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.

Submitted by Craftwork on July 27, 2017

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

petey

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by petey on July 27, 2017

"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

6 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by sabot on July 27, 2017

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

Craftwork

6 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Craftwork on July 27, 2017

petey

"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

6 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Pennoid on July 28, 2017

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

6 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by syndicalist on July 30, 2017

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

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

6 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by OliverTwister on July 30, 2017

syndicalist

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

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

6 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by syndicalist on July 30, 2017

OliverTwister

syndicalist

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

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

6 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Lugius on July 30, 2017

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

6 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Juan Conatz on July 30, 2017

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

6 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by syndicalist on July 31, 2017

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

6 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Travis Elise on July 31, 2017

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

6 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Juan Conatz on July 31, 2017

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

6 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by RadBlackLove on July 31, 2017

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

6 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Juan Conatz on July 31, 2017

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

6 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by OliverTwister on July 31, 2017

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

6 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Pennoid on July 31, 2017

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

6 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Diane on July 31, 2017

OliverTwister

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

6 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by OliverTwister on July 31, 2017

FW Workerist

OliverTwister

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

6 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Juan Conatz on July 31, 2017

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

6 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by syndicalist on July 31, 2017

Juan Conatz

against them without sounding like syndicalist Alex Jones-types.
.

hahahahhahhahaha

Diane

6 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Diane on July 31, 2017

Juan Conatz

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

6 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by OliverTwister on July 31, 2017

FW Workerist

Juan Conatz

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

6 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Diane on July 31, 2017

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

6 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Juan Conatz on August 1, 2017

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

6 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Diane on August 1, 2017

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

6 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by OliverTwister on August 1, 2017

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

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.

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"?

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

6 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Juan Conatz on August 1, 2017

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

6 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by OliverTwister on August 1, 2017

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:

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

6 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by syndicalist on August 1, 2017

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.

Juan Conatz

6 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Juan Conatz on August 1, 2017

That's not what people who have objected in the IWW have said, though. If that's the objection, that should be just said. I agree that it might have not been clear around the 2016 Convention that these meetings were some IWA unions leaving and attempting to start something new. I don't think it was absolutely clear at the time that this was exactly what was happening either. At this point, after the reports and minutes, etc. it is clear that these are former IWA groups that are starting their own thing and the upcoming motion to the 2017 Convention will be decided with that understanding.

syndicalist

6 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by syndicalist on August 1, 2017

Juan, it was very clear what the Spanish conference was about. In fact, this thread, "The CNT proposes reorganization of the IWA" (https://libcom.org/forums/news/cnt-leaves-iwa-intends-start-new-iwa-05042016 ), title was changed from something like "The CNT proposes refoundation of the IWA". It was clear. What does not seem clear is how that was presented to members of the IWW from all the public stuff, including the resolution quoted above. I mean, one can slice and dice it whatever way one wishes, it's just not (IMHO) cool to be part of a split of another organization.

Juan Conatz

6 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Juan Conatz on August 1, 2017

It was apparently clear to you. It was not clear to me and others. It seemed like the CNT was trying to keep one foot in, while having another foot out. When I originally posted the title of that thread, I was immediately corrected. People from the CNT claimed at that point that they had not left. Others in the IWA say they did. If you agree with one of these assessments that's fine, but to claim that one of them is clear is a step further. There was disagreement from the groups involved, so I'm not sure how it could be clear to outsiders.

syndicalist

6 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by syndicalist on August 1, 2017

Juan, when an organization calls for a "refoundation" of the same organization in a different location and in advance of a scheduled congress of the same organization inviting participants from outside organizations to attend, it really doesn't take a whole lot of figuring out. And when a proposed agenda is very clearly aimed at a new formation, I mean, respectfully, one can figure it out.

Juan Conatz

6 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Juan Conatz on August 1, 2017

Yep, that's your opinion, which you've stated many times before. I don't agree, haven't been convinced and am probably not going to be convinced that it was absolutely clear back then that the CNT had left the IWA. Others felt the same way. Individuals associated with groups that remained in the IWA claimed it was a split at the time. Individuals associated with groups that left the IWA claimed they had not left at that time. You obviously agree with one of these groups of people, and did pretty quickly. I think the matter was contested and either stance could be argued. This has all been discussed before, there isn't really much more to say on this issue.

syndicalist

6 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by syndicalist on August 1, 2017

I agree, Juan, I think neither of us can convince the other of our own respective views on this.

That said, my view is a lot more nuanced then you think.Mostly based on over 40 years of international engagement. And I'll try and come back and edit this comment later on.

Diane

6 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Diane on August 2, 2017

syndicalist

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.

Agreed on that. And as a Wobbly, these issues have not been spelled out at all. For a democratic union to function make decisions, membership needs to be fully informed of these issues. As it stands, the proposal to affiliate with the new IWA provides zero context, and again, the questions that members did ask were not addressed. If you're in favor of it or against it is not the issue - it's how you go about engaging Fellow Workers that is. Unfortunately it seems that certain officers would rather just ignore the questions and concerns of membership.

And speaking to the issue itself, why would the IWW choose to get involved in sectarian disputes happening in Europe? What would be the benefit of the IWW being a part of this network? And since it appears this is just an item for North America to affiliate, where do the European and other international sections of the IWW stand on this? I am asking honest questions so I hope that Oliver & Juan can respond in good faith.

Lugius

6 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Lugius on August 2, 2017

FW Workerist wrote:

Agreed on that. And as a Wobbly, these issues have not been spelled out at all. For a democratic union to function make decisions, membership needs to be fully informed of these issues. As it stands, the proposal to affiliate with the new IWA provides zero context, and again, the questions that members did ask were not addressed. If you're in favor of it or against it is not the issue - it's how you go about engaging Fellow Workers that is. Unfortunately it seems that certain officers would rather just ignore the questions and concerns of membership.

FW Workerist makes a valid and vital point; you can't have democracy without all the participants having equal access to all relevant information required to make an informed decision.

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”

This is clearly and I would suggest, deliberately misleading. After all, was is not Juan who posted on libcom 6 April 2016 'CNT proposes refounding of IWA' subsequently amended to replace the word 'refounding' with 'reorganization'. Did anyone ask; what gives the CNT the authority to 'refound' the IWA?

Is the membership of the IWW aware that, as part of the CNT proposal, any prospective organisation wishing to be admitted to the 'refounded' IWA would require a minimum number of members arbitrarily set to 100 without any reference to the respective populations of the countries they would be representing?

This was argued for on the basis of democracy, that is; it's undemocratic to have the pejoratively termed 'micro-unions' and 'propaganda groups with a membership of five' entitled to one vote the same as the CNT with thousands of members.

The problem being that the CNT along with the FAU and the USI knew that this was the deal since Akhenaten was a boy. The IWA is a federation of equals consistent with the anarchist principle of federation as opposed to the IWW which is a general membership organisation where each individual is entitled to a vote. The CNT/FAU/USI conveniently ignored the historical fact and pretended that it was a general membership organisation like the IWW.

I presume that the membership of the IWW is now aware that minimum membership requirement has been adjusted downwards to 50 at the Frankfurt meeting. But why?

It suggests that the minimum membership requirement was proposed not out of any concern for democracy on the basis that small groups would 'dominate' large groups but for some other reason. The minimum membership requirement was twice proposed and twice rejected at IWA Congress (first time at 125, second time at 100).

It seems to me the purpose of the minimum membership requirement was to concentrate power into fewer hands reducing the number of votes to be counted. Concentrations of power are inherently anti-democratic.

The minimum membership requirement has served its purpose insofar as it was intended to eliminate troublesome sections (particularly those one responsible for the IWA Secretariat) now that 50 members will get you a vote but 49 won't.

What else was decided at the Frankfurt meeting?

Would it not be a matter of proper due diligence for those who were delegated to attend and report on the Frankfurt meeting to the membership of the IWW to conduct a thorough investigation to acquire all the information relevant to making a fully-informed decision? Too inquisitorial?

To be fair to the IWW, they cannot be held accountable to any anarchist conception of equal decision-making, accountability or transparency as they are a union and not an 'anti-political sect'.

Nevertheless, it is encouraging and confidence-inspiring to know that there are members of the IWW such as FW Workerist who are alert to any deception, sleight-of-hand or censorship by omission.

Well done, comrade.

Craftwork

6 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Craftwork on August 2, 2017

As someone who isn't involved with any unionism/syndicalism, what precisely is all this about? (It's hard to understand for us outsiders.)

Why is there division between CNT and IWA? Why is there division among CNT?

Is there any article detailing these splits?

Juan Conatz

6 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Juan Conatz on August 2, 2017

FW Workerist, two reports from NA IWWs that went to Bilbao were included in the December 2016 GOB. The NA IWWs that were on the conference call with the Frankfurt conference had reports in the June 2017 GOB. This is in addition to whatever discussion that has happened on the GEB list (which is open to all members in good standing), and the semi-official and unofficial forums for discussion. There was also a report from the UK IWW on the Bilbao conference that circulated. It sounds like you haven't paid much attention to what's been happening. That's fine, but just admit that and go back and try to catch up, rather than make accusations of a conspiracy of officers (most who don't care about this issue at all compared to other issues this year) trying to secretly ram things through.

We don't run on consensus. When it comes to union-wide decisions and mandates, if only a few members have issues, no one is obligated to address them or meet them half way. The GEB are not customer service representatives and are not required to reply to every comment made about a potential decision they may make. Seems like the only legit issue that was raised was by the Sacramento group (a few members, not even enough to be chartered as an official body). Not much else has been said.

Craftwork, there is no article that exists that summarizes what has happened in a way that isn't heavily slanted and biased towards one perspective. There's a 700+ comment thread on this situation, though, in which you may find some of these articles and opinions: http://libcom.org/forums/news/cnt-leaves-iwa-intends-start-new-iwa-05042016

syndicalist

6 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by syndicalist on September 2, 2017

Ultimately be curious to lean how this all flushes out

syndicalist

6 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by syndicalist on September 8, 2017

What's the final score look like?

Lugius

6 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Lugius on September 9, 2017

The final score was 90% coinciding with the number of members of IWA sections that want to 're-found' the IWA and Saddam Hussein's share of the vote in all the elections in which he stood for President.

Juan Conatz

6 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Juan Conatz on September 10, 2017

Italics are mine. I'm sure many of the motions that passed included amendments that changed them somewhat.

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.

Passed overwhelmingly

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.

Passed, then failed, then passed again. Going to referendum.

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.

Passed overwhelmingly

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.

Passed overwhelmingly

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

Passed overwhelmingly

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.

Passed overwhelmingly

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.

Failed overwhelmingly

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.

Passed

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.

Passed

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.

Failed overwhelmingly

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.

Passed

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.

Passed.

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.

Not sure

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.

Passed.

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.

Withdrawn

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.

Withdrawn

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.

Failed narrowly

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.

Failed narrowly

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.

Passed, with amendments

Madison GMB

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

Not sure

Steven.

6 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Steven. on September 10, 2017

Thanks for those updates, JC, very helpful for those of us on the outside at least

Juan Conatz

6 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Juan Conatz on September 11, 2017

I mostly interpreted Convention as approval for the GDC's antifascism efforts but rejection of some of their overly antogonistic views on the GEB.

OliverTwister

6 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by OliverTwister on September 11, 2017

Juan Conatz

I mostly interpreted Convention as approval for the GDC's antifascism efforts but rejection of some of their overly antogonistic views on the GEB.

FWIW, there were moments that could have been much more conflictual, but delegates and observers chose not to make them so. For example the minutes for Atlanta #2, to recall the GEB, show that the delegates who were bound to vote yes due to their branch mandates also chose not to wage a fight on it.

Juan Conatz

6 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Juan Conatz on September 11, 2017

Whether they waged a fight, did politicking, tried to organize, whatever, about it or not, they lost it 8-45. That says to me there is generally no appetite for some of the GDC/TC views on the GEB. Of course, in order to deal with the realization that most of the union rejects what one is for, you could advance many excuses for that result. I prefer to interpret mandated votes as actual will though.

OliverTwister

6 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by OliverTwister on September 12, 2017

Juan Conatz

Whether they waged a fight, did politicking, tried to organize, whatever, about it or not, they lost it 8-45. That says to me there is generally no appetite for some of the GDC/TC views on the GEB. Of course, in order to deal with the realization that most of the union rejects what one is for, you could advance many excuses for that result. I prefer to interpret mandated votes as actual will though.

I agree. My point was that people decided not to wage a fight over the GEB, allowed the vote to happen, and moved on.

At the end of the day the things which were decided are going to be much more important in the long term.

Pennoid

6 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Pennoid on September 12, 2017

Unfortunately, convention has little teeth. The main reason for this is there is no field of action over which the decisions have major import; there are no major labor resources or monetary resources apportioned to particular projects, and no movement to mandated execution. There is just resolution after resolution and a 'cleaning up' of the constitution to reflect the petty ideological needs of different influential groups given the particular situation in time.

We don't elect people with a mandate to carry out certain tasks; mostly because we don't empower them to do them. Instead we *burden* people with volunteer work; and act surprised/disappointed when it doesn't get done (which is almost always). This results from people feeling no personal stake in work they can't find meaningful that they aren't getting paid to do; and inversely means that people who run off in one direction to do work without a mandate, feel undue ownership over it and then feel attacked when others criticize it, or point out its lack of mandate. In effect, as Juan is pointing out, instead of convention setting policy proactively, convention acts as an ex post facto referendum on the actions of groups. These aren't unsolveable problems, but they have to be discussed to be addressed.

Right now the union is less a union and more a loose connection of people working on whichever "projects" they see fit under the same formal banner (the IWW) with little direction, little coherence. The one thing that forces *some* coherence in any formal democratic way (the GEB control of the budget) is under ideological attack from some in the organization, who would like to see the general level of coherence and democracy diminish in favor of federalism and autonomy (antagonistic to collective democracy).

It's a very difficult problem because a great deal of people have 'come up' in the organization under these auspices; that you just 'take the initiative' and do a thing vaguely justifiable by our shared principles in whatever town or area you're in and see what happens. This doesn't work. It hasn't been working, and it's wrought the current morass.

OliverTwister

6 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by OliverTwister on September 12, 2017

That's a brilliant analysis.

"Convention has little teeth because our officers are free to ignore it. Rank and file initiative is a problem. Our only hope is in the control of officers over the budget, and any criticism of that setup is ideologically motivated."

Presumably all the delegates to Convention would be surprised to know that it didn't matter. So would many branch members who went to branch meetings to discuss the issues coming up at convention.

Interesting that your group put out a voting guide for Convention. Why bother? Why not just tell the officers how to run the organization?

Pennoid

6 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Pennoid on September 12, 2017

I think Juan's correct that it indicates how people are feeling and what they're thinking; but I'm also not convinced that coming together every year to hash out what people have been doing and say they might do, without any means to hold them accountable or empower them to do it, is very effective.

I say this here because I would say it to every delegate who went and branch that took the time to vote. I would have been there as a delegate, had things not gone another way.

After this referendum on the personal politics of the unions handful of most active participants, everyone will go back to hoeing their separate rows. That's part of our problem that we need to confront.

Juan Conatz

6 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Juan Conatz on September 13, 2017

There are problems with the model of people experimenting and doing their own thing until it reaches either a consensus (or backlash), but at least with projects and organizing, I find it preferable to the more centralized, "everybody must get on the same page and implement" type of think I see you saying. At the end of the day, there's space for multiple ways of doing things within the framework that exists. I don't see the point of spending so much time making sure everyone else is doing the same thing. It reminds me of the Occupy assemblies, where we needed to have constant discussions and decisions on everything, no matter how much or how little it effected most people.

Pennoid

6 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Pennoid on September 13, 2017

I'm not arguing for consensus; I'm arguing for democracy. You can't have autonomy and democracy on the same level. Autonomy negates democracy because the autonomous are made *unaccountable* to others; e.g. independent and free of any restraint or oversight, democratic or otherwise. Certainly we can talk about degrees here, but fundamental principles and questions of tactics and strategy underlay any particular formation.

Campaigns are *autonomous* with respect to signing contracts. They are *not* autonomous with respect to signing contracts with no strike clauses. Our membership, by majority vote, decided to prohibit that for the future. That was an eclipse on the autonomy of campaigns, functionally speaking, whether or not we think it is a good/bad idea.

Suggesting that we have a formal, organization wide, collective process in place to plan, incubate, adopt and evaluate organizing drives (our investments) is not the same thing as saying we should do things by consensus. We could stick to much of the formal decision making structure we have, but shift toward actually empowering staff and officers to execute mandates, rather than exonerating or condemning bad/good ideas that are taken up by some members' own steam and intimately connected with their personal ability to take huge loads of uncompensated work, after the fact.

One place to start would be to hire an Organizing Department Coordinator to systematically place all members into their IU's and then turn them over to reps on the ODB who can take on advising them forming Steering committees that draft plans for organizing their industries. These plans and initial organizing can then be evaluated for their likelihood of success and we can apportion organizing resources accordingly.

This doesn't eliminate the ability of IUs to make their own decisions; but it does allow us to evaluate which deserve resources on the basis of objective measures, and collectively determine organizing policy.