far from events focus using 'non-aggresive' measured constructive suggestions.

We all go into heated class warfair with the army we've got and not the army we would love to have (which I'd guess would be a mass working class movement with a significant libertarian communist tendency).

Mike Harman
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Mar 3 2011 15:26
Quote:
As for constructive criticism, I dunno, I think Sam was in his last post: a little more on the unions. Sam probably also wanted more pictures of rioting Anyway, maybe the anti-union thing was avoided so as to play the populist card? I dunno, I'm asking, not saying, you're in a better position than me to know but I just don't think there's anything to get so defensive about.

Yeah I don't think getting defensive like that is useful, in the same way I don't think straight sniping is useful (but I don't think that's what's happened here - at least with Sam retracting some of his post).

As well as populism, they may just have left that out because it's relatively difficult to talk introduce a critique of the unions in the middle of something that is explicitly pro-union. From this distance it looks like much, much more emphasis is on union rights than the rest of the package - not just from the union leadership and the media, but I don't see many signs of dissent against this from the reports here either. Now if there's any chance for it to go beyond that, then this is precisely the sort of thing that would need to be dealt with. But equally, while I'd disagree with it, I could understand why someone would leave 'anti-union' things out of a leaflet in those circumstances - because it's very easy for liberals and leftists (not to mention common assumptions) to paint any kind of criticism of the unions that as anti-worker - "the governer is 'anti-union' too!".

syndicalist
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Mar 3 2011 15:35
Quote:
As well as populism, they may just have left that out because it's relatively difficult to talk introduce a critique of the unions in the middle of something that is explicitly pro-union. From this distance it looks like much, much more emphasis is on union rights than the rest of the package - not just from the union leadership and the media, but I don't see many signs of dissent against this from the reports here either. Now if there's any chance for it to go beyond that, then this is precisely the sort of thing that would need to be dealt with. But equally, while I'd disagree with it, I could understand why someone would leave 'anti-union' things out of a leaflet in those circumstances - because it's very easy for liberals and leftists (not to mention common assumptions) to paint any kind of criticism of the unions that as anti-worker - "the governer is 'anti-union' too!".

I think a number of us have struggled with this many times over. A WI conversation going forth, after the fight over rights, may very well be on the other issues. As an anarcho-syndicalist, sometimes you walk a fine line. You want to be constructive and critical at the same time. You want to gain a hearing, but you don't want to be soppy.

The struggle is not just in WI, but is happening elsewhere. WI is ground zero, but there are many other struggles throught the land now. Perhaps there are lessons that other workers may be learning from WI elsewhere and different nature of fights may occur. And from that I suspect all of us will adopt our general approaches, leaflets, press and so forth.

syndicalist
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Mar 3 2011 18:14
Quote:
Ohio Senate Bill 5 passes, restricting unions
Bargaining rights of public workers in Ohio would be dramatically reduced and strikes would be banned under bill
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/03/02/national/main20038584.shtml
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klas batalo
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Mar 3 2011 18:46

yeah just saw that myself! O.O

syndicalist
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Mar 3 2011 19:15

You knew this was coming:

Quote:
Stand with Wisconsin
Support Working Men and Women
in Wisconsin. Take Action Now!
www.DSCC.org

And the AFL-CIO version to follow, no doubt.

huli
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Mar 4 2011 04:25

Well, the AFL-CIO version has indeed followed. Yesterday, union staffers from sea to shining sea received the following:

"Today, the AFL-CIO concluded a two-day Executive Council meeting dedicated almost entirely to the events in Wisconsin and what the labor movement response should be. There is a widespread belief, which I share, that we are in a pivotal moment. For the first time in my memory, America is talking about union rights.

As a start, the Unions of the AFL-CIO have decided to make April 4th a national day of action in the U.S. You will recall that April 4th marks the tragic day in history when Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated while in Memphis Tennessee supporting sanitation workers – public employees – in their fight for respect and dignity.

I ask that all of us in our Local Unions and Joint Boards take part with your CLC’s in planning and participating in this day of action. We will provide you with information as we get it, but don’t wait to get involved locally.

For those Local Unions closer geographically to Wisconsin, I will be contacting you shortly about sending your members to Madison on April 4th.

This is an important time for all of us to act."