New pamphlet by the Solidarity Federation

Fighting for ourselves: anarcho-syndicalism and the class struggle
Fighting for ourselves: anarcho-syndicalism and the class struggle

Forthcoming: 'Fighting for ourselves: anarcho-syndicalism and the class struggle' – a new pamphlet by the Solidarity Federation

Submitted by Anonymous on August 31, 2012

We are living in times of unprecedented attacks on our living conditions on all fronts, of rising social tension and sometimes violent eruptions of class conflict. And yet if anything, the surprise is not that there have been riots and the odd strike, but that there have been so few. How are we to make sense of this? How are we to fight back, to take the initiative? Against capitalism, what do we want to put in its place? The 20th century discredited state socialism, and rightly so. But with it, a whole history of international class struggle, of revolutions and counter-revolutions, victories and defeats, spontaneous uprisings and vast workers’ organisation has been eclipsed too. This pamphlet aims to recover some of that lost history, in order to set out a revolutionary strategy for the present conditions.

Fighting for ourselves will be released as a hard copy in October 2012, as well as online soon after. Copies will be available from the Solidarity Federation stall at the London Anarchist Bookfair on Saturday October 27th. Initially it will only be available in English, but we are looking into translations if there is international interest. International distribution arrangements are to be confirmed.

Comments

Auto

11 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Auto on August 31, 2012

Looking good. Can't wait for this to come out. :)

Harrison

11 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Harrison on August 31, 2012

Me too, love the front cover design ;)

klas batalo

11 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by klas batalo on August 31, 2012

Agreed. Looking forward to this! :D

kent anarchists

11 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by kent anarchists on August 31, 2012

Sounds interesting. Nice one!

working class …

11 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by working class … on August 31, 2012

How many pages is it?

Jared

11 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Jared on August 31, 2012

Yep, great cover, and looking forward to it. Those discussions on S&S were really valuable for clarifying some of my own thinking (as I'm sure others would agree).

ATLanarchist

11 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by ATLanarchist on August 31, 2012

looking forward to picking one up online! a hard copy that is, if that's what y'all meant. if not, I'd definitely like to order a hard copy by some other method.

Khawaga

11 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Khawaga on August 31, 2012

do you guys ship to canada? I'd like to get my hands on a (hard) copy or two.

working class …

11 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by working class … on August 31, 2012

Current estimates are about 140 as it has got nearly 50,000 words.

Nice one, thanks

syndicalist

11 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by syndicalist on August 31, 2012

Interesting. Seems like a booklet, a bit different then "Winning the Class War", eh?

Nate

11 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Nate on September 1, 2012

I'm very excited about this. Great cover as well.

Phil

11 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Phil on September 1, 2012

Tommy Ascaso

Fighting for ourselves will be released as a hard copy in October 2012, as well as online soon after.

Will all locals be getting copies to sell/distribute? Probably the easiest way I can get my hands on one...

Steven.

11 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Steven. on September 1, 2012

Look forward to reading it - if you get me a copy I will review it for libcom!

Juan Conatz

11 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Juan Conatz on September 1, 2012

Nice cover. Looking forward to the design. Is that a nerdy thing? Yall are really good with shit like that..

Caiman del Barrio

11 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Caiman del Barrio on September 2, 2012

LOL apparently the general consensus in one particular European IWA section is that SF are all a bunch of "nerdy professors with glasses". I wonder what gave them that idea... ;)

Nate

11 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Nate on September 2, 2012

"one particular European IWA section," that's the polite way to say South London SolFed, right?

klas batalo

11 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by klas batalo on September 2, 2012

Caiman del Barrio

LOL apparently the general consensus in one particular European IWA section is that SF are all a bunch of "nerdy professors with glasses". I wonder what gave them that idea... ;)

agreed the design is not workerist enough! :D tho it is sorta maoist. follow the leading lights of the anarcho-syndicalist vanguard comrades!

syndicalist

11 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by syndicalist on September 2, 2012

I suspect some of the comments/reactions, etc will be what do folks want to see written from the pamphlet? Lots of theory? Laying out an anarcho-syndicalist "program" for the 21st century? Wide sweeping views of the world at large?

Harrison

11 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Harrison on September 3, 2012

Caiman del Barrio

SF are all a bunch of "nerdy professors with glasses"

if i was a nerdy professor, i would definitely top off the image with some glasses.

i'm wanted to name it "anarcho-syndicalism: wrong 'uns" and bring in sean68 as guest editor

the button

11 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by the button on September 3, 2012

I suspect some of the comments/reactions will be "A SolFed member posted on a thread, but THAT'S NOT WHAT THE PAMPHLET SAYS, IS IT?" :D

plasmatelly

11 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by plasmatelly on September 3, 2012

Nerdy professors my arse! I look like I'm made out of interestingly shaped potatoes.

Caiman del Barrio

11 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Caiman del Barrio on September 3, 2012

Nate

"one particular European IWA section," that's the polite way to say South London SolFed, right?

Nope!

Despite the best efforts of Martinh ;) , South London is - as of yet - not a separate nation-state, and therefore unable to be an IWA section in & of itself. [/pedantry]

fingers malone

11 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by fingers malone on September 3, 2012

But you never know when you'll wake up and find we are building a wall .....

snipfool

11 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by snipfool on October 3, 2012

Hey guys, looking forward to this. Recomposition have released their review (in before everyone else), is it likely to be available to others before the bookfair?

Spikymike

11 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Spikymike on October 3, 2012

Well I personally liked the original Brighton text as an attempt to come to terms with the changed conditions of modern capitalism and move beyond the more tradtiional anarcho-syndicalist concepts of yesteryear but it was certainly interpretated by at least some in the SolFed as far too councilist in orientation.

I can see that the SolFed would want something with more current practical stuff in it as a national publication but it will be interesting to see if the process of rewriting and compromise to get an acceptable version has produced more clarity or just more fudge.

Look forward to getting my copy soon.

no1

11 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by no1 on October 3, 2012

Spikymike

I can see that the SolFed would want something with more current practical stuff in it as a national publication but it will be interesting to see if the process of rewriting and compromise to get an acceptable version has produced more clarity or just more fudge.

Even if it's not meant that way, I find your post pretty irritating - before even reading the pamphlet you're framing the issue as a problem of incompatible politics within SolFed. However the internal discussion over the past couple of years has been a process of clarification (both at the level of terminology and of concepts) rather than compromise. I'd say that one of the main strengths of SolFed is that we are politically all pulling in the same direction (though of course many of the new members haven't been part of that internal discussion since it began). While the Brighton pamphlet emphasised the minority vs. mass distinction, the new pamphlet sees the rejection of separating the political and the economic as crucial for the revolutionary nature of an anarcho-syndicalist organisation.

Spikymike

11 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Spikymike on October 3, 2012

no1,

No offence meant - I suppose a web launch and one review already! without the full text being available on line makes it just a bit tempting to make early comments.

So how about an emphasis on both the minority/mass and rejection of separate political/economic in terms of the discussion around workplace organising and 'unions'?

Just polishing up my 'spikes'.

no1

11 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by no1 on October 3, 2012

Nothing wrong with early comments, the problem is your conviction that the pamphlet isn't a genuine expression of what SolFed as an organisation think, but some cobbled-together compromise between incompatible positions. This seems to be your starting point before you've even read it, and it will shape your understanding of it, which in turn will lead to boring and predictable discussions on here -- or does anything you've seen so far support that idea?

Cooked

11 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Cooked on October 3, 2012

There are some seriously sensitive SoldFedders around. What's that about?

no1

11 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by no1 on October 3, 2012

It's not a big deal, it's just tiring, after all those discussions on here over the past years - it feels like they are set up to go the same way. Nevermind.

klas batalo

11 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by klas batalo on October 3, 2012

So how about an emphasis on both the minority/mass and rejection of separate political/economic in terms of the discussion around workplace organising and 'unions'?

I think this is a fair thing to ask about. I hope to also get a review out once I figure out if it is appropriate or not, and want to address this.

Inhousejoke

11 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Inhousejoke on October 3, 2012

How much are you selling the hardcopy for by the way? Might get some comrades heading over to the bookfair to grab me one ;)

the button

11 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by the button on October 4, 2012

I'm toying with the idea of doing a pamphlet response bingo thing. So far I have:

* quoted post from SF member with THAT'S NOT WHAT THE PAMPHLET SAYS
* the CNT in the 1930s, therefore your argument is invalid (an oldie but a goodie)
* I understand anarcho-syndicalism differently, therefore this is not anarcho-syndicalism
* I understand unions differently, therefore what you are advocating is not a union
* Non-anarchosyndicalist group x advocates a similar approach, therefore your approach is not anarcho-syndicalist

Any more? :)

the button

11 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by the button on October 4, 2012

* you only spent three years working on this, with hours of discussion and drafting. I've skim read a review on the internet, and I think it's shit. WHY SO TOUCHY?

Spikymike

11 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Spikymike on October 4, 2012

No1,

It was perhaps a rather flippant comment on my part not having seen the full text as yet, but reflects my experience of most political groups, which certainly beyond a certain small size and stabillity, struggle to get a fully agreed common statement of their poltical theory and practice beyond a few basic principles, without a good deal of 'trading' and 'compromise'. I mean take a look at the last confused AF statement in the same area, criticised by some of it's own members after publication and despite lengthy previous discussion ( and I say that as a critical friend of the AF which has published much better in the past ). But I may well have underestimated the SolFed's level of real political cohesion in this area and I'm quite happy to take the publication at face value whatever it's past history.

no1

11 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by no1 on October 4, 2012

Spikymike, in that case I'm looking forward to your critique of it.

the button

11 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by the button on October 4, 2012

Some more entries for pamphlet bingo:

- this is just what Brighton think, what do SolFed really think?
- a member of such-and-such a SF local told me x in the pub, but this contradicts the pamphlet
- it doesn't mention call centres
- there's too much historical material
- there's not enough historical material

Nate

11 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Nate on October 4, 2012

- y u no talk bout value theory?
- oh so the Brighton lot were forced to recant and tow the party line, eh?
- I like your pamphlet about UK anarchism and the IWA so much that I'm gonna ignore all that and talk about the IWW!

the button

11 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by the button on October 4, 2012

* It isn't as good as the pamphlet I could have written but didn't.

Juan Conatz

11 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Juan Conatz on October 4, 2012

-I think you disregard the importance of precarity
-I'd prefer something more plurulistic
-blah blah reformist unions blah blah dual carding blah

syndicalist

11 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by syndicalist on October 4, 2012

The pamphlet will excite some, disappoint others and leave others re-reading it a couple of times to digest some of the bridges that are built and crossed.

Caiman del Barrio

11 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Caiman del Barrio on October 4, 2012

-union & workers that's like SO OLD man. the new revolutionary subject is...

Nate

11 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Nate on October 5, 2012

- I liked Strategy & Struggle better, especially the Japanese import version, on blue vinyl.

klas batalo

11 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by klas batalo on October 5, 2012

Nate

- I liked Strategy & Struggle better, especially the Japanese important version, on blue vinyl.

this is my favorite but, blue vinyl really? why not red and black feathered vinyl?

klas batalo

11 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by klas batalo on October 5, 2012

Unsure if this has already been posted elsewhere but more teaser/lead up!

http://solfed.org.uk/sites/default/files/uploads/strategy_and_struggle_debate_-_solidarity_federation.pdf

Nate

11 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Nate on October 5, 2012

sabotage

Nate

- I liked Strategy & Struggle better, especially the Japanese important version, on blue vinyl.

this is my favorite but, blue vinyl really? why not red and black feathered vinyl?

I'd explain but you wouldn't understand. It's a scene thing, maaaannn ;)

the button

11 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by the button on October 5, 2012

* anarcho-syndicalism was better before it went mainstream.

Devrim

11 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Devrim on October 5, 2012

Juan Conatz

-I think you disregard the importance of precarity

I hate this word. It sounds like something you get with the ICC. When I lived in the UK nobody used it. What was wrong with the term casualisation?

Devrim

georgestapleton

11 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by georgestapleton on October 5, 2012

Some of these are really funny "It isn't as good as the pamphlet I could have written but didn't."

But some of them could also be legitimate points to make in a review "the CNT in the 1930s, therefore your argument is invalid (an oldie but a goodie)" or "I understand anarcho-syndicalism differently, therefore this is not anarcho-syndicalism". It's a bit like saying oh wait until you see the reviews, I can't wait to read the ones that go "I liked this but have some criticisms" - so predictable.

snipfool

11 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by snipfool on October 28, 2012

first thoughts: this is not a pamphlet, this is a book!

Jason Cortez

11 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Jason Cortez on October 28, 2012

So far I haven't seen any mention of me in it, so I am very disappointed.

Spikymike

11 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Spikymike on November 12, 2012

Ok - so now I've had time to read through this new pamphlet first impressions are that it is a well written, well structured and well sourced and referenced introduction to modern anarcho-syndicalism. I personally found the sections dealing with the different tendencies and organisational forms within the broad anarcho-syndicalist tradition particularly useful alongside the critical, if brief, look at a couple of non-anarchist tendencies, in 'council communism' and the Italian 'workerists', deemed close to anarcho-syndicalism. There is much to agree with in the basic analysis, from a pro-revolutionary viewpoint, of the problem with traditional trade and industrial unionism and it's representational function and also with the big changes in class composition and the economic background to class struggle since the breakdown of the 'post-war consensus'.

In the effort to put forward the strongest possible case for the Solfed brand of 'political-economic' organisation as against other options for pro-revolutionary organisation there is however some exageration of the uniqueness of the claimed 'anarcho-syndicalist' methods of direct action which are more widely shared in practice amongst other political tendencies.

There seems to me to also be some logical inconsistency in assuming that the union form can be saved as a weapon of class struggle and revolutionary change by simply jettisoning it's representative function and adding anarchist politics, but insisting that the party form is inherently incapable of adaption to revolutionary use irrespective of objective conditions and political content.

Whilst the pamplet states that, ''Revolutions break out, they cannot be planned, they cannot be predicted, they cannot be organised.'' ie. they are spontaneous, it seems to overemphasise the difference between it's preferred anarcho-syndicalist strategy in relation to every day class struggle and the 'spontaneity' referenced by council communists such as Pannekoek.

The pamphlet analyses equally well the objective conditions specific to different locations that influenced different forms of anarcho-syndicalist organisation and also the periods of capitalist development prior to and subsequent to the breakdown of the 'post-war settlement' but misses an opportunity to consider a longer term and more fundamental analysis of the development of capitalism since it's origins and the importance of this in terms of class oprganisation in it's political and economic expressions and the potential for reform or revolution ( the transition for instance from the formal to the real subsumption of labour on a social and world scale). So more particularly when correctly analysing the limitations from a revolutionary point of view of the Spanish CNT they don't recognise it's weakness as a revolutionary vehicle to be equally it's success as a permanent workers union. Though to be fair such a task might have been difficult to fit into an already ambitious project.

As to the conclusions I was nearly convinced but for my continuing skepticism towards any claim to have found the one true form of organisation suitably for pro-revolutionaries to be effective. I still find it difficult frankly to adequately distinguish between Solfed's new ' anarcho-syndicalist union', and other forms of workplace orientated and politically inspired 'struggle groups' as promoted by other pro-revolutionary tendencies from anarchists to left communists and autonomous marxists.

It seems to come down to whether such groups end up actually organising particular struggles in the here and now rather than just agitating for a wider group of workers to struggle in a particular way - however there is probably a fine line between these two activities in practice depending on a number of both objective and subjective factors. Otherwise it might just be a question of how broadly or narrowly defined the 'politics' of those groups are - the more narrow politics again suggesting the need still for some other separate political organisation - whether party, affinity/discussion/propaganda group, network, etc. In all those cases it seems we are still talking about an essentially minority movement.

It will be interesting to see what others make of this pamphlet both from inside and outside the anarcho-syndicalist tradition (Collective Action for instance who simultaneously published an interesting pamphlet on 'Workers Autonomy'). It is a serious attempt to get to grips with the changed circumstances of class struggle in modern capitalism and deserves a considered response from others in our milieu.

If I get round to giving it a second reading I might mention a few other points that I have earmarked to think about.

happychaos

11 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by happychaos on November 12, 2012

“Ice cream does not equal reformism”.

Lol. Classic quote from the pamphlet.

SO

Chilli Sauce

11 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Chilli Sauce on November 13, 2012

Really interesting post Spikymike. Thanks

There seems to me to also be some logical inconsistency in assuming that the union form can be saved as a weapon of class struggle and revolutionary change by simply jettisoning it's representative function and adding anarchist politics, but insisting that the party form is inherently incapable of adaption to revolutionary use irrespective of objective conditions and political content.

Surely tho, the difference is that the party form is inherently hierarchical and seeks to gain state power? In fact, if a group does not entail both these characteristics, I'd argue it's not a party. A "union", on the other hand, is a much broader term. There's nothing inherent in unions that they have to be representative, mediative or anything more than associative organs of workers' struggle. And I think we'd both agree that some sort of non-mediative, non-representative associative organs are going to be neccesary to not only make gains under capitalism but to follow through in any sort of revolutionary situation.

So this ties into larger points you've made about other forms of organisation which overlap with the methods advocated by anarcho-syndicalists/the pamphlet: I think at a certain point it become largely semantic. I don't really care if a group calls itself a "workplace resistance groups", a "workplace committee", a "workers council" or whatever. If it's horizontally organised, engages in direct action, and doesn't mediate struggle, it's a worthwhile organ of struggle. What's it's called and whether you or me think it's accurately called a union is really academic at that point.

syndicalist

11 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by syndicalist on November 13, 2012

Chilli: ther forms of organisation which overlap with the methods advocated by anarcho-syndicalists/the pamphlet: I think at a certain point it become largely semantic. I don't really care if a group calls itself a "workplace resistance groups", a "workplace committee", a "workers council" or whatever. If it's horizontally organised, engages in direct action, and doesn't mediate struggle, it's a worthwhile organ of struggle. What's it's called and whether you or me think it's accurately called a union is really academic at that point.

FWIW: This has pretty much been the Workers Solidarity Alliance (WSA) viewpoint since, well, before we organized WSA, 1984. Something we've be criticized for in the past. But our opinion has been as long as the form and content are libertarian, worker controlled, direct actionist, independent etc., we were fine with it.

And, of course, most of the founding members came of age during the wildcat strikes, the Italian hot autumn and French May Days, promotion of "workers councils" by the Situationists (and others), regeneration of the IWW, the underground and rebirth of the CNT and struggles to rebuild so, of course, the libertarian aspects of those fights influenced some of our thinking and approach as well. *

* Our original 1984 "Where We Stand" on worker struggle was very much reflective of that influence (and parlance).

klas batalo

11 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by klas batalo on November 13, 2012

Actually can we make a list?

Workplace Resistance Groups
Workplace committee
Workers council
Resistance society
Autonomous Workers Nuclei
Struggle group
Workers Association
Factory Committee

etc etc lol...

* Our original 1984 "Where We Stand" on worker struggle was very much reflective of that influence (and parlance).

hey comrade we have that language hanging around anywhere? jw.

syndicalist

11 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by syndicalist on November 13, 2012

Quote:

* Our original 1984 "Where We Stand" on worker struggle was very much reflective of that influence (and parlance).
hey comrade we have that language hanging around anywhere? jw.

Somewhere....even somewhere on Libcom.....it got deleted when they redid the WWS a few years ago....and no knucklehead left an old copy accesble...I'll find it.

klas batalo

11 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by klas batalo on November 14, 2012

syndicalist

Quote:

* Our original 1984 "Where We Stand" on worker struggle was very much reflective of that influence (and parlance).
hey comrade we have that language hanging around anywhere? jw.

Somewhere....even somewhere on Libcom.....it got deleted when they redid the WWS a few years ago....and no knucklehead left an old copy accesble...I'll find it.

is this generally the older version?

http://libcom.org/forums/workers-solidarity-alliance/where-we-stand

syndicalist

11 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by syndicalist on November 14, 2012

klas batalo

syndicalist

Quote:

* Our original 1984 "Where We Stand" on worker struggle was very much reflective of that influence (and parlance).
hey comrade we have that language hanging around anywhere? jw.

Somewhere....even somewhere on Libcom.....it got deleted when they redid the WWS a few years ago....and no knucklehead left an old copy accesble...I'll find it.

is this generally the older version?

http://libcom.org/forums/workers-solidarity-alliance/where-we-stand

Fast look, I believe so. Cause this specific language aint in the current WWS:

"Self-managed workers' organization, such as workplace assemblies, rank and file coordinating councils, and unions free of top down control, are the kind of organization that can be the basis of self-emancipation. Such organizations tend to have a more transitory existence during a period when fundamental social change is not on the immediate agenda. On the other hand, the development of self-managed organization of workers in solidarity with each other on a mass scale would mean a revolutionary crisis for the bosses' system."

I'm gonna look for the earlier STRIKE! newspaper network "On Trade Unions" for an even more
"councilist" sounding piece. More later.

klas batalo

11 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by klas batalo on November 14, 2012

"Self-managed workers' organization, such as workplace assemblies, rank and file coordinating councils, and unions free of top down control, are the kind of organization that can be the basis of self-emancipation. Such organizations tend to have a more transitory existence during a period when fundamental social change is not on the immediate agenda. On the other hand, the development of self-managed organization of workers in solidarity with each other on a mass scale would mean a revolutionary crisis for the bosses' system."

I'm gonna look for the earlier STRIKE! newspaper network "On Trade Unions" for an even more
"councilist" sounding piece. More later.

<3 it

syndicalist

11 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by syndicalist on November 14, 2012

klas batalo

"Self-managed workers' organization, such as workplace assemblies, rank and file coordinating councils, and unions free of top down control, are the kind of organization that can be the basis of self-emancipation. Such organizations tend to have a more transitory existence during a period when fundamental social change is not on the immediate agenda. On the other hand, the development of self-managed organization of workers in solidarity with each other on a mass scale would mean a revolutionary crisis for the bosses' system."

I'm gonna look for the earlier STRIKE! newspaper network "On Trade Unions" for an even more
"councilist" sounding piece. More later.

<3 it

Following the trajectory of the period, these late 1970s/early pieces should give a sense how the events of the period influenced anarchy-syndicalist perspectives. So, in some ways, it's good to see that the new SF pamphlet arrives and is influenced by some of the same ideas as previous generation of anarcho-syndicalist militants. That a lot of we we discover is, in part, a rediscovery and, sometimes, a restatement, of the best traditions and influences of workers' struggle carried out by previous generations. Although the nuances might be different, many of the circumstances surely different, our desire to self-organize has and will take on a myriad of forms.

Those of us who organized the WSA some 28 years ago later this month were clear about remaining principled yet tactically flexible. And many of the current generation, while oft times lacking the big fights, are learning the same thing...that sometimes you need to go "back to the future" to get ahead.

A couple of tasty nuggets recognizing the past in the hopes of continuing to link up with the present and build for the future.

"The type of organization we believe will lead to the overthrow of
capitalism ---- revolutionary syndicalist uions, workers' councils and
assemblies ---- cannot exist as permanent organizations of the entire
working class, in a non-revolutionary situation they must be
transitory. They will be built a syep at a time out of the autonomous
workers' groupings that exist to some extent today. To faciliate our
participation in this process we must begin by regrouping ourselves
now, creating new means of discussion and communication, autonomous
struggle groups and committees of anarchist militants in various
workplaces and industries.

The future begins today we must seize it or loose it.

Adopted, July 1982, Strike! conference"

http://libcom.org/library/declaration-anarchist-communist-federation-north-america-1980#comment-409626

Even the old time militant Dolgoff discussed councils in a manner consistent with how others of our generation viewed them. Pointing to the idea that "councilism" was a multi-generational expression of ideas consistant with anarchos-syndicalism:

"Bureaucratic unions will ultimately have to be dismantled and re-placed by close-knit federations of independent factory and workplace councils Unorganized workers, instead of joining the AFL-CIO or similar business unions, should also be encouraged to organize themselves into federations of independent councils. No single form of organization can possibly embrace the myriad needs of the workers This is but one of the many forms of organization that may be considered The self governing workers’ associations must be flexible enough to experiment with new, creative forms of organization, adopting those best suited to their particular and collective needs.

http://www.fondation-besnard.org/article.php3?id_art

Reflective of the time and influences, you can further get a sense of how workers organization influenced aspects of the DAM perspective as well in their "DAM & the Trade Unions" pamphlet: http://libcom.org/library/dam-trade-unions

EDIT: Sorry if I misplaced on the comments on this forum.

klas batalo

11 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by klas batalo on November 14, 2012

I don't know if it is misplaced, obviously the pamphlet is meant to garner discussion, especially around such issues.

Anyway you just made my day syndicalist! :D

It is interesting that like many councilists/left communists these 70s/80s groupings were stating that such bodies were tranistory outside of revolutionary situations.

syndicalist

11 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by syndicalist on November 14, 2012

t is interesting that like many councilists/left communists these 70s/80s groupings were stating that such bodies were tranistory outside of revolutionary situations.

The STRIKE! resolution was the comradely compromise work of libertarian communists ("the Canadians") and anarchy-syndicalists ("the Americans"). To be fair, I think there was a period where most of us agreed that the non-union bodies were outside of revolutionary periods. Memory serves me that moving into the 1980s a number of us (myself included) wished to see more permanent bodies develop. Not a rejection of action groups, etc., but a sense that spontaneity and informality alone was not enough.

EDIT: Just as a sorta post-script on the internal STRIKE! network differences. They were friendly. While ideological and tactical, they were not personal,not at all. "The Americans" were drifting towards forming a specifically anarcho-syndicalist organization (to become WSA), "the Canadians" maintained their course and continued to publish STRIKE! for a period of time.
A project we continued to support. Our Canadian comrades were hard and dedicated workers. For which we are all indebted as friends and comrades.

klas batalo

11 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by klas batalo on November 14, 2012

interesting history syndicalist...

i think that is essentially what solfed is advocating in this pamphlet, and what became more common that revolutionary minorities in the workplace should be organized as revolutionary unions as a more permanent regrouping of those that advocate for autonomous struggle bodies as that help us broaden the class fight.

syndicalist

11 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by syndicalist on November 16, 2012

Got my printed copy yesterday.... Jeff must've been working his arse off getting them out to everyone.

Handsome little volume and trusting it will distribute well.

One last thing and then I'll make all the SFers happy and zip my lips.

An interesting sidebar ( "Gramsci & Syndicalism ") appeared in the old WSA print journal "ideas & action". I think this is an astute observation on the inter-sectionalisty of anarcho-syndicalism and what some call "councilism". reinforcing in my mind, that the content and form and not the rhetoric of self-description or projection of something more revolutionary then another is important.

One lesson of the Italian revolution of 1919-20 is that the supposed opposition between "council ism" and "syndicalism" is more myth than reality. The main body of Italian syndicalism -- the USI -- adopted the methods and organizational forms of the Turin shop council movement. At the same time, the anarcho-syndicalists in Turin were slow to build an USI organization there because the independent, democratic organization of the Turin councils and their orientation to direct action and workers control made them a living approximation of anarcho-syndicalist ideals.

http://workersolidarity.org/archive/gramsci.html

Chilli Sauce

11 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Chilli Sauce on November 16, 2012

You should upload that to the libcom library, comrade.

syndicalist

11 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by syndicalist on November 16, 2012

You should upload that to the libcom library, comrade.

I've no clue how to do it, sorry. Feel free if you wish.

klas batalo

11 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by klas batalo on November 16, 2012

I might later.

Chilli Sauce

11 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Chilli Sauce on November 16, 2012

syndicalist

You should upload that to the libcom library, comrade.

I've no clue how to do it, sorry. Feel free if you wish.

If you're interested:

http://libcom.org/library/notes/content-guidelines/howto-article-submissions

I think that it's actually simpler than that page makes it look.

Basically it's

> Submit content
> Library

Fill it in.

Spikymike

11 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Spikymike on November 17, 2012

Don't want to get sidetracked but any references to Gramsci and the Italian Factory Councils in which anarchist and anarcho-syndicalists were also very active needs to take account of the political weeaknesses of both traditional anarcho-syndicalism and councilism without a communist perspective. So putting it rather crudely - Gramsci might have displayed some 'councilist' tendency at that time but was not a genuine communist and Bordiga who made some trenchant criticism of the factory council movement was a genuine communist but no councilist. Some of this was referred to in the short London AF pamphlet 'The italian Factory Councils and the Anarchists' and some of the Bordiga material on this subject and in contrast with the Council Communist Pannekoek is in the library here.

syndicalist

11 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by syndicalist on November 17, 2012

Spikymike

Don't want to get sidetracked but any references to Gramsci and the Italian Factory Councils in which anarchist and anarcho-syndicalists were also very active needs to take account of the political weeaknesses of both traditional anarcho-syndicalism and councilism without a communist perspective. So putting it rather crudely - Gramsci might have displayed some 'councilist' tendency at that time but was not a genuine communist and Bordiga who made some trenchant criticism of the factory council movement was a genuine communist but no councilist. Some of this was referred to in the short London AF pamphlet 'The italian Factory Councils and the Anarchists' and some of the Bordiga material on this subject and in contrast with the Council Communist Pannekoek is in the library here.

Perhaps we should split this off and start a seperate discussion?

Spikymike

11 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Spikymike on November 18, 2012

I wanted to add another observation/comment to my earlier Nov 12th post on this thread.

Much of the Solfed pamphlet and my earlier comments revolved around different histories and understanding of the function and limitation of workplace based organisation and the potential for current or future pro-revolutionary workplace based groups and networks. However the widespread extension of public sector privatisation, outsourcing, deskilling, shift-working, temporary and precarious work etc as part of the breakdown of the 'post-war consensus' in the UK and elswhere has severely limited the potential for stable or permanent groupings of this kind, something recognised to some extent in the pamphlets analysis and also in the emphasis on the need for at least parrallel geographical based organisation even if still with an 'economic' emphasis/orientation.

Although this shift towards building some kind of geographically based 'political-economic' organisation seems borne of necessity it has presented itself also with some claims to potential from a pro-revolutionary perspective - looking to encourage the development of a practical class based unity out of the different experiences of sections of the working class and struggles which might otherwise remain sectional. Some of that recognition is expressed in the pamphlet but is perhaps more fully laid out in the recently posted 'East London Workers Assembly bulletin' and associated initiative, (with echo's of recent Communisation/Plan C/CA discussions).

It is encouraging to see similar initiatives of this kind emmerging in the context of the current austerity drive and the failure from a class perspective of responses to that drive. That such initiatives should be taken by existing pro-revolutionary groups or alliances is to be expected but there are clearly dangers in such initiatives being too narrowly defined, ending up just one more among many political groupings competing for attention, or so widely defined as to be ineffective or open to 'leftist' manipulation. Although the politics behind these initiatives have probably moved on there are still lessons to be learned from other recent and earlier attempts at similar intiatives (eg the London Workers Group). These initiatives strike me as being distinct from those kind of minority workers or 'struggle' groups emmerging from the particular high points of struggles and usually of limited duration. The more politically motivated initiatives of this kind organised, outside of and in advance of, such struggles are more problematical and any genuine success would seem to depend much on their timing and whether or not they just happen to hit an immediate need of workers in struggle that is taken up rapidly before they become the plaything of rival competing political factions.

Hope that makes some sense?

Spikymike

11 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Spikymike on November 19, 2012

So I forgot to say that Chilli Sauce's claim in their Nov 13th post that '..if the party form doesn't have the characteristic of being hierarchical and seeking state power..' it isn't by their definition a party, seems very reminisant of my and others past claims that the Solfed anarcho-syndicalist union isn't a union as we understand it (or most other workers as well). I've tried not to repeat that comment in my recent review of this pamphlet so as to deal with the more substantial matters it covers, but what is a valid argument for one is also valid for the other. (This was a running joke in some earlier posts of course!) The anarchist 'platformist' tradition has a concept of organisation not disimilar to the party form of organisation in some marxist tendencies for instance.

Given my generally positive comments about this pamphlet I would add though that I thought some of the references to such as ''Through direct action, workers an begin to build the foundations of the future libertarian communist society now.'' concluding that paragraph, did hark back to earlier 19th Century ideas of building socialism within the shell of capitalism ie as steady accumulative process over time rather than as the result of any periodic rupture with the system, though I might be reading too much into some of these ocassional references.

Better shut up for a bit or I will find some other more minor points to have a go at.

I really hope that some others in our milieu will get round to writing some more substantial comments on this pamphlet or maybe a proper review that could be linked to this thread.

happychaos

11 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by happychaos on November 21, 2012

Ditto. I have some loose comments I'd like to share if there's an indepth discussion.

Chilli Sauce

11 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Chilli Sauce on November 21, 2012

So I forgot to say that Chilli Sauce's claim in their Nov 13th post that '..if the party form doesn't have the characteristic of being hierarchical and seeking state power..' it isn't by their definition a party, seems very reminisant of my and others past claims that the Solfed anarcho-syndicalist union isn't a union as we understand it (or most other workers as well)

Again, though, I feel like this comes down to semantics and semantics for semantics sake, really. I don't really see how bringing it up it pushes forward a conversation, a struggle, or any organising strategy. (Granted, you didn't bring it up directly, but it was implicit which is how we arrived here.)

But, if we are going to be semantic, in my experience, most workers have a very vague, misunderstood, and contradictory understanding of a 'union'. There's a lot more space to promote our definition because unions can take a lot of different forms and one form can have goals and methods which are opposed to other forms.

If you're suggesting that "most other workers as well" believe that all unions are inherently mediatory and counter-revolutionary (I'm not sure that is what you're saying), that strikes me basically as silly. That's a very niche understanding reserved for a small section of the ultraleft.

As for a 'party', on the other hand, I think the vast majority of workers would agree that the fundamental function of a political party is to seek state power under a centralized leadership.

Spikymike

11 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Spikymike on November 21, 2012

Chillie Sauce,
Well I only meant that most workers wouldn't see the specifc SolFed version of a union to be the commonly understood notion of what a union is rather than accepting my or the 'ultra-lefts' analysis. That was anyway a relatively minor point compared with my other observations. I understand what your saying.

happychaos

11 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by happychaos on November 21, 2012

An anarchist friend of mine has a suggestion/question/nitpic for a SolFeder while we wait for the convo to get rolling...

Wouldn't the word approach or tendency be a more suitable word for the associative and representative function of unions?

SO

klas batalo

11 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by klas batalo on November 21, 2012

Spikymike

Chillie Sauce,
Well I only meant that most workers wouldn't see the specifc SolFed version of a union to be the commonly understood notion of what a union is rather than accepting my or the 'ultra-lefts' analysis. That was anyway a relatively minor point compared with my other observations. I understand what your saying.

agreed, i mean looking at the old S&S and DU papers...the union for SolFed is essentially industrial networks of militants... i think you will probably face still a lot of the same BS that the IWW faces when we are told we are not a "real union" by other workers. obviously we can try to change that idea. but it is quite similar and reasonable of Spikymike I think to assert that.

Tian

11 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Tian on November 22, 2012

Anyone have any idea when this will be made available to download/ buy? By all accounts it is rather good, and I'd like to get my hands on a copy.

Joseph Kay

11 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Joseph Kay on November 22, 2012

Freedom will be stocking it (and hopefully selling it online). The next print run has been ordered, so it's a case of asap - however long it takes to get from the printers, to us, to Freedom, and added onto Freedom's systems. An ebook version is in progress, we're testing it on various devices to make sure it works properly. Not the smoothest of launches, but the demand took us a bit by surprise and this publishing lark is uncharted territory for us beyond short pamphlets.

Shorty

11 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Shorty on November 24, 2012

Joseph Kay

Freedom will be stocking it (and hopefully selling it online). The next print run has been ordered, so it's a case of asap - however long it takes to get from the printers, to us, to Freedom, and added onto Freedom's systems. An ebook version is in progress, we're testing it on various devices to make sure it works properly. Not the smoothest of launches, but the demand took us a bit by surprise and this publishing lark is uncharted territory for us beyond short pamphlets.

Joseph Kay

We're finding out international shipping rates asap, as there's been a few enquiries from Australia. We're working out what to do with the next print run now as demand has been much bigger than expected. It will probably be available via either the SF website with Paypal, or via a distributor if we can work something out.

For international orders who should people contact or where on the net can it be done through? I'm going to get Syndikalistiskt Forum to order some into their bookshop here in Göteborg.

Khawaga

11 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Khawaga on November 23, 2012

Is the French translation still in the works?

Chilli Sauce

11 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Chilli Sauce on November 25, 2012

What's that? Khawaga's volunteered to translate the pamphlet into French? Get in!

Spikymike

11 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Spikymike on December 3, 2012

One last comment/question to add to my other posts here:
I appeciate that this is the collective SolFed view and not a collective IWA statement, but to what extent do other IWA affiliates take on board the broad analysis outlined in this pamphlet and regard the more specific elements of the strategy as relevent to their situation?

Khawaga

11 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Khawaga on December 3, 2012

@chili: not me, no. Heard from Joseph kay that something was in the works. I know h that comrades in Montreal would like to see it in French...

Joseph Kay

11 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Joseph Kay on December 11, 2012

It's now available from Freedom Press here: http://www.freedompress.org.uk/news/products-page/books/fighting-for-ourselves/ (the £6 includes p&p, or it's £5 in the shop).

Online version and a free ebook will be uploaded here (and to libcom) once we've had a chance to test the ebook on various readers.

Translations are in the works - so far we've had offers to translate it into French, Spanish/Castillian and Galician. No timescale on those as it's been done by volunteers in their spare time, but work's starting on these after xmas.

Rob Ray

11 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Rob Ray on December 11, 2012

On the shelf at Freedom, alongside SF mugs and pamphlets. Mmm red and black things to consume :groucho:

Chilli Sauce

11 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Chilli Sauce on December 11, 2012

Awesome.

Also, ice cream does not equal reformism.

Fucking most beautiful line ever recorded into English.

the button

11 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by the button on December 11, 2012

Chilli Sauce

Also, ice cream does not equal reformism.

My contribution to the class struggle, captured for all time. :oops: :D

wojtek

11 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by wojtek on December 11, 2012

happychaos

11 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by happychaos on December 12, 2012

Beat you to it Chilli!

HC

wojtek

11 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by wojtek on December 28, 2012

Adam Ford has written a critical review here.

Chilli Sauce

11 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Chilli Sauce on December 31, 2012

Just posted this on AF's blog:

Hi Adam,

Good review, but I want to echo what Nate says: I think you're overemphasizing the role the FFO suggests SF will play in a revolutionary movement. I don't think it's in the pamphlet explicitly, but the common wisdom within SF is that rather than seeing struggles waged under the banner of SF, we want to see anarcho-syndicalist methods spread as widely as possible throughout the class--to the point that self-organisation is the default response to problems at work (or with your landlord or within the community).

Similarly, on a small scale SF advocates workplace committees made up of militant workers who seek to identify grievances and then use direct action to confront the boss. Obviously, we want to grow both the number of workmates active in the workplace committee and who are participating in the direct actions. Although we want use the space opened up by struggle to have deeper political discussions and would love to have folks join SF in the process, being a member of SF is by no means a requisite to participate. On a larger scale we advocate open mass meetings of the workforce. In either instance (committee or mass meeting), AF or IWW members would have as equal and active a say as SF members.

I don't know but I've to be honest, if feels like you sort of cherry-picked sections out so that you could have a critical section in your review. That's fair enough, of course, but I think you've presented them is such a way as to not show how those excerpts relate to the wider strategy advocated in the pamphlet.

So while it's true that we hope the local will be “a centre of community and workplace struggle in the surrounding area”, that doesn't mean we think the struggles should be “facilitated” by SF. But we are in a low point of class of class struggle. No doubt as the struggle heats up, it will throw up it's own forms of self-organisation. But in the mean time, it makes sense for organisations of revolutionaries to have physical and social spaces to plan struggles and to pool collective knowledge from previous struggles.

I really hope the militancy, organisation, and reach of the class one day eclipses that of the SF. But even then, it still makes sense for SF to be around as a grouping of similar thinking revolutionaries who are willing to make their spaces and ideas accessible to the wider class.

Anyway, I'm going to cross-post this on libcom (http://libcom.org/blog/new-pamphlet-solidarity-federation-31082012). Be glad to hear your response.

Finally, lest this all sound too critical, I generally love your blog, I read it all the time, and I genuinely hope you keep it up.

syndicalist

11 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by syndicalist on January 1, 2013

It's a pleasantly surprising pamphlet.A lot more balanced on some of the historical stuff then I originally thought. I originally quickly skimmed it, now for a serious read.Still not sure I agree with bunches of it, not sure of some of the applicability to the US, but will delve into in an earnest way.

Chilli Sauce

11 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Chilli Sauce on January 2, 2013

wojtek

Adam Ford has written a critical review here.

Some fucking painful comments under this under this version of Ford's review here:

http://thecommune.co.uk/2012/12/29/fighting-for-ourselves/

syndicalist

11 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by syndicalist on January 7, 2013

So as I wind my way through, one of my first impressions is still a lasting one. Not really about content, which is surprisingly good. More of what I didn't like when I first saw the long text.

Perhaps the good comrades in Solfed are ahead of me here. It might be a good idea to make a brief, more accessible pamphlet for "mass" distro. Something like a condensed version of the explanation of "representative" and "associative" unionism, combing it with the Solfed vision, as written later on. This might make it easier for contacts and others to read and get a sense. And, perhaps, as a segue to reading the longer booklet. As someone who has tremendous trouble reading long stuff, smaller pamphlets have always been of great value to me.....and have found it to be for others as well.

Just a brief comment & thought.

Chilli Sauce

11 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Chilli Sauce on January 9, 2013

I think that's very fair. However, I think part of the hope is that those sort of terms will become more common in our publications (and, consequently, the wider class ;) )

Caiman del Barrio

11 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Caiman del Barrio on January 9, 2013

Yeah my main gripe with the book (which is what it is) is the layout itself. Everything it said I completely agreed with, but it coulda done iwth a couple of pictures and some other things to break it up. :)

MT

11 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by MT on January 9, 2013

Joseph Kay

Translations are in the works - so far we've had offers to translate it into French, Spanish/Castillian and Galician. No timescale on those as it's been done by volunteers in their spare time, but work's starting on these after xmas.

Slovak translation will be published within next 4-6 months;)

Spikymike

7 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Spikymike on January 18, 2017

My more substantial comments were on this thread (including those on Nov 12th,18th and 19th) rather than some of the other reviews on this site, plus my question (Dec 3rd) about the extent of the strategy being agreed with other sections of the IWA. Given the later extensive translations of the strategy this has prompted me to ask where that leaves the SolFed and this strategy in the light of the recent serious splits in the IWA and the reformation of what appears to be a more basic 'union block' of the CNT/FAU/USI/FORA that distinguishes itself from groups promoting 'anarcho-syndicalist initiatives' that are not actually unions and who's members often belong to existing reformist unions?
Does the split represent an underlying genuine difference of strategy within the IWA reflecting different histories and levels of class struggle beyond the usual personal conflicts?

Spikymike

7 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Spikymike on February 9, 2017

And then I missed this mentioned on another libcom thread:
https://freedomnews.org.uk/rmt-union-puts-anarchist-in-charge-of-london/
As this short report indicates Andy has some sound militant credentials but taking on this particular senior union position seems out of line with the SolFed's usual line.

Rob Ray

7 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Rob Ray on February 9, 2017

Which is why he's not a member for the duration. Re: SF's position with the IWA, there's currently nothing new to tell and no point in speculation.

Spikymike

7 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Spikymike on February 9, 2017

'For the duration' ...and will maybe rejoin the SolFed when his RMT official position expires? Would seem a strange way for the SolFed to resolve such an apparent contradiction though. I suppose the SolFed will makes its relationship with both the existing and 're-founded' IWA clear in due course. Plenty else for them to do in the meantime.

Chilli Sauce

7 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Chilli Sauce on February 9, 2017

Spikymike

'For the duration' ...and will maybe rejoin the SolFed when his RMT official position expires? Would seem a strange way for the SolFed to resolve such an apparent contradiction though. I suppose the SolFed will makes its relationship with both the existing and 're-founded' IWA clear in due course. Plenty else for them to do in the meantime.

FWIW, that's been the case in the IWW, as far as I know, since it's inception. If people end up getting into a hire/fire position or whatever, there's an expectation and a process for them to drop their membership for the duration, as it were.

I think it's a reflection that these things aren't always cut and dry and that while people may be in a position that excludes them from union membership, they still maintain a goodwill towards the organization.

Anyway, I say all that as someone who takes quite a hard line on what should make someone ineligible for membership in any working-class organization but I also don't think acknowledging the reality of grey areas should be used as a stick to beat someone with.

Rob Ray

7 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Rob Ray on February 10, 2017

Would seem a strange way for the SolFed to resolve such an apparent contradiction though.

Yes he could rejoin - it would be really strange if someone could expect to be banned for life just because they'd previously taken on a union role.

Spikymike

7 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Spikymike on February 10, 2017

Rob, yes I take your point but it depends on whether it was, explicitly or implicitly, the intention in advance for the former member to rejoin as soon as their other Union position expired. Shouldn't surely be a case of 'In, Out, Shake it All about!' Not suggesting members and former members should personally fall out in the circumstances but principles and strategy do require some consistency. I'm aware that it is often the respect for the knowledge and consistent militant credentials of individuals that sees them pushed by fellow workers into union positions they might not otherwise have considered or pursued.

ZJW

5 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by ZJW on November 6, 2018

Mike, to what does 'the original Brighton text' refer? And where if anywhere can it be read?