Political-Economic Dual Carding...

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Entdinglichung's picture
Entdinglichung
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May 6 2011 14:07

on the topic of the AAUD-E (or AAUE which is the more commonly used abbreviation in the research literature): the literature about the AAUE (e.g. Bock) says in fact very little about how the AAUE acted as an organisation, the stuff written about the "German Left" - apart from Ihlau's study on the Rote Kaempfer - mainly focusses on organisational splits, theoretical positions, etc. but says very little about the day-to-day functioning of the organisations (while many studies about the FAUD, the post-1923 splits of the KPD, the ISK and the SAPD give a lively picture of the culture of the organisations and their practice) and its interventions

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Juan Conatz
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May 8 2011 06:56
syndicalist wrote:
Juan, briefly before I go to work. I'll come back to some stuff over the weekend.

My comments about reinventing the wheel are based on a recent stuff (say since 2008ish). Now, you may think I've come from another planet and am having differenct observations than you, which is ok by me.

My observations are mainly in the relam of the 3 "Class Struggle Anarchist Conferences".

For 2 1/2 of them I was deeply involved in the planning and discussions. These experiances have given me some insight into some of the other groups. The failure of the CSAC-Labor group and some more recent stuff which arose in the WSA. As well as some of the more recent writings by folks in our movement. Now, you can say that my observations are wrong, that's you're perogative.

Eh, maybe it's about reinventing the wheel, I don't have that perspective of longer involvement so I've just drawn all that stuff up as the general disorganization of anarchists, which applies equally to the 'class struggle pro-organizational' variety just as much as insurrectionaries, if not more so.

Additionally, it seems that there is something inherent within political organization that leads to inward looking, in-group dialogue being stressed as opposed to actual organizing skills or actually doing things in a concerted fashion or at all. I saw that during the organizing for CSAC-III and it was very disconcerting. You can see that there are some groups who put a large amount of priority on internal theoretical development and dialogue, while actual work or learning skills is put on the back burner. This probably has to do with the process being dominated by older folks with some years of involvement, not wanting to go over things they think they already know.

Quote:
Inexperiance, yes, of course, we all have gone through that. As I said, my generation has as well. One big difference, we had no one to really share our thinking with. You all do (and I'm not refering to me or simply WSA folks here, but I've always shared when asked). Specifically, in the IWW, I'm assuming you have a number of seasoned class struggle veterans. One would think they would be sharing whatever experiances and advice with folks beyond a slogan.

Well, no one, including many of your generation has ever really dealt with a situation like in Wisconsin. When's the last time there was serious talk on the streets and among public sector workers about a general strike? The late 1940s? The postal strike in 1970? What advice can one give if the situation one needs advice for has little precedent?

I also take issue with you repeating that all we had to offer or advanced was a slogan. We held 1 forum on a general strike that including immigrant and Latino groups who had been implicitly excluded from the wider activities, another forum with a shortened organizer training, dual carders operated within SCFL and are the primary reason the gs resolution passed, there were committees formed within the public sector unions that dual carders initiated or were heavily involved in, we hit basically every major city in the state and distributed flyers and posters, we got on the radio describing what a general strike was and what it would look like, we put out 2 pamphlets (1 very widely distributed) around the idea and what one could do to advance it, we made links with virtually every group and organization of the left, etc. In addition to the excellent propaganda work that was one of the main reasons the concept spread, I think we absolutely maximized the possibilities of what we could do as a non-political organization with limited people in the ground and limited resources. In fact, I think it's fair to say that what we did was the most successful intervention by a group on the libertarian left within a mass movement in the United States in, well, a very long time.

Did everything go as planned all the time? Hell no. Events could have been better planned, propaganda could have been made sooner and spread more widely, more follow-up with people could have been done, more assembly type things could have been held, dual card strategy could have been tighter knit and more effective possibly, etc.

But when it comes down to it, we did what political organizations write thousands upon thousands of words about, and we did it without those words. Now some of us, including myself, have spent time in these political organizations and I imagine that has influenced us on how we operated within this, but we did much more than advance a mere slogan.

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May 8 2011 07:01
syndicalist wrote:
Well, this is one of the things I am exactly talking about. In fact, this goes back to when I was a youngin' in the movement and in the IWW and got the shit stomped on for even raising it:

I'm not sure I understand this, are you talking about dual carding or attitudes of being against 'maximum principled tactical and organizational flexibility'?

If it's the latter, the only example of this is part of my post which expresses my opinion that this attitude already exists, but beyond what is useful? That hardly seems wide spread nor does it express a my way or the highway outlook.

syndicalist
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May 8 2011 18:40

Yeah, I'll have to come back to this in the next few days. My computer time is limited at the moment.

I will say Juan, we seem to be talking past each other on the WI stuff. I will go over some of the salient points when I have more than 5 minutes.

When I was talking about "my way or the hightway", mainly reflecting on how some dicussions on the IWW devolved this past year (some of this can be seen on another
forum). Some of this was a bit more internal to WSA, but with some of the same players.

Quote:
syndicalist wrote:

Well, this is one of the things I am exactly talking about. In fact, this goes back to when I was a youngin' in the movement and in the IWW and got the shit stomped on for even raising it:
Juan wrote:

I'm not sure I understand this, are you talking about dual carding or attitudes of being against 'maximum principled tactical and organizational flexibility'?

I was refering to dual carding.

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klas batalo
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May 8 2011 22:20

I also want to question what you call the failure of the CSAC Labor Group. Just cause people are busy organizing and don't have time to post on there doesn't mean it is a failure. Also I think there is probably a hesitation to go forward with most proposals since we are already undergoing the rapprochement process. I'd be willing to get discussions going on again though.

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klas batalo
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May 8 2011 22:44
Juan Conatz wrote:
Unfortunately, like I said before, the IWW often acts like a political-economic organization that has never actually talked about what that means. There's no strategy on dual carding, and there is no strategy in operating within mass movements as a minority. The latter is something many IWW branches who do not do workplace organizing fall into anyway.

I guess this is mostly what interests me. When I first became an anarchist I joined the IWW because it was the closest thing to an anarchist organization that existed in my city. Unfortunately it mostly did the type of work that political organizations do, or was the Joe Hill club, but did it badly in an apolitical/synthesist manner. (I get the feeling this is a majority of the local GMBs outside of Twin Cities, Portland, New York, Chicago, San Francisco) This is eventually why I joined NEFAC because I wanted to be in a serious anarchist political organization, and I remained in the IWW mostly because it is the only union really around that is applicable to my industry (food service) So a sort of "Malatestan" course if you will.

Problem that I am encountering is that over time most of the Joe Hill club, random cooky lefties and university/traveler kids have left and now a majority of our local is pretty much the same make up as NEFAC or anarchist.

I've been told not to worry so much about such things and just do good work but lately I've just been really thinking about how to make NEFAC and IWW relevant to the lives of other working people. What are the benefits of anarchism or revolutionary syndicalism? One answer to this is that groups in a similar situation could form as more explicitly political-economic minorities doing work within mass organizations and movements. Now luckily NEFAC has a history of being involved in housing, or workplace struggles more directly, but I get the distinct feeling from people like Juan that often elsewhere platformist groups are often more reading circles and propaganda clubs and instead of directly organizing in movements just sorta show up and participate in movements organized by other people.

Maybe it is a slightly more workerist orientation? Idk, but we've talked a lot here locally about providing ourselves a resource to 1) train folks how to take action for themselves and 2) back folks up when they need solidarity/mutual aid. This is why we started a solidarity network/workers center. But it just seems to me the silly thing about this is now we have 3 overlapping groups when much of this could be done by a single political-economic active minority.

Edit:

I guess what I am trying to reach for here is, is there a way to fuse an anarcho-syndicalist approach with still taking into consideration Malatesta's critique, ie that it makes sense to be a pole within the existing apolitical/reformist unions.

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May 9 2011 12:37

At my work there are unionized and non-unionized units and a few IWW members who have organized there off and on for years in both kinds of units (a couple of us have kids now so we've slowed down). We collaborate and we organize the same way way regardless. The only differences are tactics by context - for the unionized folk sometimes it makes sense to make aggressive use of the contractual grievance procedure alongside mobilizations, for instance. IWW members were/are very involved in stuff up in Edmonton as well (that article by Rachel Stafford's on here someplace), which is great stuff and I think the same sort of thing - organizing basically the same way, and some of the individuals involved up there are also part of organizing in non-unionized shops (ditto for Twin Cities where I live - the pool of dedicated organizers, and people like myself who were heavily involved and have slowed down, includes people who are dual carders and people who aren't and it makes basically no difference). The training program we run is more or less applicable regardless of whether or not there's a union officially present. I'm sure there's other stuff going on that I don't know about. I'm not a dual carder and have never been so I've not spent much time thinking or talking about or paying attention to it, I just know about Edmonton and Twin Cities dual card stuff because of who I happen to be friends with.

Eventually the Edmonton and Twin Cities dual carders will probly get a fully worked out dual-card training set up. I hope so anyway. I've been pushing Phinneas to get on the agenda for Labor Notes and run their march on the boss training there followed by a very brief discussion of the rest of what they've done. From talking to them I think any training they ran would be basically the same as the regular IWW organizer training, the dual card difference would mostly just a matter of who is being targeted to attend and a bit of discussion about the particulars of dual carding like officer elections and contracts etc. That sort of stuff figures low in what those cats see as the important work in a unionized workplace (and I agree) so it probly wouldn't loom large in anything they did where they were formally conveying their approach.

edit:
All of this could be clarified a great deal within the IWW as it's messy. Most claims about the IWW are true, including ones that contradict each other, becuase the IWW is messy. For better and definitely for worse the IWW is an action-first and get-together first organization more than a thinking organization. Loads of smart thinking people in it, but there isn't much in the way of formal/institutionalized channels for discussion and member education across the organization. So, loads of smart thinking people in the IWW and thinking about the IWW and our activities, but the IWW as an organization has a hard time thinking in a collective way about a lot. There are some upsides to this, but a lot of downsides. There are some pretty well developed and relatively organized informal channels but those come and go depending on what's going on in people's lives. As long as that continues (which will likely be a long time) then the IWW will continue to be messy and have trouble clarifying (or hell, even discussing) its actions and its views. That's fine with me, it can be annoying but it can be productive as well. It'd be good if the informal tendencies within the IWW could get better organized and preferably more formal, in the sense of having institutions to put out views and discuss them etc. There are differences of opinion about how that relates to political organizations, which is another complicating factor. In my personal opinion formal political organization distinct from the IWW has yet to prove a resource for building the IWW I'd like to see, despite some very good work by a few people and good intentions by everyone in N American anarchist political organizations.

syndicalist
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May 9 2011 13:15
sabotage wrote:
I also want to question what you call the failure of the CSAC Labor Group. Just cause people are busy organizing and don't have time to post on there doesn't mean it is a failure. Also I think there is probably a hesitation to go forward with most proposals since we are already undergoing the rapprochement process. I'd be willing to get discussions going on again though.

Right quick: Oh, agreed, it has nothing to do with the amount of posting that currently happens or not. In fact, it's never been, for me at least, about of psoting. It has been the qulaity and spirit of many of the postings.

Shortly after we started to organize CSAC-Labor, lots of folks aggresive came out of the box with lots of theortical proposals. Rather than starting off small time and cooperative, several verbal slug fests arose. Unity broken. A look at the archives will give a sense of that.

Even so, some of us (inclusing yourself) tried pull things back together in a subcomittee. Our subcommitteee could even come up with any suggested ways forward. For me, that's not a measure of success.

As for the regroupment process, we shall see. But if the process goes like CSAC-Labor, well, we'll just see how things progress.

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May 9 2011 13:19
Quote:
Nate: "In my personal opinion formal political organization distinct from the IWW has yet to prove a resource for building the IWW I'd like to see"

Most respectfully, this is why there will always be conflicts within the libertarian workers movement over the IWW. Political organizations aren't adjunts of the IWW. Nor is the IWW an adjunct of a political organization. By framing it that way, it creates certain divisions. And plays into the tensions that have existed within the libertarian workers movement for as long as I can remember.

I have long believed one can be supportive of the IWW, without being "tied at the hip" to the IWW. I say that respectfully, I just can't think of a better way to say it.

Now, perhaps, some folks don't want a balance between parallel and complimentary tracks of work, focus and struggle (between solely IWW focus or not). I get that. I humbly and respectfully don't agree with it, but, to each their own.

But even so, your experiances are leading you to have to explore different levels of organizational forms and perspectives. And as deep as the ideology drives the motives, the struggle around "dual carding" is not a struggle for getting rid of the exisiting union in the immediate and short term, replacing with an IWW IU. That may be the longer term goal
(which I get and support), but in the immediate and short term your tactics and goals are somewhat different. So you are crossing a bridge that is much different from what has been argued for and promoted to date. And don't get me wrong, I'm not arguing against it. I applaud comrades when they confront their realities and try and find concrete solutions to those realities. As I said to Juan, when we were in the IWW, we got stomped for raising our reality. Glad times may have changed.

I owe Juan a longish reply to his emails. I want to get to them and apologize Juan for being a bit tardy in replying.

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May 9 2011 14:33

Syndicalist, on the dual card specifics, yes, I'm not for trying to replace an existing union with IWW in a dual card situation, nor am I for slates etc to take over the existing union. There's a place for both of those approaches, tactically depending on context, but I think neither should be a strategic emphasis. I've worked against a couple efforts at decert tied to this perspective, where a small group has come around and been like "our local sucks! everyone hates it! let's decert it and get the IWW in here!" This conversation reminds me that I'd like to write something on this eventually, and on hot-shop organizing more generally, because decerts and to a lesser degree slates strike me as often a response to a hot shop situation in a unionized place, it's the unionized analog to "everyone's pissed! we could totally win an election right now!" combo of spontaneism+legalism that often happens when a small group from a non-unionized shop comes around.

On this, quote below, I think we're on the same page mostly here, just to clarify though -

syndicalist wrote:
Quote:
Nate: "In my personal opinion formal political organization distinct from the IWW has yet to prove a resource for building the IWW I'd like to see"

Most respectfully, this is why there will always be conflicts within the libertarian workers movement over the IWW. Political organizations aren't adjunts of the IWW. Nor is the IWW an adjunct of a political organization. By framing it that way, it creates certain divisions. And plays into the tensions that have existed within the libertarian workers movement for as long as I can remember.

(...)

Now, perhaps, some folks don't want a balance between parallel and complimentary tracks of work, focus and struggle (between solely IWW focus or not). I get that. I humbly and respectfully don't agree with it, but, to each their own.

I didn't mean to suggest that anything is adjunct to anything. Part of the problem in all this is that many of us (me, for sure) have a habit of talking like there's one best move for all people everywhere all the time. Some people actually think that, I think (including a certain crazy Floridian who is one of my best friends), which is a problem too. The flip side of the problem is that it's hard to find room to talk about what really is best for some people some places some of the time. So some things ARE adjunct to some things, but only for some people some of the time, given their priorities and commitments and available time and energy. For some of us, the priority now is the IWW. For others it's not, fair play and good luck. For some of us who are doing IWW stuff, the other groups aren't really a resource. I mean this *as groups* - individuals who are members of group are doing good stuff that matters for the IWW. That has little to do with and doesn't seem to come from their groups though, it's just good people being good people -- it's not an organized thing.

To my mind over all IWW stuff and other stuff isn't so much "parallel and complimentary" so much as parallel instead of complimentary. I'm for people getting what they need in any way that works for them. For a lot of folk that includes membership in a political organization and good for them. For others, not. Nothing is everything for everyone, after all. I know for me, I don't have the time and energy for both (hell, I don't REALLY have the time and energy for either one!)

Anyway all I meant to say in my remark you quoted was that as the IWW grows in the directions I'd like to see it grow (this has started but very preliminary and fitful), there will be conversations about the role (or not) of political organizations. People will have different answers for a variety of reasons, with a variety of ramifications. My hunch is that the best route for the IWW will not involve much in the way of organizational dualism; I say this in part because I think organizational dualism as actually practiced hasn't really done much for the IWW (even if it's benefitted some individual IWW members and even though, again, some people in other groups have made valuable contributions to the IWW).

I want to be very clear, in saying all this I am not saying the IWW is the thing or a thing for everyone. I'm saying that this is what I think is and should be the case for the people who make the IWW one of their big things.

syndicalist
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May 9 2011 16:07

Right quick:

This is sorta directed at both Juan and Nate's comments.But there's an expression my late Father used to say: "What you put in, is what you'll take out." It goes for politics, organizing and so forth as well. When stuff is in transition and folks don't or can't make time to do certain things, then, yes, nothing much is gained. My overall criticism of some, is that no one is born "advanced". Nor are common practices and infastructure accomplished with the single waving of a wand. Patience means time.

I think in many north american dual organizational groups, you've gots lots of younger, newer and less experianced people.This has certainly been true of the WSA in the past few years. If Nate's generational layer peels off, those younger and less experianced then you losse a lot. It almost becomes perpetually like the dog chasinmg it's tail.

More at some other point.

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May 9 2011 16:39
syndicalist wrote:
As for the regroupment process, we shall see. But if the process goes like CSAC-Labor, well, we'll just see how things progress.

I guess I've just noticed this tendency to delay moving forward on anything cause the regroupment process is moving forward and it's an easy excuse to procrastinate. So it could be a failure, but then a lot of people were proposing that the list just be for networking and nothing more. A lot of people were against making full on new organizations of militants with a paper, etc because they wanted to see how the rest of the CSAC-regroupment process would go.

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May 10 2011 12:57

In re-reading this thread, I see there is little in the way I can constructively offer to this and other conversations at this time. My views about plurality, of parallel and complimentary activities haven't substaintly changed since my younger years.

At some point, it's just OK to say, good luck and move on. Which I will now do.

Don't waste any opportunites which come your way. You don't want to feel like you have been talking to yourself 25 years down the road.

Juan, I will reply to the WI discussion, I promise you that.

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May 11 2011 00:34
syndicalist wrote:
"What you put in, is what you'll take out." It goes for politics, organizing and so forth as well. (...) If Nate's generational layer peels off, those younger and less experianced then you losse a lot.

I appreciate the compliment in there, thanks for that. I'm still not sure I've been clear so I'll try again.

This point you make cuts both ways. For folk (like me) with limited time, there's scarcity of people power. So what gets put in one place (anarchist political organization) doesn't get put in someplace else (mass work). It's not this way for all people, but it is this way for some people (like me, and not just me). So with some people putting stuff into other efforts counts against the IWW. I'm honestly not trying to make this into "the IWW is the only thing that matters at all," but for people like who have decided that for me the IWW is the priority, then people putting stuff into other stuff doesn't help the thing I'm prioritizing. (We could say the same about WSA members who build up other things and don't build up WSA - I know building WSA is what you most want to happen, and I respect that even though it's not my personal top priority.) I'm for people doing what they need for themselves as individuals, for some that's anarchist group, for others it's other groups like the IWW, for other others it's anarchist goups AND other groups like the IWW. So I don't begrudge anyone choosing other stuff in addition to or instead of the IWW.

But, again, as stuff in the IWW moves forward some people will say (have already said, are currently saying) that what will REALLY enhance the IWW is if more people take up organizational dualism and form or join anarchist political organizations in addition to theIWW. I doubt that this will actually do anything good for the IWW, I don't think it has so far, as I said.

That means the reasons for IWW members to join anarchist political organizations, for those who choose to do so, should not be "because it's good for the IWW" but because it meets their needs themselves or because it helps them meet other priorities that they care about beyond building up the IWW. And people who are looking for ways to build up the IWW, starting or joining other groups is likely not the way to go in order to meet the particular goal of building up the IWW.

syndicalist
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May 11 2011 01:12

Nate, at this point there's little more I can add. I don't think we're talking with each other at this point. My point wasn't even about time constraints, which I get and understand.

Take care.

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May 11 2011 02:54

Dude. You're a really nice guy and I like and respect you a lot but you're kind of dodging here. I've been trying to get you to respond to this particular point but you haven't:
for those people who have the goal of building up the IWW, builidng up other groups does not help advance that goal.Do you disagree with that, or not? That is: do you think people building up other groups DOES build up the IWW?

I think building up other groups doesn't help build the IWW. That means that the reasons for IWW members to participate in other groups is not because it does anything good for the IWW but for other reasons.

From what I've heard you say, I'm pretty sure you basically think the same things about WSA members building stuff as I do about IWW members building stuff. That is, WSA members building up political organizations other than the WSA doesn't build the WSA. I'm pretty sure, for instance, that you think it'd be better if the local groups that WSA members have started across the US were WSA locals rather than their own independent political groups. (That's my opinion, for whatever it's worth. I also think that NEFAC and the rest of the CSAC groups should join the WSA en masse.)

If I'm wrong about your views, let me know.

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May 11 2011 03:00
Nate wrote:
That is: do you think people building up other groups DOES build up the IWW?

Building up SeaSol has helped build up the Seattle IWW to a small but noticeable extent.

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May 11 2011 03:35

I'm aware that the Seattle IWW benefits from participation in SeaSol. I've advocated (though not very effectively) for a while every IWW branch ought to run a program like SeaSol. I wasn't clear though, I meant political organizations.

I mean - has your membership in the WSA enhanced SeaSol? Do you think people in SeaSol should all start or join political organizations in order to make SeaSol more effective? (I can see why people might want to join or a start a political organization if SeaSol doesn't meet all their needs and another sort of group might meet those unmet needs, but that's sort of my point here about what a political group is and isn't for.)

I want to also add, this isn't a hypothetical. There are IWW members around the organization who want to see the IWW improve and they think that one way to do this is to join or start political organizations. This came up on the phone a night or two ago with a younger member in my branch. We were talking about member education (our branch is overdue to hold a new member orientation) and how if people aren't taught the IWW's structure in practice then they can't really participate in the organization's democracy. He started talking about wanting to start a local anarchist collective, as something which will help the IWW. (I recommended he check out the WSA, by the way.) I think "more of IWW members being in political organizations will improve the IWW" is a mistake. Political organizations are tools that are good for many purposes, but they're not really a tool for the job of building up the IWW. The reasons to join them are other ones, about the things they provide to their members. This isn't unique to the IWW. I'm part of a UAW organizing drive at my job and have a friend who is salting with UNITE-HERE. Those campaigns could use a lot, but membership in a political organization is not the thing that they're missing or a tool that would enhance the success of those campaigns.

None of which is to say no one should be in a political organization. It's just to say that "I'm in this political organization because it's good for the IWW" is kinda goofy. And to say that for those of us with a common vision of the IWW we want to see - what I'd call a revolutionary union, which I believe is close to what SolFed has started to call "political-economic" except not anarchist - building that is different from building political organizations, and joining or starting political organizations isn't the thing to do to help that process along.

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May 11 2011 04:25

Man, I'm still at work (11PM), and its been a long day. My brain is fried and my head feels like clay, more than usual. I'll briefly reply for now. And I really want to reply to Juan. So, any other replies will wait until after I get to that.

Quote:
[Nate]you a lot but you're kind of dodging here.

Um, I'm not dogging as this not is where the conversation started, nor what I was replying to.

If this is now your question, I'll very briefly reply below.

Quote:
I've been trying to get you to respond to this particular point but you haven't:
for those people who have the goal of building up the IWW, builidng up other groups does not help advance that goal.Do you disagree with that, or not? That is: do you think people building up other groups DOES build up the IWW?

Well, no, I don't agree with it. 'Cause I don't take an either or view.

I know you all hate when I say this, but I'm not a member of the IWW. That said, I actually thought those of us in the WSA who are not IWW members have been most suportive of ya'll in the IWW. In fact, it has usually been the WSA non-Wobs who made motions to support IWW efforts, etc. etc. So, if all political organizations are good for is taking money, making contacts on behalf of the IWW, body snatching for pickets, well, then that's sort of an opportunist relationship by those in the IWW. I would rather believe that we gave out of sincere solidarity with efforts by comrades.

Quote:
I think building up other groups doesn't help build the IWW. That means that the reasons for IWW members to participate in other groups is not because it does anything good for the IWW but for other reasons.

Well, we just fundamentally and totally disagree here. I don't see all mass work as being all roads leading to and from the IWW. I strongly believe --- and this is a stated fact ---- that we need to be very supportive of the IWW.....and other worthwhile efforts that are libertarian in form and spirit.

Quote:
From what I've heard you say, I'm pretty sure you basically think the same things about WSA members building stuff as I do about IWW members building stuff. That is, WSA members building up political organizations other than the WSA doesn't build the WSA.

Perhaps you are confusing perspetives here. I don't see the sort of "mass work" folks do as being the same as political organizational building. Not at all.

But let me be clear about my own perspective. While the WSA may have organically developed our own form of dual organizationalism, our historical establishment was
an anarcho-syndicalist "propaganda group". While the WSA has not succeded in so many ways and in so many areas, for me, the role of the WSA is to act in an agitational and support role for our members (amongst other things). Thus, the "historical mission" of the WSA is to do what it can to help our members (even if it's in a support role) in their mass work, amongst other things. So, I think, we have been about as supportive of folks as has been asked and as giving as resources have permited.

Furhermore, to "build the WSA" comes in many shapes and forms. Not just about membership numbers. There are many inorganics, untangables which go towards building an organization or spreading an organization's perspective, culture and style. I always thought that when I was active on the shopfloor, in my mass work and so forth, I was building the (Libertarian Workers Group, then) WSA's perspective, trying all the while to pave the way towards bringing folks I worked with closer to, what we used to call, "the ideal".

Quote:
I'm pretty sure, for instance, that you think it'd be better if the local groups that WSA members have started across the US were WSA locals rather than their own independent political groups. ...

The straight-up and honest answer (and the most simplistic one) would be "Yes, of course."
But I think there are some factors that may or may not have allowed for that to happen. I think this is a different conversation and one that some might take personal, and I'd rather not go there.

I guess what I find more bothersome, is the many folks who siad WSA "should do this, do that" and just walk away when it comes time to implement their suggestions. or to blame WSA --- "the" organization --- for somehow not doing certain things that they could have been most helpful in helping to establish. So, yeah, I would say folks should put their action where their mouths are. It makes for less failure and retains certain levels of trust, confidence and comradeship. I will only say one thing personal here, if I say I'm going to do something, I do it. I think my MO has proven that. And if there's something I most resent, is having to constantly clean up others messes and do the work they said they would do.

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If I'm wrong about your views, let me know.

Yeah Nate, I'd say so.

Anyway, it's almost midnight, still at work, and am really tired.....

syndicalist
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May 11 2011 04:20

Nate, I just read your reply to 888. This is why I think it's best for me not to further engage.
I don't share your perspective. I guess it comes down to that. Unlikely what I have to say, after having dialoged with you for years, will have much bearing on your current direction. Nor you on mine.

And, respectfully, if the perspective you have laid out is the reason why some have left the WSA, it would've been nice for folks who were well liked and respected, could've laid that out.

As a wierd sort of PS: Some of this discussion about the IWW reminds me of some dicsussions and viewpoints put foward some years ago by folks in Libertarian Labor Review/ASR. That all poitical work is to build the IWW, anything that didn't was basically irrelevant, unimportant to the mission.

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May 12 2011 16:52

[Edit: cut stuff where I found myself annoying]

Do you think IWW members who want to build the IWW are well served FOR THAT PURPOSE by becoming members of a political organization? I don't. Some people in the IWW do think this, including some members of existing political organizations and people who aren't currently members of political organizations. I think that's a mistake. I don't know how to put that more clearly. So, when I've advocated for member education and more publications etc, they've advocated for a second organization to recruit members to and to do that work through. I don't have an opinion on IWW members being in other groups. People who want what another organization will provide them should join one. The last time I counted there were I think like 15 different political organizations in the US who have some members who are IWW members. More power to those folks for providing themselves with what they need. I just don't think that that is a good alternative to the sorts of education programs and internal institution building I want the IWW to have. (Now it's your turn to tell me again how the IWW isn't the end-all be-all, even though I never said it was.)

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May 11 2011 04:44

OK, still here ....

I'm not as bright as you may think. If all I walk away with is something you say you're not saying, then it's clear me ain't too bright.

So, I honestly can't answer your question. I mean, you are asking someone who hasn't been in the IWW for more than 20 years. Why would I have an opinon or one that evn, candidly, matters? I'm not trying to be snarky, but I'm not the right guy here.

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May 11 2011 05:00

I don't think Nate is saying just the IWW.

More does it help build "mass cadre" whether that be IWW, Unite-Here, UAW, UE, SEIU, etc

Sorry Nate if I am misrepresenting your views. I know generally this is how we feel (at least certain individuals) of NEFAC*. If you are not involved in mass organizing to build collective power that shifts power relations what's the point? Reading circles and propaganda? Boring...

*though this is coming from a more especifista strategy of making sure militants are involved in social work within different fronts of struggle, striving for social insertion.

edit: also i think i've just come to terms regarding my original questions. mainly i was frustrated with being in three organizations, but i sorta forgot about the whole three levels of organization analysis that sorta led to that. our main work now is working in the intermediate level (political-economic level), and at times i feel like the political organization and the mass organization get in the way, but i am just not gonna worry about it.

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May 11 2011 05:01
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Nate:I sort of figured that all this was actually about me and other people quitting the WSA....

Not really. You asked me a question about WSA. You asked me several questions relevant to what I brought up. I was perfectly content to let things sit, as I said earlier. You suggested I was dogging something. I mean, maybe folks should just realize that when someone says they are not interested in pursuing something, maybe they should, well, be respected.

If people are pissed, well, maybe they are more hurt in the manner which it occured.

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May 12 2011 16:51

[never mind]

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May 11 2011 05:30
sabotage wrote:
I don't think Nate is saying just the IWW.

More does it help build "mass cadre" whether that be IWW, Unite-Here, UAW, UE, SEIU, etc

^this.

Just that the only example I know much about is the IWW.

And it's not just cadre as individuals but also internal institutions - like committees for doing work and training, publications, etc.

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May 11 2011 12:56

This was written at about 2AM. Nate, It should be supported.Prolly not very intellectually asute to what you're seeking. But I can't give an opinion on something I've neither thought about or have desire to think about. Perhaps if I was in the IWW or felt close to it, I would have something more meaningful to say. Since I'm not IWW I really don't see things from your perspective.Obviously, if I did, perhaps I would've understood what you were asking. To me, the IWW is something lots of folks belong to. It does some good work. There are some decent people in it. When tactically appropriate it should be engaged.That's what it means. I've no philosphical or other perspective on it. I've no ideological affinity to it and it is very far removed from my life I can't say to you what I have really no perspective on. It's functional. It's a relationship. It's something to support when needed. And the political organization should support its members who are in it and defend and express solidarity with the IWW when need be.That's what it all means to me.

EDIT: After a few hours sleep and some reflection now that I mainly understand what's being asked. The short answer is: class struggle anarchist dual organizations are just not limited to one focus of mass work. These sorts of locals or even continentals come together and are effective when folks see a need for stuff they can not talk about, reflect upon or even share perspectives on in their mass work/mass organizations.

These comments are meant in a respectful and non-snarky manner ----- Nate, whatever the "Recomposition" website may actually be, it, to the extent that is based on people with a shared vision of building the IWW, is a political "organization". It functions in a sort of extended duality outside the IWW, even tho folks who are workin' the project are "united" around building the sort of IWW you wish to see. So duality, for me, is any "organized" project that folks with similiar views come together outside of their main areas of mass work. Such organizational forms don't always have to be structured or fully function the same as, say a WSA, NEFAC or anyone of a number of local groups. But they exist outside of, are independent of and have an ideological perspective different from, in this case, the IWW.

Well, kids off to school, let me move on and shower. The work days begins all over again.

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May 11 2011 13:34

OK, one last thing. Since folks oft cite the Solfed as an example they would like to (sorta) mirror, a read of their "Industrial Strategy" http://www.solfed.org.uk/?q=solfed-industrial-strategy largely is similiar to WSA's. Of course there are some differences and prolly some of the terminology might be different, but the thrust of much, repeat much, of what they say is similiar. I would hazard to say that the origins of this document, much as the orgins of the WSA document, come from comrades with similiar backgrounds and experiances. With the genisus to a time when lots of anarcho-syndicalists in the industrialized west (sans Spain, France & Italy) faced similiar situations....and took on very similiar approaches.

Anyway.... more a observation and a historical note.

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May 12 2011 18:10

I'm done with this part of the conversation after this, and all this and these particulars aside (please), I'm keen to hear what SolFedders think about dual organization, since my understanding of the 'political-economic' organization is that it's a type of organization meant to encompass all the functions that dual organizationists separate into mass and political.

syndicalist wrote:
[political] organizations are effective when folks see a need for stuff they can not talk about, reflect upon or even share perspectives on in their mass work/mass organizations.

So after all that, we agree. People join political organizations to get needs met that are not met in their mass work/mass organization. That's the reason to join a political organization. Joining a political organization in order to enhance the mass work/mass organization one is currently already part of is not a good reason to join a political organization. I wasn't really trying to say more than this, except I added that there are some people in the IWW who DO think that they should join or start political organizations in order to enhance the stuff they're currently involved in. That's a mistake. That's the mistake that you've repeatedly thought I've been making -- treating other organizations as mattering only to the degree that they help build the IWW. That's not what I think, as I've said repeatedly, but I'll say it again: it is a mistake to think that other organizations only matter because they help the IWW. One reason why this is a mistake is because joining or starting another organization is not an effective way to help the IWW. Another reason why this is a mistake is because it closes people off to the many things that other organization ARE effective at. A third reason why this is a mistake is that it overestimates the importance of the IWW.

So, a short list of questions and answers:

Is joining or starting a political organization such as WSA, NEFAC, etc, a good way to build the IWW? No.
Is "I want to build the IWW" a good reason to join or start a political organization? No.
Is the IWW the only thing that anyone should care about or work on? No.
Is joining or starting a political organization a good way to meet needs that are not being met via the IWW or other mass work? Yes.

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May 12 2011 17:47

One reason political organisations were created originally was to combat rival tendencies (Leninists or reformists) - while this may not count as building the IWW, it could still be a useful purpose at some point (while also having potential drawbacks). On the other hand a political organisation is generally useful for purposes other than building the IWW as Nate says.