Wisconsin protests: updates and discussion

447 posts / 0 new
Last post
OliverTwister's picture
OliverTwister
Offline
Joined: 10-10-05
Mar 12 2011 06:11

I've been in Wisconsin and was at the re-occupation. Here is an excerpt from a reflection I wrote for the IWW:

Quote:
People were chanting for the police to let them inside, which began shortly after I got there. The police allowed people in through one revolving door, very slowly, and they had to line up to be searched. After ~500 people got inside, the police closed that door so it was just us.

We tried mobbing to other entrances to open the doors. The first place that I saw people doing this at, I ended up in front with about 9 other people in a small entrance hall, with ~8 cops behind us holding back everyone else, and ~8 cops in front keeping the doors closed. We were stuck there for a few minutes and I thought the cops were going to arrest us so I passed the couple-hundred G/S pamphlets I had brought back to the rest of the crowd and asked them to pass around. A minute later the police ended up pushing me into the crowd and I noticed that everyone in that area was holding one and many were reading them.

At some point people were able to get past cops or trick them or something, get numbers up to about 1000 inside, and then finally get a bunch more to about 2000, at which point the cops gave up on the entrances.

There was a "people's mic" in the center and I got to it pretty early, imagine how happy I was when the speaker two spots before me called very eloquently for a general strike and had the crowd chanting. I did this, and several other speakers throughout the night did.

Fellow Worker X came to bring a bunch more G/S pamphlets and help distribute them. We probably distributed about 1,000. By the time I was running out every other person I tried to give one too already had one. Many were very interested/sympathetic, several offered to help distribute them.

A bit later people started discussing that the best place to occupy overnight would be the antechamber to the assembly chamber so that we could block it in the morning. People began organizing to pack it so that the cops would have a harder time cutting it off. Eventually they tried to block hundreds of people from coming up stairs to the chamber, until they somehow found another way up (I suspect that some cops may have found something better to do than guard the stairs).

A bit afterwards we tucked in for the night. In the morning it seemed like the best place to blockade would be a hallway going between the antechamber, the chamber, and the Assembly majority leader's office. We fit about 30 people into there with others still in the antechamber. I think it took them a long time to deal with the rest of the crowd and get it under control; the Assembly sergeant was supposed to have it ready at 9, they didn't come for us until after 11. MSNBC (I believe) interviewed one of the blockaders (who wasn't a part of any political group) and asked her what people would do if this bill passed and everything failed, to which she answered (with the support of the rest of us) "General Strike!" Eventually, though we were doing our best to link arms and go limp they were ale to drag us out with no arrests (I think - there was a rumor of one arrest in the antechamber). Right after I was led out people were chanting "General Strike". Shortly after that point it turned into a liberal rally of people "yelling at closed doors" (thanks FW Y for the great quote) and talking about getting out the vote, although FW Y and I did make interventions on the "People's Mic" calling for resistance outside the capitol and a general strike.

Reflections:
I think the gathering at the capitol last night was largely spontaneous and fueled by anger. Once people were inside there was a collective wisdom that the next step was to get all the doors open and as many people inside as possible. People were willing to confront the cops (peacefully), up to a degree. This occurred at various points during the night and each time people were able to push past or outsmart the cops.

The idea of a general strike had a lot of resonance. People really liked our fliers, and apparently they were read on a livefeed. I remembered this morning that I still had ~50 leaflets for our forum on Saturday, and passed them out telling people straight-up that it was a "open forum to discuss a general strike", with a lot of earnest-seeming "thank yous" in response.

The Left groups it seems have all started calling for, or at least supporting, a general strike. It would be good to think about what differentiates us from them and not just from the democrats - if a G/S occurs these groups will play varying roles, some good or ineffectual, others (in my opinion) divisive or pro-bureaucratic (in the sense of supporting factions of the AFL-CIO or Democrats).

Juan Conatz's picture
Juan Conatz
Offline
Joined: 29-04-08
Mar 12 2011 06:51

From UE Facebook

Quote:
Resolution from UE Northeast Region Council reads as follows:
"UE Northeast Region endorses the Wisconsin South Central Federation of Labor's AFL-CIO's resolution supporting a general strike to protest the attempts by Governor Walker and his corporate allies to destroy public workers' right to collective bargaining."
Samotnaf
Offline
Joined: 9-06-09
Mar 12 2011 06:55

OliverTwister:

Quote:
The Left groups it seems have all started calling for, or at least supporting, a general strike. It would be good to think about what differentiates us from them and not just from the democrats - if a G/S occurs these groups will play varying roles, some good or ineffectual, others (in my opinion) divisive or pro-bureaucratic (in the sense of supporting factions of the AFL-CIO or Democrats).

This, from the Milwaukee occupation, begins to outline some of the problems of the "General Strike" slogan:

Quote:
Without any sign of disagreement or even a discussion of its implications, the participants accepted the slogan of “Strike, Occupy, Takeover!” Yet the first step in that simplistic equation wasn’t taken seriously as something we could collectively enact. Similarly, the assembled approved a statement calling for a general strike, and this without much of a discussion about just how a general strike could come about.
Due to the nature of the laws regulating labor disputes in the US, a general strike cannot be declared from on high by the large labor federations. For a generalized strike to occur here it would necessarily involve some degree of self-organization whether through discussion and activity at the local union level, the forging of complicit relationships at non-unionized workplaces (which are by far the majority), sabotage at non-participating workplaces, or some other form perhaps completely outside and unrepresentable by the familiar apparatuses.
Yet within much of the assembled body of students, a general strike was not understood as something that everyone would have to create together, a festival of disruption, but rather as something that would just happen; a disheartening attitude that reduces the likelihood of a meaningful and widespread stoppage. Perhaps other forums will be created in which this necessary conversation can be taken up in greater depth.
Juan Conatz's picture
Juan Conatz
Offline
Joined: 29-04-08
Mar 12 2011 07:58

Yeah, I can't remember who told me this, it might have been my roommate or one of the Twin Cities Wobs, but they either saw or talked to a teacher in Madison and they said (paraphrasing)

"Yeah, we're all for a general strike, we're just waiting for someone to tell us to do it"

Or something along those lines.

That's what we're dealing with though. No one here has experienced a general strike or even know what it takes to do one. Our job is to try and fill that gap as much as possible, but are numbers are tragically small. All we can do is encourage the activities we see as beneficial while advocating for new ones that are just being whispered and talked about between the participants in a "What if?" framework.

Ed's picture
Ed
Offline
Joined: 1-10-03
Mar 12 2011 17:11

For a little light relief, Glenn Beck doing a mental (again):
http://www.politicususa.com/en/wisconsin-glenn-beck-meltdown

Chilli Sauce's picture
Chilli Sauce
Offline
Joined: 5-10-07
Mar 12 2011 23:10
Quote:
Media says non-unionized teaching assistants are discussing strikes at both UW-Madison and UW-Milwaukee.

Link?!

redsdisease
Offline
Joined: 31-12-10
Mar 12 2011 23:48

http://www.jsonline.com/news/education/117734548.html

Chilli Sauce's picture
Chilli Sauce
Offline
Joined: 5-10-07
Mar 13 2011 08:25

Thanks reds

Juan Conatz's picture
Juan Conatz
Offline
Joined: 29-04-08
Mar 14 2011 06:02

In Madison right now pretty much being fulltime IWW organizer. There was a community forum on a general strike on Saturday. I believe Indymedia recorded it. Was a Wob presence at Saturday's massive rally, which unfortunately consisted of jerking off the 14 Democrats who fled the state.

Going to Milwaukee tomorrow for a rally to pass out general strike pamphlets and get contacts. Also hope to connect with some of the occupiers.

Hieronymous's picture
Hieronymous
Offline
Joined: 27-07-07
Mar 15 2011 02:36

Typical class-collaborationist bullshit:

Milwaukee Labor Leader: Union To 'Redirect' Efforts To Recalls -- And No Talk Of Strikes

By Eric Kleefeld | March 14, 2011, 11:40AM

A public employee union leader in Wisconsin has declared that organized labor will dedicate its efforts to recalling state Senate Republicans this year, and recalling Gov. Walker next year, in response to Walker's newly-passed bill curtailing public employee unions. He says they are not talking about strikes.

Rich Abelson, executive director of AFSCME Council 48 in Milwaukee, appeared Friday on the local public affairs show UpFront with Mike Gousha, with guest host Kent Wainscott.

"Obviously this was a very disappointing loss for us, with regards to the collective bargaining changes that were made. However, it's not the end of our fight," said Abelson. "We have -- we're a union. What we do is we represent workers at the workplace, give them a voice, and we will continue to do so. It is our mission, it is what we believe, it is who we are.

"And now it's time to redirect those efforts, it is time to take back the Wisconsin Senate. We are very much engaged in the recall efforts that are taking place with the eight Republican senators. We think a significant number of those are gonna be successful recalls, we think by summer we will have changed the face of the Wisconsin Senate."

Abelson acknowledged that rolling back the law would be "a much longer term struggle" than just winning the state Senate for the Democrats, as Republicans would still control the Assembly and the governor's mansion.

"But again, I want to just make this very clear. If the intent was by Governor Walker and his fellow De-- Republicans, excuse me, in the legislature, to destroy the union movement in the public sector in Wisconsin, it's going to fail," he said. "We are going to change, and we are going to adapt, and we will continue to do what we do, and that is represent people in the workplace. And if the bargaining table is taken away from us, we will replace that with much more political and legislative activity."

Wainscott asked Abelson whether one particular activity could be undertaken by public unions: strikes.

"No. I mean, look, public sector workers in Wisconsin are committed and dedicated to the citizens we serve," said Abelson. "And there has been no talk of a general strike, there has been no talk of targeted strikes, or job actions or anything else. Our dispute is not with our employers. Our dispute is with the Republicans in the Wisconsin Senate, the Republicans in the Wisconsin Assembly, and Governor Walker."

He later added: "We think this energy and the dedication that people are showing now is gonna continue into next year, and we think that it is a very strong likelihood, as difficult as it is, that we will be successful in recalling Governor Walker next year."

huli
Offline
Joined: 15-04-10
Mar 15 2011 05:13

"No. I mean, look, public sector workers in Wisconsin are committed and dedicated to the citizens we serve," said Abelson. "And there has been no talk of a general strike, there has been no talk of targeted strikes, or job actions or anything else. Our dispute is not with our employers. Our dispute is with the Republicans in the Wisconsin Senate, the Republicans in the Wisconsin Assembly, and Governor Walker."

Aaaagh!

It looks like union leaders are more threatened by working class self-activity than they are by the loss of collective bargaining and dues check-off! It's amazing.

Juan Conatz's picture
Juan Conatz
Offline
Joined: 29-04-08
Mar 15 2011 05:42

So I got into town on Saturday. This was supposedly the biggest crowd
yet, with estimates ranging from 85,000 (media) to 100,000 (police) to
300,000 (SEIU). The main theme that day was pretty much jerking off
the 14 Democrats who had fled the state, but who had just returned.
The IWW had (for the first time) a visible presence with two tables on
two different intersections, a large banner in the parade and teams of
people gathering people's contact info and passing out general strike
pamphlets.

Compared to the other two times I've been up here, the calls or
reception for a general strike or job actions was significantly
greater. This is to me, without a doubt, due to the Madison IWW
branch's connections in the labor movement and the efforts they and
other Midwest Wobs have put in to spread this concept. All the
authoritarian parties are also calling for a general strike now, too,
although their actual connection to workplace agitators seems tenuous,
if not nonexistent.

Later on in the night there was a forum on a general strike sponsored
by the IWW and the Immigrant Workers Union. There were a number of
speakers, from numerous groups including obviously Wobs, MECHA, an
immigrant youth nonprofit, folks from public sector unions and a guy
from UE who was involved in Republic Windows & Door occupation. To me,
this forum seemed to be more about 'laying everything on the table'
type of thing. Most of the speakers from Latino/a organizations seemed
to have some real problems with how organized labor has conducted
itself in the past and in the current struggle. While overall, I
thought the event was a valuable experience and can't really be
compared to anything I've been a part of before, there were some
issues. Some people, mostly old white dudes did a lot of rambling on
and there were the inevitable 'traveling progressives/leftists' that
are more interested in pontificating rather than actual work. The
meeting dragged on a bit and a noticeable amount of people started to
leave as it did. However, it seems like we got a bunch of contacts of
people who are serious about pushing a general strike.

Sunday pretty much consisted of me hanging out with my parents, who
came up and attended a (my first) IWW meeting.

Today (Monday), I was going to wake up early to get on a bus to
Milwaukee for a rally to pass out pamphlets, get contacts, and connect
with SDS, the student occupiers or Burnt Bookmobile people.
Unfortunately I stayed up too late doing spreadsheets and also slept
in an actual bed for only the third time in the last two months and
was in a dead sleep. Hopefully, I get another chance to make it up
there though.

Because I didn't go to MKE, I went to this AFL-CIO circle jerk at a
convention center. It was pretty much an attempt to attract non-profit
staff (and it a lesser extent, union staff) to form a new liberal
political action group type thing. It was scheduled from 1-5pm, which
was probably done purposefully to make it inaccessible to anybody but
paid staff.

One particularly predictable yet disgusting aspect of the meeting was
a video that they showed. It was a 5 minute clip about the last 4
weeks. A numbered.timeline of sorts. The first one being "Leaders
Speak Out", which showed clips of executive staffs and politicians
speaking at rallies days or weeks after this shit fucking popped off.
The second thing in the timeline was "The People Rise Up". Hilarious,
and seeing people watch this with a straight face was disconcerting.

After a couple of speakers, one from an immigrant groups being the
only one who even mentioned the word "strike", we went to breakgroups.
At the 7 person table I was at, 5 were non-profit/union staff and 2
were executive staff. I mentioned what you would expect I would and of
course was met with disinterest.

Near the end, some comrades tried to break the pre-packaged format of
the event and got up and asked why we were talking about failed
tactics (the recall, electoral) instead of stuff the our forefathers
did and worked, advocated for strikes and walkouts and pointed out
that the scheduling of the conference automatically excluded the very
people everyone is claiming to want to represent. About half the room
clapped after this comrade said this.

The event ended soon after this. Overall I didn't think it was worth
much and I'm glad we didn't spend too much time on it. The vast
majority of the people there are not people we should be talking to.

Anyway, that's it for now. ttyl

Samotnaf
Offline
Joined: 9-06-09
Mar 15 2011 06:05
Quote:
One particularly predictable yet disgusting aspect of the meeting was
a video that they showed. It was a 5 minute clip about the last 4
weeks. A numbered.timeline of sorts. The first one being "Leaders
Speak Out", which showed clips of executive staffs and politicians
speaking at rallies days or weeks after this shit fucking popped off.
The second thing in the timeline was "The People Rise Up". Hilarious,
and seeing people watch this with a straight face was disconcerting.

Did you or anybody else attack this re-writing of history? If so, what was the reaction?

Quote:
About half the room clapped after this comrade said this.
The event ended soon after this. Overall I didn't think it was worth
much and I'm glad we didn't spend too much time on it. The vast
majority of the people there are not people we should be talking to.

If half the room clapped, surely they are people you should be talking to? Not saying this to point-score but just that sometimes one misses opportunities and then finds ways of justifying these missed opportunities to oneself, which means they'll be repeated.

I was wondering if non-union workers are going to risk striking; here in France, non-union workers who struck in the autumn lost out afterwards (disciplined, didn't get strike pay, etc.) . Would have thought it would require collections for non-union workers to have a chance of surviving a strike unless there was mass looting of the supermarkets. Any contact with non-union workers (I imagine the vast majority in Wisconsin, no?).

Juan Conatz's picture
Juan Conatz
Offline
Joined: 29-04-08
Mar 15 2011 06:12
Samotnaf wrote:
Did you or anybody else attack this re-writing of history? If so, what was the reaction?

No, no one mentioned this.

Quote:
If half the room clapped, surely they are people you should be talking to? Not saying this to point-score but just that sometimes one misses opportunities and then finds ways of justifying these missed opportunities to oneself, which means they'll be repeated.

We did talk to some sympathetic people and got contact info.

Quote:
I was wondering if non-union workers are going to risk striking; here in France, non-union workers who struck in the autumn lost out afterwards (disciplined, didn't get strike pay, etc.) . Would have thought it would require collections for non-union workers to have a chance of surviving a strike unless there was mass looting of the supermarkets. Any contact with non-union workers (I imagine the vast majority in Wisconsin, no?).

This is something I think everyone who is wanting a general strike realizes. The question is an age-old one: How to spread and intensify the struggle? We'll see what happens.

Samotnaf
Offline
Joined: 9-06-09
Mar 15 2011 06:26

Thanks for the quick reply.

Juan Conatz's picture
Juan Conatz
Offline
Joined: 29-04-08
Mar 15 2011 07:18

Also, to add a bit more, the atmosphere in Madison cannot be compared to anything I've ever experienced before. And I'm not just talking about the fact that I'm dedicating my entire day mostly on the topic of how to advance the struggle. There is a sense of solidarity and interacting between people I've never seen before. Even the random poor white woman at the busstop will say things like "The motherfucker Walker needs to be hanged."

A man who I assumed was homeless, instead of walking up to me to ask for a cigarette which in other places I've been in would have happened, closely looks at my general strike pins, congratulated me, agrees and states that even though he's a Republican, he hates Walker with a passion.

People are sharing their experiences with employment, the protests,etc in a way that makes it obvious that they are exited about something for the first time in a while and want to share what they've done/seen or their views, no matter how awkward or difficult it is for them.

Things that in the past I would have been a bit nervous doing, I don't even think about twice. THis atmosphere makes your confidence skyrocket. For instance, before the comrade spoke up at the afl-cio thing, I had just been furiosuly writing points to mention on a scrap of paper to say to 150-200 (mostly bureacrats) people I've never met before in my life.

I'm not trying to be a misty eyed optimist or anything, but I guess I'm just pointing out how collective struggle, whatever its shortcomings etc, really does change people. Something we probably all need to be reminded of from time to time.

Samotnaf
Offline
Joined: 9-06-09
Mar 15 2011 12:53

Never experienced that on a city-wide basis, though little glimpses in France during the anti-CPE movement and in autumn last year. And in Brixton 30 years ago. Great feeling.

The problem though is to keep this going after movements retreat - to get that energy to voice one's opposition to this world with strangers even when ostensibly contestation has become invisible again; but it's worth doing - you learn from it, build your confidence, begin to recognise the difference between what's a role and a bit ideological and what connects and comes from the heart.

syndicalist
Offline
Joined: 15-04-06
Mar 15 2011 16:46

Um, how to say this without being trashed...... The struggle in Madison and by WI public sector workers has been unique and a bit more "advanced" than other struggles elsewhere.
I think some of that contxt gets lost when speaking about where the general struggle is outside WI.

I realize my comments are general and that there are many folks doing bunches of things. Hats off to the Wobs in WI for their work there.

A major question, as always, is how to go forward on a very, very uneven terrain? And let me stress uneven terrian.

As much as I'm not on board with the mainstream trade unions, I would probably
suggest that the days leading up to (and beyond )the nationwide April 4th "Days of Action"
be used for educational and agitiational purposes.

While raising the slogan of a general strike is important, what does it mean to most workers public or private? What is being sought from a general strike? Simply killing legislative bills? Is there something else "we" would like to try and see come from this? What are the pratical steps up this ladder that anarcho-syndicalists, wubblies, libertarian socialists can pose?

I'm neither opposed to raising the slogan --- as part of something broader at this point --- nor working towards one or more general orsectoral strike.I think by simply putting something out on FB with a day and call for a nation-wide general strike --- at this time --- is a bit hollow. Perhaps I'm wrong, but I don't think we are at an "Mideast" point, where there's so much massive grass roots anger under the surfca e that millions will strike based on a FB --- but I hope I am proven wrong and support all efforts to build towards a general strike....we're long overdue.

Tactically or strategically speaking, it may well only be possible for there to be sector
"general" strikes or even sectoral rolling strikes..... of course most public sector workers do not have the right to strike in general, so strong organization would be key. That said, perhaps in WI a one day general strike might happen. It might not, at this time, happen elsewhere.

Beyond the general strike call and beyond demostrations, perhaps our generalized tendency (cause there aint unity on all points) can at least have conversations, perhaps do joint activities and perhaps issue some joint leaflets on the matters of militant, rank-and-file unionism, inter-union/inter-work collobaration/cooperation, calling what the attacks on workers these past 30 years has been "a class war" (even to workers who don't think they're workers)
and so forth.

Anyway, I think I've rambled on enough here. Continued solidarity to all engaged and in struggle!

Joseph Kay's picture
Joseph Kay
Offline
Joined: 14-03-06
Mar 15 2011 17:10
Juan Conatz wrote:
the atmosphere in Madison cannot be compared to anything I've ever experienced before. And I'm not just talking about the fact that I'm dedicating my entire day mostly on the topic of how to advance the struggle. There is a sense of solidarity and interacting between people I've never seen before.

Nearest i've known was during the big Sussex uni occupation last year, about 1,000 people directly involved in defiance of the high court. there was a subjective change that's really hard to put into words, a kinda different way of relating to one another. never felt it on a citywide scale either, but reminds me of Orwell's account of revolutionary Barcelona, where Vd. was abolished and replaced solely with Tú etc.

Hieronymous's picture
Hieronymous
Offline
Joined: 27-07-07
Mar 15 2011 18:14

I've got to agree with the concerns expressed by Syndicalist.

If you look at Egypt over the last few months, their uprising was the culmination of a wave of economic strikes and political protests that really gained force with the "Winter of Labor's Discontent" in 2006-2007. Not unlike those economic and political strikes that Rosa Luxemburg so eloquently detailed in The Mass Strike. The latter took place in Poland and Russia from 1896 and culminated in the St. Petersburg Soviet in 1905.

Even the possibility of a general strike would have to -- based on historical examples -- have been preceded by a series of smaller actions building up towards it. A statewide general strike is not impossible, but most of us in the U.S. don't have any personal experience to draw upon.

And a comrade who visited Madison at the end of the first week, then again last Saturday, said that the it was only in that first week -- with 18 school districts across Wisconsin shut down by a wildcat strike of teachers and students -- that a general strike could have sprung off those dispersed strike actions, generalizing into a statewide general strike. The union bureaucrats would have been caught off-guard and could only have played a tail-ending role in trying to contain it.

But I'm in complete solidarity with whatever the the working class sisters and brothers can pull off in Wisconsin.

Good Luck!

Juan Conatz's picture
Juan Conatz
Offline
Joined: 29-04-08
Mar 15 2011 18:21

Being here it's hard to have a unbiased or objective perspective on it really. I would say the odds are against us, but anything is possible, particularly as contracts expire and the law goes into effect. Also, in my opinion if there were job actions here, even if unrelated, it could snowball possibly. The atmosphere here is such that if you called for a picket of a place, so many folks would come the business would be shutdown in less than an hour.

Also, keep in mind that there's stuff, conversations, ideas, whatever that I'm not going to mention to people online for obvious reasons, but a lot of what has been said as far as concerns are concerned, are things being actively discussed here, and not just by anti-capitalists alone.

syndicalist
Offline
Joined: 15-04-06
Mar 15 2011 18:38

Juan....my comments were meant in a broad way and beyond WI. And I agree that it would be sorta dumb to discuss specifics on line (other than what folks may have already posted and circulated).

Juan Conatz's picture
Juan Conatz
Offline
Joined: 29-04-08
Mar 16 2011 02:48
Quote:
Wis. GOPer Whose Home Was Picketed To Propose Bill Outlawing Pickets At Homes
http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/03/wis-goper-whose-home-was-picketed-to-propose-bill-outlawing-pickets-at-homes.php

This is pretty insane when you think about it:

Quote:
Olive branch to GOP? Dem senator proposes change for fiscal votes
http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/govt-and-politics/article_36919d54-4f29-11e0-804b-001cc4c002e0.html

Right there's a bunch of public sector unions scrambling to agree to contracts before the law goes into effect. (Which happens on March 25th)
http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/govt-and-politics/article_d04b3a58-4f39-11e0-9fc6-001cc4c002e0.html

New Wildcat poster made by UW-M occupiers

Paulappaul's picture
Paulappaul
Offline
Joined: 3-03-10
Mar 16 2011 06:55

I hear alot of Libertarian Communists calling for a General Strike right now in both England and in Wisconsin. Here's my thoughts:

A General strike is not a Wildcat Strike. Looking at the most revolutionary advances of the working last in the last 50 or 60 so years we've seen everything from city wide, state wide and nation wide Wildcat strikes which have crippled the national capitalist. We seen a redefining of the traditional tactics of striking. What separates in large part, the Mass Strike or Wildcat Strike from the General Strike? Chiefly the Trade Union form. Such unions are themselves, parts of the Capitalist system, inherently tied to it for its survival and reproducing its formations, specifically through abiding by the Division of Labor and in producing a system of hierarchy reflecting Bourgeois Democracy and with it, all its bureaucracy which we've seen to fatal to revolutionary movements . General Strikes are approved forms of action by the Ruling Class themselves. They are predetermined, prefigured and inherently antithetical to working class spontaneity and the goal for anything beyond reform.

A Wildcat strike is a strike by an Industry of Workers without the consent of the State or Unions. A Mass Strike is an extension to this wherein a Wildcat Strike is adopted by an entire class, rather then by a single industry. Such a Strike is carried out by the whole Class and is exercised through a Workers' Council or Workers' Union.

The tactic for revolution lies in the Mass Strike of Wisconsin workers. In taking the issue into their own hands and with it, disposing the Capitalist System of Rulership. Stop advocating for a General Strike and call for real action that will truly awaken the workers.

Juan Conatz's picture
Juan Conatz
Offline
Joined: 29-04-08
Mar 16 2011 07:02

I'm sure most people are quite familiar with all that leftist terminology and will conduct themselves according to how you define them. smile

Paulappaul's picture
Paulappaul
Offline
Joined: 3-03-10
Mar 16 2011 07:15

It was also for another board where people don't know quite as much. The point is still there, we shouldn't be advocating a General Strike. oh and smile

Juan Conatz's picture
Juan Conatz
Offline
Joined: 29-04-08
Mar 16 2011 07:36

Again, I think it's just leftist terminology. Most people don't even know what a general strike is and 85% of the Wisconsin workforce is non-unionized. Merely advocating for a general strike in the private sector automatically means it is free of the trade union form which negates your definition of what a general strike is.

Now if you want to see that what you described is what a general strike has been historically, I would agree (besides some of the ultraleft ideology)

Hieronymous's picture
Hieronymous
Offline
Joined: 27-07-07
Mar 16 2011 09:04
Paulappaul wrote:
General Strikes are approved forms of action by the Ruling Class themselves. They are predetermined, prefigured and inherently antithetical to working class spontaneity and the goal for anything beyond reform.

Not according to history.

The most militant year in U.S. history, with more strikes, more strikers, and longer strikes occurred in 1946, marking the peak at the end of the post-war strike wave.

Here are the stats for 1946:

4,985 strikes

4,600,000 strikers

116,000,000 “man-days” lost to industrial production

750,000 steel workers walk out in January (largest single industry strike in U.S. history)

(Each of these stats remains the all-time record in the U.S.)

Citywide general strikes in 1946 (and the sectors that sparked them):

Machinists in Stamford, Connecticut

Transit workers in Lancaster, Pennsylvania

City employees in Houston, Texas

City employees in Rochester, New York

Electrical workers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Retail clerks in Oakland, California

Nearly all of these were spontaneous wildcats based on class consciousness and widespread rage that spread across the U.S. like wildfire, leading to a near-general strike when a bituminous coal strike caused a national brown-out in the spring; then soft-coal miners went on strike at same time as railroad engineers and trainmen, bringing national commerce to standstill and it was the closest to a nationwide general strike ever—the only other time that was even close was the Great Upheaval Railroad Strike of 1877.

Unions bureaucrats had grown comfortable with the no-strike pledge in World War II and completely failed in reigning in working class militancy -- and self-activity -- in these strikes. Sadly, it also marked the end of the era of near-insurrectionary class-against-class struggles in the U.S.

And why is 1946 so little remembered, while 1919, 1934 or the late 1930s sit-down strikes were so well-documented? I'd say because the actions of the 1945-1946 post-war strike wave were not union-sanctioned, so they didn't get written up in "official" histories.

Samotnaf
Offline
Joined: 9-06-09
Mar 16 2011 09:53

Seem to remember reading about the post-war strike wave in the States in the Brecher book ("Strike!") but in my head (haven't checked) it was '45 that had the largest amount of days lost (to capital) through strikes...? So who got it wrong? me? you? or Brecher?

Joseph Kay's picture
Joseph Kay
Offline
Joined: 14-03-06
Mar 16 2011 12:12

You know what this thread needs? A left communist interjecting with a long-discredited caricature that nobody on the ground even gives a shit about (in brief Engels slandered the general strike to advocate political action over direct action; Luxemburg repeated Engels to say the opposite without being accused of anarchism by the social democrats). Although tbh, I'm derailing too now sad