Wisconsin governor threatens to use National Guard
Just saw this on Labourstart. Republican Wisconsin governor, Scott Walker, threatening to draft in National Guard to maintain state services in the event of any resistance to his plan. Does anyone close, or in, Wisconsin know what the mood is among the state workers? Uill they strike?
admin: thread title changed from "Wisconsin withdrawing collective bargaining rights from state workers. Governor threatens to use National Guard."
That is fucking mental. I
That is fucking mental. I mean, I have no love for the trade unions, but this is just next level. This is a serious ruling class offensive and, man, if they can do that in Wisconsin, I can only imagine what the knock-on effect will be in other states.
Seriously tho, does anyone have contacts in Wisconsin? I want to hear more.
I'll be posting information
I'll be posting information here about what is going on as it develops. The tiny left minority is trying to quickly organize the rank-n-file into a more cohesive form. Please ask questions and I'll check back and try to answer them. All I can say is that shit is hitting the fan in a way I've never seen.
what a mess
what a mess
If it works in Wisconsin it
If it works in Wisconsin it can only spread further. The Cuomo, the new governor of New York (a Democrat, of all things) has targeting the nasty State employee unions as a main part of his agenda, for the same reason: to reduce the State deficit. He'll only be goaded on by a success over there.
Thanks Plumber, please keep
Thanks Plumber, please keep us updated with articles, thoughts, impressions, etc.
A mish-mash of Rank-n-Filers
A mish-mash of Rank-n-Filers are organizing this to call for militant actions. If the legislation goes through we'll use this to push a city wide general strike...........Democratic union leaders are telling us we can turn this around by lobbing on Tuesday and Wednesday at the Capital building. We'll see......
February 15, 2011
5 to 9 p.m.
216 State Street, Madison, Wisconsin
5-7 open mic
7-8 panel discussion
8-9 open mic
I agree with Chili Sauce that
I agree with Chili Sauce that this is a full-frontal offensive. Most public sector unions (the article didn't say, but it's gotta be AFSCME, right?) are contractually restricted from striking. However, as it appears from the article Gov. Walker intends to nullify the contract in March, I would think the no-strike provision of the contract would go by the wayside as well (unless the no-strike piece is mandated by law? honestly idk).
This is part of a nationwide trend as mentioned by Tojah. In Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels is doing his level best to destroy the teacher's unions. Fortunately, he has presidential pretensions which will probably limit a full out assault on unions like we're seeing in Wisconsin. To think most people thought Tommy Thompson was a far-out extremist, yet, he would have never dared go this far. Wisconsin's electoral politics are very schizophrenic.
As an aside, I wonder if things start kicking off in a major way if some of the midwest/great lakes libcom posters here (myself, Nate, Juan Conatz to think of a few) could see if we can do some coordinated activity. Just something to think about . .
More detailed information in
More detailed information in this New York Times article.
Yes, clearly this is all about saving money and not at all about breaking the union. :roll:
jesuithitsquad wrote: As an
I grew up in the tri state/Dubuque area where Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin meet. Don't have many contacts in Wisconsin, though. I know there's a Madison IWW branch, but I'm not sure what they do (besides the Just Coffee shop) and past attempts at contacting them here in Iowa (from Eastern Iowa branch of 2006-2007) rarely amounted in replies. That was before my time though.
There's also some Crimethincers that work in the Miller Brewing factories in Milwaukee, but not sure if they are still around or what they do now.
NY Times wrote: Exempted
For what it's worth, I'm in
For what it's worth, I'm in one of the few states in the US that doesn't give public workers the right to collectively bargain (West Virginia; the rest being mostly Right-To-Work strongholds like Texas and the deep South)- however, the issue has come up every year in the local government (House and Senate) since the early 1970's. On the one hand, it wouldn't surprise me if (assuming this measure gets passed in full by the state gov't in Wisconsin) the Democrats put forward a bill giving the right to collectively bargain back to public workers every year until it passes like they've been doing here in WV (another measure could be to piecemeal it out- a bill is currently before the WV House to give public education workers the right to collective bargaining only; doing so may eventually put the status quo back for sections of the public sector workforce).
Instead of just 1 public sector union you've got a whole bunch of formerly industry or craft-specific unions who will now organize just about anybody (I bet if you called the Painters or Longshoremans or Machinists unions to organize a county clerks office they'd let you join and call an NLRB vote). NYC is a prime example- theres probably over a dozen different unions (some craft, some industrial, some general) all organizing the public sector and overlapping eachother. I'm sure Wisconsin has this same trend as the rest of the US.
Madison IWW I am the
I am the secretary of the branch, feel free to contact me here.
This is "interesting" in a
This is "interesting" in a state that used to have a large trade union and social democratic movment (WI used to be the home of "sewer socialism")...... I suspect NJ will jump on board as well....the Christie admin has been going hard at public workers, teachers......
Tojiah wrote: If it works in
Ugh, Cuomo doesn't even need goading. He came out a couple weeks before he even won the election (after all, Paladino was beyond crackpot with no chance of winning) saying in an interview with the Times that his tactic to break the gridlock in Albany was to - I think this is a direct quote - "break the backs of the unions."
My union is negotiating a new contract with the state and with all the cuts I'm not sure how it's going to shake out. Will they cut our wages? Will we lose our benefits? Fuck...
It's funny, because for those of us who lived here in the 80's, we remember his father (the former governor) as the sort of standard bearer for New Deal liberalism. I mean, yeah a piece of shit, but he actually paid lip service... Cuomo the Younger won't even consider raising taxes on the investment banker scumbags that dominate our city and have turned Manhattan into basically a gated community. Oh how the tide has turned.
I was at a talk the other day and some guy called the latest offensive on public sector unions in the US capital's 'final solution'. He may be right..
Good luck you folks in Wisconsin.
Schwarz wrote: Ugh, Cuomo
right, and then stuck this in the face of the working families party and got their endorsement anyway.
who are the working families party?
I'll try to keep you all
I'll try to keep you all posted as things happen. I just finished writing this bit below with a rough overview of the situation.
War Declared on State Sector Workers
admin: article moved to news section
"The states' bond ratings are
"The states' bond ratings are heavily based upon the state regimes willingness to attack state workers."
Is this not the global story right now? The starvation fo funds to the local states (or in the UK to local authorities) is another feature being replicated everywhere. Wisconsin - vanguard of the bourgeoisie...
Blackhawk, thanks for that
Blackhawk, thanks for that article, I moved it into our news section. If you write any more articles about these developments please feel free to post them to our news or library sections as appropriate (library is for comment/opinion as opposed to news)
he may fail, on a very
he may fail, on a very practical level:
this is awesome Quote: About
this is awesome
jesuithitsquad wrote: this is
hope more students follow suit.
Sorry, it's a news round-up:
Sorry, it's a news round-up: Lots of other interesting things in there:
-Rallies at UW and UW-M.
-Walker says national guard will only be used for prisons in case of work stoppage.
-No Wisconsin govenor has used troops against public employees as far back as the '30s.
-Passage of bill not a certainty despite GOP majorities in both houses.
-State union workers say they will swallow 8% cut but won't accept loss of bargaining rights.
-Administration getting daily agency attendance reports by 10a in order to monitor potential work stoppage.
-Security beefed up at state capitol by using DNR wardens for patrols.
-State's FMLA to be gutted in new budget. Part-time workers to lose access to family leave.
And the most depressing news:
Hopefully, this is just a misdirection thing, but somehow I doubt it. If I were to guess I'd say the unions are going to eschew direct action in favor of legal challenges but time will tell. . . hope I'm wrong.
The pay cut of 8% is on top
The pay cut of 8% is on top of the 17-18% that is set to be taken out of workers paychecks and put into the pension and benefit schemes.
The unions have precluded a strike from the start, that doesn't mean a strike wont happen, but it isn't likely. It also isn't likely that the army will be called out given that strike action has been ruled out. Depending on how things go this could change by the end of the week. The thing with the national guard threat is mostly bluster, as he can't send the army to surround every single government related building in the state--there aren't that many soldiers in the Wisconsin National Guard. It could be that they would be called on the prison guards union, but I doubt they will go on strike either. It is the first time such a threat has been aimed at state workers here ever.
There is no "right to strike" for government employees. That "right" was decided by legislation on a state by state basis. The only "right" state sector workers have is this right to collective bargaining and union representation. They can either lobby the bosses, or go wildcat. The current tactic of the unions is to lobby the state legislature to attempt to scale back the parts of the bill that are the worst for them. They might be forced to change this tactic as it will kill the unions guaranteed, there is no way workers will waste the time paying dues to an organization that can't collectively bargain on working conditions, or bargain for wages above the CPI adjusted inflation rate index. What is more state sector unions will subsequently be wiped out nationwide eliminating the last major portion of workers organized into unions.
Also, the current Obama federal budget is going to cut federal funds to the local UW Synchroton Radiation Research Laboratory, with about thirty workers facing immanent layoffs and the end of the research program.
Blackhawk wrote: There is no
in NYS, e.g., there's the hated Taylor Law.
Green Bay Packers Support
Green Bay Packers Support Wis. Public Employees
Quote: There is no "right to
Right, I was pretty sure this was the case, but my surprise is that if the actual existance of the union is on the line, I figured they might try to be a bit more militant. I mean, Jesus, if you can't be counted on to take some manner of action when they are actively trying to break the union, what's the point of having a union, like you say.
Well, they might not have a
Well, they might not have a choice but to strike. I'm not sure exactly if the official word of no strike was just the unions "playing their cards close to their chest" in the event a strike becomes necessary or if they really mean no strike action will be taken at all. My feeling is that locals that go out will find themselves isolated and without support from the unions or the public.
I should qualify the cuts and higher contributions currently being floated about actually add up to a 16% greater bite out of take home pay.
cheers blackhawk for all the
cheers blackhawk for all the info.
Thousands descend on Capitol
Thousands descend on Capitol to protest Walker’s plans
jesuithitsquad wrote: it's
I just caught up with the thread, does this about summarise it?
- There's no legal ability to strike for public sector workers in most states.
- Several states are going to try to do this, but on different timetables.
- There have already been some small student walkouts (and teachers too?)
- This rally/march in the previous comment - was that a union organised 'lobby' or was it a bit less standard than that?
Also, whoah - a sick for today has closed the entire school district!
David in Atlanta wrote: Green
David in Atlanta
oh don't apologize!
On a slightly related note
On a slightly related note there was a top official from Wisconsin on BBC's Newsnight last night for a long session in the studio and on location in Liverpool describing their 'no work- no benefits' regime and promoting it here without any opposition response but a favourable reply from a Tory spokesperson - it's basically an even tougher regime than here trying to force people into very low paid jobs. So attacks on all fronts it seems.
Quote: MADISON, Wis. –
Apparently there were another
[youtube]qCsG4g0dzJo[/youtube]Apparently there were another 10k on the statehouse lawn.
I read somewhere--can't recall where atm--that protesters took over the committee room where the legislation is being discussed. It was referred to as a "citizen's fillibuster" which has a nice ring to it.
Live updates here:
Also unconfirmed news (via a friend of a friend) of 400 people occupying Bolton Hall at UW. Will get a source on that as soon as I can...
Democratic senators have
Democratic senators have boycotted the vote to prevent a quorum, and they've supposedly left the state after the majority leader said the State Patrol could be used to "round up" the dems. Head of the State Patrol is the father of the majority leader.
Report: Wis. Dem State Senators Leave State To Block Budget Quorum
aloeveraone wrote: Democratic
Can they be "fired", as it were, for leaving the State for a prolonged span of time? A gutsy move, in any case.
Well, after the democrats
Well, after the democrats have rolled-over in every other imaginable way, a bit of opposition is ... well, I'm not sure... I suppose you could give them some credit or some small, plastic prize... Anyone closer to the area might have an opinion.
Anyway, I'm pretty sure that the democrats could not be removed from office for leaving the state to escape quorum.
On the other hand, no occupation of the capital or refusal of the electoral process is going to change the war plan outlined by capital. I'd cynically expect the democrats want some share of the retirement funds the republicans plan to loot and once that share is negotiated, the whole democratic process can continue...
Still, things are certainly `in flux`...
Yeah, no way would they try
Yeah, no way would they try to remove all dems from office. The same thing happened in Texas a few years ago where the Democrats fled the state to avoid a quorum on redistricting where they were going to lose 5 congressional seats. As I recall, Tom DeLay was involved in trying to get the Texas Rangers (the cops, not the baseball team, obv) to unsuccessfully arrest members as they left the state, and I believe that whole process was part of the beginning of the end for DeLay who is now facing a prison sentence for corruption or something of the sort.
Eh, on the Democrats though it is surprising to find out some of them might actually be vertebrates. Funny thing to say the bravest thing any democrat has done in years is run away from a fight.
Anyway, even though the occupations are unlikely to change the the 'war plan' it is good to see some fight back.
aloeveraone wrote: Democratic
So they can't win the vote but if they refuse to vote then the vote is invalid because it doesn't meet quorum?
jef costello wrote: So they
from today's nyt:
I don't want to promote
I don't want to promote Socialist Worker, but these two reports contain some good information and good quotes:
It makes sense to me that the
It makes sense to me that the democrats would do whatever they could to keep this bill from passing. As much as it's an attempt to break the unions, I imagine that this would also really hurt the democratic party. If I remember correctly, the teachers unions and the government employees unions (less sure on that one) tended to be the Democratic party's two largest financial donors.
ignoring the rhetoric, this
ignoring the rhetoric, this is the first that i have heard of anything happening in ohio
From the rawstory
From the rawstory article:
You don't see that claim made very often in either mainstream or even leftist media coverage. The usual claim is that without collective bargaining, workers are left with ... nothing.
It's contagious! http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/02/18/ohios-turn-to-revolt-thousands-flood-statehouse-over-anti-union-bill/
National Call to Madison This
National Call to Madison
This is a national call out..............................
I will not expound on the details here but the last few days have seen
a massive upsurge of rank-n-file activity. At this very moment the
public schools are closed and huge demonstrations are occurring. This
energy is directly concerned with stopping anti-union legislation.
However, it looks as if the bill may go through ( in do time) but may
also be piecemealed out in the next 6 months. Either way, the militant
rank n file are organizing events and trying to push this past the
union issue, further into our society.
With that said the political situation is heating up in Wisconsin and
Madison seems to be ground zero. Please consider spending your weekend
in Madison and working with other unionists to stop this legislation
while at the same time pushing for a more radical action. Things are
moving very quickly and we are in need of strong organizers who are
experienced in every facet of the trade. Please distribute this far
and wide as we'll need as much support as possible. The Madison IWW is
small but has a core of active members who can and will push hard for
rank n file empowerment. Please let us know before you decide to make
the trip as we don't want to make any false moves right now and want
as many people as possible to come. If you do come, we'll be centering
our activity around Saturday and will be trying to coordinate our
activities with the existing events. Our goal is solidarity, not
competition, as we try to find common ground with the more militant
members of the public sector. We will most likely have a large,
chaired meeting, in the early afternoon which will then dictate our
actions on Saturday. Please be advised that news is coming in as we
speak and no one is in complete control. Spontaneous actions are
everywhere as this has caught us off guard.
Please consider our needs:
Delegates who can sign folks up
Your contacts and who you can bring with
Coming prepared to act in coordination with other other work class members
Your communication devices
Money - Checks can be written out to Madison IWW - We will be renting
meeting spaces,printing...ect.., which takes money!
Layout skills/printing skills
Creativity and a solid political analysis past the individual - Don't
bother showing up and talking about purges or charges
admin: details deleted at the individual's request. When posting people's personal details online, can people please make sure they have the relevant individual's consent?
Updates form burnt
Updates form burnt bookmobile
Thousands of protesters
Thousands of protesters surround Wisconsin Capitol
Pictures (think ya gotta log on to FB)
Video of protests with cheesy and overly dramatic music
The report about the doctor
The report about the doctor is amazing!
For once, they aren't paid by the government. They're just idiots. Yes, I know the whole Freedomworks story of how they were created to look like they're the majority, but Freedomworks is not the government.
What do we know about the actual militancy of the protesters? How far will they go, and for what? Will they be content if the bill isn't passed, or are they looking for something more? This is obviously the most militant labor action in America in possibly decades. Not a very high bar to meet, but it's better than nothing.
Story about public sector
Story about public sector unions vs. private sector unions in the US.
Bear in mind, the reason for the counterdemonstrations is likely the Tea Party noise about the idea that public sector employees are paid so much better than private sector employees. In terms of raw numbers, that's true. But the reason for that is because there are so many public sector jobs that don't compare with the private sector. The private sector includes people who cook at McDonald's and janitors. All the jobs the public sector has that are equivalent to those low-paying, no-benefits, unskilled jobs are contracted out to the private sector anyway. The other reason is that public employees are more unionized, and therefore are screwed out of their pay less.
That's something nobody seems to grasp, and the reason the media is even pushing this stupid shit instead of finding this out on their own like real journalists is because the higher-ups in the media don't want private sector employees (including rank-and-file cubicle journalists, presumably) figuring out that even the most minor concessions are even possible or beneficial. To say nothing about an actual challenge to the system, which it doesn't look like the Wisconsin thing even qualifies as.
Jazzhands wrote: This is
I'd contest that and say that the cycle of struggles of immigrants workers against the "The Border Protection, Anti-terrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005" (H.R. 4437), also called the Sensenbrenner Bill after its author, was the most militant. It really took everyone by surprise on March 25, 2006 when at least 500,000 Latinos marched in Los Angeles. Remember, L.A. is a notoriously anti-union, anti-labor city dating back to the open-shop drives of the Merchants and Manufacturers Association at their founding in 1893.
Soon after the L.A. action, other cities across the U.S. started having mass marches and demos. By the main action on May Day 2006, millions of Latino workers walked off the job for the day in perhaps the biggest ever one-day general strike in U.S. history. It worked, because H.R. 4437 was withdrawn. Cities like L.A., Chicago and Houston had hundreds of thousands of strikers in the streets, with hundreds of other cities having tens of thousands.
the degree of solidarity
the degree of solidarity hasn't been shown in direct self-activity, not by native-born workers, in a long time. there were private sector as well as public sector workers in the protests in WI, along with students. today 55,000 people surrounded the capitol building, which has remained occupied for six days. a drumming circle is going on nonstop in the legislative chambers. lots of people made signs with comparisons to Egypt. they called the governor "the Mubarak of the midwest." supposedly an even bigger mobilization is planned for monday and tuesday.
your info is outdated. the open shop regime was broken in 1938. L.A. has a fairly high rate of unionization by current U.S. standards (around 15 percent or so).
the big immigrant general strike of may 1 2006 was very impressive. but there's not been much action lately despite the continuing repressive regime by the feds. the sessenbrenner bill was stopped, but there's been no amnesty.
syndicalistcat wrote: your
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it's actually 16.5% and is going down more rapidly than anywhere else in the U.S. due to the loss of manufacturing jobs.
On June 15, 1990, striking janitors in the SEIU "Justice for Janitors" campaign held a legally-permitted march and demonstration in Century City area of Los Angeles, where they were seeking a union contract with the cleaning contractors for the massive office towers there. The campaign had been underway in L.A. for about two years, and many demos like this had been occurring frequently. But this time the LAPD brutally attacked the mostly Latino marchers, seriously wounding several people and causing a pregnant woman to miscarry. A video of the event shows how merciless the pigs were.
LAPD was notorious for it's anti-communist "Red Squad," its Metro squad of elite goons, and other special units like the anti-gang CRASH (Community Resources Against Street Hoodlums) unit, as well documented in Mike Davis' many writings about the apartheid-esque attacks on black and brown communities under the guise of controlling gangs.
Add to that the 2007 May Day unprovoked police attacks at MacArthur Park, and the LAPD starts looking like Egyptian baltagiya.
Throw in the ever-present police helicopters and Los Angeles seems like it's on its way to becoming the dystopian nightmare in films like Bladerunner. The only changes I've personally witnessed from the open-shop mentality was the community solidarity offered to grocery workers during the bitterly defeated 2003-2004 Southern California supermarket strike. Also the way 16,500 short-haul troqueros at the L.A./Long Beach port complex (the busiest for containers in the Western Hemisphere) shut whole thing down on May Day 2006. Besides some exceptional moments like those, the norm in L.A. seems the brutalization of the working class. In the first half of the 20th century it was the bosses, their Pinkertons, and the open shop; since then it's been the cops making anyone non-white feel like Rodney King. None of that is ameliorated by slightly above average rates of unionization.
Anyway, my point about May Day 2006 in Los Angeles was that there had never been that many working class people on the streets before. It was 10 times bigger than any previous demo, mostly because public actions like that simply weren't tolerated by the ruling class, who use the thuggery of the pigs to prevent them.
Working Class Internationalism
Quote: Anyway, my point about
Hmm. I doubt it. If there had been that many working class people on the street before, the police would not have been able to prevent it. I don't think simple repression explains why there has tended to be relative quiescence in the American working class.
Growing up in L.A. it was my experience that the LAPD did act as an "army of occupation"...in all working class areas, but in a more nasty way in communities of color. But they didn't prevent things like the mass picketing in 1970 in support of the Teamster wild cat strike. altho the LADP attacked the janitors in 1990, the janitors carried out a successful strike without police violence in 2000.
The "Red Squad" existed back in the '30s. It's suppression of unions was overt. But, as I say, that was broken in 1938. that's why union organizing in L.A. didn't really start til 1938. Officially there was no "Red Squad" after 1938.
Of course the LAPD has continued in a more covert way to do infiltration of the left...but many police departments do this throughout the country.
I haven't seen this mentioned
I haven't seen this mentioned specifically on this thread yet (other than speculation) but:
Marty Beil, head of WSEU/AFSCME
From the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel Assembly’s abrupt adjournment caps chaotic day in Capitol
And then, a retired teacher quoted at the end of a WSWS article (Protestors in Madison denounce attack on public employees) said:
retired Madison teacher
I'm not trying to plug the WSWS, but on this issue they seem to, once again, have their classic strengths (denunciation of AFL-CIO maneuvering) and myriad weaknesses (dogmatic, chapter-and-verse repetition of Trotsky's Transitional Program of 1938; inability to see the degrees of self-organization involved between following union orders and creating a strike committee with a mandate from an assembly; fixation with finance capital; etc, etc), but there may be some information that can be gleaned from their coverage.
For the future, I'm wondering in what ways the attacks coming to the rest of the states will follow any sort of pattern set up here. Specifically, economic cuts being pushed through along with plans to push AFSCME/AFL-CIO (or SEIU/Unite HERE, etc. where applicable) out of the austerity-administration business--followed by the rank-and-file fighting mostly or partially in the name of 'defending the union,' because they associate this with fighting the cuts, even though the union is perfectly willing to implement any cut that keeps the dues money coming in.
Interestingly, this fight has captured the attention of many in my union (and probably public sector workers all across the country), mostly around mischaracterizations and myths about Republicans vs. Democrats, and fully under the umbrella of the AFL-CIO/Democrats coalition, but I think it is posing the question of action again in the minds of many workers throughout the US.
Marty Beil, head of
Marty Beil, head of WSEU/AFSCME
Any of ya'll in Madison right
Any of ya'll in Madison right now? If so, how long you gonna be there and what are options for housing or things to do to help out with stuff? Might be headed there...
EDIT: Got everything figured out. Headed up early tomorrow morning.
State trooper union: Quote: I
State trooper union:
Labor leaders drag out Jesse
Labor leaders drag out Jesse Jackson, intensify efforts to temper Wisconsin protests
Interesting, although M-L flavoured article
'We stand with you as you
'We stand with you as you stood with us': Statement to workers of Wisconsin by Kamal Abbas of Egypt's Centre for Trade Unions and Workers Services
Follow link for video. Transcript:
This isn't anything to do
This isn't anything to do with Anarchism and it's not revolutionary either but I thought it was interesting to see someone grappling with what's going on, sadly in another video he blames everything on aliens, no joke.
Wisconsin cuts & some opinions.
What's happening there today?
What's happening there today? I gather it's a public holiday today in the US. Are there still occupations? Have the Democrats come out of hiding?
Internationalism has published an article on the protests in Wisconsin with our analysis...
On post #52 someone should
On post #52 someone should break that email address.
All, keep the updates coming please!
Just got back from the
Just got back from the capitol staying in Madison due to some helpful Wobs. Got a bunch of pictures and stuff to say, but that will have to come later as I'm tired as all hell.
p.s. - picked up an 'International Review' from lefty bookstore :hand:
Ok, real quickly some
Ok, real quickly some interesting things
-Demonstrations seem to be mainly organized by the Teachers union, SEIU and AFSCME. People from a ton of other unions were there though. IBEW, Teamsters, UE, Ironworkers, Steelworkers, etc etc etc. Even the prison guard and cop unions...
-Didn't seem to be much an overt radical presence besides Party for Socialism & Liberation, Progressive Labor Party and Socialist Alternative street preachers. Saw a bunch of IWW stuff pasted on wall inside the capitol, but never met any Wobs, I even had three buttons on my hat , hopin someone would see me. There was also a not attended anarchyist lending library on the floor with a bunch of dumb ass shit that had little context with the situation.
-Think Joe Tessone (IWW) was supposed to speak as part of the main platform, and this either didn't happen or I missed it
-Never seen so many 'parade marshals' in my life. Seemed more than even the 2008 RNC.
-There was TONS of free food, particularly pizza, with some nearby place actually not charging for food or drink the whole day.
-The capitol building is like a mini-city, with cleaning crews, cell phone charging stations, free food areas, lost and found, ride boards, etc. Even yoga classes. Supposedly some of the assembly rooms, unions, student groups, socialists and anarchists are using to meet in.
-The sound inside the marble building of thousands of people screaming, vuvazuelas bellowing and 5 gallon bucket drums banging is like nothing I've ever heard before. Amazing really.
-They sung the national anthem inside the building, that was bizarre to me.
-Atmosphere inside is less assembly and more concert. As in, less talking between people and more student leaders and whoever talking to people. Maybe other stuff is happening later at night or earlier, but I don't know.
-Hearing rumors of the possibility of a strike, but not sure by who, when or if its actually legit. Can't confirm it.
Statement from First of May
Statement from First of May Anarchist Alliance:
For Mass Actions, Occupations & a General Strike!
Spread the Struggle! Power to the People!
Ok, so, the South Central
Ok, so, the South Central Federation of Labor in Wisconsin has issued an endorsement of a national general strike if the bill goes through and has instructed its education committee to "begin educating affiliates and members on the organization and function of a General Strike"...
Juan Conatz wrote: Ok, so,
Wow. Link please?
Schwarz wrote: Wow. Link
Sorry, don't have one. This is from a Wob still downtown and someone involved in a progressive lefty non-profit type group.
There's also two threads in Democratic Underground that link back to that.
Hopefully something more legit will pop up in the morning
Quote: Ok, so, the South
Fuck me! I mean, a trade union general strike is still problematic, but there hasn't even been the rhetoric of a general strike in the US for how many decades?
!!!!!!!!!!Please Forward Widely!!!!!!!!!!!
As I'm sure most people have heard, in the American state of Wisconsin the government has introduced a bill to strip public sector workers of their rights to collective bargaining. Of course, us in the IWW have no love for the trade unions, but this represents a vicious and coordinated attack on the working conditions and living standards of public sector workers that will ripple through the private sector as well. Plus, Wisconsin has historically been a bastion of organized labor. If the bosses can do this there, similar measures are sure to follow elsewhere.
The Madison, Wisconsin IWW along with local labor councils has begun calling for a one-day general strike in the state to oppose this. Public sectors workers, who've been without the right to strike for the past 40 years, have already begun taking action. Teachers have staged sick-ins and students have walked out in support. There's been occupations of the capitol building with tens of thousands of protestors supporting them from the outside. It is time to build on this momentum!
Please consider making a donation to the Madison IWW to help them and help the workers of Wisconsin win this important battle.
Juan Conatz wrote: Ok, so,
Actually, it's not an endorsement for a national general strike. I think it is an endorsement for a general strike within their region only, i.e. south central Wisconsin. Also, it would seem that it would be a strike for just one day.
Still, it is amazing. Makes one wonder what would have happened (in Wisconsin) if it weren't for the uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, etc.
I listened to the video of the interview with the leader of the firefighters union, and that background music is terrible. Can't someone tell them to shut up and allow more discussion? It's a real barrier.
Admin: comment removed, user
Admin: comment removed, user banned for repeated inflammatory comments.
AnnieSocial wrote: The poor
Third trolling post this
Third trolling post this hour, banned 'AnnieSocial'.
Yeah, so it wasn't national.
Yeah, so it wasn't national. Sorry, just goin on the info I had at the time...
Also, I guess they deployed riot cops last night and today to open up a section of the capitol building, presumably for Walker?
Chilli Sauce wrote: Fuck me!
The one-day anti-Sensenbrenner Bill (H.R. 4437) strike by Latino workers on May Day 2006 involved several million workers walking out across the U.S. Ex post facto we can call it a general strike, especially in places like Los Angeles.
And this depends where in the U.S. because in the Bay Area appeals for a general strike are made frequently, totally without any basis in reality, especially by Trotskyites.
Labor group calls for general
Labor group calls for general strike if budget bill is approved
OK, so it's unequivocal that
OK, so it's unequivocal that having a general strike on the table in the USA is big fucking deal. Still, the limits of this proposed action and, indeed, the defensive nature of public sector unions are pretty clear.
With a bunch of momentum on the side of workers right now, why wait until the bill is signed to strike? Wouldn't the horse have left the barn by that point? I don't see the point in displaying the latent power of the working class after the cuts and the dissolution of collective bargaining rights have already been signed into law.
Juan and others have been on the ground, so they know better than any of us what the scene is in WI. Since the most radical workers action has already ended (the sick-outs by teachers) and the situation is now one of political stalemate between Democrats and Republicans, I find it hard to believe that the level of intense solidarity we've seen will increase or even stay at the current level. I saw on the news that Walker gave the deadline of April 1st to resolve this matter before he starts laying off workers. That is over a month away.
Will there be IBEW, Teamsters and Steelworkers left in the capital by that point? After all, the SCFL is a public/private sector labor council. An effective general strike would have to include clerical workers, building trades workers, teachers, etc. It would also have to be open-ended and start before the bill was passed.
I know that this seems abstract and is possibly beyond the limits of what's attainable in WI... or the USA in general. At the same time, an action like this would be the only way that Motion 1 (endorsing and preparing for a general strike) and Motion 2 (no to ALL the cuts and anti-labor provisions) can be reconciled. After all, the unions have already conceded on cuts and it doesn't look like self-serving Democratic politicians can do anything but filibuster at this point. A general strike is an escalation, but to what end?
I think the piece that Hieronymus posted does a great job of outlining the intractable limits of public sector unions in the face of austerity.
I think this is spot on.
I'll repeat that a general strike would still be instrumental in forging solidarity among workers across sectors and building working class confidence. I just think it's important to recognize the limits of such an action.
I'm probably preaching to the choir here anyways...
As an important addendum,
As an important addendum, whatever happens in Wisconsin it is of course liable to affect other struggles... for example: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/23/us/23ohio.html?hp
Hopes springs eternal.
Bunch of photos I
Bunch of photos I took
among jc's pictures is one of
among jc's pictures is one of 'cops for labor'. i've been impressed that the groups excluded from the collective bargaining wrecking bill have shown up:
there's also a youtube of the firefighters bagpipe band marching into the state house
Here's what the Labor Council
Here's what the Labor Council actually passed:
The wbsite of the Southern Central Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO (with 45,000 members)covering the Madison and Southern Central Wisconsin then qualified what they mean by the concept of a general strike:
PS: Check this out --- http://www.facebook.com/pages/General-Strike-in-Wisconsin/166547476728383
Indiana Official: "Use Live
Indiana Official: "Use Live Ammunition" Against Wisconsin Protesters
Tom Morello - Wisconsin Protests - Speech and Union Song - Madison, WI 2-21-11
petey:quote]among jc's pictures is one of 'cops for labor'. i've been impressed that the groups excluded from the collective bargaining wrecking bill have shown up[/quote]Obviously cops are for labor - it's when people refuse to labor that the cops hit out.
Are there any others here who find these "cops for labor" ever so slightly hypocritical, or is this movement so far so tame (laboring for the cops) that cops feel ok about being nice about it? I know cops are deserting their designated roles in various parts of North Africa (and even here, most of them merely want to continue laboring for different masters), but that's certainly not happening in Wisconsin and to be "impressed" by cops merely demonstrating is hardly trying to take a critical stance on the situation. In France, magistrates and judges have been on strike against Sarkozy recently - but they're still scumbags and I, for one, am not impressed (even if it's quite funny).
Just to be clear, there has
Just to be clear, there has been no general strike called. The SCLF is made up of representatives and has endorsed the idea of a general strike. The affiliate unions have to actually decide this. While it's an exciting development nonetheless, it seems some people haven't picked up on this (judging by my Facebook...lol). I'm curious to see how it breaks down or how the affiliate unions react. My impression is that regional labor federation bodies have a much higher proportion of activists and radicals and thus are not necessarily reflective of the affiliate unions' bureaucracy or membership...
Journalist impersonates Koch
Journalist impersonates Koch brother on phone to Gov Walker, who admits discussing use of agent provocateurs, amongst other things.
i guess i shouldn't be
i guess i shouldn't be surprised
that's for libcommunity please
well seeing as they've been explicitly exempted from the collective bargaining takeaway, that they should go public with others doing exactly the same thing - "merely" demonstrating - for the sake of worker unity when their own interests aren't affected is, yes, impressive. they were exempted no doubt so that walker could (try to) split labor's stance, and (try to) keep them happy for when he wants them to "hit out." looks like he failed, at least so far.
ps - maybe i "lied" somewhere in there. go find it, that's a good boy.
I'm kinda curious about the
I'm kinda curious about the reports that Madison police are outstretched so they've been bringing in out of city Department of Natural Resource and State Trooper officers. Is it really because they're outstretched or is the brass worried the cops who've been in the capitol building all week, some of who have been protesters as well, will be hesitant to obey the possible order to clear people out?
Juan Conatz wrote: Indiana
He was removed
Midwest IWW Facebook Page
The North London Local of the
The North London Local of the Solidarity Federation would like to show our deepest solidarity with the Wisconsin working class. While we, like the IWW to whom this statement is directly addressed, share a critique of the trade unions we also recognize that the attack on public sector collective bargaining is much larger than the AFL-CIO. It is full frontal assault on all workers in Wisconsin and will reverberate not only in that state but across the entire country. Such a move will put downward pressure on the wages of private sector workers, organized and unorganized alike, will embolden employers to demand concessions, and, if successful, will likely be copied by state and local governments across the US.
We are heartened by the spontaneous forms of industrial action already being witnessed in Wisconsin: sick-ins by teachers supported by student walkouts; mass protests, demonstrations and disruptions in Madison; and the occupation of the capitol building. These actions must continue and build. Pressure must be stepped up on the state government, private-sector companies, and the entire employing class. The power is our hands.
Finally, we agree with the IWW that a total general strike is the best defence the Wisconsin working class has against these draconian laws. Much like the fact that the emancipation of the working class can only be achieved by the working class itself, the defense of the working class can not be left to union bureaucrats, politicians, or pressure groups. It is working class power, exercised through class solidarity, that will beat back SB11. You have our fullest support and solidarity.
Therefore NLSF is glad to donate £x (approximately $x) to the Madison Wisconsin branch of the Industrial Workers of the World.
It seems pretty safe to
It seems pretty safe to assume that police in support of labor will have to chose sides when anything else besides a docile crowd amasses in around the Capitol in Madison.
They still remain at all the doors and making sure that nothing gets out of hand in and outside the building.
Self-policing remains the largest obstacle to overcome.
what ever wrote: It seems
The also were restricting the amount of people going in to match the people coming out due to structural concerns. Supposedly the building is rated for 6,700 people inside. Couldn't tell if there was actually that many people though, I'm bad at crowd estimation
what ever wrote: It seems
there's no doubt of that. i'm still happy that some of them in the first instance know where their interests really are.
Yeah, crowd numbers have been
Yeah, crowd numbers have been really difficult to estimate. But I wouldn't doubt that there could have easily been more than 7,000 people inside the building at different peak times (especially when there were at least 60,000 marching and mulling about outside).
I've heard that there have been a lot of discussions regarding what to do if an eviction is attempted. It seems that this would not currently be a intelligent strategy on the part of state forces, because of how angry crowd may respond.
Juan Conatz wrote: Juan
At the statehouse in Indianapolis this morning, there was a guy with a bull-horn saying "Don't shoot us!"
There is an article about
There is an article about this on our website and a leaflet in PDF, which we invite people to help distribute
Wis. Assembly passes bill
Wis. Assembly passes bill taking away union rights
By TODD RICHMOND, Associated Press Todd Richmond, Associated Press
MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Assembly early Friday passed a bill that would strip most public workers of their collective bargaining rights — the first significant action on the new Republican governor's plan.
The vote put an end to three straight days of punishing debate, but the political standoff over the bill is far from over. The measure now goes to the Senate, where minority Democrats have been missing for a week, preventing a vote in that chamber.
No one knows when — or if — the Senate Democrats will return from their hideout in Illinois. Republicans who control the chamber sent state troopers out looking for them at their homes on Thursday, but they turned up nothing.
Gov. Scott Walker's proposal contains a number of provisions he says are designed to fill the state's $137 million deficit and lay the groundwork for fixing a projected $3.6 billion shortfall in the upcoming 2011-13 budget. The flashpoint is language that would strip almost all public sector workers of their right to collectively bargain benefits and work conditions.
Democrats and unions see the measure as an attack on workers' rights and an attempt to cripple union support for Democrats. Unions have said they would be willing to accept a provision that would increase workers' contributions to their pensions and health care, provided they could still bargain collectively. But Walker has refused to compromise.
Tens of thousands of people have jammed the state Capitol since last week to protest, pounding on drums and chanting so loudly that police who are providing security have resorted to ear plugs. Hundreds have taken to sleeping in the building overnight, dragging in air mattresses and blankets.
While Senate Democrats fled to prevent a vote, Assembly Democrats had been filibustering.
After more than 60 hours in which Democrats threw out dozens of amendments and delivered rambling speeches, Republicans halted debate early Friday. In a matter of seconds, they had approved the bill. Only a few Democrats realized what was going on and managed to vote before the roll was closed.
The Democrats rose from their seats and rushed at the Republicans shouting, "Shame!" as the Republicans exited the chamber.
"I'm incensed. I'm shocked," said Rep. John Richards, D-Milwaukee. "What a terrible, terrible day for Wisconsin."
Republicans refused to speak to reporters, though Majority Leader Scott Suder did issue a written statement.
"The vote we took wasn't the easy thing to do, but it was the right thing to do," Suder, R-Abbotsford, said.
The governor has said that if the bill does not pass by Friday, the state will miss a deadline to refinance $165 million of debt and will be forced to start issuing layoff notices next week. However, the deadline may not as strict as he says.
The nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau said earlier this week that the debt refinancing could be pushed back as late as Tuesday to achieve the savings Walker wants. Based on a similar refinancing in 2004, about two weeks are needed after the bill becomes law to complete the deal. That means if the bill is adopted by the middle of next week, the state can still meet a March 16 deadline, the Fiscal Bureau said.
Democratic Sen. Jon Erpenbach said he and his colleagues wouldn't return until Walker compromised.
Frustrated by the delay, Senate Republican Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, Jeff Fitzgerald's brother, ordered state troopers to find the missing Democrats, but they came up empty. Wisconsin law doesn't allow police to arrest the lawmakers, but Fitzgerald said he hoped the show of authority would have pressured them to return.
Erpenbach, who was in the Chicago area, said all 14 senators remained outside of Wisconsin.
"It's not so much the Democrats holding things up," Erpenbach said. "It's really a matter of Gov. Walker holding things up."
Here's a bit more on the
Here's a bit more on the "general strike" call.....
Providence, RI just voted to
Providence, RI just voted to sack every teacher in the city:
yeah i was at the meeting
yeah i was at the meeting last night where they assembled all the teachers to let them vent on TV and then get dismissed after the vote…
the rank and file were really more militant than i thought they were gonna be. some university students came in support. a lot of folks called out the school board and heckled.
I'm watching a Democracy Now
I'm watching a Democracy Now feature on the inside of the occupied Capital building. The worker they chose to show them around and stuff just used the phrase "An injury to one is an insult to all." You know, from the Wobblies. Apparently, they've also gotten food donations from people in New York, the Midwest, and EGYPT. That's exciting.
I didn't expect the House to not pass the bill, but that'll definitely make it clear to at least a few people in the unions that nothing will change in their lives unless they change it themselves, which hopefully will lead to a radicalization of workers in the unions. Maybe even the union leaders themselves, but that seems laughably unlikely. They'll just do the thing that'll allow them to remain in the good graces of the Democrats by taking the route of least resistance.
Unfortunately, that doesn't take care of the 80something% of the population that isn't in a union. The group that's convinced that the unionized workers are somehow prima donnas because they have any benefits at all, and because they've rejected the race to the bottom that has characterized the economy from the 1980s onward.
I honestly have no idea how to make the blind majority open their eyes to the idea that maybe they should be a little bit pissed off that they get paid in peanuts instead of raging against people who've started to figure things out. Revolutionary action in America is not even remotely possible unless that happens.
I think this is grossly overstated. You've been watching too much Fox News or something. ;) Most polls show that union supporters vs. detractors is roughly a 50-50 split in the states.
Respectfully, this comes across as incredibly elitist though I'm sure you don't intend it that way. Most people I know are incredibly pissed about their working conditions. It's just that we're all so atomised and feel so powerless that no one knows quite what to do--including most pro-revolutionaries, if they're honest. And, like most pissed off people, we look for someone to blame. In the absence of a wide-spread critique of capitalism, it's pretty easy to blame the wrong group. I'm sure you didn't wake up one day with immaculate politics.
Jesuithitsquad says that
Jesuithitsquad says that we're all incredibly pissed and that 'we're all so atomized and feel so powerless'. Yes, we're pissed but we're only atomized because we don't pull together and we feel powerless because we only do what the Union says, or the Democrats, or the Tea Party,or whoever else happens to be speaking for the defense of the capitalist system. But we are the working class, and if it wasn't for us there'd be no capitalist system because it gets it's profits from drinking our blood. So why feel powerless? The future of the whole lousy, idiotic, murderous capitalist system is in our hands. Without our continuous support it will collapse at our feet. It cannot survive without us. If we would just admit it, we workers are the most powerful class on the planet. We keep the world going - but give away all the benefits to the bosses, the rich, the elected politicians, and all the rest who love to screw us.. So no wonder we're incredibly pissed. But we're certainly not powerless.
Update: "Police union
"Police union official urges officers to sleep among protesters, keep Capitol open":
Headed up to Madison in the
Headed up to Madison in the morning (6-7 hours after this post). Tried to configure my phone so I could send pix on it, but no luck. If people are interested I got a Twiitter, so I'll update anything interesting I see or hear
if you would re-read my post, you might notice i never said we are powerless only that we feel that way.
This report claims that
This report claims that police refused to clear out the protesters and instead joined them inside capitol building:
any confirmation or more information?
Got this from a friend. Not
Got this from a friend. Not really sure if this has been covered or not, but it doesn't seem so:
- faculty at a university in lacrosse (western wisconsin) voted 24th Feb. to unionize in the face of the growing tension in the state.
- disabled people took part in a protest- with some union workers - at the republican headquarters in madison (first madison protest away from the capital i've heard of) against health care cuts that are in the bill.
- madison police chief is acting concerned that the governor wanted to plant troublemakers in the demonstrations without consulting him first.
- police are saying today that the occupation of the capitol ends today - Saturday night at 6p.m. for security reasons. we'll see if this generates some resistance or new arenas of struggle...or just passive acqiescence.
- and hundreds of layoffs were announced Thursday (24th) for the Madison State schools...
Steven and my posts crossed,
Steven and my posts crossed, hence my
seems to have been superceded by this:
Strange bedfellows...sleeping with the enemy or what?
Maybe the cops there have loads of friends and family who'll be effected by Scott Walker's moves...?
lots of 'solidarity with
lots of 'solidarity with wisconsin' signs at today's rally in indianapolis. probably around 3,000 on statehouse steps.
jesuithitsquad wrote: lots of
Lots of solidarity means we're finding our feet and feeling our power. Don't give it away to the Unions though. They're on the other side.
Just got back from Madison.
Just got back from Madison. Word on the street was there was over 100,000 people there today, and that's police estimates. This was probably more than 10x the amount than when I was up there on Monday. Despite, this, personally, it was a lot more underwhelming than Monday. It was just a sea of liberal Democratic patriotic talk of the "middle class" and all that. No anarchist presence at all. Very little IWW presence, and what was there could not be differentiated from any other contingent, except for the one guy with the "General Strike Now" sign. ISO probably had the biggest red precense. Socialist Workers Party and RCP were also there in lesser amounts.
Police stopped letting people into the capitol building after 6pm. Supposedly at 4pm Sunday, every has to leave. Couldn't even get in today because the line was 45minutes-90minute wait and it was 20 something degrees out and snowing, wasn't gonna go through that...lol
Far from disrupting things there, if anything, these protests have injected what I imagine equals millions of dollars into the local economy through all the shops and restaurants surrounding the capitol. Special points awarded if there's a sign in the window indicating some level of support with the protesters, even if its slave wage labor chain bullshit like Quiznos...
Don't know how I feel about this situation right now. I don't really see any good coming out of it. Even if the bill is killed, nothing in the form of working class activity would have seemed to have been done at this point.
Unfortunately, what Juan
Unfortunately, what Juan describes reminds me a lot of what I've seen at the solidarity with Wisconsin workers rallies I attended on the East Coast, called by the unions or different "progressive" democrat groups, most of the signs I saw that weren't handed out by the unions were all about the Tea Party (one guy in a union that hasn't had a contract in a couple years was holding one saying "where's OUR contract"). There were Trots all around with cheerleading leaflets and one of my coworkers (who isn't a socialist, I don't think) took one of them, but the second rally was officially "To Save the American Dream."
I think this IS something that has made a lot of workers (and high schoolers and pensioners) want to do something to defend themselves and their class brothers, and was a serious class struggle, but I don't think it's been able to brake out of being manipulated by different parts of the ruling class for their faction-fight. It looks like the attempts to do that may be on the wane as well. I hope I'm wrong.
Not in the WSA (but respect
Not in the WSA (but respect them) and this came into my inbox today:
Wobs are printing 15,000 of
Wobs are printing 15,000 of these for tomorrow
Poster from burntbookmobile on general strike
Police said everyone had to go by 4PM, but around 700-1000 stayed, now:
Quote: Could a general strike
Police are not allowing
Police are not allowing anyone inside and windows have been bolted shut to apparently prevent people seeking food to people inside?
Live stream from Fox News
Capitol Building Still Closed, Windows Welded Shut, Other Shenanigans
Cops for Labor! So what
Cops for Labor!
So what happened to those speeches by cops in "solidarity"? Talk is cheap...
As for the
Distributing 15,000 sleeping pills might be better. It's just anarcho-leftist voluntarism as opposed to insurrectionist voluntarism (which is a bit better, imo).
No mention of how the union has already agreed to accept all the health insurance and pension crap that Walker's demanded. As has already been mentioned. 100 years of the unions integration into the capitalist system never gets mentioned by the IWW - for good reason because, iirc, a section of the IWW agreed to a no strike deal a few years back. Anybody who wants things to go further in Madison and Wisconsin are going to have to take on the IWW as well as the other cops, I reckon. Or have I missed something here? (I admit, I've followed very little about the modern IWW, but it just seems like another obstacle, part of the spectacle of opposition, no integrity whatsoever).
Yeah, I don't think you know
Yeah, I don't think you know what you're talking about in reference to the IWW. As I believe has been stated probably a million times in the last 10 years in which insurrectionary and left communism has been a little less marginal than usual, the IWW is NOT an anarchist organization nor a communist one. There is a variety of tendencies within the union and that is reflected by the contracts, tactics and propaganda that are produced at any given time in a given place.
If someone is looking for ideological purity in the IWW to align with their anarchist or communist viewpoints, you'd be better off being a rugged individual or joining a political organization. That's fine. I don't care if abstention from unpure organizations is something people feel is fine. But to turn that into claiming the Wobs are something that needs to be "taken on", well that is batshit forum posturing.
The Wobs are basically THE only libertarian group doing anything worth speaking of in Madison. Their dual carders pushed for the SCLF's endorsement of a general strike and they've basically provided housing for a lot of other Wobs and libertarians headed to Madison to help out. They are one of the few entities that have both been pushing for more radical tactics and are actually connected to the situation, unlike the ebbs and flows of out of state detached Trotskyist students or the insurrectionaries with their one-size-fits-all badly xeroxed 'zines'. Even the anarchist political organizations have a detached relationship to this situation.
I don't agree with the language in a number of their press releases or propaganda, but I recognize their role is a positive one. Particularly because, as over tasked and under-resourced as they are, they're in a better position than all of the anarchist or left communist political organizations, "affinity groups" and lone individuals to actually have a positive effect on this situation.
I'm not IWW, think their
I'm not IWW, think their leaflet is missing something.... but I agree with Dead End here on the role of the madision IWW (and all the midwest Wobs going to Madison):
"I recognize their role is a positive one. Particularly because, as over tasked and under-resourced as they are, they're in a better position than all of the anarchist or left communist political organizations, "affinity groups" and lone individuals to actually have a positive effect on this situation. "
I agree with Juan and
I agree with Juan and syndicalist here, but I think Samotnaf's view isn't groundless even if I'd say his post doesn't pick up on the nuances within the IWW, the different tendencies within it etc.. def wouldn't say the IWW needs to be 'taken on' but I'd hazard a guess Sam is talking without knowing rather than any ideological purism.. could be wrong like, but that's my assumption.
That said, Sam is spot on about the 'Cops for Labour'.. where the fuck did they go? :confused:
Ed wrote: That said, Sam is
They went to get their welders torches.
Well, I did say Quote: Or
Well, I did say
I'll withdraw some of what i said, and reserve judgement on them for the moment - practically they seem to do some good stuff, but their propaganda is dire and reflects the repression of their disgust and anger. If they don't criticise the unions stance, I'd guess it's for populist reasons - don't potentially antagonise their potential constituents/recruits. If things are to develop in the States (and elsewhere), it seems patently obvious that the unions' blatant complicity with/submission to the attacks of the ruling class are part of the problem, and have to be confronted.
I wouldn't say dire, but
I wouldn't say dire, but there are some things that I think are flawed in there. That said, it's practical activity and practical advice that's important here and the leaflet seems like a pretty good starting point for that.
From SDSer @ University of
From SDSer @ University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
I think there was a walk-out, as well.
Some of the unions also filed temporary restraining orders to keep the capitol open to the public and some Republcian state rep or senator was chased down protesters and confronted, but then he got away.
in actual activity one simply
in actual activity one simply does not compare anyone else to the cops as people who need to be 'dealt with' without some information first, doing so based on lazy conjecture plus whatever theoretical framework you're operating from is despicable.
As for the rest, well, y'all who want to name call what we in the IWW have put out should write and layout some better stuff. I mean, the criticisms here - Sama helped set the tone - most definitely don't appear constructive, at best even y'all who are being nice are like "oh, I wish this was better." Well no shit sherlock, who doesn't? Lay out some specifics of how, or better yet, help suggest some additional language for leaflets. It's not like these events are over yet. This stuff is hard to write and get done, especially on short notice in response to circumstances that it's hard to understand. These events came up really fast, everyone in the damn world was taken by surprise and a great many people have put a ton of time and energy into this stuff on top of everything else in our lives in response to a situation that most of us (the ones under 40 anyway, which is by far the majority) have never seen up close and personal. Absolutely everything we've done has been deeply flawed and last minute. I'd like to see any of the rest of you show me anything you've done that's been otherwise.
I also want to say that part of why we felt compelled to respond is that there was a massive vacuum in these events. I happend to be in Madison for my job the second day or so of the protests so I went up to the capital several times, there were tons of people there, it was entirely run by the officials of the unions and there was literally zero left presence in anything I saw. Perhaps there was some inside the capital building itself but I walked around in a crowd of 10-15,000 people and saw nothing. The next day or two I saw two people from vanguardist groups putting out stuff. Madison has a population of about 200,000 people with what I'm told is a fairly well developed left. The thing is a well developed left for a town of 200,000 is not going to be prepared for mobilizations of 10,000 let alone the 70-100,000 people that things turned into. So the view of several of the individual IWW members who plugged in (and I think I know all the ones who pushed hard to get others to come out) was that this was really important to get involved in if anything at all was going to happen beyond a very typical union-called protest of union members. Hence the additional urgency and the need to put out some material.
I also want to add, I suspect that some of y'all mostly think of written materials (I'm looking at you Sama) in abstraction and isolation. The paper is largely an excuse to have a conversation as part of working with people face to face and building relationships as well as a way to layout some points to think about afterward and for people to use to open up further conversations. Written words on paper (and even less, on screen) no matter how brilliant they are matter a lot less than real time interactions tied in with them, that was also part of the push to get these done, to help with conversations - I believe about 20 of us from out of town have been in and out of Madison since this started (I live about a 5 hour drive from there), a few are staying long term for the duration of these events or are commuting up regularly after work, in addition to the IWW members who live there.
Admin edit - no flaming, play nice.
My comment was based on the
My comment was based on the fact that I think the IWW leafflet and even the WSA are both missing something.
Here's from an internal conversation WSA members were having relative to WI written material. For the record, I laid no specific criticism on the leaflet, just thought it was "missing something"..... as with the WSA statement.
If the problem is that the
If the problem is that the left isn't getting enough of a presence over there, I saw a video where a protester took a few journalists on a tour of the occupied capitol.
For those of you too lazy to look at the link, they have this board where they list places they're getting supply donations from. I know this sounds ridiculous, but maybe the IWW could organize a supply donation drive so they can get their name on the board? Obviously this is in addition to all their leaflet and on-site agitation work, not replacing it. The reason is, every Trot org in the US is going to be shipping leaflets out by the hundreds, but the reason nobody cares about them is that their actual help to workers' causes is limited to their own newspapers nobody reads.
But if the key is to make a splash in Wisconsin so we can get people listening to a leftist message, getting our name in as many places as possible is the way to go. But we have to make sure that we have something CONCRETE we can point to to show that we're actually helping the workers.
I beg to differ.
According to my research, the following general strikes have occurred in the U.S.:
1835 Philadelphia, the first
1877 St. Louis General Strike as part of The Great Upheaval Railroad Strike
1886 May Day strikes, Haymarket affair in Chicago
1892 New Orleans
1894 Pullman Strike, especially in Chicago
1934 (3) San Francisco, Minneapolis and Toledo
1935 Terre Haute, Indiana
1936 Pekin, Illinois
1946 (6) Stamford, Connecticut; Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Houston, Texas; Rochester, New York; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Oakland, California
Taft-Hartley was passed 6 months after Oakland, making illegal the kind of sympathy strikes that made all those general strikes possible.
We've only come near a nationwide general strike twice; the first time was the 1877 Great Upheaval on the railroads that spread from coast to coast. The second was in the spring of 1946 when soft-coal miners went on strike at the same time as railroad engineers and trainmen, bringing national commerce to standstill -- that was furthered when striking bituminous coal miners caused national brown-outs. When President Truman threatened to break the strike with the National Guard, the famous reply was "you can't mine coal with bayonets." The 1946 strikes were a continuation of the post-war strike wave where oil workers, coal miners, textile workers, autoworkers, electrical workers, and meat packers went out in 1945. In January 1946, 750,000 steel workers walked out in the largest single-industry strike in U.S. history.
All of the above general strikes did exactly that; they were based on a class perspective where sectoral divisions evaporated and the strikers' solidarity was based on the principle "an injury to one is an injury to all."
Nate, seriously, what's wrong
Nate, seriously, what's wrong with the air where you are? Read again the key part that Juan wrote (and that me and syndicalist are agreeing with):
I'd say this was very praising (though maybe I'll have children with severe emotional problems, who knows..).. what more do you want? I think what you say about the leaflet is true; it's an 'in', a way to start a conversation, not something that will transform people into libertarian communist militants on reading and hence why, even if there are bits of the leaflet people don't like, the IWWs "role is a positive one".
Fuck man, even within an organisation you probably won't get everyone saying "shit, that leaflet was perfect" so I don't get what your problem is. In Solfed, we had a newsletter published with a shite headline, someone called us out on libcom and when we looked at it, most of SFers on libcom thought, "yeah, actually that's pretty shit" and said so. I mean, you've got your criticisms of aspects of the IWW, I don't get why those outside can't have some as well.
As for constructive criticism, I dunno, I think Sam was in his last post: a little more on the unions. Sam probably also wanted more pictures of rioting ;) Anyway, maybe the anti-union thing was avoided so as to play the populist card? I dunno, I'm asking, not saying, you're in a better position than me to know but I just don't think there's anything to get so defensive about. Generally, I think that people here view the IWW as doing some great work in the US and are glad to see them active in Wisconsin..
It might help if comrades
It might help if comrades remained focused on reporting whats going on the ground and those far from events focus using 'non-aggresive' measured constructive suggestions.
We all go into heated class warfair with the army we've got and not the army we would love to have (which I'd guess would be a mass working class movement with a significant libertarian communist tendency).
Quote: As for constructive
Yeah I don't think getting defensive like that is useful, in the same way I don't think straight sniping is useful (but I don't think that's what's happened here - at least with Sam retracting some of his post).
As well as populism, they may just have left that out because it's relatively difficult to talk introduce a critique of the unions in the middle of something that is explicitly pro-union. From this distance it looks like much, much more emphasis is on union rights than the rest of the package - not just from the union leadership and the media, but I don't see many signs of dissent against this from the reports here either. Now if there's any chance for it to go beyond that, then this is precisely the sort of thing that would need to be dealt with. But equally, while I'd disagree with it, I could understand why someone would leave 'anti-union' things out of a leaflet in those circumstances - because it's very easy for liberals and leftists (not to mention common assumptions) to paint any kind of criticism of the unions that as anti-worker - "the governer is 'anti-union' too!".
Quote: As well as populism,
I think a number of us have struggled with this many times over. A WI conversation going forth, after the fight over rights, may very well be on the other issues. As an anarcho-syndicalist, sometimes you walk a fine line. You want to be constructive and critical at the same time. You want to gain a hearing, but you don't want to be soppy.
The struggle is not just in WI, but is happening elsewhere. WI is ground zero, but there are many other struggles throught the land now. Perhaps there are lessons that other workers may be learning from WI elsewhere and different nature of fights may occur. And from that I suspect all of us will adopt our general approaches, leaflets, press and so forth.
Quote: Ohio Senate Bill 5
yeah just saw that myself!
yeah just saw that myself! O.O
You knew this was
You knew this was coming:
And the AFL-CIO version to follow, no doubt.
Well, the AFL-CIO version has
Well, the AFL-CIO version has indeed followed. Yesterday, union staffers from sea to shining sea received the following:
"Today, the AFL-CIO concluded a two-day Executive Council meeting dedicated almost entirely to the events in Wisconsin and what the labor movement response should be. There is a widespread belief, which I share, that we are in a pivotal moment. For the first time in my memory, America is talking about union rights.
As a start, the Unions of the AFL-CIO have decided to make April 4th a national day of action in the U.S. You will recall that April 4th marks the tragic day in history when Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated while in Memphis Tennessee supporting sanitation workers – public employees – in their fight for respect and dignity.
I ask that all of us in our Local Unions and Joint Boards take part with your CLC’s in planning and participating in this day of action. We will provide you with information as we get it, but don’t wait to get involved locally.
For those Local Unions closer geographically to Wisconsin, I will be contacting you shortly about sending your members to Madison on April 4th.
This is an important time for all of us to act."
And there's this also. Leave
And there's this also. Leave it to the Left to make a funeral out of the most exciting and sustained worker rebellion in the US in decades. At least they're saying "no concessions," though:
STOP WALKER’S ATTACKS ON WISCONSIN
No Cuts or Concessions!
MARCH 3 • THURSDAY 5:00 PM • Funeral Procession From Library Mall to the Capitol 5:30 PM • Rally and Press Conference, State Street side of the Capitol
Scott Walker’s bill and budget proposal threaten the future of Wisconsin and would be devastating to Wisconsin families. Walker has created this crisis by granting tax breaks to his corporate backers. Now, he seeks to cut education and state employee pensions, pay and health benefits, end collective bargaining rights, and undermine regulations and social programs like BadgerCare, that protect Wisconsin’s most vulnerable citizens.
We are tired of being blamed for a crisis that was caused by Wall Street greed —and the expectation that workers and their families, already struggling in the current economic crisis, continue to make concessions. Working people did not create the recession or the budget crisis, and there can be no more concessions, period.
J. Eric Cobb, Building Trades Council of South Central Wisconsin*; Phil Neuenfeldt, President of WI AFL-CIO*; Jim Cavanaugh, President, South Central Federation of Labor*; Kill the Whole Bill Coalition; Shannon Maier, President, AFSCME Local 720 Dane County Courthouse Employees*; Elizabeth Wrigley-Field, TAA*; Dave Poklinkoski, President and Business Manager, IBEW 2304*; Jack Trudell, RN, UW Hospital, SEIU 1199WI*; Tim Birkley, First Vice President, AFSCME Local 60*; Joe Schirmer, SEIU Health Care WI District 1199*; Ariel Ford, Department of Civil Rights*; Eric Robson, AFSCME Local 171*; Joe Balkis, Steward Teamsters Local 705*; Mike Imbrogno, Executive Board, AFSCME Local 171*; Ben Rattliffe, Steward, AFSCME Local 60*; Jane Schirmer, Registered Nurse; Liberty Tree; Mindy Trudell, MSW, MTI*; Minnesota Nurses Association; Michigan Nurses Association; National Nurses United *Organization for identification purposes only
Join Us to Say No to All Cuts andConcessions!
March up State St. in a funeral procession symbolizing all that is worth defending against Walker’s attacks on working people! Come dressed for a funeral, and ready to dance!
To endorse this event or for more information, please contact Pilar Schiavo at (510) 385-4213 or [email protected]
Don't have time to go into my
Don't have time to go into my responses to the arguments about the IWW here, at least for the moment....But...
...Just heard some interesting information, which was mentioned in post 138, about the lobby of the theater building at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee which was occupied a couple of days ago.
There'd been a march in which some people tried to start a "everyone out - general strike" chant but it didn't go anywhere, but they shouted over chants like "tax the rich" by yelling "kill the rich" , which, while not being taken up by much of the crowd, was at least greeted by smirks and laughter. The march passed a high school that butts up on the campus and teachers were seen in the windows smiling and cheering.
After some tedious speeches by sds and union speakers they had invited, some people started yelling "it's cold" and "let's go inside" which got the crowd (about 150 remaining after the drift away from the soul-destroying speeches) moving again. They went back into the student union through the cafeteria wing, and chants of "class war" and "an eye for an eye - walker must die" were all you could hear in the cafeteria while they passed through it. After a discussion about which part of the Uni to occupy, the theater lobby of the arts building was decided on, because it stays open late, technically some students can be in it after hours and it was thought that the students and faculty there would be sympathetic, possibly engaged by the occupation. And so an occupation took place, though there were a lot of angry arguments with authoritarian killjoys who tied to manipulate things so that drinking alcohol and graffiti were banned, and arguments about filming for "alternative media".
So far I don't know if the occupation has continued or not. Maybe someone who directly participated in this has some things to add...?
That April 4th day of action,
That April 4th day of action, do you think they deliberately avoided calling it the week before when it'd coincide with March 26th in the UK?
Either way while it's being called by the AFL-CIO, a 'day of action' could go lots of different ways at the moment. The first student demo in London where MIllbank got smashed in was called by the NUS ffs.
There are relatively
There are relatively continuous updates here: http://burntbookmobile.wordpress.com/
looks like the building was still occupied last night at least.
Also, list of "demands" from the occupation.
(Also, just to get it out of the way: anyone who says that they should be more serious should grow a heart/sense of humor)
The occupation is continuing
The occupation is continuing into its third day. For now it is a completely open, similar to the Capitol building. People come and go. About 30 regularly sleep in the building. How open it is may change depending on how the administration decides to react to it. It may appear poorly for them to arrest many students and this is why they are "allowing" it to continue.
The far left of capital is
The far left of capital is talking big:
blackrainbow wrote: We all
Didn't Donald Rumsfeld say that about Iraq?
Anyway, the army the anti-bill movement's got is basically the IWW, a working-class movement in Wisconsin with no political direction or leadership beyond "Kill the Bill", and a bunch of well-wishes from the AFL-CIO. But wishes don't help in the real world.
On the other side, Walker and the Koch brothers have the entire Tea Party, Fox News, the general anti-union malaise that's always hanging over our worthless media, the Wisconsin National Guard, and the financial backing of two oil gods, half the blogosphere, and the Republican Party.
EDIT: Also, if anyone hasn't heard of this, a DC nurses' union went on a strike on Friday that was supposed to last only a day. But the hospital has locked them out, so it's going to last at least until Tuesday or Wednesday. Now some of the more recent stuff from the union expresses solidarity with Wisconsin. I think they might be becoming more aware of their position as workers.
It seems Wisconsin is either inspiring strike movements elsewhere or forcing unionized workers to ponder what they're striking for: a chance to eat crumbs off the master's table. When they should be striking for a chance to sit at the table with all their fellow workers. I believe this one was a case of the latter.
In terms of circulation of
In terms of circulation of struggles: there have been somewhat spontaneous school walkouts over closures and layoffs in Dallas and Idaho
Obviously, hard to tell how much Wisconsin is effecting these, but with the amount of attention its getting wouldn't surprise me if there is some inspiration, as well as the common conditions of austerity, of course.
It looks like I may have a
It looks like I may have a free ride out to WI from NYC with the union I work for. They have chartered a bus and we would make it for the rally on Saturday in Madison. I am not in the IWW loop, so I will PM the appropriate folks.
Jazzhands wrote: Didn't
Yup it was Rumsfeld who said that to his critics about the state of the US army preparations in the middle of a combat situation in Iraq (in particular lack of adequate kit for ground troops).[
So just where the f**k are you and your army of the 'politically clued up'?
Hmmm. So lets see. Is this the same Fox News owned by Rupert Murdochs' multi billion revenue News International Corporation? The same capitalist press owner who helped Margaret Thatchers' Tory government decisively defeat the strong holds of the British workers movement 25 odd years ago? Up against that multi billion revenue workers organisation with access to a sophisticated media network the IWW.?
Isn't it curious how far left wing armchair critics (of the 'theyre not adequite' school) pop up every time workers go into a major dispute, without clearly setting out how they would go about it. Even better, why haven't you got off your arse to do it?
blackrainbow wrote: So just
These kinds of comments are not at all reasonable. They are used to try to shut someone up, to intimidate them, like shouting someone down in a meeting.
waslax wrote: ...like
This isn't a f**ing meeting. It's an opinion on a overtly opinionated forum.
Guys, let's keep this thread
Guys, let's keep this thread productive. Argue privately please.
Schwarz, if you don't hear anything back, PM me and I'll try to send you in the right direction...ch
Schwarz, if you're interested
Schwarz, if you're interested in meeting up in Milwaukee that would be cool. It's about an hour away from Madison. There is a general assembly here tomorrow about how to support strikes being called by a neighborhood. It may be interesting. We may also be coming up for the weekend to participate in a discussion in Madison about how to support a General Strike.
Look, I'm not saying that we have to be some kind of political Rambo. I'm just saying that the AFL-CIO should be doing more to plan other strikes and protests around the country. Which it won't, because their leaders are more concerned with their political clout with the Democrats than with being a real union. But come on, it's them.
The same one. But when was the last time the IWW got mainstream media attention? Devil's advocate. I'm not saying I'm waiting for Marx to come back from the dead and kick Walker's ass. Also, I had no idea the IWW had that much money. You never hear from them down on the East Coast where I am.
Maybe you oughta read that post again and figure out where I said "They're not adequate" or that I don't support them. I'm saying that it's a good thing that Wisconsin is inspiring either new labor actions or a new and more revolutionary perspective in the working class. And the reason I haven't done anything substantial about it is because I'M IN THE ASS END OF NOWHERE. Not everyone can be fucking Banksy, you know. You best shape up that attitude. You're just so busy looking for a fight instead of being constructive that you have no fucking clue what to do when someone agrees with you. So you twist their words and start barking at them.
So here's some updates: -The
So here's some updates:
-The Democrats are being fined $100 every day that they're gone.
-There was a Wall Street Journal article that said the Dems were coming back "soon", but then they went on TV saying the WSJ article took stuff out of context and that no such plan existed.
-Yesterday, Walker indicated, through a release of emails, that he was willing to "compromise" on some aspects of collective bargaining. However, he has been accused of selectively releasing emails that make him seem more moderate than he really is.
-The once lively capitol building is now governed by a set of new rules aimed at making sure people are out by closing time and calm and quiet when they are.
-Here are some IWW General strike posters that have recently been made.
-Check out what a right-wing blog has to say about the IWW general strike call
Oh, also, I hate saying stuff before everything is concrete...in fact I don't like mentioning things till they've already happened, but it looks like I'm going to be moving up to Madison on Sunday for maybe a month primarily to help out with IWW stuff.
blackrainbow wrote: waslax
there is no need for that sort of tone. Please be polite.
From the South Central Federation of Labor's Facebook
Retweeted by AFTWisconsin
It passed the
It passed the Senate
Watching this from afar I
Watching this from afar I keep waiting expectantly for a tipping point. Hopefully this is it. If this does not trigger a mass walkout then I cannot see any hope of turning back the GOP's attacks on public sector workers and the class in general.
That's a really ballsy move.
That's a really ballsy move. Agree with above this will be a make or break point. It will be interesting if they try something similar in Indiana.
Sorry, redundant post.
Sorry, redundant post.
For those of you on
For those of you on Twitter...
http://twitter.com/AndrewKroll (Journalist for Mother Jones)
http://twitter.com/danielmke (SDS/FRSO guy from Milwaukee that's been in Madison frequently)
http://twitter.com/AFTwisconsin (public sector union)
http://twitter.com/DefendWisconsin (liberal info clearinghouse)
http://twitter.com/EricAntiFa (IWW organizer)
If I got it right - the
If I got it right - the Capitol has been re-occupied, yes...? What's going on?
From what people have been
From what people have been texting me or what info I've seen, there's anywhere from several hundred to a couple thousand inside the capitol with several hundred outside. Police weren't allowing people in, but eventually let the doors open for some period of time and the shut them (unsure about this). Inside, the most common chant is 'general strike'.
People have also been getting in through windows as well. Some people are 'blockading' the assembly room (where the bill would have to pass before it tomorrow or Friday) and singing Solidarity Forever.
Live stream here: http://www.livestream.com/theuptake
Thanks Juan, keep us in the
Thanks Juan, keep us in the loop and good luck with your move.
is it true about the calls
is it true about the calls for a general strike?
We in New Zealand faced a
We in New Zealand faced a similar thing in 1991, when the National Government introduced the Employments Contract Act: essentially individualising contracts. The fight was lost because the popular protests were co-opted and damped by the trade-unions.
From 'The Myth Of Passivity':
I post this so that you guys may learn from our failures, and to be wary of union bureaucracy trying to manage the protests into acceptable forms....
Quote: A large group of 8th
Wisconsin GOP Bill Allows State to Fire Employees for Strikes, Walk-Outs
Live video of Assembly debate on the bill
Dumb-ass Jesse Jackson was in Madison, as well, telling people not to be mad at the police. Fuck that guy. Sick of hearing about these professional leeches saying their BS.
Wisc. Conservatives Trample Democracy: State Troopers Dragging Protesters Out; Wisc. Dems Head Home After GOP Union-Busting Measure Rammed Through
Anyone in Wisconsin, have you
Anyone in Wisconsin, have you seen any evidence of the wildcat strikes that Mike Elk has been referring to?
Malcy wrote: Anyone in
You're gonna have to be more specific. Who is Mike Elk and what wildcat strikes has he been referring to?
Quote: Firing Provision in
Thanks for update Jaun!
Thanks for update Jaun!
Analysis of the UWM occupation here
The old 'vote 'em out'
The old 'vote 'em out' trick.... stick to the law and maybe you can vote in another bunch of cronies who may or may not 'return the favour'...
Juan, do you think people are in the mood to disregard both the law that can fire workers, or their union officials sending them back to work?
Raw Video: Protesters Hauled
Raw Video: Protesters Hauled From Wis. Capitol
Do We Need a General Strike?
I couldn't tell ya. It's been 2 weeks since I've been up there and I won't be back until Saturday.
Thanks Juan for all the
Thanks Juan for all the postings!
Juan, Mike Elk is a labor
Juan, Mike Elk is a labor journalist.
I was referring to one of the articles you posted a link to. The alternet.org one ....
One of Elk's tweets says that
One of Elk's tweets says that the mayor of Madison was leading a walkout by public workers. That was 9 hours ago.
As far as Facebook goes, this
As far as Facebook goes, this page has grown by over a thousand people in less than two days.
Intifada1988 wrote: is it
oh HELL YES IT'S TRUE!
We're like Charlie Sheen now.
We're winning here,
we're winning there,
we're winning here too!
I guess we could say...we're tri-winning?
Anyway, it seems the generally accepted strike date is March 31. The IWW has a series of posters for the General Strike that came out before the specific date was set. I've seen those in English, Spanish and Arabic. Put those up around your school/place of work, be sure not to get caught. You can't strike if you don't have a job. so fuck yeah, let's do this.
Well, as far as who has
Well, as far as who has called for a general strike. Well, no one....
The SCLF has endorsed the idea of one and begun educating its affiliates on what that means. There have been a number of individuals who have said that a general strike is needed. The IWW of course has been putting out a lot of propaganda on the subject and have been actively involved in talking to people about it.
But as far as I know, no actual labor union has voted on a general strike. I also haven't heard about this March 31st date, either. Where's that from?
Quote: Calls, preparations
Thanks for the comradely
Thanks for the comradely welcome, Chilli, what ever and Juan. Unfortunately my union postponed the trip at the last minute. I really wish I could be out there, but c'est la vie.
Thanks again and solidarity from NYC!
Thanks for the credible info
Thanks for the credible info Juan I always look to digest objective info myself before I read the papers...Jazzhands thanks for the links as well
Anyways seeing how Striking is grounds for firing now this should get really interesting. If there is a strike this whole thing could get very interesting and volatile very quickly. And I mean inna class war kinda way.
Just saw this: Quote: Martial
Just saw this:
Union local leaderships are
Union local leaderships are law-and-order types. It sucks, but it's realistic. Labor law places so many restrictions on strike action that under almost every circumstance, unions stand to face significant economic consequences by sanctioning strikes. (I'm not clear how this works for public sector unions, but in the private sector, unions can be sued by corporations for damages if they engage in secondary strikes or pickets. I don't know how a secondary strike in support of public workers would potentially affect private-sector unions. If anybody knows, please fill me in!)
It's true that careerist union bureaucrats have their own self-preservation in mind when they hold back militancy, but they also - for better or worse - have a kind of fiduciary responsibility to the institution, the dues-payers, etc.
This is precisely why a general strike at this point has to be the result of workers moving beyond the union institution.
In general, union staff will not call for it or publicly endorse it (though I am certain that many of them will privately support it.)
I am reminded, for example, of an unsanctioned sick-out by public workers in a neighboring city last year. Union officials publicly stated that they did not sanction it, though one did say to the press that he believed everyone got sick because they were "suffering from stress and anxiety" over the city's attack on the workers. I predict that this is an example of the furthest union officials will go to support a general strike.
But this only poses a problem if workers aren't willing to leave their leaders in the dust and do what needs to be done. I hope that happens. We'll see.
Sharp as you like.
Sharp as you like.
Where did that come from Flan
Where did that come from Flan and what are the symbols on the bottom?
Chilli Sauce wrote: Where did
Well one's the IWW (obviously), one's the outline of the State of Wisconsin, one's the Rebel Alliance from Star Wars and I don't know the last one. :p
Not to discount the actions
Not to discount the actions workers are already bravely taking but is it too cynical to suggest that class struggle can't really advance until the unions are dead (which surely is only a matter of time)?
Perhaps wildcats, direct action, workers councils can only be a possibility when the notion held by workers that we can fight this through the legally sanctioned dead ends?
Just some information from a
Just some information from a friend (not sure if any of this has been said on any of the large amounts of links here, as I've not checked everything, but nothing's been said in the posts directly, unless I missed them):
-Wednesday night: People blocking the doors to the assembly with their bodies and furniture were dragged out into the crowds by police.
-Wednesday night: Republicans were escorted out through the crowds by state patrolman. In a video of them first leaving the chambers (where only official people were allowed- Democrats, journalists, etc) someone says to a Republican over the noise of the nearby crowds, "You better hurry up and leave before the mob gets you.".
-Yesterday, over a thousand students from 6 different middle schools and high schools walked out and to the capitol (police in tow) even after principals warned them it might be different this time because there were "very, very angry people there." Kids said they planned for the same today. Anybody know what happened?
-The ACLU posted a photo of police readying in riot gear yesterday morning in a garage area (it was never used).
-State Republicans have received numerous death threat emails (some include their families!). If you that like that sort of thing, more details (like drinking their blood and heads on pikes in townsquares!) can be found here: http://www.jsonline.com/blogs/news/117738098.html
-Earlier this week police arrested a woman who banged on the windows of the home of the Republican Senate Majority Leader early in the morning.
-The M&I bank next to the Capitol was swarmed by crowds (hundreds) after their ties to the Republican Party was made known. Several people went into the bank and withdrew money in protest. But it was the growing crowds that worried them enough to close down the bank and call police.
-Wednesday night, 200 gathered (through social networking, the media says) on a few hours notice and marched through Milwaukee to the County Courthouse.
-In Janesville, 40 miles south of Madison, 100 teachers and students protested against impending cuts outside a school district board meeting. On Feb. 24, 600 students had already walked out in Janesville in support of the teachers and against the cuts.
-At UW-Stout (northwestern Wisconsin) on Wednesday, faculty there voted to
-Media says non-unionized teaching assistants are discussing strikes at both UW-Madison and UW-Milwaukee.
-Massive rally scheduled in Madison tomorrow.
-Headline of major Madison newspaper: "Calls, preparations for general strike grow" - it's almost no longer an "if" question, but a "when" (and "how") it seems. The article is here:
-Meanwhile across the country in Atlanta, while most students were on Spring Break, small protests and arrests erupted in the State Senate as legislators made cuts to a widely-used state scholarship fund. Protests also targeted the largest state university in Atlanta (Georgia State Univ.) over the passage of a measure banning all undocumented youth from attending. Some chants were clearly borrowed from Madison.
There's something here on the strange Milwaukee occupation:
Seems like they are still there "occupying" the space and had an emergency meeting there last night to prepare for a general strike.
The 9-year-old daughter of my friend's girlfriend announced yesterday that she would walkout if similar things were happening at her school!!! When things start to move, everyone starts to move.
Quote: Reports of walkouts in
Chilli Sauce wrote: Where did
Spotted it on the Facebook wall this morning. If you right click and view image, it comes up larger. 4th symbol looks like a capitol building with Dream City on it.
That's what anarchist propaganda should look like. Creative and funny, and you can't go wrong with a pop culture reference neither.
I found the solidarity of the
I found the solidarity of the firefighters to be interesting. They were not cut out by Walker.
Anyway, I hope this wasn't posted here already (sorry if so).
Convert wrote: Not to
i think this only works if workers go beyond legalism etc of their own accord. if collective bargaining is axed and unions de facto decrecognised, struggles may well become struggles for 'union rights' etc rather than direct struggles over living conditions. e.g. in places like egypt the push for independent unions is among the demands of the more militant workers. i wouldn't propose a strict stagist idea of first struggle for legal unions, then push them to their limits, then go beyond them (the russian revolution kinda skipped most of that, and in spain legality was never a precondition of the CNT's activity), but i think unions dying is only positive when it's militiant workers doing the killing. in Wisconsin, it's clearly the bosses on the offensive.
Community Forum on the
Community Forum on the General Strike
I've been in Wisconsin and
I've been in Wisconsin and was at the re-occupation. Here is an excerpt from a reflection I wrote for the IWW:
From UE Facebook
OliverTwister: Quote: The
This, from the Milwaukee occupation, begins to outline some of the problems of the "General Strike" slogan:
Yeah, I can't remember who
Yeah, I can't remember who told me this, it might have been my roommate or one of the Twin Cities Wobs, but they either saw or talked to a teacher in Madison and they said (paraphrasing)
"Yeah, we're all for a general strike, we're just waiting for someone to tell us to do it"
Or something along those lines.
That's what we're dealing with though. No one here has experienced a general strike or even know what it takes to do one. Our job is to try and fill that gap as much as possible, but are numbers are tragically small. All we can do is encourage the activities we see as beneficial while advocating for new ones that are just being whispered and talked about between the participants in a "What if?" framework.
For a little light relief,
For a little light relief, Glenn Beck doing a mental (again):
Quote: Media says
In Madison right now pretty
In Madison right now pretty much being fulltime IWW organizer. There was a community forum on a general strike on Saturday. I believe Indymedia recorded it. Was a Wob presence at Saturday's massive rally, which unfortunately consisted of jerking off the 14 Democrats who fled the state.
Going to Milwaukee tomorrow for a rally to pass out general strike pamphlets and get contacts. Also hope to connect with some of the occupiers.
Typical class-collaborationist bullshit:
Milwaukee Labor Leader: Union To 'Redirect' Efforts To Recalls -- And No Talk Of Strikes
By Eric Kleefeld | March 14, 2011, 11:40AM
A public employee union leader in Wisconsin has declared that organized labor will dedicate its efforts to recalling state Senate Republicans this year, and recalling Gov. Walker next year, in response to Walker's newly-passed bill curtailing public employee unions. He says they are not talking about strikes.
Rich Abelson, executive director of AFSCME Council 48 in Milwaukee, appeared Friday on the local public affairs show UpFront with Mike Gousha, with guest host Kent Wainscott.
"Obviously this was a very disappointing loss for us, with regards to the collective bargaining changes that were made. However, it's not the end of our fight," said Abelson. "We have -- we're a union. What we do is we represent workers at the workplace, give them a voice, and we will continue to do so. It is our mission, it is what we believe, it is who we are.
"And now it's time to redirect those efforts, it is time to take back the Wisconsin Senate. We are very much engaged in the recall efforts that are taking place with the eight Republican senators. We think a significant number of those are gonna be successful recalls, we think by summer we will have changed the face of the Wisconsin Senate."
Abelson acknowledged that rolling back the law would be "a much longer term struggle" than just winning the state Senate for the Democrats, as Republicans would still control the Assembly and the governor's mansion.
"But again, I want to just make this very clear. If the intent was by Governor Walker and his fellow De-- Republicans, excuse me, in the legislature, to destroy the union movement in the public sector in Wisconsin, it's going to fail," he said. "We are going to change, and we are going to adapt, and we will continue to do what we do, and that is represent people in the workplace. And if the bargaining table is taken away from us, we will replace that with much more political and legislative activity."
Wainscott asked Abelson whether one particular activity could be undertaken by public unions: strikes.
"No. I mean, look, public sector workers in Wisconsin are committed and dedicated to the citizens we serve," said Abelson. "And there has been no talk of a general strike, there has been no talk of targeted strikes, or job actions or anything else. Our dispute is not with our employers. Our dispute is with the Republicans in the Wisconsin Senate, the Republicans in the Wisconsin Assembly, and Governor Walker."
He later added: "We think this energy and the dedication that people are showing now is gonna continue into next year, and we think that it is a very strong likelihood, as difficult as it is, that we will be successful in recalling Governor Walker next year."
"No. I mean, look, public
"No. I mean, look, public sector workers in Wisconsin are committed and dedicated to the citizens we serve," said Abelson. "And there has been no talk of a general strike, there has been no talk of targeted strikes, or job actions or anything else. Our dispute is not with our employers. Our dispute is with the Republicans in the Wisconsin Senate, the Republicans in the Wisconsin Assembly, and Governor Walker."
It looks like union leaders are more threatened by working class self-activity than they are by the loss of collective bargaining and dues check-off! It's amazing.
So I got into town on
So I got into town on Saturday. This was supposedly the biggest crowd
yet, with estimates ranging from 85,000 (media) to 100,000 (police) to
300,000 (SEIU). The main theme that day was pretty much jerking off
the 14 Democrats who had fled the state, but who had just returned.
The IWW had (for the first time) a visible presence with two tables on
two different intersections, a large banner in the parade and teams of
people gathering people's contact info and passing out general strike
Compared to the other two times I've been up here, the calls or
reception for a general strike or job actions was significantly
greater. This is to me, without a doubt, due to the Madison IWW
branch's connections in the labor movement and the efforts they and
other Midwest Wobs have put in to spread this concept. All the
authoritarian parties are also calling for a general strike now, too,
although their actual connection to workplace agitators seems tenuous,
if not nonexistent.
Later on in the night there was a forum on a general strike sponsored
by the IWW and the Immigrant Workers Union. There were a number of
speakers, from numerous groups including obviously Wobs, MECHA, an
immigrant youth nonprofit, folks from public sector unions and a guy
from UE who was involved in Republic Windows & Door occupation. To me,
this forum seemed to be more about 'laying everything on the table'
type of thing. Most of the speakers from Latino/a organizations seemed
to have some real problems with how organized labor has conducted
itself in the past and in the current struggle. While overall, I
thought the event was a valuable experience and can't really be
compared to anything I've been a part of before, there were some
issues. Some people, mostly old white dudes did a lot of rambling on
and there were the inevitable 'traveling progressives/leftists' that
are more interested in pontificating rather than actual work. The
meeting dragged on a bit and a noticeable amount of people started to
leave as it did. However, it seems like we got a bunch of contacts of
people who are serious about pushing a general strike.
Sunday pretty much consisted of me hanging out with my parents, who
came up and attended a (my first) IWW meeting.
Today (Monday), I was going to wake up early to get on a bus to
Milwaukee for a rally to pass out pamphlets, get contacts, and connect
with SDS, the student occupiers or Burnt Bookmobile people.
Unfortunately I stayed up too late doing spreadsheets and also slept
in an actual bed for only the third time in the last two months and
was in a dead sleep. Hopefully, I get another chance to make it up
Because I didn't go to MKE, I went to this AFL-CIO circle jerk at a
convention center. It was pretty much an attempt to attract non-profit
staff (and it a lesser extent, union staff) to form a new liberal
political action group type thing. It was scheduled from 1-5pm, which
was probably done purposefully to make it inaccessible to anybody but
One particularly predictable yet disgusting aspect of the meeting was
a video that they showed. It was a 5 minute clip about the last 4
weeks. A numbered.timeline of sorts. The first one being "Leaders
Speak Out", which showed clips of executive staffs and politicians
speaking at rallies days or weeks after this shit fucking popped off.
The second thing in the timeline was "The People Rise Up". Hilarious,
and seeing people watch this with a straight face was disconcerting.
After a couple of speakers, one from an immigrant groups being the
only one who even mentioned the word "strike", we went to breakgroups.
At the 7 person table I was at, 5 were non-profit/union staff and 2
were executive staff. I mentioned what you would expect I would and of
course was met with disinterest.
Near the end, some comrades tried to break the pre-packaged format of
the event and got up and asked why we were talking about failed
tactics (the recall, electoral) instead of stuff the our forefathers
did and worked, advocated for strikes and walkouts and pointed out
that the scheduling of the conference automatically excluded the very
people everyone is claiming to want to represent. About half the room
clapped after this comrade said this.
The event ended soon after this. Overall I didn't think it was worth
much and I'm glad we didn't spend too much time on it. The vast
majority of the people there are not people we should be talking to.
Anyway, that's it for now. ttyl
Quote: One particularly
Did you or anybody else attack this re-writing of history? If so, what was the reaction?
If half the room clapped, surely they are people you should be talking to? Not saying this to point-score but just that sometimes one misses opportunities and then finds ways of justifying these missed opportunities to oneself, which means they'll be repeated.
I was wondering if non-union workers are going to risk striking; here in France, non-union workers who struck in the autumn lost out afterwards (disciplined, didn't get strike pay, etc.) . Would have thought it would require collections for non-union workers to have a chance of surviving a strike unless there was mass looting of the supermarkets. Any contact with non-union workers (I imagine the vast majority in Wisconsin, no?).
Samotnaf wrote: Did you or
No, no one mentioned this.
We did talk to some sympathetic people and got contact info.
This is something I think everyone who is wanting a general strike realizes. The question is an age-old one: How to spread and intensify the struggle? We'll see what happens.
Thanks for the quick reply.
Thanks for the quick reply.
Also, to add a bit more, the
Also, to add a bit more, the atmosphere in Madison cannot be compared to anything I've ever experienced before. And I'm not just talking about the fact that I'm dedicating my entire day mostly on the topic of how to advance the struggle. There is a sense of solidarity and interacting between people I've never seen before. Even the random poor white woman at the busstop will say things like "The motherfucker Walker needs to be hanged."
A man who I assumed was homeless, instead of walking up to me to ask for a cigarette which in other places I've been in would have happened, closely looks at my general strike pins, congratulated me, agrees and states that even though he's a Republican, he hates Walker with a passion.
People are sharing their experiences with employment, the protests,etc in a way that makes it obvious that they are exited about something for the first time in a while and want to share what they've done/seen or their views, no matter how awkward or difficult it is for them.
Things that in the past I would have been a bit nervous doing, I don't even think about twice. THis atmosphere makes your confidence skyrocket. For instance, before the comrade spoke up at the afl-cio thing, I had just been furiosuly writing points to mention on a scrap of paper to say to 150-200 (mostly bureacrats) people I've never met before in my life.
I'm not trying to be a misty eyed optimist or anything, but I guess I'm just pointing out how collective struggle, whatever its shortcomings etc, really does change people. Something we probably all need to be reminded of from time to time.
Never experienced that on a
Never experienced that on a city-wide basis, though little glimpses in France during the anti-CPE movement and in autumn last year. And in Brixton 30 years ago. Great feeling.
The problem though is to keep this going after movements retreat - to get that energy to voice one's opposition to this world with strangers even when ostensibly contestation has become invisible again; but it's worth doing - you learn from it, build your confidence, begin to recognise the difference between what's a role and a bit ideological and what connects and comes from the heart.
Um, how to say this without
Um, how to say this without being trashed...... The struggle in Madison and by WI public sector workers has been unique and a bit more "advanced" than other struggles elsewhere.
I think some of that contxt gets lost when speaking about where the general struggle is outside WI.
I realize my comments are general and that there are many folks doing bunches of things. Hats off to the Wobs in WI for their work there.
A major question, as always, is how to go forward on a very, very uneven terrain? And let me stress uneven terrian.
As much as I'm not on board with the mainstream trade unions, I would probably
suggest that the days leading up to (and beyond )the nationwide April 4th "Days of Action"
be used for educational and agitiational purposes.
While raising the slogan of a general strike is important, what does it mean to most workers public or private? What is being sought from a general strike? Simply killing legislative bills? Is there something else "we" would like to try and see come from this? What are the pratical steps up this ladder that anarcho-syndicalists, wubblies, libertarian socialists can pose?
I'm neither opposed to raising the slogan --- as part of something broader at this point --- nor working towards one or more general orsectoral strike.I think by simply putting something out on FB with a day and call for a nation-wide general strike --- at this time --- is a bit hollow. Perhaps I'm wrong, but I don't think we are at an "Mideast" point, where there's so much massive grass roots anger under the surfca e that millions will strike based on a FB --- but I hope I am proven wrong and support all efforts to build towards a general strike....we're long overdue.
Tactically or strategically speaking, it may well only be possible for there to be sector
"general" strikes or even sectoral rolling strikes..... of course most public sector workers do not have the right to strike in general, so strong organization would be key. That said, perhaps in WI a one day general strike might happen. It might not, at this time, happen elsewhere.
Beyond the general strike call and beyond demostrations, perhaps our generalized tendency (cause there aint unity on all points) can at least have conversations, perhaps do joint activities and perhaps issue some joint leaflets on the matters of militant, rank-and-file unionism, inter-union/inter-work collobaration/cooperation, calling what the attacks on workers these past 30 years has been "a class war" (even to workers who don't think they're workers)
and so forth.
Anyway, I think I've rambled on enough here. Continued solidarity to all engaged and in struggle!
Juan Conatz wrote: the
Nearest i've known was during the big Sussex uni occupation last year, about 1,000 people directly involved in defiance of the high court. there was a subjective change that's really hard to put into words, a kinda different way of relating to one another. never felt it on a citywide scale either, but reminds me of Orwell's account of revolutionary Barcelona, where Vd. was abolished and replaced solely with Tú etc.
I've got to agree with the
I've got to agree with the concerns expressed by Syndicalist.
If you look at Egypt over the last few months, their uprising was the culmination of a wave of economic strikes and political protests that really gained force with the "Winter of Labor's Discontent" in 2006-2007. Not unlike those economic and political strikes that Rosa Luxemburg so eloquently detailed in The Mass Strike. The latter took place in Poland and Russia from 1896 and culminated in the St. Petersburg Soviet in 1905.
Even the possibility of a general strike would have to -- based on historical examples -- have been preceded by a series of smaller actions building up towards it. A statewide general strike is not impossible, but most of us in the U.S. don't have any personal experience to draw upon.
And a comrade who visited Madison at the end of the first week, then again last Saturday, said that the it was only in that first week -- with 18 school districts across Wisconsin shut down by a wildcat strike of teachers and students -- that a general strike could have sprung off those dispersed strike actions, generalizing into a statewide general strike. The union bureaucrats would have been caught off-guard and could only have played a tail-ending role in trying to contain it.
But I'm in complete solidarity with whatever the the working class sisters and brothers can pull off in Wisconsin.
Being here it's hard to have
Being here it's hard to have a unbiased or objective perspective on it really. I would say the odds are against us, but anything is possible, particularly as contracts expire and the law goes into effect. Also, in my opinion if there were job actions here, even if unrelated, it could snowball possibly. The atmosphere here is such that if you called for a picket of a place, so many folks would come the business would be shutdown in less than an hour.
Also, keep in mind that there's stuff, conversations, ideas, whatever that I'm not going to mention to people online for obvious reasons, but a lot of what has been said as far as concerns are concerned, are things being actively discussed here, and not just by anti-capitalists alone.
Juan....my comments were
Juan....my comments were meant in a broad way and beyond WI. And I agree that it would be sorta dumb to discuss specifics on line (other than what folks may have already posted and circulated).
Quote: Wis. GOPer Whose Home
This is pretty insane when you think about it:
Right there's a bunch of public sector unions scrambling to agree to contracts before the law goes into effect. (Which happens on March 25th)
New Wildcat poster made by UW-M occupiers
I hear alot of Libertarian
I hear alot of Libertarian Communists calling for a General Strike right now in both England and in Wisconsin. Here's my thoughts:
A General strike is not a Wildcat Strike. Looking at the most revolutionary advances of the working last in the last 50 or 60 so years we've seen everything from city wide, state wide and nation wide Wildcat strikes which have crippled the national capitalist. We seen a redefining of the traditional tactics of striking. What separates in large part, the Mass Strike or Wildcat Strike from the General Strike? Chiefly the Trade Union form. Such unions are themselves, parts of the Capitalist system, inherently tied to it for its survival and reproducing its formations, specifically through abiding by the Division of Labor and in producing a system of hierarchy reflecting Bourgeois Democracy and with it, all its bureaucracy which we've seen to fatal to revolutionary movements . General Strikes are approved forms of action by the Ruling Class themselves. They are predetermined, prefigured and inherently antithetical to working class spontaneity and the goal for anything beyond reform.
A Wildcat strike is a strike by an Industry of Workers without the consent of the State or Unions. A Mass Strike is an extension to this wherein a Wildcat Strike is adopted by an entire class, rather then by a single industry. Such a Strike is carried out by the whole Class and is exercised through a Workers' Council or Workers' Union.
The tactic for revolution lies in the Mass Strike of Wisconsin workers. In taking the issue into their own hands and with it, disposing the Capitalist System of Rulership. Stop advocating for a General Strike and call for real action that will truly awaken the workers.
I'm sure most people are
I'm sure most people are quite familiar with all that leftist terminology and will conduct themselves according to how you define them. :)
It was also for another board
It was also for another board where people don't know quite as much. The point is still there, we shouldn't be advocating a General Strike. oh and :)
Again, I think it's just
Again, I think it's just leftist terminology. Most people don't even know what a general strike is and 85% of the Wisconsin workforce is non-unionized. Merely advocating for a general strike in the private sector automatically means it is free of the trade union form which negates your definition of what a general strike is.
Now if you want to see that what you described is what a general strike has been historically, I would agree (besides some of the ultraleft ideology)
Paulappaul wrote: General
Not according to history.
The most militant year in U.S. history, with more strikes, more strikers, and longer strikes occurred in 1946, marking the peak at the end of the post-war strike wave.
Here are the stats for 1946:
116,000,000 “man-days” lost to industrial production
750,000 steel workers walk out in January (largest single industry strike in U.S. history)
(Each of these stats remains the all-time record in the U.S.)
Citywide general strikes in 1946 (and the sectors that sparked them):
Machinists in Stamford, Connecticut
Transit workers in Lancaster, Pennsylvania
City employees in Houston, Texas
City employees in Rochester, New York
Electrical workers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Retail clerks in Oakland, California
Nearly all of these were spontaneous wildcats based on class consciousness and widespread rage that spread across the U.S. like wildfire, leading to a near-general strike when a bituminous coal strike caused a national brown-out in the spring; then soft-coal miners went on strike at same time as railroad engineers and trainmen, bringing national commerce to standstill and it was the closest to a nationwide general strike ever—the only other time that was even close was the Great Upheaval Railroad Strike of 1877.
Unions bureaucrats had grown comfortable with the no-strike pledge in World War II and completely failed in reigning in working class militancy -- and self-activity -- in these strikes. Sadly, it also marked the end of the era of near-insurrectionary class-against-class struggles in the U.S.
And why is 1946 so little remembered, while 1919, 1934 or the late 1930s sit-down strikes were so well-documented? I'd say because the actions of the 1945-1946 post-war strike wave were not union-sanctioned, so they didn't get written up in "official" histories.
Seem to remember reading
Seem to remember reading about the post-war strike wave in the States in the Brecher book ("Strike!") but in my head (haven't checked) it was '45 that had the largest amount of days lost (to capital) through strikes...? So who got it wrong? me? you? or Brecher?
You know what this thread
You know what this thread needs? A left communist interjecting with a long-discredited caricature that nobody on the ground even gives a shit about (in brief Engels slandered the general strike to advocate political action over direct action; Luxemburg repeated Engels to say the opposite without being accused of anarchism by the social democrats). Although tbh, I'm derailing too now :(
Funny that the biggest
Funny that the biggest wildcat in history was a general strike.
On the historical question:
On the historical question: US general strikes took place in 1946 (as quoted above). I believe those were the last general strikes. Clearly workers were much more organized nationally than today.
Could a public sector general strike happen in WI or in Madison, prolly. But it seems like municipal workers and Madison city government have reached a deal that incorporate all the nasty give-backs that they gave Walker's state government: http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/govt-and-politics/article_d04b3a58-4f39-11e0-9fc6-001cc4c002e0.html (link lifted from one of Juan's postings)...... So other tactics and forms of rank-and-file organization will prolly be in order to maintain some form of momentum and begin a push back process on the "shopfloor".
Some updates... -The recall
-The recall thing is now dominating the discourse. There are now efforts by the unions and Democrats to recall 8 Republicans and also there are efforts by Republicans to recall the 14 Democrats. The former seems far more likely.
-A political organization that I won't mention initiated a strike faction in a union here and organized a meeting to push for a strike within the union, which was then taken over by a recall faction (maybe in a planned and concerted fashion?)
-There's gonna be what I imagine is another larger rally this Saturday, which is also going to tie into the Iraq war anniversary.
Article by liberal who came to Madison last weekend
this article seems interesting. it seems these calls could work if they are tied down to a place/time. less so the general calls for national ones that are random.
just saying, giving some defining characteristics to the event/demonstration could get some people out? even better if committed orgs call for it probably.
Quote: This Sunday, March
Interesting Tweet I think is indicative of a lot here
And here's the website for the AFL-CIO's April 4th Day of "Action"
Quote: The second event,
I'd like hear how this went when it's complete if you don't mind.
(I'll be leading a workplace training myself on saturday, so training solidarity!)
The law has been temporarily
The law has been temporarily blocked due to a judge's determination that it violated Wisconsin's open meetings law. Here's the story.
Direct action gets the
Direct action gets the goods
We handed out quite a few
We handed out quite a few leaflets for No Concessions/Nurses United event tomorrow as well as the IWW one, of course.
Significantly less people today than last Saturday. Maybe 5,000-7,000 at most. Lot of petitioning, signs and chants for recall. The scale from recall to more militant actions seems to correspond a lot with race and job to a certain extent. The strongest calls for recall are white public sector workers, while the strongest calls for further actions come from immigrant groups, Latino student organizations, non-public sector workers, etc.
I don't think I need to say
I don't think I need to say the intent of this.
Some pictures from the last 7
Some pictures from the last 7 days
What about Labor and Elephant
What about Labor and Elephant Poop!?!
Over a week ago I
Over a week ago I posted:
Correction: she was 7 years old.
Let's hope that soon 5 year-olds'll be chanting "No classes today - no class society tomorrow!"
Samotnaf wrote: Let's hope
that would be the CUTEST THING EVER.
today the 5 year olds...tomorrow the kittens.
Chilli Sauce wrote: What
"Labor cleaning up the elephant poop."
No strike vote from
No strike vote from UW-Madison teaching assistants
The AFL-CIO's April 4th "Day of Action" is being described as "not business as usual". Although, from what I've heard about locally this means a rally at 5PM at the capitol.
Also, check out these 360 views of some of the protests
Quote: "Don't hold your
Is that the union backing out before it's even started?
Real quickly, the recall
Real quickly, the recall campaign and the effort to elect a new Supreme Court judge on April 5th is sucking the life out of everything right now. I think the high point of general strike talk was right when the bill was passed in the Senate and people rushed to the capitol. Since then, and particularly since the 14 Democrats returned, there has been a demobilization. The informal or formal strike factions within the public sector unions that I know of seemed to have been defeated either through their inability to gain strength or a recall faction smacking them down.
Many of the public sector unions are trying to sign contracts before the bill becomes law, which was supposed to be yesterday when it was published, but there's been a court order against it, so I'm not sure if it's law as of now (even though they did go ahead and publish it, despite the court order to delay).
There is a new pamphlet that we wrote that will hopefully be out in the next week or week and a half. It steps away a bit from the talk of a general strike and talks more about specific job actions, etc, that can be done, while also addressing the recall and other stuff. There's a real potential that solidarity unionism may have to be a default for state workers depending on whether their unions even attept to do the yearly re-certification stuff outlined in Walker's bill.
Right now, me and the other 2 out of town organizers are on a statewide trip to try and connect with contacts/lapsed members we have, as well has hitting up some retail stores. We're also out slapping posters and leaflets at the universities.
p.s. - I was just in Duluth, where there was a Finnish language IWW paper until 1975. Unfortunately I didn't have enough time to dig for these or find out people who could talk about the town's past. Seemed like a really interesting city. Arguably where the Rust Belt started, but in 2011, still more heavy industrial working than other Rust Belt areas I've been to
There's confusion on whether
There's confusion on whether the law restricted collective bargaining is in effect yet or not.
Also, some students at the University of Minnesota are occupying a building there, partially in solidarity with us in Wisconsin.
Jun Gonatz: "p.s. - I was
Jun Gonatz: "p.s. - I was just in Duluth, where there was a Finnish language IWW paper until 1975. Unfortunately I didn't have enough time to dig for these or find out people who could talk about the town's past. Seemed like a really interesting city. "
Home of the 1990s WSA wreckers and entryists. Real nice people there. Yup. Wouldn't bother me if a few of em slip in while ice fishing. Yup.
syndicalist wrote: Jun
Yeah, me and another guy (IWW organizer that I was with) were talking about that when we were in the town, too.
But doubt they (Duluth entryists into WSA) had anything to do with the old Finnish IWW, though...
At least one of the Duluth
At least one of the Duluth entryists would claim he has had something to do with everyone since the time of Moses.....so......
Inside the capitol building
Inside the capitol building there is now a "free speech zone". Go outside it with a sign and be arrested or given a $200 fine.
On the bullshit recall
First I've heard of it, but supposably there is a hunger strike going on too
Juan did you get my PM? I'm
Juan did you get my PM?
I'm in Wisconsin, looking for the best ways to get involved. Any WI wobs or others who know what's going on right now? I've tried contacting the Madison infoshop and they just directed me to the Wisconsin wave website, also tried emailing the Madison wobs but no reply from them. Anyone in the far south, like near the Illinois border? Or know anyone around that region? Pm me if you have any info or contacts for me.
tastybrain wrote: Juan did
Ah, yes, sorry, it got lost in the flurry of messages in my email. I'll find it and message you back.
Just seen this - from
Just seen this - from Milwaukee Indymedia:
And just seen this as
And just seen this as well:
- from here.
Juan Conatz wrote: Ah, yes,
No worries, sounds like you're busy with a lot of interesting stuff.
Quote: Gov. Walker Will Bow
Ohio is the latest state to roll back the strike & bargaining rights.
The NY Times writes:
Quote: On 3-12-11 the IWW
Elections were yesterday.
Elections were yesterday. Record turnout in Madison and other places. The 'anti-Walker' candidate for Supreme Court, Kloppenberg, seems to have won by 233 votes.
I believe 2 of the Republican state senators have had 20,000 + recall signatures signed against them. I think a recall requires 15,000.
The AFL-CIO April 4th "Day of Action" was pretty much just a get-out-the-vote rally, with Jesse Jackson and other people I didn't give a fuck about speaking to a crowd of around 4-5,000.
thanks for the updates Juan,
thanks for the updates Juan, very interesting to hear whats happening in Wisconsin...
Oh forgot to mention that
Oh forgot to mention that there was a Labor Notes Troublemaker's School last weekend. I missed most of it because I chose to table rather than attend (having meeting exhaustion), but a lot of it I think was about what we should do next.
There's been a couple organizations that have formed or become more known in the last couple of weeks.
Wisconsin Resists (not sure who or what this is right now)
Wisconsin WAVE (seems mostly older liberals who do somewhat clever publicity stunt actions)
We Are Wisconsin (AFL-CIO backed)
No Cuts, No Concessions (Nurses United and some others)
For anyone who's interested,
For anyone who's interested, here's what some of the socialist groups are saying. I picked out some notable stuff. Although it's hard to be certain, really the only ones who have people in Madison, actually do shit and are open about their involvement are the ISO, Solidarity, Socialist Alternative and Workers International League.
I've seen the RCP, SWP and even the ancient Progressive Labor Party around, but I think they're from out of town, or all they do is table or they are not open about their politics/membership in the wider movements, so it's harder to identify.
International Socialist Organization
-The labor movement after Wisconsin
-What do we do next? (Union nurse advocating road blockades and strike action.)
-Lessons of the Capitol struggle (TA union member on the last days of the capitol occupation)
-Injury to one is an injury to all (I view this as an attack article. Republished from 1989 and makes it seem as if the IWW doesn't exist anymore or had some good ideas then, but not so much anymore...)
The Next Phase in Wisconsin: Veering Away From the Democrats
-Interview with Wisconsin Student Activist
-FAQ About Strike Action
Workers International League
-Report on the March 12th Mega Rally in Madison, WI (Mentions the IWW/UTI general strike forum)
ILWU Sued After Solidarity
ILWU Sued After Solidarity Work Stoppage Shut Ports on April 4th
It's a shame about them being
It's a shame about them being sued - have they been sued before over any of their stoppages?
Thanks for the continued updates.
By the way, have the 18-odd percent pay/benefit cuts actually come into being yet?
Steven. wrote: By the way,
For the public sector in Wisconsin?
Quote: Gov. Scott Walker
Occupation just started at
Occupation just started at UW-Madison. Not sure how long they are planning to do this, but I'm gonna head down there in an hour or so. Check my twitter for updates. http://twitter.com/juanconatz
Headed over to the occupation
Headed over to the occupation yesterday. Got there around 5:00pm or so, I believe. There were around 30-40 people occupying the hallway and lecture hall in front of the Chancellor's office. The building (Bascom hall) is traditionally where occupations take place, since the 60s. The most recent one was in 2001 and done by Student Against Sweatshops, I think.
When I got there, they were (and had been for a while, apparantly) discussing whether they were going to try and spend the night with so 'few' people. Eventually it went to a vote and the pro-spend the night people won.
There was a very shy, nervous and awkward vice dean of students (or something similar) that was afraid to ask us to leave. Eventually his boss, the dean of students, came and said we needed to leave. We were told the police were coming to talk to us.
Eventually they did come..around 25-30 of them and said we had 60 seconds to leave because the building closes at 6pm and we were there at 7:30pm. They wouldn't let us discuss it as a group very long. Vote to disperse passed pretty quickly and everyone left.
This short lived occupation had demands around the planned splitting off of UW-Madison from the UW system and privatization of some of the university workforce.
Before I got there they had talked/argued with the Chancellor and there's supposed to be some meeting or open forum of some sort on Friday.
May Day march
May Day march tomorrow.
Collective bargaining bit is
Collective bargaining bit is still held up in the courts over procedural issues. There's rumors that the GOP may try to reintroduce it, but not sure on the likelihood of that.
Some Republican and Democrat senators have had recall petitions filed against them.
Jesus fucking christ...
Walker wants private sector to run assistance programs
More than 80 threats made against Walker, lawmakers and others, records show
Last weekend, there was an
Last weekend, there was an action at an M&I bank (big backers of the GOP) that resulted in the bank branch being shut down and some protesters being grabbed and shoved by security. This is all on word of mouth though.
Today there were 7,000-10,000 protesting down at the capitol again. It's really crazy how the national media has virtually ignored these continuing protests for a while now. Meanwhile, every time 20 Tea baggers show up somewhere, there's a media frenzy.
A voter ID bill just passed, too, which was probably intended as a legal form of voter disenfranchisement right ahead of the possibility of recall elections. Voter ID usually affects the poor, who vote Democrat by a wide margin.
Faculty at UW-Green Bay voted 117-2 faculty to unionize. This is the 3rd or 4th university in the state that's had a yes vote since Walker's bill was introduced.
Academic staff at University
Academic staff at University of Wisconsin-Superior voted 89-5 to unionize this morning. Faculty at UWS unionized about a year ago, and is one of 7 campuses to have unionized faculty. UWS is now the first with unionized academic staff.
Article from Wisconsin AFL-CIO
This is not going to have a
This is not going to have a postive impact on people's inclination towards action
Quote: Judge strikes down
I hate to be cryptic, but
I hate to be cryptic, but within the next 5 days, something may happen of some significance that may or may not change things. I'm not sure if this is just exaggeration by some comrades or not, but I'll be going to a meeting tonight to find out for myself.
Sounds intriguing! But you
But you know on what basis the law has been blocked for the time being?
It's funny though, now that it seems the whole discussion is only around the issue of collective bargaining - it seems that the actual issue of the 20-odd percent pay cuts has just been forgotten about. Have those come into effect yet?
The law was blocked because
The law was blocked because the way it whick it was pushed through violated open meetings laws I believe. So it wasn't blocked because of what it was, but because of how it was passed. That means that the GOP could reintroduce it. And there's rumors they may attempt it in the next week, but we'll see. It's headed towards the Supreme Court now, and whatever the result, they can still reintoduce it.
I think the pay cuts depend on where you're working. Before the bill was about to be enacted, every public sector union was scrambling wildly to get a new contract that would be in effect before the bill. Some did, I think others are working without a contract.
In any case, it's always been about collective bargaining to the unions. They put it pretty clear that they were willing to accept concessions of all kinds.
Quote: Protesters disrupt
This must have been on live TV, because Twitter erupted with a bunch of spineless liberal fuckwits screaming about "these actions are playing into the GOP's hands", "they must be GOP operatives", "this is not how WI is!" and similar nonsense.
I was downtown when this started, but couldn't figure out what was happening. There was a 100 or so people waiting in line to get into the capitol.
There's a 'Walkerville' tent city planned to start this weekend, but the permit hasn't been granted yet, so we'll see.
Monday there's a bunch of stuff planned as well, some of which could be significant.
looks like this disruption is
looks like this disruption is becoming controversial, with one of the main student groups here1 almost coming out and publicly condemning it and threatening to possibly expel members if they were involved. Ridiculous.
Picture from Joint Finance Committee
2 arrested, 30 removed
I called that student group
I called that student group out on that statement and it was taken down.
Sumi (the judge) issued a
Sumi (the judge) issued a permanent injunction due to the way that open meetings law wasn't followed, and the GOP is going to appeal it so that the conservative-dominated supreme court can look at it. Sumi was smart, and based her whole ruling off of previous supreme court rulings.They may reverse it, but they are going to have to squirm around their own rulings, which would further erode public confidence in government in this state (and maybe as a whole). She was put in her seat by Tommy Thompson, a former republican governor, so the GOP's constant bitching about her is reminiscent of Israel's outrage over the Goldstone report. I'm not sure the GOP would get the senate votes to take collective bargaining with 6 of their senators facing a recall election in July.
Juan, thanks for the updates. If it's something big I may be able to get a carpool of people from the still frigid far north of the state.
Also, do you have any information about people being arrested outside the Joint Finance meeting today?
From what I've heard there
From what I've heard there were 2 people arrested and 30 removed. The disruption was continuous for over an hour, I believe. One person would be removed, and then another would walk up to yell a statement. There's a link in one of my posts above.
New statement from student
New statement from student group
I think, along with this, the next couple days we're going to see stuff like this more often. There's a real disconnect between the Democrats/union leadership and their liberal allies and those becoming disillusioned with the recall.
It's a pretty good example of something that was unsaid 2 months ago: We Democrats came back, now shut up and let everything go through us and only come out when we say so.
Juan Conatz wrote: New
Be militant until we come to power, then shut up. It's been the Trade Union/Democrat way since time immemorial.
Sorry about missing that, I
Sorry about missing that, I clicked reply after #293 and then got distracted before posting.
I'm rather angry about the ASO's post against civil disobedience. I thought maybe by coming out of the capitol occupation they wouldn't be quite so lame. The way the supreme court election went (completely stolen), I think that a lot of people are going to be more militant and stop listening to establishment democrats. Good.