Historical: "What Is the Libertarian Workers Group? (1982)

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syndicalist
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Aug 12 2011 23:22
Historical: "What Is the Libertarian Workers Group? (1982)

Back in 1982 the New York Area Libertarian Workers Group (LWG, now NY Area Workers Solidarity Alliance) issued a 4 page pamphlet entitled “Power, Privilege Profit: Why There Are Wars And What We Can Do To Stop Them”.

As time will permit, I will type and submit this pamphlet at a future time. For the time being, I am submitting this Group self description and contemporary fields of action we were involved in. This, appears on the rear fold of the pamphlet. At the time of the writing, the LWG was extremely active and busy with many projects, actions and activities. A brief and broad overview of some of these is described in the text below.

In solidarity,
Syndicalist
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

WHAT IS THE LIBERTARIAN WORKERS GROUP?

The Libertarian Workers Group is a group of working people, both employed and unemployed, that was formed in 1977 and is based in the New York metropolitan area. Our outlook can be characterized as anarchist-syndicalist and libertarian communist. It reflects and gives shape to our concerns and struggle as working people for power over our own lives though democratic self-management of our workplaces, schools and communities.

The specific projects the L.W.G. is engaged with are:

1) Libertarian Aid to Latin America Workers: This was established at a
conference of working class anarchists in 1981.* It was, in part, a response to the appeals for solidarity from our comrades in the libertarian labor movements of Latin America. Like other parts of the workers’ movement there they are fighting for their rights and their lives in the face of severe repression in countries like Argentina, Chile and Bolivia. ** Unlike other opposition movements there, however, the success and difficulties of libertarian, labor militants receives little or no public attention. We are trying to change this, and support our comrades as best as we can by translating and publishing information, raising money for the victims of repression and their families, organizing demonstrations and educational meetings to express our solidarity and inform the public.

2) A number of us are involved with ongoing activities in our workplaces. We do not seek to take over the existing unions or create new ones that may call themselves progressive but still accept the power of the bosses. We aim to create a workers’ moment based on shop-floor committees and industry-wide federations, which is run by the workers themselves, to both wage a struggle against all forms of exploitation and to lay the basis for a new economic and social order without classes or authority.

Some of the industries/trades we have been active in are the needle trades (garment, textile and fur), printing, education and office work.

3) We have, at times, taken an active part in anti-nuclear and ecology movements. From our experiences we have learned that only a social ecology movement can address the real roots of all forms of environmental destruction. This movement should take a direct democratic form, much like that which we advocate for the labor movement.

4) As one aspect of our attempts to link culture and politics, some of us are interested in building a network of Jewish anarchists. *** We have issued a statement on this called “We Want Freedom for All.” We invite inquires.

5) We periodically issue a bulletin called “On The Line”,**** as a means of communicating our experiences and ideas to others in this area. Your participation would be welcome.

We also maintain links with like-minded individuals and groups in other parts of North America and abroad. We want to share and discuss ideas and views with any one who share a basically similar perspective, or who wants to become familiar with our politics. Please feel free to contact us. Your comments, criticisms and suggestions are welcome.

###########

* Out of this Conference we established and began to publish an impressive journal--
No Middle Ground: Anti-Authoritarian Perspectives on Latin America and the Caribbean.
I believe these are the only two on-line pieces which appeared in “NMG”:

Dictatorship On Shaky Ground by Grupo Pedro Nolasco Arratia
http://www.struggle.ws/anarchism/places/chile/historic/economy1983.html

1952-1973: Radical perspectives in the Caribbean by Fundi
http://libcom.org/library/radical-perspectives-carribean-fundi

NO MIDDLE GROUND, Fall 1983, The Re-emergence of Anarchism in Chile.
Pointblank, Strange Defeat, NO MIDDLE GROUND, Fall 1983. Referred and quoted in: http://dwardmac.pitzer.edu/anarchist_archives/worldwidemovements/chilemovement.html

We established “NMG” and LALAW with other anarcho-syndicalists, our friends who published the newspaper "Strike!" as well as various other anarchists and libertarian communists. Several LALAW committees were established and worked on a number of campaigns.

** These and several other Latin American and Andean Cone countries were under brutal military or fascist dictatorships at the time.

*** Members of the LWG were involved in the Jewish Anarchist Committee. The aim of the JAC was to be a libertarian worker bridge between the past rich tradition of “Jewish” (rather, Yiddish speaking) anarchism with young Jewish radicals promoting an anti-nationalist, anti-zionist, pro-anarchist and syndicalist perspective.

**** A few copies have been transcribed on-line and can be found on Libcom: http://libcom.org/library/line-libertarian-workers-group

syndicalist
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Aug 13 2011 01:06

An additional "No Middle Ground" article:

Ten Years After: The Re-emergence of Anarchism in Chile
http://www.struggle.ws/anarchism/places/chile/historic/10years1983.html

Mark.
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Aug 13 2011 10:40
syndicalist wrote:
Members of the LWG were involved in the Jewish Anarchist Committee. The aim of the JAC was to be a libertarian worker bridge between the past rich tradition of “Jewish” (rather, Yiddish speaking) anarchism with young Jewish radicals promoting an anti-nationalist, anti-zionist, pro-anarchist and syndicalist perspective.

Is there anything on-line by or about the JAC? I'm thinking that maybe it might have some relevance in the light of what is happening in Israel at the moment.

syndicalist
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Aug 13 2011 12:50

Mark.... I don't believe any JAC materials are on-line. Most of the LWG stuff that is on-line is here, on Libcom. Upon my stepping down as WSA cooresponding secretary, I hope to write more stuff and transcribe much more materials from the era.

On the JAC stuff...I think the basic premise is still correct, perhaps the nuances may be a bit dated. But it has been a long time since I looked over the "We Want Freedom for All" pamphlet.

Mark.
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Aug 13 2011 13:24

It would be interesting to see that pamphlet if you get the chance to put it up at some point. I'm not sure it matters too much if it's dated. One thing that comes across from following the debate in Israel (something I'm new to) is how far earlier 'Jewish' opposition to nationalism and zionism has slipped out of history.

syndicalist
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Mar 19 2012 16:22

Back to the future? Some folks today are promoting a workplace
committee form of organization.....and I personally salute that
effort.....and say that some ideas continue to taste good even after
being on the dusty shelf of ideas for some time.

In 1982 the NY group advocated this idea (among others):

syndicalist wrote:

2) A number of us are involved with ongoing activities in our workplaces. We do not seek to take over the existing unions or create new ones that may call themselves progressive but still accept the power of the bosses. We aim to create a workers’ moment based on shop-floor committees and industry-wide federations, which is run by the workers themselves, to both wage a struggle against all forms of exploitation and to lay the basis for a new economic and social order without classes or authority.

syndicalist
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Aug 1 2016 00:21
Mark. wrote:
It would be interesting to see that pamphlet if you get the chance to put it up at some point. I'm not sure it matters too much if it's dated. One thing that comes across from following the debate in Israel (something I'm new to) is how far earlier 'Jewish' opposition to nationalism and zionism has slipped out of history.

Mark .... finally did put it up: https://libcom.org/library/we-want-freedom-all-jewish-anarchist-statemen... With some additional stuff here: https://libcom.org/library/jewish-anarchist-committee-various-statements...

syndicalist
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Jun 22 2017 20:51
Mark. wrote:
syndicalist wrote:
Members of the LWG were involved in the Jewish Anarchist Committee. The aim of the JAC was to be a libertarian worker bridge between the past rich tradition of “Jewish” (rather, Yiddish speaking) anarchism with young Jewish radicals promoting an anti-nationalist, anti-zionist, pro-anarchist and syndicalist perspective.

Is there anything on-line by or about the JAC? I'm thinking that maybe it might have some relevance in the light of what is happening in Israel at the moment.

See:

We want freedom for all: a Jewish anarchist statement - Libertarian Workers Group
https://libcom.org/library/we-want-freedom-all-jewish-anarchist-statemen...

Various statements and leaflets - Jewish Anarchist Committee
https://libcom.org/library/jewish-anarchist-committee-various-statements...

Mark.
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Jun 22 2017 22:49

Thanks!

syndicalist
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Jun 22 2017 23:24
Mark. wrote:
Thanks!

You're welcome.