U.S. New Left Entering the Workforce

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Jan 24 2011 03:53
Hieronymous wrote:
I think Erik is a good guy too, but I can't for the life of me figure out why he'd waste his time reading about how fucked up the Maoists and Stalinists were. Except according to Kieran Walsh Taylor's dissertation, they weren't. I've gotten much, much more out of what I've read in Rebel Rank and File already, as well as Jefferson Cowie's Stayin' Alive: The 1970s and the Last Days of the Working Class, which is one of the best histories of the contemporary U.S. working class that I've ever read. (...) part of my scorn is that in the Bay Area many of the sectarian hacks glorified in Taylor's account are still running around and meddling with any class conflicts, always preaching Lenin's flawed theories, especially on the need for leadership of the trade unions and the unconditional defense of all the nations victimized by imperialism. Some people actually still believe these Bolshevik fairy tales.

Hieronymous, the last bit quoted above makes your remarks make more sense. I can't speak for Erik but here's my hunch as to why he finds this stuff worth reading:
He, like Dead End in his opening comments on this thread, wants to know about attempts to do political work on the job. Writing about organized attempts to do that are few and far between. Personally, I haven't read it yet and it'll be a while before I do. From what you've said here, you seem very concerned with the line of the people invovled. That's fair, but you said very little about the topic of the thread -- what they did on the job and what we can learn from those experiences. I remember Erik saying that a lot of the NCM folk had really crazy ideas politically. Crazy ideas about the rest of the world don't mean that those folks' attempts are totally not worth knowing anything about. To put it another way, from talking to Erik I suspect that there's stuff to learn from reading about these folks, stuff we can't learn by just knowing their over all terrible politics (which you cover well here and I agree with you on). I'd say the same about the STO. Whatever else there is to say about their ideas, their experiences at organizing on the job are a source of worthwhile lessons for people who are engaged in organizing on the job today. No more, but no less.

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Jan 24 2011 06:52
Nate wrote:
Hieronymous, the last bit quoted above makes your remarks make more sense. I can't speak for Erik but here's my hunch as to why he finds this stuff worth reading:
He, like Dead End in his opening comments on this thread, wants to know about attempts to do political work on the job. Writing about organized attempts to do that are few and far between. Personally, I haven't read it yet and it'll be a while before I do. From what you've said here, you seem very concerned with the line of the people invovled. That's fair, but you said very little about the topic of the thread -- what they did on the job and what we can learn from those experiences. I remember Erik saying that a lot of the NCM folk had really crazy ideas politically. Crazy ideas about the rest of the world don't mean that those folks' attempts are totally not worth knowing anything about. To put it another way, from talking to Erik I suspect that there's stuff to learn from reading about these folks, stuff we can't learn by just knowing their over all terrible politics (which you cover well here and I agree with you on). I'd say the same about the STO. Whatever else there is to say about their ideas, their experiences at organizing on the job are a source of worthwhile lessons for people who are engaged in organizing on the job today. No more, but no less.

O.K., now I see what you and Erik are getting at a little more clearly. But when you say "Writing about organized attempts to do that are few and far between," I have to disagree. Staughton Lynd has written two anthology-like collections based mostly on oral histories by Alice and himself: Rank and File: Personal Histories of Working-Class Organizers in 1973 and The New Rank and File in 2000. These are excellent. The latter has moving accounts from the last few decades, with inspiring examples like apolitical workers being drawn to picket lines and finally getting the importance of class and solidarity. I especially liked the last chapter, "Chinese Staff and Workers Association," and how New York City sweatshop garment workers got radicalized through increasingly militant actions. And in the original book, these accounts would be lost to history if Staughton and Alice hadn't gotten their stories down on paper.

Which brings up a personal story. I was at a party last year, thrown by an older comrade. I got to talking to another older guy, who the host knew from Chicago in the early 1960s. Eventually I asked where he grew up and he said Gary, Indiana. Then he said his dad worked in a steel mill in nearby East Chicago. I mentioned the struggles at Inland Steel in the 1930s and this guy brightened up and said "My dad worked there most of his adult life, I worked there a couple years, and [the party host] worked there one summer."

As the conversation progressed I mentioned John Sargent, who I'd first read about in Staughton's Rank and File. Turns out that was his dad and a week later he let me go through all his dad's personal papers and it was like a therapy session with Sargent's son because although he was proud of his dad, he was still bitter that his dad never took a promotion to be a foreman and higher pay, nor did he take a full-time union piecard position either. His family stayed in the same apartment as he grew up and had the same income as everyone else on his Gary, Indiana block, except the foreman who drove an Oldsmobile while everyone else had Chevys and Fords. Sargent worked on the shopfloor in production at the Inland Steel plant in East Chicago, Indiana for 40 years, many as the local president. He was part of the original organizing drive of the CIO that included the Memorial Day Massacre at Republic Steel in south Chicago in 1937 where the cops killed 10. He got ruthlessly red-baited, starting in 1948 and continuing all the way until he retired in the early 1970s. His son didn't even know of his dad's CP past until he read the Gary daily paper, when he was 12, in 1958 and saw a cover story (which he showed me) about his dad being called before a HUAC hearing in Gary. Yet John Sargent never relented and was a uncompromising rank-and-file militant his whole life, even having a contempt for labor institutions like the dues checkoff, collective bargaining, the contract, and grievance procedures. He documented the period of militancy, before unions, in the 1930s when grievances were settled by work stoppages and strikes. In his opinion, the unions and their contracts ended that rank-and-file militancy.

This guy told me how his dad retired to the rural north end of Napa Valley, at the fringe of California's premier wine growing region. Most of the rest of the family moved to the Bay Area and wanted to plant wine grapes on the several acre spread of land that they helped their dad and mom buy and retire on. The only problem is that John Sargent adamantly refused to engage in the hiring of anyone else's labor power, as a point of principle, while he lived on the land. So they had to wait a decade until he died before they could hire Latino agricultural day laborers to do the planting. Hearing this, I felt sympathetic with John's working class purism. And it reminded me of my Swedish immigrant syndicalist great-grandfather and how he considered the Union Pacific Railroad a scab company at least 45 years after a bloody strike he participated in. Most working class neighborhoods once upheld these values: like never hiring another worker, never scabbing by taking another worker's job, never crossing a picket line or calling the cops on another working class person. They've all but disappeared.

My point with all this is there are lots and lots of older radicals who never needed to "turn" to the working class, since they were born into it. I talked on the phone yesterday with a guy in the Twin Cities that you met with me, Nate. He recounted several strikes he participated in. I resolved to get an audio recorder to do an oral history, either when I next see him -- or over the phone. In the study group I've been part of in Oakland for the last 5 years, we had a comrade in it who just passed away at 92. His name was Ben Epstein and he joined the CP as a young man, was later in the SWP, then later part of various Trot split off groups around people like Ellen Meiksins Wood and Monthly Review, and eventually drifted from them and started reading Paul Mattick Sr. and at the end of his life was a libertarian communist and the publication he loved best was Aufheben. I deeply regret that we never sat him down in front of a recorder to do an oral history, but over the years we learned a great deal about his shopfloor struggles, from factories in Buffalo, New York to ones in Oakland. Some of my favorite stories were his involvement in "penny sales" and anti-eviction actions in Sioux City, Iowa during the Great Depression. He was a militant during the wave of sit-down strikes in the late 30s, during a phase that he said "electrified" the working class. I was able to touch on some of his influence in a very brief obituary I wrote for the ICC, based on some European comrades being so impressed when they met him on a trip to the Bay Area that they asked me to pay tribute to his passing.

There are still lots and lots of Ben Epsteins and John Sargents around, waiting for the younger generation to engage them and learn from their experiences and wisdom. And there are plenty of experienced comrades from the post-WW2 generation cut from the same cloth, born into the working class and who never left but also lived through the 1970s. But rather than wearing hammer and sickle pins, waving the red flag or little red book they, like Stan Weir, participated in the building of "informal work groups" and were able to exercise power on the shop floor. I was incredibly fortunate to attend Stan's Bay Area memorial and met many black and white militants of Stan's generation, all of whom were veterans of the class war in industrial production, and none of whom needed college drop outs to parachute into their work site to tell them to "turn" to Lenin, Mao or Che. These guys didn't need to be taught a "line," since their struggles were based on Old School rank-and-file militancy, like the Wobblies of yore. I think their lessons are more valuable than the workplace recruiting missions of vanguardist Maoist cults whose indoctrination rituals involved criticism/self-criticism sessions and rote memorization -- and regurgitation on demand -- of the correct line on the current crop of "capitalist roaders" at the helm of the Chinese state, or the correct interpretation of Stalin's "Marxism and the National Question".

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Jan 24 2011 07:10

Maybe this simply makes the case that the New Left was by definition a middle class phenomenon and that's why all the language about needing to "turn" here or there. If you were a baby boomer born in the suburbs, maybe it was a well-intentioned but misguided idea to go from the college campus to the factory. Hence class struggle plays such a limited role -- despite "political work on the job" -- and so much of it is fixated on anti-imperialism and the correct line. No?

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Jan 24 2011 13:01

Some of this is generational as well. Militants from the 1930s-1950s often times were not formally educated, though some of the 1930s and 1940s generation were. The depression of the 1930s sent many into work they might not have done otherwise.

Folks of the 1960s and 1970s generation were clearly more college educated...yet many were barely middle class and many outright working class. So I think we sometimes need to look at where society and its youth are at at any given moment. Not to say the NCM perspectives were correct.

s.nappalos
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Jan 24 2011 15:47

for more industrial concentration stuff, someone did an awesome book on it that elbaum put up is that the dissertation you speak of? Also recently an ex-rcp person talked about it in west virginia mining. Maybe it was on kasama? I'm no fan on anything maoist, but a close comrade from the period says that before the RCP was RCP proper they had some industrial concentration factory organization. N-something-something. It was a broad communist organization involving CPML and various other groups like Haitians and Dominicans. I think they weren't very formed politically at the time because they all split, and my friend's haitian group at the time had the analysis that the unions were against the working class and that communists needed to build autonomous workplace organization. RCP of course abandoned workplace work and all that soon thereafter.

syndicalist is being modest, but NYC WSA also practiced a humble version of it in the needle trades there. There was also some canadian anarchists who did the same around the paper STRIKE!

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Jan 24 2011 16:03

Yeah, we sent syndicalist a questionnaire to complete about the needle trades organising a few years ago, he said he would get to it eventually!

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Jan 24 2011 16:28

OK, I promise to do the survey, it's still I project I want to do. After having read the one K-dog did on the Teamsters and Mickie D Resistance, mine will not be all that exciting. And I suck at writing. But I never break my promises...even if it takes me forever to fulfil -:)

On the US RCP WV coal country work, up, it's up on Kasma. During 1960s and into the 1980s, lots of left organizations had folks in the coal fields. We even had a few anarchists living in the region. One day I'll transcribe some pieces down by the comrades (one who's still a WSA member) on the wildcat strikes and major strikes of the 1970s. They were originally published in a small newsletter some ACF/NA comrades worked on: The Self-Management Newsletter.

The organization, I believe, s.pinnaples is refering to was the National United Workers Organization (NUWO). They had something like 1500 people attend their first conference. This was mainly a party-oriented transmission belt type organization, with heavy influence from Wm. Z. Foster's Trade Union Educational League with a goal of doing "third period" red unions. This split apart from the RCP and went with the Revlolutionary Workers HQ (many of whom are now with Freedom Road Socialist Org.)..... and yadedada....

(By way of history, this is a very interesting pamphlet, which is still available:A 1980s View: The Coal Miners' General Strike of 1949–50 and the Birth of Marxist-Humanism in the U.S. )

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Jan 25 2011 03:17

Hieronymous, I agree with you 100% about the need for more writing to capture the experiences of the sort you're talking about. If I remember right, you told me a story once about this in your own family, about your dad refusing to cross a picket line, tied to an experience he had with his dad being opposed to scabbing. (Sorry if I got you wrong.) Folk need to start documenting that stuff, and yes, that kind of thing is more important that stuff on the new communist movement. But like I said there isn't very much writing of the sort you're calling for, except for the handful of books you mentioned on this thread. That relative rarity is the reason people like Erik and me are interested in reading about the new communist movement's industrial concentration work.

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Jan 26 2011 02:18

Nate, I'm sorry for my over-the-top polemics. You were simply throwing something out to answer the question that began the thread.

And the story I told you was about the interaction between my dad and my great-grandfather, who still considered the railroad he had been on strike against to still be a "scab company" 45 years later. My dad inadvertently took a summer job digging ditches for the same railroad, which ended immediately after the exchange with his grandfather.

And to comment on what you wrote:

Nate wrote:
But like I said there isn't very much writing of the sort you're calling for, except for the handful of books you mentioned on this thread. That relative rarity is the reason people like Erik and me are interested in reading about the new communist movement's industrial concentration work.

Maybe I was jumping to conclusions and you don't know about this fantastic resource, but Radical America has lots and lots of inspiring first-hand accounts of rank-and-file initiative, in the tradition of I.W.W. working class self-activity that promotes class consciousness and expresses itself in solidarity, at some of the same types of factories where the New Communist Movement did industrial concentration work. With obviously much different conclusions.

A book that has anthologized these insights is Workers' Struggles, Past and Present: A "Radical America" Reader, edited by James Green -- former RA editor who recently wrote the brilliant Death in the Haymarket. All of these writers are in the "history-from-below" tradition of E.P. Thompson and CLR James. The authors in the book are Stan Weir, Staughton Lynd, George Rawick, Roy Rosenzweig, Mike Davis, Nelson Lichtenstein, James Green, David Montgomery and a few others. Radical America was started in 1967 as an SDS publication by Paul Buhle in Madison, Wisconsin but became an independent voice for working class autonomy and self-organization after that group imploded in 1970. It's other editors and contributors were militants like Marty Glaberman, Mark Naison, Paul Mattick Jr, Dan Georgakis, Bill Watson, Paul Piccone, Sheila Rowbotham, Franklin and Penelope Rosemont. It was one of the first journals to embrace the ideas of feminism, but especially concerning gender issues at the workplace and affecting class struggle. Soon after it did the same with queer liberation. And here it must be pointed out how universally reactionary Maoist groups were around gender-preference all the way into the 1990s. Super dogmatic groups like the Maoist Internationalist Movement (who put out MIM Notes) used to claim that lesbianism was the vanguard against capitalism and patriarchy, while at the same time claiming that male homosexuality was an expression of "bourgeois decadence." This was the line of the RCP for decades as well.

Perhaps I take a romantic view of such things, but I see Radical America as embodying a tradition that fuses Wobbly-style anti-vanguardist organizing from below together with trying to foment in shopfloor struggles an indigenous American form of council communism. And being that Radical America was the first to publish Debord's Society of the Spectacle in English, as a special issue of Vol. IV, no. 5 in 1970, in addition to being one of the first U.S. journals to publish accounts of class struggle in Italy from an operaismo and autonomia perspective, it was able to make accessible the anti-capitalist critique of work.

Here's what founder Paul Buhle said about the project (from an interview):

Buhle wrote:
RA, at its best, had the CLR James vision of a movement that needed to replace the political State rather than infiltrating it, and a future that reflected what we called "self-activity," a descendant of Wobbly syndicalism, rather than social democratic or communist bureaucracy.

I think all of us on libcom would agree that this -- despite its many limitations -- is light years ahead of the Maoist dogma of the industrial colonizers of the October League (Marxist-Leninist) who morphed into the Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist). But it might still be useful to read NCM accounts to be better able to critique their glaring weaknesses and to glean whatever useful insights can be taken from their struggles.

Here's what wikipedia says about them:

wikipedia wrote:
After the death of Communist Party of China leader Mao Zedong in 1976, the Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist) became the main U.S. group that the post-Mao Chinese leadership recognized as a U.S. fraternal party. As the Communist Party of China moved away from Maoism, this moved the CP(M-L) away from other Maoist groups, who opposed the post-Mao Chinese leaders. The CP(M-L) published a theoretical journal called Class Struggle and a newspaper named The Call before disbanding in 1981 soon after Klonsky resigned from the leadership and amidst the beginnings of soon to be massive free-market reforms in China. Prominent New York venture capitalist and private equity investor Daniel Burstein who, as a young communist radical with the CP(M-L) and while working for The Call in the mid-1970s, was the first Westerner allowed to visit the Khmer Rouge-ruled Democratic Kampuchea (Cambodia), hosted by its new leaders. He returned to pen a New York Times article claiming that widespread massacres of the populace by the Pol Pot regime were unfounded and largely a propaganda campaign by the US CIA.

This shit sends chills down my spine. I'm sure all of us know that allies of the Chinese state and the Khmer Rouge are our class enemies.

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Jan 26 2011 04:18

hey Hieronymous, thanks for that, I appreciate it. One thought that just struck me, someone really should put out some stuff on how to do oral histories and have a push for that (someone should make Staughton Lynd write something on that...). Likewise more stuff on how to collect meaningful movement history, like Dead End has been doing. It seems to me that 'history from below' doesn't just have to be the history of the working class, it could also be history written by workers out of interest. Know what I mean?

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Jan 26 2011 21:09

At work I ended up interviewing someone who was part of a M-L group called the Canadian Liberation Movement in the mid-70s. She was involved in entering the workforce in order to organize Canadian unions at a number of factories in the Toronto region.

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Jan 26 2011 22:01
smg wrote:
At work I ended up interviewing someone who was part of a M-L group called the Canadian Liberation Movement in the mid-70s. She was involved in entering the workforce in order to organize Canadian unions at a number of factories in the Toronto region.

While a Stalinist at heart, a very interesting Canadian Maoist was Jack Scott. Anyone interested in various forms of Canadian workig class history, would find these books of interest, in spite of the political perspective brought forward by the author.

-- Canadian Workers, American Unions

-- Sweat and Struggle: Working Class Struggles in Canada

-- Plunderbund and Proletariat: A History of the IWW in British Columbia

-- A Communist Life: Jack Scott and the Canadian Workers Movement, 1927-1985
https://secure3.athabascau.ca/aupress/cclh/order.cgi

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Jan 27 2011 02:38
syndicalist wrote:
smg wrote:
At work I ended up interviewing someone who was part of a M-L group called the Canadian Liberation Movement in the mid-70s. She was involved in entering the workforce in order to organize Canadian unions at a number of factories in the Toronto region.

While a Stalinist at heart, a very interesting Canadian Maoist was Jack Scott. Anyone interested in various forms of Canadian workig class history, would find these books of interest, in spite of the political perspective brought forward by the author.

-- Canadian Workers, American Unions

-- Sweat and Struggle: Working Class Struggles in Canada

-- Plunderbund and Proletariat: A History of the IWW in British Columbia

-- A Communist Life: Jack Scott and the Canadian Workers Movement, 1927-1985
https://secure3.athabascau.ca/aupress/cclh/order.cgi

Cool. I bet I can find those books pretty easily in town. Which one would you start with?

syndicalist
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Jan 27 2011 22:19
smg wrote:
syndicalist wrote:
smg wrote:
At work I ended up interviewing someone who was part of a M-L group called the Canadian Liberation Movement in the mid-70s. She was involved in entering the workforce in order to organize Canadian unions at a number of factories in the Toronto region.

While a Stalinist at heart, a very interesting Canadian Maoist was Jack Scott. Anyone interested in various forms of Canadian workig class history, would find these books of interest, in spite of the political perspective brought forward by the author.

-- Canadian Workers, American Unions

-- Sweat and Struggle: Working Class Struggles in Canada

-- Plunderbund and Proletariat: A History of the IWW in British Columbia

-- A Communist Life: Jack Scott and the Canadian Workers Movement, 1927-1985
https://secure3.athabascau.ca/aupress/cclh/order.cgi

Cool. I bet I can find those books pretty easily in town. Which one would you start with?

I like autobigraphies/biographies, but anyone would do. "Plunder" isn't bad.

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Jan 28 2011 00:34

Smg ----- the CCLH has some interesting stuff. I must admit, the R.C.M.P. Security Bulletins are wild. You know, a red under every cover and in every union. But there's some intersting stuff to glean from them, even if there are tremendous exaggerations. Same with the NY State "Lusk Commitee" report of 1918-1920 ( http://www.albany.edu/faculty/gz580/his101/luskguid.html )

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Jan 30 2011 01:46

A Canadian document, this pretty much represents the viewpoint of north american marxist-leninist's of that time period regarding "trade union work." US folks can substitute the Workers Unity League for the Trade Union Unity League (and Trade Union Educational League).

The question of people of color leadership is missing, as it would repeatedly appear in US documents.

Build Class-Struggle Unions --- Communist viewpoint on unions
By: Workers Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist) (1979)

http://www.marxists.org/history/erol/ca.secondwave/build-class-struggle-unions/index.htm

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Jan 31 2011 02:34

Not really New Left but fits in the time period of the early 70's:

IWW Organizing In The 1970's

An interesting account of attempts of organising Industrial Workers of the World union shops in the US in the 1970s, which contains useful lessons on the tactic of organising small workplaces.

Quote:
They conducted a survey of industry in the Chicago area and discovered that there were literally hundreds of small non-union job shops (of from 50 to 100 workers) engaged in the manufacture and/or finishing of metal products. As a result, several Chicago Branch members formed the IU440 Metal Workers Organizing Committee and, in the autumn of 1974, put out a call for all "footloose wobs" who would like to try their hand at organizing to move to Chicago and help out. The committee offered fellow workers who heeded the call free room-and-board and $15 spending money a week for up to a month or until they found a job.

http://libcom.org/history/iww-organising-1970s

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Jan 31 2011 13:58
devoration1 wrote:
Not really New Left but fits in the time period of the early 70's:

IWW Organizing In The 1970's

An interesting account of attempts of organising Industrial Workers of the World union shops in the US in the 1970s, which contains useful lessons on the tactic of organising small workplaces.

Quote:
They conducted a survey of industry in the Chicago area and discovered that there were literally hundreds of small non-union job shops (of from 50 to 100 workers) engaged in the manufacture and/or finishing of metal products. As a result, several Chicago Branch members formed the IU440 Metal Workers Organizing Committee and, in the autumn of 1974, put out a call for all "footloose wobs" who would like to try their hand at organizing to move to Chicago and help out. The committee offered fellow workers who heeded the call free room-and-board and $15 spending money a week for up to a month or until they found a job.

http://libcom.org/history/iww-organising-1970s

Clearly they were engaging in a form of "industrial concentration".

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Feb 23 2011 05:19

The guy who wrote that piece told me once something like "me and a lot of people, we came out of the new left, we didn't really know what we were doing when it came to talking about problems at work or how to relate to workers, that went on a long time." Utah Philips told me one time that Fred Thompson told him "there are people in the organization who are genuinely mad. That's why we have assemblies, so they can hammer on each other once a year and get out of the way so the rest of us can do the important work the rest of the time. Philips also said that during the Vietnam War membership in groups like the IWW (it was on some list of proscribed organizations for a long time, I don't know the details) was a way to look like a commie who shouldn't be drafted. So a lot of people (at least a lot of people relative to the group's size) joined who had little real interest in building the IWW as a fighting organization of workers. I think these things explain quite a bit of IWW history in the late 20th century.

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Feb 23 2011 14:16
Quote:
The guy who wrote that piece told me once something like "me and a lot of people, we came out of the new left, we didn't really know what we were doing when it came to talking about problems at work or how to relate to workers, that went on a long time."

At the time I was in the IWW. As I knew a bunch of these folks, let me just add that we were all in our 20's (and many just in our early 20s) and had no skills. We had fire, we had determination, we had rethoric and history books, but we had no skills. Few of us had mentors, even though a whole lot of 1930s,1940s Wobs were still alive. Some who offred advice offered some really antiquated advice, but alot had to be learned on the fly, on our own.
Of course there were also severe debates about filing Department of Labor forms to be recognized as a "real" union. So, with limited experiance, with conflicting methods problems existed.

The one major contrast, by way of observation, between yesterday and today, is the membership training stuff current wobblies do. "Back in the day", if the speaking tours of veteran wobblies were held in conjunction with internal worker educationals, that might have been something. Might have helped construct a might bridge between generations of workers.

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Jun 2 2011 07:39

Some stuff syndicalist sent me:

Summing Up the CPML’s Experiences in Trade Union Work
http://www.marxists.org/history/erol/ncm-3/cpml-tu.htm

Socialist Organizing Committee: Trade Union Work
http://www.marxists.org/history/erol/ncm-1a/soc-tu.htm

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Jun 2 2011 14:07

This is from the small US Trotskyist group, League for the Revolutionary Party (LRP). They trace their origins to the US IS tendency. They were part of the Revolutionary Socialist League
(of which some later became libertarian marxists/anarcho-socialists). The LRP has always had a pendant for being polemical and rethorically aggressive. To their credit, have have maintained a small fraction in the NYC transit system to this day.
---syndicalist

Quote:
The following article was first published in Socialist Voice No. 5 (Fall 1977).
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The Sadlowski Campaign: U.S. Labor and the Left
http://www.marxists.org/history/etol/newspape/socialistvoice/laborSV5.html
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Jun 2 2011 14:44
syndicalist wrote:
This is from the small US Trotskyist group, League for the Revolutionary Party (LRP). They trace their origins to the US IS tendency. They were part of the Revolutionary Socialist League
(of which some later became libertarian marxists/anarcho-socialists). The LRP has always had a pendant for being polemical and rethorically aggressive. To their credit, have have maintained a small fraction in the NYC transit system to this day.
---syndicalist
Quote:
The following article was first published in Socialist Voice No. 5 (Fall 1977).
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The Sadlowski Campaign: U.S. Labor and the Left
http://www.marxists.org/history/etol/newspape/socialistvoice/laborSV5.html

their factory bulletin Revolutionary Transit Worker can be found here: http://www.lrp-cofi.org/TWU100/RTW/index.html ... another group which produces some factory bulletins is the Bay Are based RWG (as far as I know Lutte Ouvriere minority related): http://revolutionaryworkersgroup.org/newsletters/latest-workplace-newsletters/

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Jun 3 2011 13:33

Some more oldies of the NCM and the workplace..... the rethoric, is so classic. I mean, this is actually how NCMers spoke in person. Amazing that some of these organizations had not insignificant numbers of members.

October League (Marxist-Leninist)
A communist view of Trade Unions: Smash Revisionists in Trade Union Movement
http://www.marxists.org/history/erol/ncm-3/ol-tu-2.htm

October League (Marxist-Leninist)
Communist View of Trade Unions: Summary of October League Work
http://www.marxists.org/history/erol/ncm-3/ol-tu.htm

Atlanta wildcat strike ends
http://www.marxists.org/history/erol/ncm-1/atlanta-wildcat.htm

Mead wildcat docu: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xex9un_wildcat-at-mead_shortfilms

Entdinglichung's picture
Entdinglichung
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Joined: 2-07-08
Jun 3 2011 14:03
syndicalist wrote:
Some more oldies of the NCM and the workplace..... the rethoric, is so classic. I mean, this is actually how NCMers spoke in person. Amazing that some of these organizations had not insignificant numbers of members.

October League (Marxist-Leninist)
A communist view of Trade Unions: Smash Revisionists in Trade Union Movement
http://www.marxists.org/history/erol/ncm-3/ol-tu-2.htm

October League (Marxist-Leninist)
Communist View of Trade Unions: Summary of October League Work
http://www.marxists.org/history/erol/ncm-3/ol-tu.htm

Atlanta wildcat strike ends
http://www.marxists.org/history/erol/ncm-1/atlanta-wildcat.htm

Mead wildcat docu: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xex9un_wildcat-at-mead_shortfilms

the OL(ML), later CPML had some influence in the union but was also pretty good in messing things up, e.g. after having "conquered" a union local or a community group, they spent most of the time passing resolutions against the CPUSA and Russian social-imperialism in these groups ... the CPML (which was probably the larges maoist group in the states during the 1970ies) imploded in 1981 without leaving many traces, one of the reasons was, that one of the CC members revealed what he saw during his visits in Cambodia and China during the late 1970ies ... far more sophisticated and less mad was the union and shop floor work of the Communist Labor Party (today League of Revolutionaries for a New America) whose activists generally operated without empty sloganeering

syndicalist
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Jun 3 2011 14:46
Entdinglichung wrote:

the OL(ML), later CPML had some influence in the union but was also pretty good in messing things up, e.g. after having "conquered" a union local or a community group, they spent most of the time passing resolutions against the CPUSA and Russian social-imperialism in these groups ... the CPML (which was probably the larges maoist group in the states during the 1970ies) imploded in 1981 without leaving many traces, one of the reasons was, that one of the CC members revealed what he saw during his visits in Cambodia and China during the late 1970ies ... far more sophisticated and less mad was the union and shop floor work of the Communist Labor Party (today League of Revolutionaries for a New America) whose activists generally operated without empty sloganeering

No doubt. In fact, nearly all of the NCM's were so over the top in their rethoric, that it mainly negated any pratical influence they may have had.

On the CLP..... they acted in a very deep entry manner. Similiar to the way some from UK Militant tendency used to act. I remember the "Coalfield Defender" newspaper. You'd have no clue that it was a CLP paper. One of the main CLPers was even a Reverend! fast forward to the 1980s, the "National Rank-and-File Against Concessions" group turned out to be nothing more than a secretative effort by the CLP to take leadership of workers resistance aginst the concessionary trend of the 1980s and during the Hormel strike. The problem is, they were found out and, basically, exposed as manipulators.

petey
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Joined: 13-10-05
Jun 3 2011 16:46

a first class thread, tip of the hat to all of yiz

Hieronymous's picture
Hieronymous
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Joined: 27-07-07
Jun 3 2011 18:22
Entdinglichung wrote:
... another group which produces some factory bulletins is the Bay Are based RWG (as far as I know Lutte Ouvriere minority related): http://revolutionaryworkersgroup.org/newsletters/latest-workplace-newsletters/

The Bay Area is full of terribly rotten Trotskyite groups, but this one is probably the worst.

And they're slimy and hard to keep track of with all their various, ever-changing front groups. During the educational struggles around March 4th, 2010, here's what I wrote here on libcom about them:

Hieronymous wrote:
3. Speak Out (Lambertists and next to ISO, the lamest; the Bay Area group is based on secretive cells)

and

Hieronymous wrote:
Yeah, I heard first-hand reports about Speak Out (but probably under either of their front groups: Revolutionary Workers Group or Against the Cuts) arguing against direct action. They're fucked and their mantra is "the workers aren't ready [for anything beyond lame, passive symbolic actions]." I even heard that Speak Out might be negotiating a "sweetheart" deal with the administration bureaucrats behind the backs of the mom's affected by the childcare's closing. Again, they're being true to their Lambertist Trot "infiltrationist' tradition.

and finally another reference to RWG/Speak Out/Against the Cuts, especially because they have near monopolies on political activity Berkeley City College and Chabot College, which act as their bases because the couple who leads the group are professors at each campus:

Hieronymous wrote:
1. Speak Out, who operate under the front group called the Revolutionary Workers Group. They have another front specifically for community colleges called Against the Cuts. This group is right wing and conservative to the point of being reactionary. Having been accused of this plenty of times myself, I use this begrudgingly but Speak Out are class reductionists. Their position on race is reactionary if not outright racist. As in, race matters will be taken up after the revolution. They're also part of the Lambertist tradition of Trots, but are an extreme version of that school of infiltrationists.This group's dogma is "strike are impossible, so we must build the party first." They fancy their tiny sect (in many ways more like cult) as the sole vanguard of the working class and even try to dress the part -- which gives them the outward appearance of what could be called the textbook definition of dork.

This group is so lame that at meetings of the San Francisco March 4th Committee, we'd yell at the lone, dopey RWG/SO/AtC representative and he was so arrogantly pessimistic that there were times when more than one of us almost punched him. At one of the last meetings before March 4, 2010, two women who were core members of the committee verbally criticized this RWG/SO/AtC cadre so severely that he started crying. Our mistake was not throwing him out the first time he came talking shit and attempting to undermine our efforts.

But the idea that they put out "factory bulletins" is a joke because their cadre is entirely college students.

David in Atlanta
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Joined: 21-04-06
Jun 3 2011 19:32

The Labertists have at least some influence on the San Francisco labor council don't they? Alan Benjamin is listed as a member of the International Liaison Committee of Workers and Peoples coordinating body. Is the RWG something different? And, come to think of it, are they the ones who spilled the beans all over indymedia about the ILWU's day of action against the war without authorization?

David in Atlanta
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Jun 3 2011 19:38

Speaking of the Mead wildcat, an old friend and ally, an unaffiliated black socialist, was working at Mead at the time and struck. He said the October League folks were pretty helpful. His view may be slanted a bit by the fact that after the strike they supported his campaign for shop steward.