2017 IWW convention voting guide - Industrial Unionist caucus

2017 IWW convention voting guide - Industrial Unionist caucus

The 2017 Convention is fast approaching and now Branches of the IWW have voted or perhaps are just about to vote on the many resolutions proposed. Below is the voting guide the Industrial Unionist caucus has prepared.

Tampa GMB
Resolution #1:
If passed, IWW will join CIW’s campaign against Wendy’s. Specifically declare solidarity, participate in boycott, call on Wendy’s to sign Fair Food Agreement, and spread word of boycott. Vote yes.

Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee
Resolution #1:
If passed, Jimmi Del Duca will be expelled from union. While FW Del Duca has said things that we find uncouth and insulting, it would be a matter of proving FW Del Duca has violated the constitution via charges that should lead to an expulsion. In fact, it seems like a poor practice for convention to expel a member without charges being filed. Vote no.

Resolution #2:
If passed, IWOC will get $8,315 per year from the IWW general membership and IWOC members currently in prison will be exempt from paying dues. Vote yes.

Resolution #3:
If passed, the union will create a travel fund for IWOC’s ex-prisoner members, similar to the Sato Fund administered by the GEC. The Sato Fund has a proven track record in helping women and LGBT members of the union fully participate in the organization, and hopefully this fund would create similar opportunities for ex-prisoners in the union. Vote yes.

Resolution #4:
If passed, the union will print a polemic calling for the abolition of prisons. Vote yes.

Atlanta GMB
Resolution #1:
If passed, the general membership will make a pledge of allegiance to anti-fascism and agree that everyone can do whatever they want while maintaining the official backing of the union. It is one of two political resolutions aimed at a perceived faction, which the IWW should avoid putting forward to referendum. Vote no.

Resolution #2:
If passed, the entire GEB would be recalled and an interim board would be elected. However, despite the trials and tribulations this year the GEB has been able to carry out its usual business as scheduled, proving that the claim the GEB is not able to function false. Vote no.

Los Angeles GMB
Resolution #1:
If passed, language formerly present in the IWW Constitution regarding “job branches” will be re-added. This may help steer the union towards the industrial unionism model. Vote yes.

Baltimore GMB
Resolution #1:
If passed, the IWW constitution would be amended to ensure workers with criminal history will not be barred from membership or holding office. Vote Yes.

Nonviolence and sabotage resolution:
If passed, the IWW will add a special resolution to its constitution and bylaws reaffirming that the IWW does not advocate violence nor forfeit the right to self-defense. We believe this is what the IWW stands for and do not see the need to reaffirm a political resolution aimed at another perceived faction in the IWW at this time. Vote no.

Gender Equity Committee
Resolution #1 – 4:
If passed, the GEC will strike a Conflict Resolutions Committee on Measures of Gender, amend the Constitution and the Manual of Policies and Procedures to reflect that this body is an additional option for complaints in addition to the current charges process.
As written the process is in some ways vague, offers no process for determination of fact, and does nothing to add to the resources made available for terms of immediate relief. Where some necessary reforms of the current charges process could be made these amendments leave the current charges process untouched and provide only for means outside of charges to resolve disputes based in gendered social relations.
It does provide a straightforward means for conflict resolution. This implies that both parties acknowledge there is a conflict worth resolving; otherwise the resolution ought to make clear that when a member feels their constitutional rights have been violated by another member or officer, they should refer to the given, if flawed, charges process.
Vote yes.

Twin Cities GMB

TC 1: Creates an Education Department but subverts the efforts of those who have been building towards creating this already. Members of the chartered exploratory committee for an Ed Department have asked for the union to vote this down. They have provided compelling arguments that the proposal is underdeveloped and that they plan to create an Education Department in a similar way to other successful programs, such as the OTC, were created. Vote no.

Resolution #3: If passed, members of the Audit, Finance, Literature, Gender Equity, and Junior Wobblies Committees would be elected via referendum rather than by convention. This seems like more democratic reform that is not particular cumbersome to the organization, and could potentially increase the pool of candidates for these positions. Vote yes.

Resolution #2:
If passed, the GDC would be able to carry out any action as long as it was labelled as “community self-defense.” The area of work this covers should be well defined and approved by the IWW membership. Vote no.

Resolution #4:
If passed, the GDC will overturn the votes against two previously defeated attempts to get money from the general administration’s budget. These were voted down by the GEB because the GDC maintains its own treasury for this purpose. Vote no.

Resolution #5:
If passed, the so-called “pro-GDC” faction will blatantly oust democratically elected political opponents from the General Executive Board for no other reason than their opposition to their interests. Vote no.

Resolution #6:
If passed, the IWW will be re-structured into an ultra-decentralized organization, exacerbating the problems of branch autonomy, while also ballooning the size of the general administration with branch delegations. In all likeliness the rough state branches tend to be in means only well established branches will be able to truly participate in the process and will effectively run the union. Vote no.

Resolution #7: If passed, the charges process would be dramatically overhauled. While the process does need a change, the resolution seems to be geared towards the charges process becoming a catch-all mediation process rather than one used for when members violate the constitution. The IWW is not a court and cannot be expected to solve all the problems between its members. Vote no.

Resolution #8:
If passed, the 2017 will make a decision on whether or not the IWW will immediately affiliate with the new international of revolutionary unions led by the Spanish CNT. There has not been enough time for the membership to discuss this matter. Vote no.

Madison GMB

Resolution #1: This will be moot if TC#2 is voted down, which we is what we currently endorse.

Source: https://industrialunionism.org/2017/07/25/2017-iww-convention-voting-guide/

Comments

Pennoid
Jul 27 2017 18:56

Oh wow, thanks Craftwork.

petey
Jul 27 2017 20:51

"In all likeliness the rough state branches tend to be in means only well established branches will be able to truly participate in the process and will effectively run the union."

what?

sabot
Jul 27 2017 21:05

Is this "Industrial Unionist Caucus" a front group of the CLT? Have to ask.

Craftwork
Jul 27 2017 22:09
petey wrote:
"In all likeliness the rough state branches tend to be in means only well established branches will be able to truly participate in the process and will effectively run the union."

what?

I think this might make it clearer: "In all likeliness the rough state [that the] branches tend to be in means [that] only well[-]established branches will be able to truly participate in the process[,] and will effectively run the union."

Pennoid
Jul 28 2017 11:30
Quote:
Is this "Industrial Unionist Caucus" a front group of the CLT? Have to ask.

No. I've been a wobbly for just over 6 years, 4 before CLT was ever a thing. I am a member of both though. The others who helped draft these initial statements are long term IWW members from outside of Tampa. It should become clearer when authored pieces begin getting published.

You can see some of my personal ideas on the clt blog where I lve written about the iww and socialism etc. Of course I argue my case with Wobblies in and out of the IUC group. If they're persuaded, so much better, and if not, then that's on me. That's democracy. My personal ideas are not the IUCs and neither are CLTs.

syndicalist
Jul 30 2017 00:23

Interesting on the less than fully explained and falsely promoted IWW rush to be with those splitting from IWA:

Quote:
Resolution #8:
If passed, the 2017 will make a decision on whether or not the IWW will immediately affiliate with the new international of revolutionary unions led by the Spanish CNT. There has not been enough time for the membership to discuss this matter. Vote no.
OliverTwister
Jul 30 2017 21:38
syndicalist wrote:
Interesting on the less than fully explained and falsely promoted IWW rush to be with those splitting from IWA:
Quote:
Resolution #8:
If passed, the 2017 will make a decision on whether or not the IWW will immediately affiliate with the new international of revolutionary unions led by the Spanish CNT. There has not been enough time for the membership to discuss this matter. Vote no.

You are not an IWW member. How would you know if it is "less than fully explained" or "falsely promoted"?

syndicalist
Jul 30 2017 23:03
OliverTwister wrote:
syndicalist wrote:
Interesting on the less than fully explained and falsely promoted IWW rush to be with those splitting from IWA:
Quote:
Resolution #8:
If passed, the 2017 will make a decision on whether or not the IWW will immediately affiliate with the new international of revolutionary unions led by the Spanish CNT. There has not been enough time for the membership to discuss this matter. Vote no.

You are not an IWW member. How would you know if it is "less than fully explained" or "falsely promoted"?

Because its been publicly discussed here on libcom. in enough fashion to glean this personal opinion.

Lugius
Jul 30 2017 23:12

OliverTwister wrote:

You are not an IWW member. How would you know if it is "less than fully explained" or "falsely promoted"?

By talking to members of the IWW.

But even in the absence of that, it's not that hard to figure out. The speed at which the IWW NARA and WISERA approved the invitation to participate in the "re-founding" of the IWA strongly suggests prior knowledge if not outright collusion.

It also suggests a (hidden?) hierarchy in both IWWs that divides those with information from those without.

For equal decision-making to be effective, it requires that all have equal access to information relevant to that decision.Otherwise, those with the information have power over those that do not.

The mere fact that one section of the IWA would arrogate to itself the authority to make a decision (to "re-found" the IWA) over all other sections of the IWA is in and of itself authoritarian conduct. By acknowledging the CNT's authority over the IWA, the IWW (along with the rest of the crew) condone this very same authoritarian conduct. Consequently, any claim to be anarcho-syndicalist is open to question.

Juan Conatz
Jul 30 2017 23:54

Don't have anything to say here about the content of what the caucus is saying, but think it's a good development that people are more formalizing the stuff they advocate rather than acting like factions don't exist, like a certain anarchist political organization or defunct blog do and have done. It's probably more honest and less destructive to do it this way.

syndicalist
Jul 31 2017 00:30
Quote:
but think it's a good development that people are more formalizing the stuff they advocate rather than acting like factions don't exist

Factions and needs for caucuses after folks fail to work stuff out. Organizations are not born this way, but they develop over time based on differences and attempts to at change or advocation of a POV. And seemingly need to be advocated for in a more formal way.

Travis Elise
Jul 31 2017 03:07

I assume you're referring to M1 and Recomposition. For the record, (speaking as a member) M1 has never denied that we're a faction. We're very open about it. Recomp, on the other hand, has denied it for years despite their actions indicating otherwise.

Juan Conatz
Jul 31 2017 03:19

Nah people from both have often denied discussing, organizing and pushing stuff in the IWW. Which makes sense, because there's a cultural hostility to official factions. I think people should just announce this stuff formally.

RadBlackLove
Jul 31 2017 03:36
Quote:
like a certain anarchist political organization or defunct blog do and have done. It's probably more honest and less destructive to do it this way.

First of May Anarchist Alliance doesn't label itself as a "formalized" faction because a large chunk of its members have nothing to do with the IWW. As for political activity, the M1 website and facebook detail the mass work we do in and out of the GDC and have explicitly posted pro-GDC/revolutionary union positions. How is that vague post you just made "more honest"??

What the above poster said is important- factions emerge over time and take even more time to sharpen themselves politically, especially since damn near all the people involved don't want to see ANY factionalization happen, people put in work to avoid that. I think it's unfair to get upset that people don't instantly separate themselves as quickly as what might be convenient to see......

Juan Conatz
Jul 31 2017 04:11

Both M1 and Recomp, or at least some people associated with them, have often downplayed that they have grouped themselves together privately, discussed ways forward to push a program and then organized towards those goals. There's nothing wrong with that kind of activity. But if the bystander gets the impression that these people agree with each other because of the objective goodness of the idea, rather than because they are a political faction with shared agreement, this can be sort of dishonest. I guess I've come around to the idea that these sort of factions should just announce themselves formally, along with their ideas for the IWW, similar to how this happens in other leftist organizations.

OliverTwister
Jul 31 2017 11:54

I agree with Juan that it's probably good to have this kind of discussion happen in a more transparent way. I have big issues with the politics of the Industrial Unionist Caucus, but I think it's healthy that they are declaring their ideas and program openly.

He's right that there's been kind of a cultural stigma against "factions" or caucuses, which IMO is something that fits in more with a sect than with a thriving and growing organization or movement. Caucuses/factions/platforms don't necessarily need to fight to the finish, they can have a healthy coexistence. I would point to the multiple platforms which have sprung up in DSA as a possible example of what this can look like in a growing movement (although with the caveat that we'll have to see how their Convention goes). If the IWW grew to 24,000 members in North America I hope that we could and would find ourselves in a similar situation, where multiple caucuses are promoting visions for continued growth.

The stigma against factions kind of reminds me more of a hard Leninist organization. The ISO for example had an extreme reaction when the Renewal faction announced itself a few years ago, and submitted Renewal members to extreme harassment until they all left.

Regarding Lugius' post, I don't even know what to say. There have been lengthy, detailed reports from our participants in both the Bilbao and Frankfurt conferences printed in the General Organization Bulletin. There has been no reply from anyone who opposes engaging with the new international. It seems that they would rather share internal reports with the rump IWA to confirm their delusions of a conspiracy, and shitpost on Libcom, then engage in discussion - and then they say there hasn't been enough discussion!

Pennoid
Jul 31 2017 15:54

I agree that we should be debating the political ideas openly and helping members coalesce around those which they support. I think Juan hit the nail on the head; if you have factions that aren't formalized, you may give off unintended impressions.

This may seem more acrimonious at times (official factions) but its really only as acrimonious as the accusations the official factions let fly. My own feeling as a participant is that there are crucial political differences that must be discussed and that members across the union will benefit from open discussion and debate. We should be connecting arguments for change to process and structure, to fundamental principles and aims; not hiding the latter behind the former; we should be highlighting what makes the I.W.W. an effective organization regardless of individual activists; not blaming successes or problems on the heroism/evil of particular individuals, etc.

I think with informal factions, there can be a subsuming of political disagreement behind personalities that is a detriment to collective education and development of the organization. Formalize and debate!

Diane
Jul 31 2017 19:11
OliverTwister wrote:
There have been lengthy, detailed reports from our participants in both the Bilbao and Frankfurt conferences printed in the General Organization Bulletin. There has been no reply from anyone who opposes engaging with the new international. It seems that they would rather share internal reports with the rump IWA to confirm their delusions of a conspiracy, and shitpost on Libcom, then engage in discussion - and then they say there hasn't been enough discussion!

Actually I have seen a few posts on IWW lists that have opposed a formal level of engagement with the new international, and other questions which were not addressed. Instead it seems that segments of the General Administration who advocated for the IWW to be formally involved tried to fast-track a vote through the GEB and then snuck this in as a Convention proposal without any actual membership engagement (minus a handful of folks who already agreed with each other)

OliverTwister
Jul 31 2017 20:32
FW Workerist wrote:
OliverTwister wrote:
There have been lengthy, detailed reports from our participants in both the Bilbao and Frankfurt conferences printed in the General Organization Bulletin. There has been no reply from anyone who opposes engaging with the new international. It seems that they would rather share internal reports with the rump IWA to confirm their delusions of a conspiracy, and shitpost on Libcom, then engage in discussion - and then they say there hasn't been enough discussion!

Actually I have seen a few posts on IWW lists that have opposed a formal level of engagement with the new international, and other questions which were not addressed. Instead it seems that segments of the General Administration who advocated for the IWW to be formally involved tried to fast-track a vote through the GEB and then snuck this in as a Convention proposal without any actual membership engagement (minus a handful of folks who already agreed with each other)

The original proposal to engage with this international process was made over 1 year ago, as a proposal to the 2016 Convention. (Three months ahead of time, as normal.) The 2016 Convention instructed the Executive Board to participate in these meetings, but not to make any formal organizational decisions, which is exactly what has happened.

I believe three individual members sent emails asking the Executive Board to ignore that decision. That's not how a democratic organization works.

As I said, there were extensive reports in the GOB from the participants in Bilbao and Frankfurt, with their recommendations. There have not been any responses to those, even months after the fact.

Nobody "snuck" this in as a Convention proposal. A branch sent it more than 3 months ahead of time, which is the normal process. Those three months are supposed to allow for membership engagement and debate. If members didn't talk much about this last year, and aren't talking about it much this year, it might just be that the vast majority see this as a common-sense and reasonable idea, and there are a tiny group trying to throw mud at it.

Juan Conatz
Jul 31 2017 20:33

Yeah, this is the strategy every time any sort of international relations and affiliations comes up. Those that disagree claim there is a secret cabal of officers trying to dupe membership and ram through an affiliation. People in the IWW who oppose this stuff should just come out and give their reasons why, rather than trying to make up dishonest conspiracy theories.

A motion to participate in the Conference that the CNT called for last year was discussed by all branches with a vote in the 2016 Delegate Convention and they voted in the affirmative, mandating the GEB to send people to the conferences, who would report back to membership. That happened, the report was sent to the GEB, reprinted in the GOB, and posted on other semi-official internal online forums. The North American IWW has also had a few people on conference call to the meeting in Frankfort. The minutes and report of which were reprinted in the GOB, which all members receive. Now there seems like there is a motion to Convention related to this new international. This motion will be discussed collectively by all branches and then sent to Convention, and if approved, to referendum, which all members in good standing can vote on.

That's how things happen in the IWW. If people do not like these democratic structures or they oppose having anything to do with this new international, they should concentrate on arguing against them without sounding like syndicalist Alex Jones-types.

I personally don't really care what the IWW does in relation to this new international, but would prefer it be decided based on sound arguments people make, rather than false accusations of shady officers, or undemocratic requests to abandon a Convention decision.

syndicalist
Jul 31 2017 21:11
Juan Conatz wrote:
against them without sounding like syndicalist Alex Jones-types.
.

hahahahhahhahaha

Diane
Jul 31 2017 23:17
Juan Conatz wrote:
Yeah, this is the strategy every time any sort of international relations and affiliations comes up. Those that disagree claim there is a secret cabal of officers trying to dupe membership and ram through an affiliation. People in the IWW who oppose this stuff should just come out and give their reasons why, rather than trying to make up dishonest conspiracy theories.

True, but people in the IWW who oppose this stuff did come out and did give their reasons why, and were completely ignored by the officers who pushed this through. So there's a fundamental difference here.

OliverTwister
Jul 31 2017 23:23
FW Workerist wrote:
Juan Conatz wrote:
Yeah, this is the strategy every time any sort of international relations and affiliations comes up. Those that disagree claim there is a secret cabal of officers trying to dupe membership and ram through an affiliation. People in the IWW who oppose this stuff should just come out and give their reasons why, rather than trying to make up dishonest conspiracy theories.

True, but people in the IWW who oppose this stuff did come out and did give their reasons why, and were completely ignored by the officers who pushed this through. So there's a fundamental difference here.

"..the officers who carried out their instructions from Convention."

Fixed that for you.

Diane
Jul 31 2017 23:51

Yup, while ignoring members' concerns about the union's role in Frankfurt. And continuing to ignore those concerns. But I'll drop it since you obviously don't seem to welcome input from anyone who disagrees with you.

FYI: You can lose potential support from comrades who might otherwise agree with you about the substance of these proposals simply by ignoring or disregarding their concerns. Or replying condescendingly with a "fixed that for you" comment

Juan Conatz
Aug 1 2017 00:20

Sounds like some members who were against the participation tried to get officers of the union to ignore a mandate from Convention. That's alarming. I'm glad that those officers ignored that because that's not how things should work. If a minority of members oppose the decision of the majority, they need to convince them, not try to get officers to undemocratically ignore the decision of the majority.

Diane
Aug 1 2017 02:08

If that were true I would agree with you, but again that is not what happened. For instance, one member posted this message, which was ignored:
"Please clarify and confirm that the NRA (IWW-NA) is not in any way affiliated with IWA-I and that any presence that we may have in Frankfort is as an outside organization."

Additionally, this message was posted & did not seem to be addressed by officers:
"The Sacramento IWW group expresses our disagreement with GEB member [name removed] proposals for the Frankfurt conference and instead suggest that the IWW observe and refrain from taking such positions without taking a collective decision through convention or referendum."

Nobody said that the minority was trying to get officers to ignore the decision of the majority; but that officers ignored the questions and concerns raised in how the IWW delegation was presenting itself and to clarify what the goals were in attending this conference. It is clear now that the goal was to affiliate with the IWA-I, which is fine, but why not say that openly from the get-go? Why ignore these questions when they were asked months ago?

admin note - Please do not use people's real names.

OliverTwister
Aug 1 2017 12:25

First of all, if you are going to take the step of posting internal emails on a public website, you should at least take 10 seconds to remove people's names. I believe that this is one of the rules of the site.

FW Workerist wrote:
If that were true I would agree with you, but again that is not what happened. For instance, one member posted this message, which was ignored:
"Please clarify and confirm that the NRA (IWW-NA) is not in any way affiliated with IWA-I and that any presence that we may have in Frankfort is as an outside organization."

That member (who is also an officer) should have read the 2016 Convention resolution, which said that we would send delegates, but not make any organizational decisions. There was nothing to "clarify and confirm", and in fact that kind of "questioning" is just a trolling tactic. The Board was following the mandate set by Convention.

Quote:
Additionally, this message was posted & did not seem to be addressed by officers:
"The Sacramento IWW group expresses our disagreement with GEB member [redacted]' proposals for the Frankfurt conference and instead suggest that the IWW observe and refrain from taking such positions without taking a collective decision through convention or referendum."

Again, this is a case of a small number of members (a group, not even a chartered branch) trying to get the GEB not to carry out the decision of Convention. What is there to "address"?

Quote:
Nobody said that the minority was trying to get officers to ignore the decision of the majority; but that officers ignored the questions and concerns raised in how the IWW delegation was presenting itself and to clarify what the goals were in attending this conference. It is clear now that the goal was to affiliate with the IWA-I, which is fine, but why not say that openly from the get-go? Why ignore these questions when they were asked months ago?

Yes, they were trying to get officers to ignore or modify the Convention decision. Everything that has been done was entirely in line with the Convention decision.

What we are dealing with is a tiny minority of members grinding a sectarian axe who have not bothered to make any argument to the rest of the membership for their position. They've had 14 months to do so at this point, and still haven't. Instead they'll use trolling tactics on email lists on web forums to try to disrupt majority decisions.

Juan Conatz
Aug 1 2017 13:56

The first "concern" does seem like a question designed to start an argument. There has never been a decision to affiliate with this new group and Convention already decided that the NA IWW was to go to these series of meetings with concrete proposals on certain things and refrain from offering concrete proposals on all other things. That is exactly what has happened.

The second thing from the Sacramento group has more teeth, although they have no official standing in the union. If I remember correctly, the NA IWW people on the Frankfurt meeting came up with some additional, non-committal suggestions on some possible deal-breakers for further IWW involvement. I still think this is within the mandate given by Convention because they were not concrete proposals, they were possibilities, given with the caveat that Convention would need to decide. This is exactly what they should have done when there is a mandate for active participation but things move faster than the frequency of Conventions.

At all points in this process, minutes, notes and reports have been distributed widely to membership. Now there is a motion to Convention, that all branches have been able to discuss and vote on, just like every other motion.

Again, if people oppose what is happening, they need to just come out and say why they are, instead of attempting to appeal to the cultural anti-bureaucracy tradition of the union to paint a false picture of what has happened. Although not a perfect comparison, this is the same sort of backroom and underhanded stuff that people used to smack down affiliation with the IWA in the 1930s and the 1990s. This should not happen again. This should be decided on its own merits so the question can be settled once and for all.

OliverTwister
Aug 1 2017 14:07

I largely agree with Juan's post above.

I don't think I have anything else to say on this, but realized that it may be useful to post the resolution from the 2016 Convention, so anyone reading this thread can judge for themselves:

Quote:
Whereas, the CNT, a revolutionary union in Spain, has called for a series of meetings between revolutionary unions which “are interested in participating in the construction of a model for revolutionary unionism at the global level”; and

Whereas, this has the potential for many revolutionary union groups to raise themselves from years of isolation, including the IWW; and

Be it resolved, that the 2016 General Convention of the IWW favors sending delegates to the meetings which the CNT is calling for, and instructs the GEB to appoint and instruct appropriate delegates, who shall offer detailed reports to the GEB within 90 days of returning from the meeting; and

Be it further resolved, that the Convention proposes practical steps for solidarity, beginning with card exchange between revolutionary unions, joint meetings in locations where multiple organizations have members, and exchanges of organizer trainings and other trainings; but that any concrete proposals involving organizational matters would need to be proposed to a future convention, or else put to a membership referendum by the GEB.

syndicalist
Aug 1 2017 14:21

Respectfully, the problem has been the Spanish conference was known as a "split" conference, something discussed on lib com extensively. And from all the public stuff written here and elsewhere, the fact that it was a split conference was not seemingly made known to your membership. It's not like this was an ordinary conference, with ordinary business at hand. So, from an outsiders point of view, this is where it gets sticky and messy.