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Anarcho-syndicalists in Britain - SF or IWW?

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Joseph Kay's picture
Joseph Kay
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May 19 2011 10:01
Felix Frost wrote:
I remember people from SolFed talking about how the point was to build an anarcho-syndicalist organisation, not an organisation of anarcho-syndicalists. Now it seems that what you want is an an organisation of anarcho-syndicalists after all.

honest question: how do you build a member-controlled anarcho-syndicalist union without a membership that wants to be an anarcho-syndicalist union?

that's not the same as saying people need to self-identify as anarcho-syndicalists, but i don't think there's a shortcut here. you can drop the anarcho- in search of growth, but then you're building something else (i.e. 'neutral syndicalism').

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May 19 2011 10:13
Felix Frost wrote:
thegonzokid wrote:
That may be true for some people, but wouldn't an anarcho-syndicalist who was strong in their convictions want to be part of building an actual anarcho-syndicalist union (however far off that goal might seem), rather than join a legally-registered 'syndicalist' union whose revolutionary principles seem to be nothing more than an historical footnote?

Actually, I would rather join a more open syndicalist group where you don't have to pass an ideological lithmus test in order to join, so I'll go with the IWW. I also don't think you will have much chance in building an actual anarcho-syndicalist union as long as you have as strict a membership criteria as you seem to have.

I've heard a few wobs use this argument, which sounds to me like 'let's forget about having solid principles in favour of inclusivity i.e. getting lots of members'. But if not all those members share revolutionary ideals, the IWW can't really claim to be a revolutionary union and all you end up with is vague descriptors likes 'democratic', 'militant' and 'grassroots'. It also sounds a bit like you can't be arsed doing the hard graft of winning people over to anarchist ideas in the here and now, and are just relying on the radicalising effect of class struggle in the future.

The "strict membership criteria" that you refer to is that you agree with the aims and principles of SF and aren't a boss, a copper or a bailiff iirc. It's not like you have to pass an entrance exam.

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May 19 2011 10:36
Nate wrote:
ocelot wrote:
The intermediate perspective advanced by the MAS compas takes the dualist perspective (i.e. the impossibility of the unitary org) as it's foundation - i.e. that the intermediate org accepts the necessary separation of the mass and specific orgs. In this way, they would be the opposite of the unitarian approach, which aims to replace both mass and specific orgs with a single "political-economic" organisation.

I'm not sure that's right. I'm pretty sure that some people in MAS do think that though I don't think all of them do. I'm going to write to Scott Nappalos to ask him to clarify. As I understand it, the point is more about a taxonomy of types of activities more than one of types of organizations. That is, there are mass, intermediate, and political practices. Organizations may do primarily one or the other sort of activity, though any long term mass organization has an intermediate level that operates to sustain (and do most of the work of) that organization. I don't think the analysis has to be an organizational dualist one, I think it's compatible with what you call a unitarian one.

Well I'd certainly be interested to see Scott's response. Probably be better to start a new thread on Intermediatism etc, as it's a derail from A/S in Britain specifically.

But I was reading the following (from the first Intermediate Level Analysis piece) in the above fashion.

Quote:
Taking the example of the workers movement, we see unions at the mass level grouped together by common workplace issues, and a political level of revolutionary militants with unified ideology acting within the unions in some way or another. Within the unions there can be a plurality of political organizations, and even of individual militants who lack organizations. An intermediary organization could come to unite class conscious workers around a program within their industry, workplace, etc. The intermediary organization would not have the unity of a political organization, since its basis is bringing together militants for a common practice that doesn’t require everyone having the same ideology and political program. Likewise the mass organization, if we required every member in a union to share a level of class consciousness and militancy, we would be doomed either to fractions or paper tigers.

But I grant you that's a immediate perspective in the here and now, which is not necessarily prescriptive for what's possible to build towards in the medium or long term future.

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May 19 2011 11:44
Tommy Ascaso wrote:
You don't even have to agree with the aims and principles to join SF, you just need to agree to abide by them and the constitution (so not do anything against them). So the membership criteria is no way near as strict as Felix is making out.

Really? But surely if you join without agreeing to the As&Ps as a SolFed member you could then propose and vote on changes to them to something you do agree with. .

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May 19 2011 13:30
Tommy Ascaso wrote:
You can, but only locals are able to put forward motions and vote at national conference so that acts as a pretty good check and balance.

Well, well, well. OK, there is a difference between SolFed and the AF.

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May 19 2011 13:38

I must admit, I never could understand why folks in Europe would organize into the IWW. As a teenager, I couldn't understand why you had the Wobs in Oldham trying to build the IWW when there was the Syndicalist Workers Federation (SWF). With the folding of the SWF, growth of the Direct Action Movement (DAM), virtually no IWW activity existed, until recently. Or now, IWW in Germany when you have the FAU. Or in Britain today.

A read of this thread indicates to me that there are ideological (and, perhaps some personal) reasons for trying to build the IWW in places where existing syndicalist organization exist..

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May 19 2011 13:57
syndicalist wrote:
I never could understand why folks in Europe would organize into the IWW. Or now, IWW in Germany when you have the FAU. Or in Britain today.

As far as I can tell after meeting a German Fellow Worker at an IWW BIRA AGM, he approached FAU and was told he'd have to be an anarchist to join (I'm not sure if that's true but its what he told me). I think in continental Europe most join for ideological reasons, in Britain I think its more to do with what you feel comfortable with. That approach makes 'ideological' unity ,on a purely political bases, in the organisation almost impossible. I think for the wobblies in Britain its better to be unified through consistent and dynamic organising and agitation.

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May 19 2011 14:04
Tommy Ascaso wrote:
blackrainbow wrote:
none of us (non SolFeders) are privy to the internal discussions within SolFed following publication of S&S

That's not entirely true, the key documents in the discussions have been made available to AF and Organise! members and we have had a private meeting with the AF. We've also been quite open about the discussions within SolFed on here.

Then maybe you can point me in the right direction. Which threads is there disscusion about S&S within SolFed?

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May 19 2011 14:10

Unpublished.

blackrainbow wrote:
I turned up to SolFeds social after your AGM last year and was told by one of the authors to keep quite when talking about said document.

as i'm the only individual who could be considered an author (it was collaboratively discussed and signed off, but i wrote almost all of the text), i can only assume this refers to me. and it's a bizarre lie. we've never told anyone to "keep quiet" about S&S, and have discussed it at length publicly and internally online and in person over the last two years. Much of the internal debate has been shared with the AF as well. even looking at the 'more like this' links at the bottom of this page i can see this six page thread. our national conference earlier this month also voted to produce a new pamphlet on anarcho-syndicalist theory and practice, which will summarise the post-S&S consensus.

so i've really no idea what you're on about tbh.

admin: following spat has been unpublished

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May 19 2011 14:59
syndicalist wrote:
A read of this thread indicates to me that there are ideological (and, perhaps some personal) reasons for trying to build the IWW in places where existing syndicalist organization exist..

imho there's two broad currents in syndicalism, for want of a better word 'neutral syndicalism' in the tradition of the Amiens Charter and anarcho-syndicalism principally in the form of the IWA. there's some overlap at times, but pretty much everywhere these tendencies have spun out into separate organisations (IWA vis CGT-E, SAC, CNT-Vignoles...), old FORA V/FORA IX etc. i think that's probably for the best as they're trying to do different things.

i'm not entirely sure where the UK IWW fits into that. i know the L&S lot are keen for it to go the route of 'neutral syndicalism' with the red and black coordination etc, but i don't know how much consensus there is behind that, and there are a lot of anarchists in it who may well see it in more a-s terms. but as an outsider it's hard to say.

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May 19 2011 15:56
syndicalist wrote:
here are ideological (and, perhaps some personal) reasons for trying to build the IWW in places where existing syndicalist organization exist..

I would expect that the main reasons are personal - who people happened to meet when, who they liked and clicked with, who they didn't, etc. To a lesser extent there's probably a bit of "this group seemed more on the upswing numerically or in coolness", and I would also bet that much of that is just how people justify to themselves their decisions that they made based on who they liked. Same reasons people join the IWW in the US, or don't. Much of political activity as actually practiced isn't political in the sense of being about principles, long term vision or strategy. Then again, it can't be that hard to find people and simply ask them why they've joined what they've joined. I ever win the lottery I'm going to fund an oral history project to have loads of folk interviewed and asked that.

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May 19 2011 16:03

Bluedog: I'll wait to check with admins not involved in the exchange, but the whole derail can probably just be unpublished.

Bluedog wrote:
The only bit that is relevant is whats the latest on S&S

National conference this year mandated a new pamphlet to sum up the post-S&S consensus in historical and theoretical perspective. There's also going to be a separate shorter pamphlet on our approach to workplace organising to complement the industrial strategy/organiser training. And of course there's the sexy new theory and practice series which also give a pretty good idea of what we're about.

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May 19 2011 16:07

Nate - I'm not sure how accurate that is. I think the seperation between IWW and SF is more political than you give it credit for. While hostilities do exist, I really don't think they are the root cause. While in some places people will join one or the other because that's what exists, in places where both (or neither!) exist I think people will roughly join the one that corresponds to their politics, rather than who they are feuding with. And certainly, off the top of my head I can't think anywhere that both SF and IWW are present where we don't (or wouldn't) work together.

If people want to try and build an anarcho-syndicalist union, and practice anarcho-syndicalism (obviously to an extent limited by our numbers) then they will more likely than not join solfed.

If people (anarchist or not) want to build a 'grassroots democratic fighting union (or something a bit 'looser') they are more likely to join the IWW.

They are 2 different political outlooks - although obviously with similarities - and the 2 organisations represent them.

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May 19 2011 16:08
Bluedog wrote:
Also BR, please do more to encourage other wobblies you know to partake in this discussion if they havnt already.

Why on earth would they want to take part in the "pointless" sectarian crap thats gone on this thread?

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May 19 2011 16:15

Thanks Fallback. That makes sense and is more what I meant to say. What I should have said is that I think there are political and extra-political reasons for what folk are doing, all of them are valid, and I suspect that in some but definitely not all cases the two are muddled for folk, and in some cases I think some but definitely not all of the political reasons are after-the-fact justifications for decisions made for extrapolitical reasons. It's different in the US because SF and the IWW are more similar than the IWW and other groups but still in the US similar dynamics exist between IWW folk and folk in other groups (and folk who belong to the IWW and one or more other groups).

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May 19 2011 16:32

Black rainbow, as you probably know I am not a member of Solfed, nor do I read the joint AF Solfed forum. But I was aware of what the situation was with strategy & struggle, that the authors accepted some criticisms from others in Solfed from up north, around the mass/minority issue and were no longer distributing it as a Solfed text, and that they were working on a new one which everyone agreed with.

It has come up on quite a lot of threads in different discussions over the past couple of years, so there would be no reason to stop you talking about it. I wasn't at the conference you mention, but being generous to you here perhaps someone said something about keeping your voice down because people were just talking too loudly, and you misinterpreted or misremembered that?

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May 19 2011 16:46
Steven. wrote:
It has come up on quite a lot of threads in different discussions over the past couple of years, so there would be no reason to stop you talking about it.

My life doent revolve around keeping upto date with the hundreds of forums that are generated on libcom or keeping up with documents sent to the AF or Organise (I'm not in any of those organisations). But if folks want to kindly point me to relevant threads I'm more than happy to read them.

Steven. wrote:
I wasn't at the conference you mention, but being generous to you here perhaps someone said something about keeping your voice down because people were just talking too loudly, and you misinterpreted or misremembered that?

The last time I checked there was nothing wrong with my hearing or memory.

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May 19 2011 16:55

Nate, I think that there's a wee-bit of merit to waht you're saying, certainly as it realted to the US. I wouldn't fully agree with the European assesment. Definately more "ideological" and historuical then not.

In the US, the IWW is the IWW. It has historical cahe and folks are attracted to its place in history (and, of course, the good work by some dedicated folks).

In general, certainly in the post WW-I period, US anarhist groups have mainly been smaller, with most "mass" work done outside the confines of the group or organization. The anarcho-syndicalist and anarchist groups/organizations have existed to advance the general libertarian position, do educationals, make specific propagnda and so forth. Clearly, where unionist traditions (anarcho-syndicalist) have existed primarily in Europe and Latin America, focus and work have been different. Here, we are able to be explicit about our politics and perspectives generally throuigh the libertarian worker group, not, say in the IWW. Just the nature and set-up of the IWW. Not always that way elsewhere.

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May 19 2011 17:30
Tommy Ascaso wrote:
syndicalist wrote:
In the US, the IWW is the IWW. It has historical cahe and folks are attracted to its place in history (and, of course, the good work by some dedicated folks).

That was certainly the case here until a few years ago, since then members have put a lot of work in and they've been able to grow a fair bit. This is probably because they seem to have dropped the history completely in some places but I get the impression that doesn't apply nationally.

Understood about not resting on laurels. I know that Solfed was near dormant for many years. New folks came along and worked hard to rebuild. But if you wanted to be part of the post-war and clearly libertarian worker perspective, one sought out and joined the SWF, the DAM and now Solfed.

I think what I was trying to say, is that certain organizations have a historical tradition and place in their country. The Spanish CNT exploded with interest and thousands upon thousands of new members after Francos death.

Of course, they may, at some point, have been very inactive or elderly in membership (as was the case in France for many years), but when younger folks were looking for an anarcho-syndicalist organization, well, they flocked to the CNT and worked hard to rebuild. Same with Italy, with the USI. No doubt with the IWW in the north america.

I guess, there are certain historical" "attractions" that draw folks to and possibly join organizations.

Back to work.

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May 19 2011 17:55
syndicalist wrote:
with the European assesment. Definately more "ideological" and historuical then not.

In the US, (...) we are able to be explicit about our politics and perspectives generally throuigh the libertarian worker group, not, say in the IWW. Just the nature and set-up of the IWW. Not always that way elsewhere.

I don't really get what you're saying. You seem to be saying there are some ideological reasons why some Europeans picked the IWW to join. Okay. Sure. You'd have to ask them why. And I think as I said it was also largely - having at one point talked with quite a few UK IWW memebrs when I was more active - a matter of who people knew and liked and what they wanted to be part of in terms of activity, what projects etc, and not simply ideology.

The folk who explicitly and consciously

Quote:
wanted to be part of the post-war and clearly libertarian worker perspective

are only some of the folk involved in stuff. To the degree that those folk did or do or appear to do good work via the IWW, some other folk are going to want to be around them.

Also, I think it's worth asking where people get their ideology from -- that is, I think in a lot of cases there are nonpolitical reasons for why people take on an ideology as part of who they are, at least when they're starting up. A lot of people start off taking up what they first encounter and which sticks for them initially, and often people move on from their first ideological encounters - loads of decent anarchists in the US used to be in the orbit of some trot sect or whatever, and loads of trots etc used to be in quasi-anarchist lifestyle scenes, punk, etc.

syndicalist wrote:
when younger folks were looking for an anarcho-syndicalist organization, well, they flocked to the CNT and worked hard to rebuild. Same with Italy, with the USI. No doubt with the IWW in the north america.

For the vast majority of the current crop of IWW members in the US it wasn't that they were looking for an A/S organization. Anarchosyndicalism basically doesn't exist as a real ideological tendency in the US in my opinion, for a variety of reasons. If anything, it's more common that people join the IWW and become a sort of vague syndicalist then some become explicitly anarchosyndicalist. That's what I did and what's gone on with loads of people in my branch and loads of people I know around the US in the IWW.

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May 19 2011 17:56
syndicalist wrote:
Joseph Kay wrote:
i think what Jim's getting at is that when that was written, SolFed thought of itself as a propaganda group which supported the formation of a-s unions. i think that's developed somewhat, and now we see ourselves as a 'revolutionary union initiative', i.e. a network of militant workers which aspires to take on those union functions itself. there haven't been any formal discussions on this, but we are writing a new pamphlet on workplace organising, so if anything needs changing it will probably come out of the discussions around that.

Respectfully, how would this differ from the IWW?

i think there's two quite different kinds of union being aimed at. if there's any UK IWWs here please correct this as my impression's based on odd conversations and internet presence rather than any insider perspective:

UK IWW model:
- Registered with the state, giving some protection from dismissal for union activities (in return for legal obligations to oppose unofficial action etc)
- relates to the wider class primarily through recruitment, believing "every worker should be in the One Big Union"
- bills itself as a militant, grassroots, democratic version of a TUC union: giving you the same benefits without the bureaucracy and high dues, i.e. aiming to be an alternative union today

SolFed model
- not based on recognition by the state or employers
- based on a clear revolutionary perspective, and organising with non-members through workplace committees/mass meetings/assemblies rather than trying to recruit enough people to win recognition
- bills itself as a revolutionary union initiative, fighting for everyday gains from a revolutionary (anti-capitalist, anti-state) standpoint, and hopefully winning more workers over to this perspective through successful organising, building up union capacity in the medium term

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May 19 2011 18:09

I think the third points and a bit of the second on SolFed are somewhat overstated as contrasts. I don't know who runs the web site or know a lot what the UK IWW is like in day to day activity but I do know that in the US the formal/paper/web site existence of the IWW is only somewhat reflective of the lived IWW. I would bet that most of the UK IWW's membership still sees the organization as in some fashion a revolutionary organization, even if maybe some folk have shaped how the organization bills itself on the organization's web and paper presence.

Anyway, youre right that there's little on radicalism in the document you linked to beyond "We have a duty to our co-workers and those who will follow in our footsteps to make things better, not only in terms of immediate gains but also as part of a bigger plan to build a radically new worker-run economy for the benefit of all. The only way to do this is to organise together." That's something but not much. At the same time, the preamble is still up on that site. I know it's on another page and the division is unfortunate in my opinion. But Brighton SolFed has its statement of principles on one page and on another has a militant but not radical document (if taken in isolation and in abstraction from the rest of the web site and the organization - and by the way there's at least one US group that has set up a local fighting organization using that content and deliberately not mentioning any larger radical vision elsewhere on its site, though which particular group escapes me at the moment) and I don't think the SolFed "who we are" doc is all that more radical or detailed or has much difference than the IWW preamble. (I realize that SolFed does have other more detailed documents and the IWA does as well.)

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May 19 2011 18:54

Nate, I leafoff by saying.....

Quote:
I think what I was trying to say, is that certain organizations have a historical tradition and place in their country.

So....

Quote:
syndicalist wrote:

when younger folks were looking for an anarcho-syndicalist organization, well, they flocked to the CNT and worked hard to rebuild. Same with Italy, with the USI.

I continued with the next sentence:

Quote:
No doubt with the IWW in the north america.

You replied....

Quote:
For the vast majority of the current crop of IWW members in the US it wasn't that they were looking for an A/S organization. Anarchosyndicalism basically doesn't exist as a real ideological tendency in the US in my opinion, for a variety of reasons. If anything, it's more common that people join the IWW and become a sort of vague syndicalist then some become explicitly anarchosyndicalist. That's what I did and what's gone on with loads of people in my branch and loads of people I know around the US in the IWW.

Which speaks to the point I was simply making. The IWW has the historic position in the US, like some of the other organizations may have in other lands. I'm not trying to point score.
I'm just trying to point out why some organizations seem to attract a certain attentin or hold a certain position in their respective lands.

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May 19 2011 19:03
Nate wrote:
I think the third points and a bit of the second on SolFed are somewhat overstated as contrasts. I don't know who runs the web site or know a lot what the UK IWW is like in day to day activity but I do know that in the US the formal/paper/web site existence of the IWW is only somewhat reflective of the lived IWW. I would bet that most of the UK IWW's membership still sees the organization as in some fashion a revolutionary organization, even if maybe some folk have shaped how the organization bills itself on the organization's web and paper presence.

i think that's almost certainly true, but it matters insofar as what kind of organisation we're trying to build. i mean the CGT-E see themselves as anarcho-syndicalists, they even built a statue to honour Durruti in León, but the kind of organisation they've built is different to the one the CNT have, for example.

i'm not sure of the ins-and-outs of it, but i think the decision to register with the state came from the experience in Hull where a load of wobblies were sacked without comeback as they weren't registered. that's understandable, but it's more than a paper position and has real consequences, e.g. "Some within the IWW felt that the Showroom organising had been too hasty in the first place, that we could risk getting the union sued and that we should scale back our efforts."

in real terms the IWW probably isn't that dissimilar to SolFed, insofar as a GMB of 50 isn't all that different to a Local of 15; neither are job branches, both function as networks of militant workers who overwhelmingly identify as anarchists/revolutionaries etc. but i think the question is what kind of organisation we're trying to become. we want to build an organisation along the lines of the principles of revolutionary unionism, i think many in the IWW (including some anarchists) see that as divisive and a barrier to being "for all workers" as they aspire to be. we'd counter membership isn't everything, especially if you're not interested in recognition, and you can organise through committees/mass meetings etc. for all i know lots of Wobblies might be closer to the SolFed position, but from the outside it looks like the UK IWW is pursuing a more legalist 'non-political' path (i'm happy to stand corrected though, and i'm interested what wobblies think).

Nate wrote:
At the same time, the preamble is still up on that site.

but as you say, these are just pieces of paper (or strings of HTML). it's what happens on the ground that's important. although the bulk of the IWW are probably anarchists/syndicalists/socialists, the organisation does seem to actively try and recruit "ALL workers" regardless of their views on the preamble (e.g. the London cleaners branch who joined en masse), and the joining form states "I confirm that I am a worker and not an employer and will study the aims and constitution of the union", which to me suggests a 'non-political' approach that reduces the preamble to a historical artefact. but i don't know whether that represents organisational consensus/strategy or even if it's been discussed (we've had very in-depth discussions in SolFed over the past couple of years so i'm probably overly-attuned to these kind of things).

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May 19 2011 19:13
Joseph Kay wrote:
the joining form states "I confirm that I am a worker and not an employer and will study the aims and constitution of the union", which to me suggests a 'non-political' approach

Hmmm....

Tommy Ascaso wrote:
You don't even have to agree with the aims and principles to join SF
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May 19 2011 19:27

Abiding by aims and principles and studying them are very different .

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May 19 2011 19:59
Joseph Kay wrote:
as you say, these are just pieces of paper (or strings of HTML). it's what happens on the ground that's important. although the bulk of the IWW are probably anarchists/syndicalists/socialists, the organisation does seem to actively try and recruit "ALL workers" regardless of their views on the preamble (...) but i don't know whether that represents organisational consensus/strategy or even if it's been discussed (we've had very in-depth discussions in SolFed over the past couple of years so i'm probably overly-attuned to these kind of things).

I don't have a clear sense of the UK IWW at this point but back when I was in more regular contact it didn't seem to me like it had much in the way of organization-wide consensus or strategy on much. The US IWW certainly doesn't (though the hegemonic position here is close to SolFed, though it's more a matter of impulses and untheorized practices which is quite different from the explicit sorts of clarity and agreement that SolFed had). I believe you that this stuff goes on and I wouldn't be surprised if these were the dominant tendencies in the IWW as it currently exists in the UK, but given its size and how long (or rather, how short) much of the membership has been around and active I think we're really talking about small numbers of people who haven't held their current views all that long. Which I think makes that stuff perhaps a bit more impermanent than SolFed's views, which are likely held by a higher percentage of SF members than the dominant IWW views are held by UK IWW members, SFs views may in fact be strongly held by a larger quantity of people than those who actively believe the dominant views in the UK IWW. (SOrry if that's unclear, in a rush.)

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May 19 2011 20:07
syndicalist wrote:
I'm just trying to point out why some organizations seem to attract a certain attentin or hold a certain position in their respective lands.

I dunno. That could be. The IWW was basically dead by the late 20th century, though. I think the start of its growth in the late 90s/early 00s could be as much a historical accident as a matter of inheriting some important position from the past. I mean, I'm proud of the IWW's history but I think that has had a minimal effect on the growth of the organization as it presently exists. If anything, we've had to work to put the sort of "Joe Hill Historical Reenactment Society" mentality to bed in some places. I think the main reasons people got involved are more local and accidental, like I said - who they like, were impressed by, etc, and lack of alternatives. I think it's also about the sorts of work people could do by coming around. I think the growth of the IWW in the UK when and where it did grow had as much to do with that as anything else - people saw stuff they thought they wanted to be part of by some people they thought they wanted to be around. SolFed's revamping toward workplace action in a more active way, and their push for skill building via training, I think changes things in the UK pretty significantly. I think it's likely though that they're going to see people who are turned on by what they do yet who are not immediately at the level of agreement that SF expects. If that energy doesn't dissipate it'll probly feed into the IWW there, or independent initiatives, or membership in political organizaitons, or a sort of cloud around SF that SF engages with in a deliberate way, a sort of not-quite-member-but-still-an-organizational-priority-to-work-on status.

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May 19 2011 20:36
Fall Back wrote:
Abiding by aims and principles and studying them are very different .

Could you expand on that. I can understand abiding by a constitution but I'm not sure what abiding by aims and principles means.

syndicalist
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Joined: 15-04-06
May 19 2011 20:46
Nate wrote:
syndicalist wrote:
I'm just trying to point out why some organizations seem to attract a certain attentin or hold a certain position in their respective lands.

I suspect my point is neither being well made or understood. And, at this point, is prolly moot.

Not trying to take anything away from the good work folks do. An organization doesn't grow if its not doing good work. And it takes people to do that.

I do think that not everyone who joins an organization is first exposed to that organization. I grew up in the textile district of Paterson-Passaic. My first exposure in the early 1970s to the IWW was reading about the role of the IWW, the SLP and then the CP in the textile struggles of my area. I knew nothing about any of them, but became interested in learning about them.
Thank goodness for the public library which had some books on the topics......and some old radicals who got the library to have their newspapers, etc. So I discovered the IWW (and other radical ideas), in part, by chance.

I suspect that someone reading about US labor history will come across the IWW. Hell, even the regular trade unions talk about the Wobblies, "Bread & Roses" and so forth. So, someone with an inclination can now google the IWW and find it.

All I'm saying is, that because there is a history, there is great access to it.