Post-Trump North American left trends

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syndicalist
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Jun 21 2019 23:04

Meant simply as a "historical" observation. Not a slag or anything. Sorta a shame actually.

This seems to be a "regular" IWW cycle for as log as Ive been around these past 4 plus decades.. It's a shame in the sense that there was a period in the earlier part of this century the iww people were really finding a balance and a groove. Well, it looked like that from an outsiders point of view.

"The organization as a whole feels very in flux to me, and the possibilities of major structural changes seem to be inevitable. It's more unclear to me than ever who the 'social leaders' and important people in the organization are. One month, someone who I think is probably one of the most important people has been expelled/discredited the next month as part of some scandal."

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Jun 23 2019 22:53
syndicalist wrote:
Meant simply as a "historical" observation. Not a slag or anything. Sorta a shame actually.

This seems to be a "regular" IWW cycle for as log as Ive been around these past 4 plus decades.. It's a shame in the sense that there was a period in the earlier part of this century the iww people were really finding a balance and a groove. Well, it looked like that from an outsiders point of view.

As a student of IWW history, I totally agree. I guess from my perspective it seems unique but it probably isn't. My theory is that it is a cycle that corresponds with who are the leaders within the organization. New leaders oust the old, the new then become the old through complacency, turnover and/or stagnation, and then the cycle repeats itself. I think the rest of the left has variations of this, but even being aware of it doesn't seem to help as far as knowing how to navigate it or successfully ignore it.

syndicalist
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Jun 23 2019 23:38
Juan Conatz wrote:
syndicalist wrote:
Meant simply as a "historical" observation. Not a slag or anything. Sorta a shame actually.

This seems to be a "regular" IWW cycle for as log as Ive been around these past 4 plus decades.. It's a shame in the sense that there was a period in the earlier part of this century the iww people were really finding a balance and a groove. Well, it looked like that from an outsiders point of view.

As a student of IWW history, I totally agree. I guess from my perspective it seems unique but it probably isn't. My theory is that it is a cycle that corresponds with who are the leaders within the organization. New leaders oust the old, the new then become the old through complacency, turnover and/or stagnation, and then the cycle repeats itself. I think the rest of the left has variations of this, but even being aware of it doesn't seem to help as far as knowing how to navigate it or successfully ignore it.

Here's what strikes me the most (as an outside observer): Each successive "change", in recent years, comes with real shifts in what the organization seems to be involved in/promotes. I suppose this may be true in other organizations, but hard to say. The thing is (and said comradely and respectfully), the IWW is not a social movement or political organization. It is, as is oft repeated, a union. So the recent shits seem more pronounced, to me at least. That said, stability (for any organization) comes with a constant and stated aim. And folks who seem to want to "stay the course".

syndicalist
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Jun 24 2019 14:24

And, of course, each successive core group believes they can “reinvent the wheel. As opposed to learning and integrating the best aspects of history, past practice and so forth. Oft times new cores want to believe they have found the new and right course. And, at times, seemingly push those before then aside in that quest. Learn from mistakes, reject bad and divisive approaches. But incorporate the best of the past and build on both past and new. My experience is folks seem to have a hard time with this sorta integration. Really, it comes down to how much folks at the core want it are willing to find balances and compromises, where they can be found. On the other hand, paper unity for unity sake doesn’t always work either. I’m rambling now. I’ll end it here.

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Jun 27 2019 13:29

syndicalist, obviously you've seen this dynamic more than me and I agree with you to a certain extent but think you are speaking on it as someone who has been part of one of these sides (both?) of old and new that you describe and thus have generalizations and stereotypes of the other that someone who was more neutral may not have.

For example, I agree as you call it "new cores" want to believe they have found a "new and right course", but I think everyone underestimates how much of the "new core" was around when the "old core" was in power and just disagrees with the "old core" based on actual experience, sometimes just as much experience than the "old core". Or how the "old core" can be lazy, exclusionary, arrogant and presumptuous of its status as a core at all, which contributes to its downfall and can actually promote a "new core" that is motivated more by an animosity and dislike of the "old core" rather than pronounced differences in outlook.

I don't know, I've never been involved in one of these "core" conflicts or switches as anything more than someone watching on the sidelines.

syndicalist
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Jun 27 2019 14:47

All I’m saying is there is an overall tendency not to find balance
and bridges between old and new. Clearly there will be ideological or personal differences.
My concern, observation and yes participation is the oft inabilities to build a certain continuity
And these observations cut across organizations

syndicalist
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Jun 27 2019 16:38
Juan Conatz wrote:

I don't know, I've never been involved in one of these "core" conflicts or switches as anything more than someone watching on the sidelines.

I suspect in the IWW you have. Not meant in an uncomaredly way. Just an outside observation.

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Jul 17 2019 23:39

For those following along at home Oliver Twister has left the IWW to avoid several accusations of sexual harassment and assault. Many of his backers in the Twin Cities have left the union as well in light of several allegations of physical and sexual assaults, including threats of physical violence against political opponents.

Lots of the people alleged to have lost their positions of influence as "conservatives", swept aside by a rising tide of radicalism, are continuing to build the union and many workplace campaigns are growing at a healthy rate and have won a few elections for office in the IWW since this time. OT's predictions or even his account of what was happening in the union were greatly exaggerated. We remain committed to the project of revolutionary industrial unionism.

Politics is lively in the union as it always is but we are coming to terms with the extent and degree to which Oliver Twister and others had targeted individuals they disagreeed with in an attempt to intimidate and harass them out of the union- especially women. You can see an example of that early in this thread where OT had his post edited to keep personal names out of it.

In one case OT and his friends in the "wobblies for a revolutionary union movement" caucus outed someone operating under pseudonyms to avoid a domestic violence situation. Trying to frame her as a far right provocateur.

It is exceedingly ironic in light of their means of operating that their own misdeeds came back to haunt so many of them and now WRUM is largely in shambles and can barely present itself as progressive, let alone "revolutionary". This was definitely a depressing episode in the IWW's existence and I really didn't want to write this but felt this thread wouldn't be complete, especially for those outside of North America, without an account of where things ended up in the last few months.

syndicalist
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Jul 25 2019 00:26

As with everything, shit catches up with ya. That's all Ive gots to say on OT.

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Jul 27 2019 00:42
EdmontonWobbly wrote:
For those following along at home Oliver Twister has left the IWW to avoid several accusations of sexual harassment and assault. Many of his backers in the Twin Cities have left the union as well in light of several allegations of physical and sexual assaults, including threats of physical violence against political opponents.

I want to preface my comment by acknowledging that I've met you, EdmontonWobbly, face-to-face a couple times and you seemed like a decent person. So regarding this post I find it necessary to be blunt: you seem to be relishing -- even gloating -- that someone got sexually assaulted and that threats of violence were being made. Maybe I'm getting old and overly sensitive to this stuff, but I always considered it the role of radicals to try to prevent sexual assaults and defuse the potential for violence among our friends and comrades, in order that we as working class militants might strengthen our unity in the class struggle.

This smacks of point-scoring gossip, where the victims of these conflicts are incidental sidenotes, reduced to mere pawns. I know you might live elsewhere, but EdmontonWobbly did you participate in any kind of restorative justice or accountability process? Or am I judging correctly in seeing this as merely a smear on Oliver?

EdmontonWobbly wrote:
This was definitely a depressing episode in the IWW's existence and I really didn't want to write this but felt this thread wouldn't be complete, especially for those outside of North America, without an account of where things ended up in the last few months.

This is an excellent case where you should've trusted your instincts and erred on the side of principle, because it amounts to mere hearsay and isn't really "an account of where things ended up in the last few months." The IWW of late, especially in some regions, has become a toxic cesspool of "anti-oppression" witch hunts that do justice to the traditions of Salem -- and in that sense, the IWW is indistinguishable from the (now-defunct) ISO.

Rather than chronicle a litany of unacceptable behaviors, I'd much rather hear accounts of successful organizing. Or at the very least, hear how proactive attempts are being made to prevent these alleged misdeeds in the future. That is, unless you were actually cheering them on.

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fingers malone
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Jul 27 2019 08:59

I'm pretty sure EdmontonWobbly is not relishing what has happened and I think it's reasonable to let other posters know about this.

Mike Harman
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Jul 27 2019 09:33
Hieronymous wrote:
EdmontonWobbly did you participate in any kind of restorative justice or accountability process?

EdmontonWobbly's post suggests that any such process was cut short when OT decided to leave. It would be dodgy to bring up an ongoing accountability process that someone was engaging with in good faith, but when there's no such process possible I'm not sure what people are expected to do.

Hieronymous wrote:
The IWW of late, especially in some regions, has become a toxic cesspool of "anti-oppression" witch hunts that do justice to the traditions of Salem -- and in that sense, the IWW is indistinguishable from the (now-defunct) ISO.

Rather than chronicle a litany of unacceptable behaviors, I'd much rather hear accounts of successful organizing.

Accountability for sexual violence within organisations is an example of successful organizing.

The ISO recently collapsed not because of a 'witch hunt' but because it was found to have covered up rape allegations for several years. Unless you think the leading ISO members who covered up the rape allegations were the victims of a witch hunt that's a weird example to bring up.

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EdmontonWobbly
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Jul 27 2019 13:27

Yeah I was worried about coming off that way Hierymous, some of what you bring up is a fair thing to say.

I think the IWW has a lot of work to do on how we handle these kinds of accusations and the key thing is that they be applied in an even handed manner and that restorative justice is available to everyone who does these things not just political allies. Right now it isn't and when restorative justice was offered to WRUM people I did say it should also be available to the people WRUM ran out on similar accusations. I also do think we need to be honest with ourselves and our actual capacity and recognise that these processes are a poor substitute for actual counselling and actual therapy by professionals. Also I think the survivors need to be in the drivers seat about who stays and who goes.

A lot of people were hurt in this and I don't want to give the impression that somehow WRUM had a monopoly on sexual violence. Our society as a whole is full of sexism.

However this thread had a lot of accusations and painted a picture for those outside North America and I do think we need to actually have this turn of events and the people who hoenstly were on the business end of what OT did represented.

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Jul 27 2019 13:31

Also though the IWW is growing and while some regions are a mess others are doing very well, particularly things like the Stardust campaign and the Seattle branch. As for the cess pool of anti oppression politics there are clearly two sides to it, our society as a whole has a lot to reckon with as far as sexual assault goes and the left is not outside that. On the other hand if there was one person who felt they were on the side of angles and used with hunts to run people out it was OT.

At some point we will need an even handed way to handle these things and restorative justice is a good idea but it will need to be for everyone not just who we think has been vicitm of a witch hunt.

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Jul 27 2019 15:32

This quote comes to mind:

Nietzsche wrote:
“He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster . . . when you gaze long into the abyss the abyss also gazes into you”

Fair enough, EdmontonWobbly.

I think these incidents should be treated with the gravity that the violations deserve. Yet, as you point out, we live in a deeply sexist society and isn't only the bad practices of a few individuals that need to be healed.

I can't help but also think of this quote:

J. Krishnamurti wrote:
"It is no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society."

On the other hand, we need to be clear about what abuse actually is. Harvey Weinstein was a serial abuser. OT was not. He's posted on libcom for over 13 years, and has made notable contributions to the advancement of our class, particularly the intervention he and Juan made in Wisconsin in 2011 -- when the rolling teachers' strike nearly generalized into a statewide mass strike. We wouldn't have had Occupy if there hadn't been the Wisconsin Uprising. I personally think the attacks on public sector workers in Wisconsin bolstered the defensive struggle of teachers in Chicago in 2012. Without teachers struggling there, I don't think would would have had the education workers' strike that shut down schools in all 55 counties of West Virginia last year, which spread to many red states and continues to this day.

On the West Coast of North America, from Seattle to Los Angeles, witch hunts are ongoing, some starting in the IWW and some that began elsewhere have spread to and have paralyzed Wobbly branches. I witnessed one, knowing comrades on both sides of the accusations. I drew parallels to the ISO because the accusations are essentialist ones, having gravitated from anti-oppression politics of college campuses to wider activismist circles. Men are accused of taking up "too much space," but without any context at all. This "space" is never defined. When pressed, one accuser said the alleged perpetrator was "too social" and had "too many friends." I know him and this is a pathetic farce; he's an amazing organizer because he draws people together, build bridges, and creates a network of class struggle militants far and wide. If that's taking too much space, we need more space hogs like him. As I said, I witnessed the whole thing first-hand and it really began with petty and trivial misunderstandings: who was supposed to do tasks for the workplace training, and when the comrade who was delegated that responsibility was too busy at their own job to do it, they were eventually accused of perpetuating "toxic masculine culture" and "abuse." This is a disservice to those who are truly abused, like the victims of Harvey Weinstein.

A remedy would be for everyone to read Conflict Is Not Abuse: Overstating Harm, Community Responsibility, and the Duty of Repair so that all of us can help defuse and heal conflicts, without them being escalated to accusations of abuse. And if abuse has occurred, finding restorative methods of dealing with it. Every shopfloor militant should learn the skills and develop the organizing tools to prevent and/or diffuse power conflicts among comrades from devolving into abuse, which is where someone exercises power over another.

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Jul 28 2019 00:16

I dunno H, I am not sure I have the same read on all of this you do. I think right now almost every sector of society is coming to terms with the fact that the bar was set pretty low for consent for a long time. I don't know what you know about the accusations against OT but they were also far past simply taking up too much space. This is a problem we need to address in the IWW and in all other aspects of our lives.

Again though on the subject of witch hunts, public shaming rituals, and personalising political fights I would encourage people to go back in this thread and read what OT does in this thread publicly outing people. He also leaked the personal identity location and history of someone who was operating under an assumed name to avoid an abusive ex which is really only one step beyond what he did in this thread to a woman member of the GEB. This person's identity was then published in an article and circulated by his allies all over the place.

Earlier in this thread he accused several people, by name, of various kinds of abuse, he escalates the argument needlessly, and paints a picture of out of touch bureaucrats who could not change with the times to justify his actions. He brings up every piece of information he can to try and make it abundantly clear he is watching people and is willing to expose them for what he feels they are. If OT was a victim of a witch hunt we need to also accept by his own definition he was a witch.

This kind of attack in as public a forum in as personal a manner as possible is pretty in keeping with the concerns about witch hunts H posts above. He was consumed by his own methods. I agree with you that those methods are a problem but they are also problem when your friends do it.

The only answer is a process that determines what harm was done by whom and has credibility in the eyes of the union membership in addressing and correcting bad behaviour. I agree there and I think restorative justice is a part of that. But that also means we need to be clear when wrong was done and have clear definitions of the standard of conduct. I would put to you that what OT is accused of, with regards to sexual misconduct, is beyond any reasonable definition of misconduct and the law in most jurisdictions libcom readers would be seeing this in.

Again this whole conversation is actually really stressful and I won't blame you for questioning my motives in why I am posting this stuff, anyone reading this thread can see that OT and I had our differences. But I think considering how much OT put out there it is important to set the record straight.

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Jul 31 2019 15:13

OK, now it's clearer. I posted on this thread too, and felt -- and still feel -- that it's been more heat than light. It's hard to separate the hyperbole from the reality. But EW, you're right, it's purpose seems to be interpersonal acrimony rather than clarification.

What OT did is definitely awful, but I've only seen the account of the sexual assault that OT himself forwarded to me. None of it was explained further, not that I need to know any more. But the case against him that claims that he made too many convention proposals doesn't seem clear (the "idea dump"). Is that really oppressive and alienating to new members? I always thought IWW meetings were boring and demoralizing because the ones I've attended seemed consumed by everything but shopfloor organizing (e.g., contentious debates about solidarity statements with Venezuela or other things unrelated to the lived experience of the fellow workers attending those meetings). Wasn't OT just being wonky about union policy, having a sincere desire to see it evolve in a particular direction? Which begs the question: was there something in the proposals that was objectionable? Or were there simply too many? If the latter, can't they simply be tabled without the expenditure of any energy on them?

As syndicalist points out, these purges seem to be a regular -- almost seasonal -- part of the the ebb and flow of the organization. My initial reaction was that it was just another faction fight. [irrelevant comment removed]

syndicalist
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Jul 28 2019 21:08

I've had on-line discussion with OT since the (mid-late) 1990s. They never seemed to have gone smooth. Always a sense of arrogance and entitlement. That;s just my on-line impression and experience. I was unaware (until now) of these other disturbing activities. There are few people in this world who deserve to get the boot. But sometimes if one is not cognizant of their approach, actions and how their negativity his perceived, well, I guess they got no one to blame for "getting the boot."

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Jul 31 2019 15:18
EdmontonWobbly wrote:
Also though the IWW is growing and while some regions are a mess others are doing very well, particularly things like [...] the Seattle branch. As for the cess pool of anti oppression politics there are clearly two sides to it . . .

OK, EdmontonWobbly, here I've gotta call bullshit.

In the ultra-left/left communist circles I'm close to, an allegation of a rape that occurred in Seattle -- dating back to 2012 -- has been circulating, recently being spread by some careless fools in New York City. This is entirely unrelated to the ones mentioned in this thread. But since I know the alleged perpetrator, I sought out two comrades in Seattle to ask what happened. Both confirmed that there was no accuser because there never was a rape; they remain personal friends with both parties. Both told me the woman who is the alleged survivor has continuously made clear that it was a consensual relationship, but she had concerns about communication during the time she was being intimate. Since I was on an e-mail thread where I first heard the accusations, I can personally confirm that they were fabricated by a former member of the Seattle IWW branch, who was clearly conflating a political conflict into a false accusation of rape, but also false allegations that there was no accountability process.

During these conversations, my ultra-left comrades confirmed what a toxic cesspool of disinformation and Trump-sympathizing white nationalism the Seattle IWW branch has become. They reminded me that Spencer Sturdevant and Cyan Rose Quinn (the former banned from libcom for his fascistic posts) went from the Seattle IWW branch to become straight-up white nationalists, affiliated with Identity Evropa (here's an account: https://identifyevropa.org/spencer-sturdevant-and-cyan-rose-quinn/).

So my question to you, EdmontonWobbly, is this: how is can the Seattle IWW branch be "doing very well" when it's the breeding ground for COINTEPRO-like disinformation and fascists?

EdmontonWobbly wrote:
He also leaked the personal identity location and history of someone who was operating under an assumed name to avoid an abusive ex [...]. This person's identity was then published in an article and circulated by his allies all over the place.

Here it's necessary to call bullshit again. You seem to be alleging that doxxing occurred, right? How can you reveal someone's identity -- even under an "assumed name" -- when under that same name the person has a Wikipedia page and has been quoted in the bourgeois press as a Washington State delegate to the 2016 Republican Convention? And while that same person -- under that exact same name -- is currently in a leadership position (perhaps it's even her "day job") as the Washington "state leader" for a patriotic law-and-order national Republican Party organization founded by a Mormon former CIA agent? Working with him is an obvious fit, since this supposedly doxxed person formerly worked as a military intelligence officer -- according to her Wikipedia page.

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Jul 31 2019 19:02

Yeah again H I am not sure were on the same page on the interpretation of events and I would encourage you to ask for opinions other than from OT and any quiet supporters they may have left. Just like what OT told you the actual accusations were, and just like what OT did in this very thread to political opponents it is weird seeing so much detailed personal information about various people OT has disagreed with over the years showing up here while also maintaining that OT was the victim of a witch hunt.

Like I said above OT was consumed by his own tactics but the allegations against him are very serious and not at all like what you are recounting about the allegations from Seattle in 2012.

Regardless the Seattle GMB currently has over 150 members and several active campaigns in a number of shops. I have no idea about this case you're talking about and have never heard of it. I do know a lot about their organising but that alone should say something about whether or not it has descended into witch hunts and is consuming itself.

I also think the accusations against the supposed right wing operative which you repeat directly from the articles WRUM members used to try and attack her don't hold up to scrutiny. They actually remind me a lot of the campaign some Left Communists ran against people invovled in Libcom for associating with someone who had distant and tangential relations with law enforcement because of their job:

https://en.internationalism.org/icconline/201305/7746/aufhebengate

This person in question was in the military and was very low ranking but had some component of their work as military intelligence. They were also kicked out of the military and faced legal action because of their anti war activism.

But again I want you to compare your own rhetoric about witch hunts above and then look at how far down the rabbit hole we have gotten about various people's personal character. If we are against witch hunts does that mean we are in favour of a proper investigation into wrong doing, due process, and a report made to the membership? I am in favour of that and instead of facing the charges brought against him OT quit the organisation.

But you can't complain about witch hunts and then repeat talking points from a blog that has avoided using any kinds of due process they have access to in order to single out and bully officers that oppose them. WRUM's primary means of operating has been public call outs, shaming and personal attacks.

This is also a long track record of behaviour, especially from OT, where he even singles out women officers (who he encouraged to run but then took poisitons he didn't like) to harass and bully them into backing policy positions he has taken.

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Aug 1 2019 15:06

Again, I call bullshit.

Aufhebengate is about someone I've actually met (but only once, in passing 20 years ago). Due to their academic research being used for police crowd control, I personally wouldn't have anything to do with them again. It got grossly overblown, but it doesn't parallel at all what we're talking about here.

I'd heard repeatedly from West Coast comrades that track white nationalists, who have no connection to OT, about right-wing and fascist infiltration of the left in the Pacific Northwest. One example is the aforementioned Republican operative active in the IWW in Seattle. For fuck's sake, this person can be found with a simple internet search. My talking points are actually taken from Wikipedia, the Stand Up Republic website and Facebook accounts, and mainstream media around the PNW. There's nothing controversial about using Google to look this shit up, so why are you alleging some conspiracy about how I accessed it?

When people smear others with expressions about "a long track record of behaviour" I call bullshit. OT has been on libcom for 13 years. Why didn't you bring up your character appraisal a decade ago? Your unsubstantiated accusations are actually closing down discussion and engaging in intentional defamation, where your political disagreement gets conflated into a charge of abuse. EdmontonWobbly, you as much as anyone are bringing more heat than light. The reason for all this is that there's been a contest for power. You've just weaponized allegations that are mere hearsay, at best, and intentional fabrications, at worst. I highly recommend you read Sarah Shulman's Conflict Is Not Abuse: Overstating Harm, Community Responsibility, and the Duty of Repair to learn some tools make good faith efforts to resolve disagreements in a principled manner.

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Jul 31 2019 20:29

So is your problem witch hunts or is your problem who we are calling witches?

lou.rinaldi
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Jul 31 2019 20:29

I have to say this whole "if he was so bad for so long" is a bad trajectory of thought. It is more or less the line use to excuse sexual assault you hear all the time. Given what H is saying, OT is exhibiting classic behavior for someone accused of SA. It's called DARVO. Deflect, attack, reverse victim and offender. You can read about it here: https://dynamic.uoregon.edu/jjf/defineDARVO.html

Anyways, as a member of the Seattle IWW, I think H's description of the branch is ridiculous. And if people have concerns, the Seattle IWW has repeatedly said people are free to contact them. For what it's worth, the branch is the largest IWW branch in north america. We have multiple workplaces with majority union membership and many more smaller committees. It's a highly functional branch. This whole collection of nonsequitors woven into a narrative about the Seattle IWW being like fascist doesn't hold up to the most basic scrutiny.

Mike Harman
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Aug 1 2019 07:40

Spencer Sturdevant used to post on libcom as 'kingzog'. This is the main thread I remember where they exposed themselves as a white nationalist: https://libcom.org/forums/news/migrants-sexual-violence-19042016

There's a write-up (also posted at the end of that thread) on Sturdevant here: https://pugetsoundanarchists.org/with-friends-like-these-beacon-hill-whi...

Identity Europa has since rebranded to 'American Identity Movement', Sturdevant also gets a mention here: https://unicornriot.ninja/2019/slouching-towards-the-ethnostate-inside-t...

Mike Harman
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Aug 1 2019 08:35
EdmontonWobbly wrote:
This person in question was in the military and was very low ranking but had some component of their work as military intelligence. They were also kicked out of the military and faced legal action because of their anti war activism.

So I've read the post in question. I think groups need to decide for themselves whether they admit ex-military people and that would depend on both the group and the person, but that doesn't seem to be the main issue here?

It's more widely reported right wing activism like attending the Republican National Convention (2016) (as a Ted Cruz supporter) and working with Stand Up Republic (2018) https://standuprepublic.com/about-us/ - the ex-CIA and RNC connections are right there on their about page. The RNC attendance they had a fundraiser for their attendance, and they were quoted multiple times in multiple major news outlets about the convention. Stand Up Republic promoted them all over social media in 2018.

What's (probably) dodgy about the post is linking this activity to an alias used in the IWW (the one similarity to Aufhebengate). The reason given is access to the IWW membership database being immanent though, which is a bit different to writing for an annual theoretical journal and seems like an actual, urgent, security risk to IWW members, and a case where any questions about stuff like attending the RNC or working with Stand Up Republic you'd think would put a hold on that access.

EdmontonWobbly wrote:
If we are against witch hunts does that mean we are in favour of a proper investigation into wrong doing, due process, and a report made to the membership?

If there are serious questions about someone getting into a leadership position with access to a membership database, then there should be a proper internal discussion/investigation before that happens rather than afterwards when it's too late. If that doesn't happen you start to have limited options other than going public somehow. The question then is what is an adequate internal investigation and what is the point at which going public becomes a reasonable course of action (and exactly what information is made public).

Another example is Michael Schmidt. It's very obvious to me that it was reasonable to make his white nationalism public knowledge (and given he publishes under the name Michael Schmidt no question of 'doxxing' as such). However the way that Alexander Reid-Ross did this was incredibly sensationalist and unhelpful ('far right infiltration', then information released over a couple of months in a serialised set of blog posts instead of all at once, no contact with the current incarnation of Zabalaza etc.).

So you'd want groups to have solid accountability processes which are neither used to settle political disputes nor to protect abusers, but going public when those processes are not there or are insufficient can be a reasonable course of action - if the person in question is a danger to others and is being protected by the organisation.

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Aug 1 2019 13:24

The thing is when the member who was formerly armed forces was asked to not have data base access they immediately consented and have not tried to get it since. They complied with the request without much fuss from them. Also worth noting they joined the IWW through an organising campaign on the job and were asked as a matter of course, they could not have sought out the IWW for inflitration in this case. They did not come out of the woodwork and sign up off the street. As for the right wing involvement sure, people did all sorts of I'll advised stuff in the panic over Trump, including some people getting involved to back other right wing opponents in hopes of splitting the vote. Was it a good idea in my opinion? Not really but the story checks out as I worked closely with them giving them advice on their workplace organising and they never hid any of this from me.

OT's way of operating wasn't just to do an end run around an internal investigation in this one case. They used public displays of shaming/exposing people as a regular part of their MO. Look at the posts earlier in this thread where they had to have personal names removed by Libcom admin, they did it to a GEB member that they disagreed with on a vote.

Another example was standing up at the Montreal convention and reading out a very graphic account of a sexual assault to the room, without warning to anyone and against the requests of the chair to sit down, calling out the chair of the GEB (a political opponents on OT's) for complicity in "covering up" this incident after an charges committee investigation determined there was no cover up or wrongdoing.

This was a repeated part of the pattern and I think we need to face up to the fact that OT was the driving force behind several attempts to do exactly what people are now saying he fell victim to. Which begs the question, are we really opposed to these kinds of methods or is it just that someone's friend went down because of them?

Mike Harman
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Joined: 7-02-06
Aug 1 2019 13:58
EdmontonWobbly wrote:
The thing is when the member who was formerly armed forces was asked to not have data base access they immediately consented and have not tried to get it since.
They complied with the request without much fuss from them.

Thanks, that is useful information. Did this happen before or after the post about them went public?

EdmontonWobbly wrote:
Also worth noting they joined the IWW through an organising campaign on the job and were asked as a matter of course, they could not have sought out the IWW for inflitration in this case. They did not come out of the woodwork and sign up off the street. As for the right wing involvement sure, people did all sorts of I'll advised stuff in the panic over Trump, including some people getting involved to back other right wing opponents in hopes of splitting the vote. Was it a good idea in my opinion? Not really but the story checks out as I worked closely with them giving them advice on their workplace organising and they never hid any of this from me.

So these are good reasons to not exclude someone from a job branch, but also good reasons not to quickly promote them into regional/national positions.

Also while it might explain 2016 RNC involvement in some kind of extreme lesser-evilism gambit, it doesn't really explain 2018?

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Hieronymous
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Joined: 27-07-07
Aug 1 2019 15:49

This thread is really about this:

Juan Conatz wrote:
-Perceived amplification of the stakes translating into more salt the earth tactics towards internal rivals

and this:

Steven. wrote:
Mike, I think he means that because people see "the left" as being particularly crucial now, lefties are being more vicious in terms of their attacks on other left-wing opponents.

I'm not really that in touch with the American scene so not very sure about the accuracy of this. But I am aware of extremely vicious internal rivalries over prolonged periods of time…

These attacks on the faction represented by OT, whatever their merit, would eventually -- and out of necessity -- need to have been be created . . . and then escalated. Just like had there never been a Jon Bekken, another despot to be dethroned would need to have been created.

This is a faction fight, pure and simple. But aided by all the weaponized abuse accusations that could possibly be summoned to tear down political rivals. Meanwhile the bosses laugh all the way to the bank.

Doesn't it really come down to the IWW vs DSA, antifa vs cadre building, electoralism vs class struggle, wider class-based organizing vs a reductive focus on shopfloor committees, strikes vs organizational recruiting, destitute workers in hollowed rural hinterlands vs graduate students in booming coastal elite cities? Throw into the mix a rather outdated inflexible orthodoxy around organizer trainings (a.k.a. one-size-fits-all) vs an analysis of the massive changes in class composition in order to create industry-specific -- and commensurate -- forms of organizing and education (here think: class struggle efforts like the Awood Center in Minneapolis organizing Somali workers at Amazon fulfillment centers & the Los Angeles-origins of rank-and-filer Uber/Lyft workers creating Rideshare Driver United, which now has gone global). All of which can be further reduced to dueling emphases, cadre vs. class.

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Hieronymous
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Joined: 27-07-07
Aug 1 2019 15:27
lou.rinaldi wrote:
And if people have concerns, the Seattle IWW has repeatedly said people are free to contact them.

So, a question for the Seattle comrades: is the aforementioned Republican Wobbly still the Stand Up Republic "state leader" for Washington?

Second question: do you think she wanted to share the IWW database with her colleagues in the Republican Party? If not, why did she want it?

lou.rinaldi
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Joined: 16-06-12
Aug 1 2019 18:06

H, like I said, contact the GMB. I'm not gonna go into it here. All you're doing is trying to deflect from the fact that OT is a sexist abuser. When it came up you literally used the Bill Cosby defense. At this point multiple women have come forward about his behavior and actions. You can't seriously just chalk that up to a "factional dispute". I get that he is your friend. You may want to get better friends.