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How to contact IWW in Manchester?

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salford_towers
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Aug 10 2010 15:49
How to contact IWW in Manchester?

I know this is the AF forum but I read somewhere that you have links with the IWW in Manchester. I have tried to email them on numerous occasions from different accounts and it comes back saying the email account might have been blacklisted. Is there any way I could get in touch with the IWW in my area other than email. Their website is quite out of date and doesn't list any recent meetings.

Liam

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Between Your Teeth
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Aug 10 2010 16:13

I'm afraid IIRC from the last internal bulletin, the IWW no longer has a Manchester branch and (obviously) Manchester AF members are no longer active in it.

Looks like it's not mentioned on the list of Branch contacts anymore either:

http://www.iww.org/branches/UK

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Joseph Kay
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Aug 10 2010 16:20

depending on your enquiry, i.e. if it's advice or help with something Manchester AF or SolFed might be able to help. obviously if it's a membership enquiry they can't, and a national IWW contact would be a better bet.

salford_towers
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Aug 10 2010 16:35

Sorry if this sounds a little naive... I would class myself as an arm-chair anarchist i.e. I read anarchist stuff like Chomsky but have never really acted on it - living in a bit of a middle class bubble. I wanted to start doing something to act on the things I believe. I considered joining the AF but an AF member on another message board advised me to get involved in more general local activity (stop war/anti-cuts/defend welfare).

I thought the IWW may be a bit less hardcore than the AF or SolFed. Sorry if I am coming across as a wanker. Its just that thing that Chomsky says(I am para-phrasing him) 'either you can zone out in from of the tube and be angry at the TV or join up with like-minded people'

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Steven.
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Aug 10 2010 16:38

hi, like others have said if the IWW doesn't have a branch there, drop a line to the AF or Solfed.

You might want to check out the discussion group held by them and some other groups in Manchester:
http://libcom.org/tags/manchester-class-struggle-forum

You could chat to people there about what sort of activity you might be able to get involved with on a practical level.

salford_towers
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Aug 10 2010 16:41

Ok thanks. I went to an event at the People's History Museum about the International Brigades (not activism I know but you are learning and you get to support a worthwhile event). I found that there is a thing called the 'Convention of the Left' held in mcr once a month. Then there is reclaim the streets/critical mass (although I don't have a bike).

The website for Manchester Stop the War coalition doesn't seem to be up to date.

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Joseph Kay
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Aug 10 2010 16:59
salford_towers wrote:
I thought the IWW may be a bit less hardcore than the AF or SolFed.

i wouldn't say either is 'hardcore', but both do have quite defined politics, whereas the IWW is open to anyone regardless of politics. but even if you don't want to join, i'm sure both the AF and SolFed would be happy to meet up for a chat, work together on areas of common interest etc.

as Steven. says the Manchester Class Struggle Forum is another thing, basically being discussions between members of various groups and non-aligned people in Manchester. i've never been (i'm down south), but knowing some of the people the discussion might be a bit 'hardcore' if you're relatively new to it though.

salford_towers
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Aug 10 2010 17:07

Thanks for the replies. Sorry didn't mean to use the word 'hardcore' in a pejorative way. Its just as you said they have quite defined politics and expect a certain level of commitment from their members. I am not saying I can't give commitment to things just that I want to start gradually. It was an AF member on another forum who suggested I look at general activism.

You make a good point though. Maybe as you say it is worth meeting with them to work out where I fit in (maybe not in AF or SolFed but in some other local activism)

Sorry didn't mean to sound dismissive.

By the way what differences are there between SolFed and Anarchist Federation?

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Joseph Kay
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Aug 10 2010 17:15

Yeah no problem, i know what you meant.

The differences between SolFed and AF are a much-debated thing. In practice i think there's very little of substance and a lot that's just circumstantial (i.e. people just join the one nearest them, as many places don't have both). Historically it boiled down to SolFed advocating revolutionary unions while the AF said no unions could be revolutionary. A lot of the current discussions have suggested there's quite a lot of talking past each other here using different definitons of what a union is. In practice, this seems largely a semantic distinction and we work closely together on lots of things (i'm in SolFed).

salford_towers
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Aug 10 2010 17:33

Cool. I think both AF and SF are active in Manchester (might be wrong about SolFed). My position is that I have read a smattering of anarchist literature over the years (not sure if Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell counts as anarchist literarture) but some stuff by Christie and Meltzer, The Floodgates of Anarchy, some stuff by Chomsky, Bolloten's history of the Spanish Revolution. Just a smattering really not exhaustive or systematic but I have always agree with it in principle.

I am 29 now (nearly 30) I have been to uni (studied social sciences) have done a few dead end jobs never really had a career as such but am still hoping to get a steady job at some point. I wouldn't call myself an anarchist as that is a bit premature after reading a few bits and pieces but I want to explore what I can do, at least be in contact with like minded people.

At the risk of banging on about the same person I find Chomsky's analyses VERY powerful. In a few words he can convey a wealth of meaning. When he talks about 'narrow sections of society' (the elites) I think that very powerful reaction I get when I listen to him is something I should act on!

I am not at the sharp end of life by any means but even so just living an ordinary life you are sucked into debt to go to univeristy, to buy a house. Everyone who lives around me is obsessed with owning property.

I'll stop now but that is sort of where I am starting from.

(eta I don't own a house - I rent)

knightrose
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Aug 10 2010 17:34

Hi - I used to be in the IWW - I am in Manchester AF. I'd say get in touch. There's plenty we're doing that you can get your teeth into. PM either myself or django on this forum - or indeed both of us as I'm on holiday next week.

salford_towers
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Aug 10 2010 17:41

thanks will do ...

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thegonzokid
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Aug 10 2010 22:24

As far as I know me and another comrade from Runcorn are the only dues-paying Wobs in the north-west, and I'm only really in it because I kept the standing order going after I joined Solfed.

salford_towers wrote:
Ok thanks. I went to an event at the People's History Museum about the International Brigades (not activism I know but you are learning and you get to support a worthwhile event).

This was on as the same time as the CNT meeting hosted by Manchester Solfed. Was it any good?

Btw, you're not Shevek off Urban75 by any chance?

salford_towers
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Aug 10 2010 23:52

Yes. Im not gonna hide it I am Shevek. I know I probably come across as a bit of a twat. I am on a voluntary months ban from Urban because I realised I was acting like an idiot and needed to do something instead of pontificating on the internet all the time.

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Sep 1 2010 20:49

Heya Salford, you should deffo check out Manchester Class Struggle Forum smile

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Kronstadt_Kid
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May 2 2011 16:34

... Just bumped into someone round the corner from my house who invited me to the 'relaunch' of Manchester IWW, it is next week.

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Kronstadt_Kid
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May 3 2011 00:24

The launch is actually today, 5:30 at Saki Bar.

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May 3 2011 17:35

Just to clarify the myth that the IWW takes any workers regardless of their political orientation, if a fascist worker joined they would be immediately ejected if their views were made public. I think there is some misunderstanding between being a political organisation (Marxist-Leninist party) , anti-political organisation (Anarchist groups) and a being "non"-political organisation (IWW). I think someone said the IWW clause on political affiliation is a "sanity clause". The quote from wiki below sums it up nicely:

Quote:
While the AFL's Mitchell and Gompers nurtured their alliance with the Democrats,[17] the IWW changed its Constitution in 1908 to prohibit just such alliances. The 1908 Constitution states, "to the end of promoting industrial unity and of securing necessary discipline within the organization, the I. W. W. refuses all alliances, direct or indirect, with existing political parties or anti-political sects..."[40] This language is essentially unchanged in the 2011 IWW Constitution.[41]

The prohibition on alliances with "anti-political sects" is noteworthy. According to Verity Burgmann and others, the Chicago IWW was "non-political" rather than "anti-political". And J.R. Conlin believes the deletion of a political clause from the Preamble in 1908 is only half the story; in 1911 the IWW rejected an amendment to the Preamble that referred to "the futility of political action".[42] In other words, the ban on political involvement only went so far (presumably, banning any political or anti-political alliances in the name of the union), and the balance of the IWW's membership saw nothing to be gained by outright hostility toward political action.

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Joseph Kay
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May 3 2011 23:57

that makes sense, though i don't think people usually use 'non-political' to include fascists etc, whose views would obviously contradict the spirit of solidarity.

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May 4 2011 18:44
blackrainbow wrote:
Just to clarify the myth that the IWW takes any workers regardless of their political orientation, if a fascist worker joined they would be immediately ejected if their views were made public. I think there is some misunderstanding between being a political organisation (Marxist-Leninist party) , anti-political organisation (Anarchist groups) and a being "non"-political organisation (IWW). I think someone said the IWW clause on political affiliation is a "sanity clause". The quote from wiki below sums it up nicely:
Quote:
While the AFL's Mitchell and Gompers nurtured their alliance with the Democrats,[17] the IWW changed its Constitution in 1908 to prohibit just such alliances. The 1908 Constitution states, "to the end of promoting industrial unity and of securing necessary discipline within the organization, the I. W. W. refuses all alliances, direct or indirect, with existing political parties or anti-political sects..."[40] This language is essentially unchanged in the 2011 IWW Constitution.[41]

The prohibition on alliances with "anti-political sects" is noteworthy. According to Verity Burgmann and others, the Chicago IWW was "non-political" rather than "anti-political". And J.R. Conlin believes the deletion of a political clause from the Preamble in 1908 is only half the story; in 1911 the IWW rejected an amendment to the Preamble that referred to "the futility of political action".[42] In other words, the ban on political involvement only went so far (presumably, banning any political or anti-political alliances in the name of the union), and the balance of the IWW's membership saw nothing to be gained by outright hostility toward political action.

but the IWW is now a registered trade union. Registered trade unions have legal obligations, which include the obligation to represent their members. Apart from a recent ruling allowing the expulsion of BNP activists from unions, I imagine it would be difficult or even impossible to expel fascists or racists (not to mention scabs) from the IWW if they joined, at least not without incurring huge legal fees.

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May 5 2011 18:33
Steven. wrote:
but the IWW is now a registered trade union. Registered trade unions have legal obligations, which include the obligation to represent their members. Apart from a recent ruling allowing the expulsion of BNP activists from unions, I imagine it would be difficult or even impossible to expel fascists or racists (not to mention scabs) from the IWW if they joined, at least not without incurring huge legal fees.

Why? If they refused to leave the organisation you could easily do them in on race and equality legislation (which was the basis for recent ruling allowing the expulsion of BNP activists from unions). As for scabs (and I would argue fascists and racists too) social pressure has always been the best way for dealing with them. But least there is a clear mechanism to deal with racists and fascists which doesnt seem to exists on the wider 'anarchist/libcom' scene.

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May 5 2011 21:28
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But least there is a clear mechanism to deal with racists and fascists which doesnt seem to exists on the wider 'anarchist/libcom' scene.

I don't understand this?

syndicalist
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May 5 2011 23:54

Sorry, I prolly ask this somewhere before, I can't remember.

What is the advantage to the IWW to register as a trade union?

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May 6 2011 07:34
blackrainbow wrote:

Why? If they refused to leave the organisation you could easily do them in on race and equality legislation (which was the basis for recent ruling allowing the expulsion of BNP activists from unions).

"do them in on race and equality legislation"? What does this mean?

Race and equality legislation is extremely weak - recently cases lost include those around leaflets viciously attacking immigrants because "immigrants" aren't a race.

Secondly, the appeal unions won recently only allows for the expulsion of people who belong to political parties whose constitutions run contrary to the union rulebook - so far, only BNP members.

Quote:
As for scabs (and I would argue fascists and racists too) social pressure has always been the best way for dealing with them.

in trying to get people not to scab, of course social pressure (and argument) is needed. However, if someone is a frequent scab, or even propagandises for scabbing (as someone at my Council did recently) you will be confined like the mainstream unions to being unable to expel them from the union, and being obliged to represent them and let them vote on internal positions and policy.

Quote:
But least there is a clear mechanism to deal with racists and fascists which doesnt seem to exists on the wider 'anarchist/libcom' scene.

firstly, from what you have said this does not seem like a clear mechanism to deal with racists and fascists, secondly what do you mean regarding the wider anarchist/libcom scene?

For starters why would racists and fascists get involved in an explicitly antiracist/antifascist scene? And if any did they could be expelled from any organisations, banned from forums and spaces and not permitted near any of it.

The difference with a union would be that if it did have recognition somewhere (so I'm being "optimistic" from the IWW's point of view here) then you would get people wanting to join it just to benefit themselves, who would include racists, fascists and scabs.

Syndicalist, in terms of why they registered in the first place, I believe it came out of their experiences when they organised their first job shop in the 1990s, a small factory in Hull. IIRC the workplace had 20 staff, five IWW members joined and recruited six more thus now having over 50% of the workforce and asked to collectively bargain. The bosses said staff could either leave the IWW or be sacked. The six new ones left the union, the other five refused and were sacked, and the sacking was not ruled unfair because the IWW was not a trade union

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May 6 2011 07:44

I guess that means the UK doesn't have the 'concerted activity' clause, eh?

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May 6 2011 07:49
Juan Conatz wrote:
I guess that means the UK doesn't have the 'concerted activity' clause, eh?

what does this mean?

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May 6 2011 07:56
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Concerted activity is undertaken jointly by employees for the purpose of union or organization, collective bargaining, or other mutual aid or protection. Such activities frequently are "protected" under federal and state labor laws.

The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) protects individuals engaged in not just "unions," but also "concerted activities" for their mutual aid and protection. Section 7 of the NLRA states:

"Employees shall have the right to self-organization, to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing, and to engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection, and shall also have the right to refrain from any or all such activities . . . . "

Protected concerted activity sometimes includes employee conduct that has nothing to do with unions directly, as when employees act together to complain about their work places and their jobs. For instance, employees who get together and complain to management about their pay or benefits are engaged in concerted activity protected by Section 7 of the Act.

"The term 'concerted activity' is not defined in the Act. Courts have interpreted concerted activity in reference to Congress' intent to equalize the bargaining power of the employee with that of his employer by allowing employees to band together in confronting an employer regarding the terms and conditions of their employment. However, the precise manner in which particular actions of an individual employee must be linked to the actions of fellow employees in order to permit it to be said that the individual is engaged in concerted activity is unclear and subject to interpretation in court based on the facts in each case.

The IWW here in the U.S. exploits this quite a bit. Other unions have taken advantage of it recently. It helps you not get fired or have it cost the boss a lot to do so.

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May 7 2011 16:04
Steven. wrote:
blackrainbow wrote:
Why? If they refused to leave the organisation you could easily do them in on race and equality legislation (which was the basis for recent ruling allowing the expulsion of BNP activists from unions).
Steven. wrote:
"do them in on race and equality legislation"? What does this mean?

Race and equality legislation is extremely weak - recently cases lost include those around leaflets viciously attacking immigrants because "immigrants" aren't a race.

Secondly, the appeal unions won recently only allows for the expulsion of people who belong to political parties whose constitutions run contrary to the union rulebook - so far, only BNP members.

Quote:

I recon there are a small minority members in the IWW who hold racialist views (and no I wont name names). But until there is a clear track record of offending behaviour theres not much I or anyone else can do about it. When it does arise we then have to have a good look at what instruments are available for us to get rid of them. Most racists on the far left are very suttle in their approach and thats the real problem...not the easily identifiable loud out and proud types.

Steven. wrote:
blackrainbow wrote:
As for scabs (and I would argue fascists and racists too) social pressure has always been the best way for dealing with them.

in trying to get people not to scab, of course social pressure (and argument) is needed. However, if someone is a frequent scab, or even propagandises for scabbing (as someone at my Council did recently) you will be confined like the mainstream unions to being unable to expel them from the union, and being obliged to represent them and let them vote on internal positions and policy.

Quote:
Steven. wrote:
blackrainbow wrote:
But least there is a clear mechanism to deal with racists and fascists which doesnt seem to exists on the wider 'anarchist/libcom' scene.

firstly, from what you have said this does not seem like a clear mechanism to deal with racists and fascists, secondly what do you mean regarding the wider anarchist/libcom scene?

For starters why would racists and fascists get involved in an explicitly antiracist/antifascist scene? And if any did they could be expelled from any organisations, banned from forums and spaces and not permitted near any of it.

Quote:

This is too easy Steven. I'll let you figure it out on your own. All very nice, but your assuming racists are easily identifiable and easy to deal with once found out. Many who hold explicitly racists views are defended by their mates (cliques) on the scene and I'm sure you know thats exactly what happens.

Steven. wrote:
The difference with a union would be that if it did have recognition somewhere (so I'm being "optimistic" from the IWW's point of view here) then you would get people wanting to join it just to benefit themselves, who would include racists, fascists and scabs.
Quote:

Apart from those who would initially hide their views why would we let those types (who openly hold such views) join? In the real world there no such thing as a perfect organising environment or membership. I strongly argue that the ethos and organisational structure (control by rank and file members) is the best safe guard against racists, fascists and scabs. Not aims and principals.

Steven. wrote:
Syndicalist, in terms of why they registered in the first place, I believe it came out of their experiences when they organised their first job shop in the 1990s, a small factory in Hull. IIRC the workplace had 20 staff, five IWW members joined and recruited six more thus now having over 50% of the workforce and asked to collectively bargain. The bosses said staff could either leave the IWW or be sacked. The six new ones left the union, the other five refused and were sacked, and the sacking was not ruled unfair because the IWW was not a trade union

I'm curious why you are still actively involved in a TUC Trade Union? My communist critique of Trade Unions excludes them being vehicles of revolutionary transformation (that includes the IWAs revolutionary unions). So I know why I'm in the IWW and its not for making revolution but could assist in the process of class regroupment.

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May 7 2011 00:08
Quote:
Quote:
But least there is a clear mechanism to deal with racists and fascists which doesnt seem to exists on the wider 'anarchist/libcom' scene.

firstly, from what you have said this does not seem like a clear mechanism to deal with racists and fascists, secondly what do you mean regarding the wider anarchist/libcom scene?

For starters why would racists and fascists get involved in an explicitly antiracist/antifascist scene? And if any did they could be expelled from any organisations, banned from forums and spaces and not permitted near any of it.

BR, I'm still confused here, I was quoting you in post 20. When you say "you have said" who is "you"? And who are you directing "what do you mean regarding the wider anarchist/libcom scene?" at?

Perhaps I'm confused, and please correct me if so, but you seem to be saying that in the IWW 'there is a clear mechanism to deal with racists and fascists" that doesn't exist in "the wider 'anarchist/libcom' scene"? Is that what you're saying?

knightrose
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May 7 2011 15:25

I can't help feeling that this thread about contacting the IWW in Manchester has been somewhat derailed by people who live in London and further south. Might it not be better to take your discussion elsewhere?

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May 7 2011 15:47

The original poster asked this question in August last year, so I don't think it matters if the thread is derailed now nine months later.

I will try to respond to black rainbow later, but all the quotes in his last post are messed up so it is quite difficult to work out what is going on