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WSA, IWW and IWA affiliation

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akai
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Aug 29 2012 09:03
WSA, IWW and IWA affiliation

Although many years have passed and I sense that relations are very changed, there are other questions regarding the WSA and the IWW which were not touched in the thread on the topic. I am starting a new thread on something I find interesting. This is that at some point the IWW, or at least a certain part of it, also wanted to affiliate to the IWA. However there was already the WSA and apparently, at that time, enough differences between the two.

What were these differences? I remember these times and remember a few, although maybe those directly involved would rather say.

The following are interesting. They come from the Libertarian Labor Review, whose members were active in the IWW. They allude to, but don't describe, some differences / conflict with the WSA and the IWW. The following letter was sent to the IWA at its 1992 Congress:

Quote:
Fellow Workers,
The Libertarian Labor Review sends greetings to the IWA
Congress. The tasks facing the international anarcho-syndicalist
movement are immense. In virtually every country of the world,
transnational capitalist employers pit the workers of each country
against workers of other countries. National governments and the
official labor unions assist the employers by telling workers that
they must compete with foreign labor if they wish to keep their
jobs. The IWA is one of the few labor federations which seeks to
turn international working-class solidarity from a slogan into
practical reality. As an anarcho-syndicalist journal we are
committed to the same goals as the IWA, and hope that you continue
to make progress.
The Libertarian Labor Review is committed to building
solidarity between anarcho-syndicalists worldwide by providing
information about revolutionary unions. Every issue of the LLR
carries news of the IWA and its sections. This information might
otherwise be unavailable in North America. For example, we know of
no other U.S. publication (aside from the Industrial Worker, which
reprinted our report) that reported on the general strikes against
the Gulf War called by the USI and sections of the Cobas. We also
review IWA literature and reprint articles from your press. And
each issue of LLR includes the IWA's Principles of Revolutionary
Syndicalism, which we endorse.
The members of our collective have also shown solidarity with
the IWA in our practical work. When the CNT 'renevados' split from
the CNT-AIT, our members defended the CNT-AIT and helped influence
the Industrial Workers of the World to adopt its policy of
recognizing only the CNT-AIT. Our members pass along IWA news and
communiques to the IWW press as we receive them. For many years we
have encouraged the IWW to affiliate with the IWA, and we hope that
this will be accomplished soon.
Unfortunately, on March 20 we received an official notice from
Ginger Hutton, National Secretary of the Workers Solidarity
Alliance, objecting to an article in issue #12 of our journal.
(Hutton says she is objecting to #11, which mentions WSA only in an
index to our first 10 issues--her confusion may have been caused by
a production error which resulted in pages of #12 being
misnumbered.) That article criticized a leaflet attacking us that
was circulated by WSA leaers at the IWW's 1991 General Assembly.
Although the main point of our article was self-defense, Hutton
accuses LLR of attacking WSA and issues an ultimatum: "we must...
cease [our] attacks on the Workers Solidarity Alliance and all
individual members of the WSA" or WSA will ask the IWA to
"institute a formal ban on relations with your group" since "an
attack on [WSA] is an attack on the IWA."
We believe that the role of the anarcho-syndicalist press is
not just to give blanket praise to any group or individual claiming
to be anarcho-syndicalist, but to also criticize them for their
mistakes. A free and critical press plays a vital role in
maintaining liberty for rank-and-file workers and in holding our
officials accountable. The point of our article in LLR #12, which
so offended WSA, was that WSA does not want to see the IWW
affiliate with the IWA and has tried to make LLR into a scapegoat
to conceal this fact. In the most recent issue of WSA's journal,
Ideas and Action (#16, p. 36), Ginger Hutton admits that WSA is
opposed to the IWW joining the international: "The best thing that
could happen is that the IWW decides this is not something they
want to do and just drop it... I really don't think it's something
that's going to happen."
This simply reflects long-standing WSA policy. When
representatives of the Libertarian Workers Group (the WSA's earlier
name) attended the 1984 IWA Congress, they urged the IWA to drop
its efforts to get the IWW to affiliate. WSA also made several
derogatory remarks about the IWW, which amounted to a false charge
that the IWW was class collaborationist. When our group of anarcho-
syndicalists, active in the IWW, found out about this, we wrote an
open letter to the IWA to protest these attacks. Thus, our
'quarrel' with WSA dates back to what we saw as a divisive and
sectarian report they made against the IWW.
While the Libertarian Labor Review has serious differences
with the WSA over how to build an anarcho-syndicalist movement in
North America, we wholly support the IWA's priciples. We believe
that revolutionary unionism and international working-class
solidarity are essential to the construction of a free, self-
managed society. Familiarity with the activities, tactics, goals
and aspirations of our fellow workers around the world is essential
to building such solidarity.
At present, we exchange publications with several IWA
sections, and would gladly add other IWA sections to our exchange
list. On occasion, the IWA Secretariat has sent us copies of
communiques, which we have published in our journal and sent to
other labor papers and sympathetic organizations. We would very
much appreciate it if we could receive such information on a
regular basis, and if we could be provided with copies of the
resolutions and other materials acted on by the Congress.
For international working-class solidarity,
Libertarian Labor Review Collective

The WSA complained about attacks on them and the IWA Secretariat wrote to LLR about this. Later, the LLR published an editorial related to the IWA.

(I will not reprint it in full, because the first part is terribly, terribly mistaken. It related to the situation in Russia at that time, when the KAS went under, its leaders taking over the former communist trade unions. It is completely uninformed what LLR writes. I know because I was there. Due to complete ignorance, the SAC popped up there as well, giving a large sum of money to the already dead organization, which was quickly stolen.)

This part related to the WSA, IWW and IWA:

Quote:
This is not the first time the IWA has permitted sectarian
syndicalist groups to draw the international into internal feuding.
In 1984 we warned the IWA about a similar situation with a group of
anti-IWW syndicalists, the Workers Solidarity Alliance (WSA), who
were seeking recognition as the IWA's U.S. affiliate. The IWA
ignored these warnings, and the WSA was given a blank check to
carry on sectarian warfare against the IWW and pro-IWW anarcho-
syndicalists, all in the name of the international. Perhaps it is
not surprising that when the IWW passed a referendum in 1989(?) to
affiliate with the IWA, this received no follow-up from the IWA.
The IWA decided it must rely on the judgement of WSA, who told them
to ignore the IWW's prospective affiliation.
Libertarian Labor Review #15
Summer 1993, page 2

I visited Spain in 1984, some months before the Congress and although the main question at that time was that of the renovados (later CGT), there were plenty of questions and talk about issues in the US. But maybe first somebody else would say from their point of view what that was about.

It is interesting (and true) that at its inception, WSA was thought of as a "sectarian" venture.

Juan Conatz's picture
Juan Conatz
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Aug 29 2012 09:27

On IWW affliation with the IWA, I think that's come up 2-3 times since the 1930s and there have been votes. At least one of those votes, the pro-IWA came out on top, and then there was some maneuvering by possibly the GST that negated the vote. But this is off memory, and off the memory of WSA listserv discussions 2-3 years ago and libcom threads.

syndicalist sent me a bunch of copies of some of the documents that went back and forth back then. WSA to IWA, a group of Wobs to the IWA, etc.

I'm not going to get into too much specifics because sometimes the past isn't worth bringing back up, in my opinion, but despite disagreeing with some of what WSA wrote (the viability for revolutionary unionism in the U.S., the IWW being a 'political organization'), the group of Wobs were completely out of line with what they were doing and saying. To me, they were relying on fighting with another organization (based on unrelated beef from a common group they had all been in) and bombastic, sectarian accusations to get what they wanted (affiliation with the IWA).

I think WSA's perspective on revolutionary unionism in the U.S. and the group of IWWers way of conducting themselves made any IWW affiliation with the IWA something that was just not going to happen then.

The way I look it at is that WSA's issue were ideological, which is something that be changed,negotiated with, altered, etc. But with the group of Wobs, their perspective was more personal, which is harder to deal with.

There's also, quite a few threads on here that go over all this many times.

akai
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Aug 29 2012 10:15

Doesn't seem concrete at all what you are saying.

I don't really see anything as every being "a personal issue". Either the wobs overall wanted to join the IWA or not. Was it just pushing by a small group? Was the interest genuine or not? In any case, behind "the beef" always lies some real issues of tactics, ideology or something.

This shouldn't be a tabu issue, since all sorts of history is discussed here.

I don't recall any threads dealing with this particular issue of the 80s, although I don't read everything here. Also don't read the WSA discussions.

Juan Conatz's picture
Juan Conatz
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Aug 29 2012 10:49

If it doesn't seem concrete, its because its not worth bringing it up because it has little bearing on stuff today, other than some of us being interested in very specific tendencies of tiny organizations and/or what people we know personally were did. Also, I was 1 years old when this stuff happened, the only reason I know about it is because older members of WSA have told me about it, I've read threads on libcom, or I've got various documents from that period. For me the biggest lesson to come from it isn't some riveting realization on revolutionary unionism or something like that. It's about how not to conduct oneself in their political work. And that political differences can transform into years long personal beef. That's all. I mean, that's a big and important thing, but probably not what you're looking for, and not what others expect when they ask these questions.

And yes, there are conflicts largely based on personal issues. At the root of their beginning, there were differences in how people saw the situation they were in, and what was most valuable for them to move forward, but so what? I have a ton of differences with WSA, but you'll never see me engage in a multiple decade campaign against them that sucks in other groups and publications. Will never happen.

As far as the IWW overall wanting to join the IWA...well, I don't know. Like I said, there have been a couple of votes held, but I don't have much information on them. I'm pretty sure one happened in the 1930s and possibly another one more recently, like in the last 20-40 years. My impression of things is that the biggest push came from a core of people associated with Sam Dolgoff and the Libertarian Labor Review (now Anarcho-Syndicalist Review). At least one of the people involved in this continued this beef with WSA for decades, was kicked out of a class struggle anarchist conference for his raving sectarianism...and eventually was expelled from the IWW over his conduct, which just got out of hand and had similarities to the way he dealt with the WSA over the years.

I think some of this conversation happened in these threads
http://libcom.org/forums/workers-solidarity-alliance/workers-solidarity-...
http://libcom.org/node/7819
http://libcom.org/forums/thought/iww-or-iwa
http://libcom.org/forums/workers-solidarity-alliance/workers-solidarity-...

akai
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Aug 29 2012 11:07

No, I am not looking for what you seemed to gather from it. I wasn't 1 year old when it happened and recall there being many other issues, not personal but political. And I don't know why this topic isn't worth bringing up if just about every other topic under the sun gets some time here. I seem to recall hundreds of posts about WSA and IWA (literally), although this is just as remote and historical.

Thanks to links to the threads.

Simply do not believe too much in accenting the "personal beef" aspect of things people love to refer to around here. All of these "beefs" had more to do with real political issues than personalities.

I know about the old vote in 1936 and actually new people around in those days who gave me opinions on how it looked. So I am more interested if anybody here was in the IWW at that time (one comrade here was) and could comment on how that looked from the inside.

But I guess it would be infinitely more fun for me to ask the expelled member of IWW. smile

syndicalist
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Aug 29 2012 12:47

What crap actually. More to follow.

akai
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Aug 29 2012 13:33

Well, I see clearly what's happening here.

Look, I am not interested in any weird stuff but my questions here are rather concrete:

Was there a referendum in 1989 for the IWW to seek IWA membership? If yes, was it followed up, what was sent to the IWA (I can look that up later I suppose) and was the response basically fuck off?

As far as the WSA's objections to the IWW, I never understood them as being "personally motivated". I have a pretty long memory, and, well, I remember rather concrete differences of approach on both sides.

I'm a little disappointed then that it just can't be spelled out as it was. I mean, it looks as if people are trying to deny any differences existed and write it all off as some sort of problem with problematic people. However such an explanation would not be logical, because it would imply that the arguments of the WSA in the IWA really had no basis. Either they had basis and were political, or not.

I don't think it's anything worth hiding. And yes, it is obvious that there are 2 sides to things and I only included those quotes as reference to this question.

syndicalist
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Aug 29 2012 14:38

Not a good time for me now to really reply to stuff. And not sure what you “see” friend Akai.

That said..... what I think is crap is the dreging up of the LLR/ASR stuff is crap.

Just not what I liked opening up my emails to in the AM.I also didn't like your comment
that WSA was seen as being sectarian when we were formed. Sectarian by whom?
Punks, crusties, sectarian wobs, who? We have always tried to make an effort not to be.

BTW, I agree w/ Conatz in the sense that most of this was generally personal
between LLR/ASR.

I will come back when I have time to reply.

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klas batalo
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Aug 29 2012 16:06

I'd just like to ask comrades to remember to try to keep their cool. Like Juan mentioned a main protagonist in this "debate" has been relatively isolated now after years of divisive behavior in the class struggle movement in the US.

To address Akai with the limited information I know about this I think the differences were:

WSA took a pluralist stance on the labor question, i.e. if one was in a trade union they'd advocate for workers' self management and anarcho-syndicalist methods, if they were not they'd try to organize independent unions a la IWW, if it was a really hard to organize situation they'd try to do what they could do.

Honestly this approach was very close to what the DAM/SolFed has it's position lately.

LLR/ASR were more specifically concerned with building up strictly the IWW as the main terrain for revolutionary syndicalist organizing.

---

Again I could be wrong about this, but this was my impression.

syndicalist
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Aug 29 2012 17:57

Friend Akai......by quoting anything from LLR/ASR it just opens a different door and is not productive. Basically, they were the only ones leading the
charge against some of us on a personal level and then against the LWG, Free Workers Committee (TW was involved with that) and then WSA.

The reality as why the Libertarian Workers Group (in 1978) became the US affiliate and not the IWW is sorta simple: the IWW was not interested in joining the IWA during the 1970s and “we” were.

I will try and get to some of the mid-1970s differences. But, truthfully, that was long ago and so much has changed.

akai
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Aug 29 2012 17:57

I was not interested in LLR/ASR in this. The quoted texts are only a reference to the issue.

Sabotage thanks. I already knew this of course and that wasn't really my question, but it is a good explanation for readers.

The specific area of interest for me is the following:

It seems that in the 80s, both the WSA (formerly LWG) and the IWW were interested in the IWA. For various reasons, WSA became the US affiliate, not IWW. So these reasons, obviously, must have reflected real political differences. I do not believe that the International preferred one over the other because some individuals called each other names or anything like that. Give me a break.

Of course I also have some information on these reasons but I supposed somebody else would prefer to tell the story. However, see I have hit the tabu area here.

Also, to be perfectly clear, the reference to sectarianism refers to the LLR words. I give absolutely no credibility to people throwing around that word and found it funny in reference to WSA. I guess I should have put a smiley up there.

syndicalist
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Aug 29 2012 18:24

Really fast, then i can't concentrate on this for a bit.

The historical context is that in 1978 the NY LWG became an IWA affiliate. At that time the IWW as an organization had no interest in the IWA, although there were some in the IWA (as there are today) who were interested in the IWW.

IWW interest in the IWA in the 1980s was promoted by folks in and around LLR/ASR welll AFTER the LWG then WSA were affilated to the IWA.

Now, Akai, if you want to get into ideological stuff, that's cool. But I don't have the time now to do that. Nor do I think using 1970s context or arguments are useful. This is where I think some of the discussion just becomes somewhat dated. But if you want to sy that the LWG then WSA were declared anarcho-syndicalists, the IWW not, that's fine. And maybe that's all you want to put out there. I think it prolly has more weight in Europe then in north america, IMHO, in 2012.

akai
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Aug 29 2012 19:07

Sure, this is interesting history.

I think the information about when IWW had interest in the IWA and WHY is the interesting part for me. When I first came on the scene, some of the old-timer IWW folks were definitely in contact with the CNT in Spain. Franco had recently died, it just came back into play and the folks were really excited about this and new people interested in the IWA. Here's where I am not 100% sure of something, because it was just before I was an anarchist, but there was the tour of Souchy, gathering money for the CNT and the IWW people were saying they organized it. But maybe also the people from LWG were involved? (I don't know.)

So, those folks, who were not around LLR/ASR, were also interested in the IWA, so I am wondering how this looked. LWG got affiliated in 1978 but, if I am not mistaken, so did another American group, the Syndicalist Alliance. So, what about the IWW in those years? I am wrong in thinking that there was just intense internal debates in IWW then? I remember some of these from the mid-80s, so would I be correct in assuming that in the late 70s, early 80s, the sort of more anarchosyndicalist - leaning folks there were in a minority?

When the WSA was founded, people clearly said that they were looking to make some sort of alternative to the IWW - so, was that related to "personal beefs" or real political, ideological and tactical reasons? (I always assumed the latter.)

Oh, even found this, from an article about WSA foundation:

Quote:
* Historical context:
In the period between the 1981 demise of the ACF and the 1984 formation of the WSA, a number of factors lead to what we tried to convey as a position of neutrality. The two main drivers here, was the intense internal IWW factionalism of that period. Reflecting our desire to steer clear of being accused of meddling in the affairs of the IWW we tried to develop a position of neutrality.The second reason was some of our own founding member’s differences with the IWW based on a) either their own recent experiences inside the IWW and b) a principled position that they did not see the IWW as a viable option.

I am interested in what the "b" was.

Anyway, appreciate that "syndicalist" may be busy, but I am sure he is the best source of the answers here.

syndicalist
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Aug 29 2012 20:03

Piecemeal replies (sorry, very crazy & hectic day):

Quote:
I think the information about when IWW had interest in the IWA and WHY is the interesting part for me. When I first came on the scene, some of the old-timer IWW folks were definitely in contact with the CNT in Spain. Franco had recently died, it just came back into play and the folks were really excited about this and new people interested in the IWA. Here's where I am not 100% sure of something, because it was just before I was an anarchist, but there was the tour of Souchy, gathering money for the CNT and the IWW people were saying they organized it. But maybe also the people from LWG were involved? (I don't know.)

OK, this was in 1976. I was a 21 year old anarcho-syndicalist and IWW member.

So, the Souchy tour was not really done by the IWW, though the IWW was involved. An IWW campaign to raise funds for the CNT existed, even had some form of stamp to be purchased.
There were plenty of anarcho-syndicalists inthe IWW. Most US A/S were also Wobs (which maybe had a total membership of 200 --- the largest on the libertarian left). But the IWW
also had lots of old timers, good "union men and women", many socialists, anarchists and
social democrats (well, not in the sense of belonging to a right wing SD group, but their politics were left liberal, with strong militant trade unionist views. Akai, like some of the old timers were knew in the LBC).

While the IWW was supportive of the CNT, as it was supportive of the SAC, the question of IWA
affiliation came up from time to time. A couple of the LWG founding/early members were part of a 1974 effort aimed at affiliation. Everyone as in the IWW and they established an anarcho-syndicalist "Committee of correspondence for an anarcho-syndicalist liaison group".

The Committee went nowhere and was, as I recalled, criticized by some in the IWW [I'll have to find what was said, but my recollection was the same line that it would adhere IWW members to an anti-religious viewpoint and declare themselves for "communismo libertariao" instead of the "industrial republic").

OK..... so their was a "fraternal" relationship between the IWW, the IWA and indpendent syndicalists of the SAC and French Alliance Syndicaliste, as well as CNT-France. So the view was to have these relations and some were longstanding, but remain neutral to syndicalist splits
and stay in touch with all.

In the immediate years after Francos death, well, no one in the IWW (except for a few of
us) wanted to join the IWA. Have re;ations, but not join.

Gotta run. Sorry for the ramble. More to follow.

akai
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Aug 29 2012 20:36

Aha, I always thought the Souchy tour was official IWW. Yeah, there was a stamp and fundraising even for one or two years later. I guess when I was still a kid I gave some of my milk money to the CNT. smile

I know about the committee and the fact it didn't really gel.

So, the comments of some in the IWW at that time are interesting and I would be curious to see stuff from that time. Or maybe one day I will come across something in my personal archives.

OK, so, probably you don't know the answer for sure, but if only a few people in IWW wanted to join IWA in the 70s, did the IWW really want to join in the 80s? And what made this change, if it really occurred at all?

syndicalist
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Aug 30 2012 00:13
akai wrote:
Aha, I always thought the Souchy tour was official IWW. Yeah, there was a stamp and fundraising even for one or two years later. I guess when I was still a kid I gave some of my milk money to the CNT. smile

I know about the committee and the fact it didn't really gel.

So, the comments of some in the IWW at that time are interesting and I would be curious to see stuff from that time. Or maybe one day I will come across something in my personal archives.

OK, so, probably you don't know the answer for sure, but if only a few people in IWW wanted to join IWA in the 70s, did the IWW really want to join in the 80s? And what made this change, if it really occurred at all?

--- On the Souchy tour, I can only tell you that in NYC it was a joint event. And it may well have been that across the country. I wasn't involved in the tour. I just recall that the old timers in NY were and they very much had a lid on the thing.

ADD: The LWG was formed late 1977/Jan.1978, a few years after the Souchy tour. NY comrades were members of NY IWW. We also had a very loose and big-sounding east-coastisg group called "The Federation" and we participated in the NY gig as members of that as well.

ADD: The reality is the old timers did the org. and admin work, we mainly did some outreach and "shit work" (which was fine).

-- Without knowing who made waht comments, I can't say. And I've no clue what time period yas talking about.

-- By aout 1985ish I was no longer in the IWW, so I couldn't tell you inside stuff. From the outside, it was clear enough that a small group around LLR/ASR who started pushing the IWA once WSA was formed. This core obviously picked up enough support to get the IWA affiliation on a ballot. But it always, always looked like teeth pulling. And the battle against WSA being part of the IWA was always raised by LLR/ASR folks. I think by the late 198s the IWW was at about 350-500ish members. Mostly, almost exclusively actually, north american.

The support always looked tenuious and there always seemed to be splits in the sort of international work Wobs wanted to do. From the outside, the major fault line was the SAC. Mind you, the IWW has had a historic and longstand relationship with the SAC since the begining of time.

My overall impression has been that as the IWW began to grow, Wobs sincerely wanted to engage internationally. It always appeared that those on the respective international committee were mainly folks close to LLR/ASR or those seemingly closer to the SAC, others more like let's have relations with all independents regardless of affiliation. Some of the IWA stuff looked like it was a mishmash of trying to play on the increased internationalist interest.

From my perspective, the convulsions that went on over the IWW's affiliation to the IWA seems rather dead end. I mean, they would, then they wouldn't and it went on and on. But it was a distraction and WSA would generally have continue to fend off silly stuff by LLR/ASR folks.

akai
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Aug 29 2012 22:30

The old-timers in NY were from the IWW, so this led to my assumptions that they organized it all.

Was the battle against the WSA being part of the IWA, or was it that the also wanted to be part of the IWA? Because from what I have read, it seemed more the second, although the first definitely occurred. But this I know more from being in Spain in '84 and having heard stuff. So, this came mostly through the grapevine, nothing I read. And through a rather confused grapeline, I'd have to add. But was it that their objection was that the IWW was a union and a larger organization?

Sometime ago somebody (don't know who now) had this to say:

Quote:
A number of anarcho-syndicalists within the IWW, including those of us who would become the editors of of Ideas and Action, issued a formal letter of protest to the IWA secretariat challenging the right of the WSA to claim to represent anarcho-syndicalism in the U.S. on the grounds that most anarcho-syndicalists were active in the IWW and that the WSA, although claiming the anarcho-syndicalist label, did not intend to build revolutionary unions in the here and now, believing it to be impossible.

Were they from Ideas and Action or LLR?

Although I did not consider the IWW to be an anarchosyndicalist union (it isn't) and understand there is a problem with its stance, for example were it to want to join the IWA, the criticism about not intending to build unions I think is fair, although the IWA accepts propaganda groups. But I thought it was a shame, the WSA's choice and that they did unionism through the IWW instead of trying something else.

I know that's going to be an unpopular view with some, but I had it for a long time. Because, frankly, if you start an anarcho-syndicalist group it is very uncomfortable if anarchists are doing the unionism in the mainstream or other alternative unions instead of yours.

Anyway, so this looks clearer for me now. And it is interesting for me in terms of other discussions that were here.

Also, to be honest, I tend to think that talking to the IWW about joining the IWA is always going to be a dead end and better just to have normal friendly relations. That said, anarchosyndicalist minorities in the IWW can form a faction and join. Don't think it's a big possibility, just making trouble. smile

syndicalist
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Aug 29 2012 22:48

Right quick.... When I have some real time to sit and reply, I'll get to the other stuff which you've asked about....and which I'm sure all the lurkers really want to read about.

Quote:
The old-timers in NY were from the IWW, so this led to my assumptions that they organized it all.

--- The old timers were mainly Wobs, but you had the strong efforts by the old Yiddish comrades (Freie Arbieter Shittme), the hearty network of the few old old Italian Gallianists, the many exiled Spanairds you never erally hear about much, various anarchist groups and, of course, the IWW.

--In 1979, the Miguel Mesa tour was primarily sponsored by the "Libertarian Spain" newsletter(Dolgoff, Bluestein, etc), the IWW, with local anarchist groups, the ACF and IWW branches cosponsoring.

Quote:
Was the battle against the WSA being part of the IWA, or was it that the also wanted to be part of the IWA? Because from what I have read, it seemed more the second, although the first definitely occurred. But this I know more from being in Spain in '84 and having heard stuff. So, this came mostly through the grapevine, nothing I read. And through a rather confused grapeline, I'd have to add. But was it that their objection was that the IWW was a union and a larger organization?

It's really the former. See, since the mid-19770s a small group of us wanted to be part of the IWA. Even when we were in the ACF we wanted to organize an IWA section. None of the people who later went on to act against the LWG then WSA wanted part. The current editor of ASR was not even on the scene until the end of the ACF.Anyway, the reply (to wanting to form an IWA) was "not now, it's premature" and stuff along those lines.

When we had a break in the ACF, those who were later to be the most pro-IWA forces inside the IWW were those of us who mainly left the ACF. By the end of the ACF, anyway, the LWG and the Milwaukee Syndicalist Alliance were alrerady affiliated (with the LWG really being the mainstay catalyst). So, whatever post ACF splitoff efforts were made, were clearly against those of us affiliated to the IWA. And, it seems like theses folks after years of us being affiliated now wanted affiliation, for whatever reason. But it had to come at our already established efforts and at our expense. I say the latter, cause the attacks were clearly agisnt us. Not we want to be a section, but LWG then WSA can not be and has no "right" to be. So, their desire seems very "after the fact" to me.

Gotta run.

syndicalist
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Aug 29 2012 22:41
Quote:

Sometime ago somebody (don't know who now) had this to say:

Quote:
A number of anarcho-syndicalists within the IWW, including those of us who would become the editors of of Ideas and Action, issued a formal letter of protest to the IWA secretariat challenging the right of the WSA to claim to represent anarcho-syndicalism in the U.S. on the grounds that most anarcho-syndicalists were active in the IWW and that the WSA, although claiming the anarcho-syndicalist label, did not intend to build revolutionary unions in the here and now, believing it to be impossible.

Were they from Ideas and Action or LLR?

For sure and most def. LLR. No doubt. I've read this before and I think someone is playing a joke by inserting I&A. wall

akai
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Aug 30 2012 09:03

Well, I was not playing a joke because I think it should read "editors of LLR" not Ideas and Action, which is why I asked. The reason that this one came to my attention is that it was republished recently in a platformist publication (p. 26) http://www.prairiestruggle.org. (Sorry, should have given the source above). So apparently those folks got this from the now hacked website related to LLR and, I don't recall the original exactly, but I suppose it was not Ideas and Action and the author of the cut and paste article added this. You might want to let them know of the mistake as the online version can probably be corrected.

Anyway, I think I get the picture rather clearly and thanks.

syndicalist
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Aug 30 2012 13:17

Where is the quote (or link) posred on http://www.prairiestruggle.org.?

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Felix Frost
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Aug 30 2012 15:37

It's on page 25 of the Prairie Struggle magazine, which you can download as a PDF on their site.

syndicalist
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Aug 30 2012 15:52
Felix Frost wrote:
It's on page 25 of the Prairie Struggle magazine, which you can download as a PDF on their site.

I must have a really old computer and be blind, but I can't find the mag.

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klas batalo
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Aug 30 2012 16:26
syndicalist wrote:
Felix Frost wrote:
It's on page 25 of the Prairie Struggle magazine, which you can download as a PDF on their site.

I must have a really old computer and be blind, but I can't find the mag.

http://www.prairiestruggle.org/sites/prairiestruggle.org/files/magazine/...

syndicalist
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Aug 30 2012 20:58
syndicalist wrote:
Felix Frost wrote:
It's on page 25 of the Prairie Struggle magazine, which you can download as a PDF on their site.

I must have a really old computer and be blind, but I can't find the mag.

I'll have to write PFO. The article is partisan,incorrect and written from the perspective of those we disagreed with in ACF.

I am very disappointed that no effort to fact check the article was made.

akai
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Aug 30 2012 21:08

Well then good thing I noticed it.

I think a lot more in that article is slanted, Not clear if it represents the way the author sees things or just somebody using random sources and doing a cut and paste job.

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888
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Aug 31 2012 00:36
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Simply do not believe too much in accenting the "personal beef" aspect of things people love to refer to around here. All of these "beefs" had more to do with real political issues than personalities.

Really? Even considering the main editor of LLR/ASR's personality deficiencies? A great many superficially political disagreements are really about egos and rivalry in my experience.

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Ed
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Aug 31 2012 10:23

Yeah, I thought that when I read akai's post. I think as many 'political' beefs are about personal problems as there are personal beefs that arise from political problems.

akai
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Aug 31 2012 12:13

Sorry guys but really cannot agree with you on this. A personality may in fact influence how differences are dealt with and whether matters needlessly get out of hand. But the core of the matter has nothing really to do with this.

The first matter is related to the nature of the IWW. It seems obvious that there are anarchosyndicalists in it and, at different times, they have tried to put it in one direction or another. Joining the IWA would have, in fact, been a radical break with a rather long-standing position of the IWW. Also, it would have given it a more anarchosyndicalist identity.

If there were anarchosyndicalists in the IWW who felt that the WSA shouldn't be representative of US anarchosyndicalism because many anarchosyndicalists were in the IWW, this is a ridiculous political position. The reason is because the IWW did not want to represent anarchosyndicalism, but revolutionary industrial unionism. So, imagine their frustration, that there they were, in a larger and more dynamic organization, but one which could not claim to represent US anarchosyndicalism because the majority rejected that label and approach.

So, even if there was a minority of anarchosyndicalists in IWW, they could not use IWW to be the representative organization of anarchosyndicalism.

Thus, with their own organization indifferent or against this for so long, of course it was not pleasant for them to see other anarchosyndicalists set up a specifically anarchosyndicalist organization. But tough luck. They didn't commit to that, so they shouldn't blame others that did.

On the other hand, there is the question of what the IWA should have done. What you could read between the lines is that some think it should have waited or courted the non-anarchosyndicalist organization which had some syndical activity (which was much less then, but still existed), or try to embrace another group which ideologically was similar but which did not envision the activity.

Sorry, again, but this is a really relevant question, as relevant today as it was 25-30 years ago. Maybe even more so now.

Despite any personal assessments of the style of argument around LLR, I find these questions quite valid. I don't necessary share the opinions of LLR, although in some cases recognize some points.

This is why I am saying that this all is about real issues and decisions. Whether or not this went out of control or even who was more to blame for me is irrelevant because, quite frankly, I don't really care about name calling or any of that.

no1
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Aug 31 2012 12:58

I don't think that the two positions here ('conflict is due to personality' and 'conflict is political') are incompatible -- for the simple reason that in a democratic organisation controlled by its members, the big egos should find it impossible to get support for their feuds unless the conflict is based on a genuine political difference.

akai
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Aug 31 2012 13:13

Well, and as we know, there was tension on both sides. However, one thing is telling:

Quote:
A number of anarcho-syndicalists within the IWW, including those of us who would become the editors of X, issued a formal letter of protest to the IWA

This shows that it was not the IWW which protested, but a few people within it. Meaning obviously that it did not have support of the IWW as a whole.

This being the case, and since the IWW was not previously interested in the IWA, but only a few of its members, again we see this as a matter of ambition which was not shared by that organization. So tough for the anarchosyndicalists who make syndicalism in a non-anarchosyndicalist organization.

With all this taken into account, it certainly then was correct of the IWA to defend the WSA at that point and not get influenced by the arguments of those who didn't even have the support of their organization.