direct unionism

Attractive hardcopy!

Announcement about some new pamphlets from Thoughtcrime Ink

Our friends at Thoughtcrime Ink made a pamphlet of three pieces of ours. It’s called “From the Ashes.” You can order it here.

Developing the IWW’s direct unionism politics

An article by Juan Conatz replying to some of the Direct Unionism discussion paper responses.

Cleaning out my numerous Google Doc drafts, I found this, which continues the direct unionism debate by taking on most of the responses to the original discussion paper. So I decided to finish it, as most of the written discussion has dropped off.

Wobblies and unfair labor practices

An article by Kevin S about the problems of using Unfair Labor Practice charges in IWW organizing.

We stand up against the boss, demanding change and stopping work. The boss fires us. We immediately mobilize, rushing to...the office of some government lawyer. What’s wrong with this picture?

No more double-edged swords

In this post I argue that we should build organizations that can't be used as instruments for enforcing capitalist social relationships.

No more double-edged swords: institutions that reinforce capitalism

In his short, readable book Historical Capitalism, Immanuel Wallerstein writes about movements that sought to take state power in the twentieth century. He says that when

Informal work groups and resistance on the sunrise shift

An account of an informal work group at UPS taking on a grievance with management.

This is a story about a situation that happened at my workplace. Ideally, this will add to a conception of what Direct Unionism is, how it exists in everyday situations, and where we can go with it as an organization. This event happened around a year ago.

On 'direct unionism'

IWW general strike propaganda

John O'Reilly reviews some of the perspectives laid out in the 'direct unionism' discussion paper.

A new pamphlet called Direct Unionism: A Discussion Paper, written by some IWW members, has stirred much discussion in the past months. I agree with much of the paper and find the majority of it a useful way of pushing forward thoughts about what the union does and how it can do better today.

Direct unionism in practice: undermining service industry barriers to worker solidarity

This response is primarily written with the intention of facilitating an introduction to Direct Unionism for service workers who are very new to labour. We hope to participate in the DU discussion, and share with those interested how we have been affected by these conversations and also how we are practicing and implementing these ideas.

Direct Unionism in Practice: Undermining Service Industry Barriers to Worker Solidarity

Navigating negotiations


Nate Hawthorne takes a look at how labor-capital structures of negotiation have changed in response to worker militancy and the state changing how it deals with what capitalists do. Along the way he gets into Joe Burns' new book, the ILWU-EGT conflict, the Occupy movement and 'direct unionism'.

Recently Occupy activists helped the ILWU win a new contract.

Trade union factionalism and rank-and-file organising

Over the past year, it's become increasingly evident that the branch of the civil servants' union PCS I'm part of is beset by factionalism. In particular, the dominance of a ruling clique has been like a cancer which has seen people drop out of being reps, and even go off work with stress, because of the bullying occurring within the union. In my own rank-and-file approach to organising, I've butted heads with this problem on more than one occasion. This blog is a reflection of the issues at hand and an attempt to focus my own thoughts in terms of how to combat that.

When I last wrote about the internal politics of my branch, as part of a post about a members meeting ahead of N30, it caused a right stink.

Struggle changes people

This article discusses the idea that the experience of struggle and direct action transforms people.

Some of my friends and I have been saying for a while stuff like “struggle changes people” and about what we’ve called “developing” people. In this post I want to lay out some of the specific things that I think can happen in struggles, in terms of how people develop. In the first section below I try to lay out some ways that people in struggle can change.