international day of action in solidarity with general transport workers association (asf iwa) on september 15

136 posts / 0 new
Last post
Lugius's picture
Lugius
Offline
Joined: 19-04-10
Sep 24 2012 05:56

Solidarity should never be dependent on being liked or not being critical. It is in the interests of all workers everywhere to support a campaign to restore a wage cut made arbitrarily by management. After all, you could be next!

If you live in a country that enjoys a higher level of wages and conditions as a result of years and years of struggle you need to be prepared to fight to defend those same wages and conditions for years and years to come not only because it is in your own interests, but also because it allows greater room for manouever to workers in countries that suffer from lower levels of wages and conditions. This would be international class solidarity.

You support workers in struggle even if they are members of reformist unions because it is in the interests of all workers to do so. This would be class-consciousness at its most rudimentary level. The worker standing next to you on the picket-line could be a ranking fuckwit or, if you're really unlucky, an 'autonomous Marxist'. In the context of class struggle, it should make no difference.

It would that appear some on this forum don't get this.

Syndicalist made this point earlier and I recalled a similar point by way of anecdote

Anarcho-syndicalist unions have a bi-fold purpose; to obtain and defend the best wages and conditions possible whilst creating and practising an organisational infrastructure with the aim of replacing the government of people with the administration of things.

I regard the IWA as best placed to achieve this. I think this is reflected in the list of actions above.

This is not to say that the IWW did not play a part in addition to a few anarchist groups and other organisation not necessarily anarchist and even members of reformist unions.

But to suggest that, because a union counted amongst its members someone who was critical of your organisation, it is a valid reason for not supporting their struggle, reflects an attitude that attenuates class interest in favour of a pure political interest I would think.

The non-appearance of the Melbourne IWW at the Day of Action protest is a problem for the Melbourne IWW, not ASF-M. Nor is this, by itself, a reason to be critical of the IWW as a whole (I can think of other reasons).

By way of contrast, one need only look at the Sydney IWW and the Perth IWW who may, or may not, be critical of the IWA in general and the ASF in particular, but nevertheless came to the party in the spirit of class solidarity.

Good on 'em

akai
Offline
Joined: 29-09-06
Sep 25 2012 06:12

There was a list of worldwide actions and it was asked if anything was missing.
After an initial report was made, I also saw information that CNT in Malaga made a picket. So you could add that.

Lugius's picture
Lugius
Offline
Joined: 19-04-10
Sep 26 2012 01:39

Thank you Akai. Find the updated list below.

AUSTRALASIA (5)

Auckland, NZ: Auckland Anarchists, Auckland Action Against Poverty

Brisbane, Queensland: ASF

Melbourne, Victoria: ASF

Perth, WA: IWW

Sydney, NSW: ASF IWW

Wellington, NZ: AWSM

EUROPE (32)

Amsterdam, The Netherlands: ASB, Anarchist Group Amsterdam

Besonne, France: CNTF

Bratislava, Slovakia: Priama Akcija

Brighton, England: SolFed

Bristol, England: SolFed

Bonn, Germany: FAU

Caen, France: CNTF

Clermont, France: CNTF

Cologne, Germany: FAU

Elche, Spain: CNT

Enghien-les-Bains, France: CNTF

Gijon, Spain: CNT

Leeds, England: IWW

Lagenfeld, Germany: FAU

Malaga, Spain: CNT

Manchester, UK: SolFed, AF

Mataro, Spain: CNT

Moscow, Russia: KRAS

Nanterre, France: CNTF

Oslo, Norway: NSF

Paris, France: SUD

Pau, France: CNTF

Premia de Mar, Spain: CNT

Sabadell, Spain: CNT

Salamanca, Spain: CNT

Sartrouville, France: CNTF

Sheffield, England: IWW

Southampton, England: SolFed

South London, England: SolFed

Toulouse, France: CNTF

Vigo, Spain: CNT

Warsaw, Poland: ZSP

NORTH AMERICA (7)

Berkeley, California: IWW, WSA

Lansing, Michigan: Lansing Workers Centre

Long Beach, California: IWW, WSA

Missoula, Montana: WSA, Zootown Solidarity Network

Nanaimo, British Columbia: IWW

Providence, Rhode Island: IWW, WSA

Tampa, Florida: IWW

SOUTH AMERICA (3)

Porto Alegre, Brazil: COB

Rosario, Argentina: FORA

Sao Paolo, Brazil: COB

Lugius's picture
Lugius
Offline
Joined: 19-04-10
Sep 26 2012 02:06

Whoops! Forgot the companeros in Madrid! Here is yet another update. So far we have 48 locations in 15 countries on four continents. Well done to all those involved!

AUSTRALASIA (5)

Auckland, NZ: Auckland Anarchists, Auckland Action Against Poverty

Brisbane, Queensland: ASF

Melbourne, Victoria: ASF

Perth, WA: IWW

Sydney, NSW: ASF IWW

Wellington, NZ: AWSM

EUROPE (33)

Amsterdam, The Netherlands: ASB, Anarchist Group Amsterdam

Besonne, France: CNTF

Bratislava, Slovakia: Priama Akcija

Brighton, England: SolFed

Bristol, England: SolFed

Bonn, Germany: FAU

Caen, France: CNTF

Clermont, France: CNTF

Cologne, Germany: FAU

Elche, Spain: CNT

Enghien-les-Bains, France: CNTF

Gijon, Spain: CNT

Leeds, England: IWW

Lagenfeld, Germany: FAU

Madrid, Spain: CNT

Malaga, Spain: CNT

Manchester, England: SolFed, AF

Mataro, Spain: CNT

Moscow, Russia: KRAS

Nanterre, France: CNTF

Oslo, Norway: NSF

Paris, France: SUD

Pau, France: CNTF

Premia de Mar, Spain: CNT

Sabadell, Spain: CNT

Salamanca, Spain: CNT

Sartrouville, France: CNTF

Sheffield, England: IWW

Southampton, England: SolFed

South London, England: SolFed

Toulouse, France: CNTF

Vigo, Spain: CNT

Warsaw, Poland: ZSP

NORTH AMERICA (7)

Berkeley, California: IWW, WSA

Lansing, Michigan: Lansing Workers Centre

Long Beach, California: IWW, WSA

Missoula, Montana: WSA, Zootown Solidarity Network

Nanaimo, British Columbia: IWW

Providence, Rhode Island: IWW, WSA

Tampa, Florida: IWW

SOUTH AMERICA (3)

Porto Alegre, Brazil: COB

Rosario, Argentina: FORA

Sao Paolo, Brazil: COB

Juan Conatz's picture
Juan Conatz
Offline
Joined: 29-04-08
Sep 26 2012 03:09

Minneapolis, Minnesota IWW, as well.

ites's picture
ites
Offline
Joined: 10-02-11
Sep 26 2012 05:03
Lugius wrote:
You support workers in struggle even if they are members of reformist unions because it is in the interests of all workers to do so. This would be class-consciousness at its most rudimentary level. The worker standing next to you on the picket-line could be a ranking fuckwit or, if you're really unlucky, an 'autonomous Marxist'. In the context of class struggle, it should make no difference.

It would that appear some on this forum don't get this.

Appearances can be deceptive.

Lugius wrote:
The non-appearance of the Melbourne IWW at the Day of Action protest is a problem for the Melbourne IWW, not ASF-M. Nor is this, by itself, a reason to be critical of the IWW as a whole (I can think of other reasons).

By way of contrast, one need only look at the Sydney IWW and the Perth IWW who may, or may not, be critical of the IWA in general and the ASF in particular, but nevertheless came to the party in the spirit of class solidarity.

That's one way to look it; another way to look at the situation is that the Sydney and Perth Wobs were more willing and able to actively support the day of action because their geographical location didn't oblige them to be in the physical proximity of certain particularly unpleasant individuals associated with the Melbourne ASF.

To the extent that the Melbourne branch tends to take more of an active role in the production of Direct Action insofar as the editor provides ongoing reports to branch meetings it could be said to have played a more indirect role though helping to publicise the issue. Again we have never asked for thanks for trying to help in this manner, though we would have appreciated some sort of acknowledgement.

ites's picture
ites
Offline
Joined: 10-02-11
Sep 26 2012 06:00

Strike at Dominos in France!
by KansasCity Iww on Tuesday, 25 September 2012 at 13:46 ·

I received a message from someone in France requesting solidarity with Dominos workers. They provided this email address...

DOMINOS - Strike at Domino's Pizza France (Lyon) Address: col-lec-tif-domi-nos-lyon8@hot-mail.frAnd a link to this site... http://rebellyon.info/Engagement-d-une-lutte-a-domino-s.html#formulaire_...

Here is the badly translated text from the site... [edited for this post]

Commitment of a fight to Domino's Pizza (Lyon 8e)
Posted on September 24

News of the struggle against Domino's Pizza Friday the 8th district to protest working conditions and low wages.

Friday, 21 September, 2012, 6pm, employees of Domino's Pizza store Lyon 8e were given an appointment to find a solution to low wages and poor working conditions (the leaflet is written attached to the end of the text).

Accompanied by many unionists, workers decided to request a meeting with their employer. It is not available, employees have decided to unanimously out of this situation by exercising their right of withdrawal for the evening after a meeting with the employer was fixed the next day at 10am.

Saturday, 22 September at 10am employees collectively met their employer and demanded respect of the Labour Code and the collective agreement of fast food (which represents a revolution in the franchise), the massive hiring to compensate for the lack of staff making the conditions of appalling working and renewal of equipment deliverymen (request an outfit winter tire quality, protection, ...)

After the employer has responded to most requests by rhetoric and demagoguery some, it was decided that it should allow 1 week to allow time for it to implement various advanced.

Employees have returned to work in "partial service", refusing to deliver without new tires were better equipped to scooters and new arrivals are held, providing reuse their right of withdrawal if a situation too much pressure was felt.The next appointment with the employer shall be next Saturday! Insecure jobs, poor working conditions, low wages, committed throughout the fight!

Leaflet distributed Sept. 21: Domino's pizza Lyon 8e,

STOP THE PUZZLE OF EMPLOYEES!

Students and precarious workers, forced to work for a large majority of us, we no longer support the use of which we are the object and the attitude of management who feels above the law!

Employees working in appalling working conditions: Members of the management team are demoted without prior interview and pushed to the limit, under constant pressure that brings some of the depression. Schedules are often notified 2 days before the beginning of the week they are intended. Lack of occupational visits.

The hours spent in the dressing room are mandatory unpaid but then that compensation is provided for by the collective agreement of fast food. Outfits and scooters are a pathetic quality and they do not protect any of the deliverymen winter cold, rain and road accidents ...... not to mention temperatures inside the store that have been regularly above 35 ° C!

Poverty wages for niche huge work: 12 week contracts are imposed on the vast majority of employees, some are forced to work five nights a week to complete these hours while the salary does not exceed some € 425 net per month! Management is very flexible schedules imposed on employees regardless of their personal lives.

Monthly pay slips must be verified by the employees to avoid errors. Additional hours and overtime are not paid. Illegal practices with the signing of an addendum to the employment contract after hours they target are often implemented. It may take months to get compensation for transport to our workplace, even if the compensation comes a day!

In addition, the lack of manpower (departures not replaced) puts us in a dangerous situation and a report of conflict with customers who complained to the employees of the service quality.

Under these conditions a number of employees of Domino's pizza Lyon 8e will implement articles 40L4131-1 of the Labour Code and following which include that "the employer may require the worker who has exercised his right of withdrawal to resume its activities in a work situation where there is continuing imminent and serious danger. "

Uncreative's picture
Uncreative
Offline
Joined: 11-10-09
Sep 26 2012 09:50
Lugius wrote:
Whoops! Forgot the companeros in Madrid! Here is yet another update. So far we have 48 locations in 15 countries on four continents. Well done to all those involved!

The Leeds demo was done by the AF and the IWW.

Lugius's picture
Lugius
Offline
Joined: 19-04-10
Sep 26 2012 17:15

Thank you Juan Conatz and Uncreative! Hopefully this list is now complete - if anything is missing or inaccurate, please let us know.

AUSTRALASIA (6)

Auckland, NZ: Auckland Anarchists, Auckland Action Against Poverty

Brisbane, Queensland: ASF

Melbourne, Victoria: ASF

Perth, WA: IWW

Sydney, NSW: ASF IWW

Wellington, NZ: AWSM

EUROPE (33)

Amsterdam, The Netherlands: ASB, Anarchist Group Amsterdam

Besonne, France: CNTF

Bratislava, Slovakia: Priama Akcija

Brighton, England: SolFed

Bristol, England: SolFed

Bonn, Germany: FAU

Caen, France: CNTF

Clermont, France: CNTF

Cologne, Germany: FAU

Elche, Spain: CNT

Enghien-les-Bains, France: CNTF

Gijon, Spain: CNT

Leeds, England: IWW, AF

Lagenfeld, Germany: FAU

Madrid, Spain: CNT

Malaga, Spain: CNT

Manchester, England: SolFed, AF

Mataro, Spain: CNT

Moscow, Russia: KRAS

Nanterre, France: CNTF

Oslo, Norway: NSF

Paris, France: SUD

Pau, France: CNTF

Premia de Mar, Spain: CNT

Sabadell, Spain: CNT

Salamanca, Spain: CNT

Sartrouville, France: CNTF

Sheffield, England: IWW

Southampton, England: SolFed

South London, England: SolFed

Toulouse, France: CNTF

Vigo, Spain: CNT

Warsaw, Poland: ZSP

NORTH AMERICA (8)

Berkeley, California: IWW, WSA

Lansing, Michigan: Lansing Workers Centre

Long Beach, California: IWW, WSA

Minneapolis-St.Paul, Minnesota: IWW

Missoula, Montana: WSA, Zootown Solidarity Network

Nanaimo, British Columbia: IWW

Providence, Rhode Island: IWW, WSA

Tampa, Florida: IWW

SOUTH AMERICA (3)

Porto Alegre, Brazil: COB

Rosario, Argentina: FORA

Sao Paolo, Brazil: COB

MT
Offline
Joined: 29-03-07
Sep 26 2012 17:35

offtopic - there's a typo;)

incorrect: Bratislava, Slovakia: Priama Akcija
correct: Bratislava, Slovakia: Priama Akcia

Lugius's picture
Lugius
Offline
Joined: 19-04-10
Sep 26 2012 20:21

Thank you MT, another inaccuaracy cleared up. But I won't post the list again!

Lugius's picture
Lugius
Offline
Joined: 19-04-10
Sep 26 2012 20:22

Except to spell inaccuracy correctly!

Chilli Sauce's picture
Chilli Sauce
Offline
Joined: 5-10-07
Sep 26 2012 23:11

Awesome to hear about that strike in France. I think you should make it a news article, ites.

ites's picture
ites
Offline
Joined: 10-02-11
Sep 27 2012 10:44
Chilli Sauce wrote:
Awesome to hear about that strike in France. I think you should make it a news article, ites.

Sure is; might not be a bad idea.

ites's picture
ites
Offline
Joined: 10-02-11
Sep 27 2012 10:46

Spikymike
Offline
Joined: 6-01-07
Sep 28 2012 15:06

The Australian ASF workers Domino's dispute is one small affair amongst many in the International fast food industry. It is natural and expected that the ASF comrades there should provide as much support and solidarity as they are able to their comrades involved and the other workers affected. As part of the IWA the request for action internationally is equally valid but here lies some justification for questioning, in terms of the public representation of that action, if there is not some ''..distance between myth and reality..''.

I was happy to add my individual support to a brief SolFed organised 'symbolic' protest outside of a Domino's outlet here in the UK because: I had the time available with no other pressing engagements and more importantly I recognise that there is some (if only psychological?) value in providing this kind of small personal act of solidarity to other comrades. Additionally although it was a remote possibillity it does sometimes happen that such retail organisations will respond to what they perceive as bad publicity if, rightly or wrongly, they think it might be the start of something bigger.

However as far as I can see (and as far as most participants expected) these solidarity actions were precisely as I described, ie carried out by non-Domino's workers from a political commitment and purely of symbolic significance, and subsequently pumped up in IWA propaganda to be more significant than they were with the primary aim of promoting the IWA's own significance as a force in the political-economic battle contrary to reality.

Indeed the choice of which particular solidarity actions to promote by the IWA in the vast array of ongoing industrial battles internationally seem mostly to be based precisely on their relationship to the IWA and it's promotion (will the french strikers now get the same support?) rather than any strategic assessment of which battles are most significant or critical from a class perspective. An exception to this here in the UK would be the SolFed campaign against 'workfare' carried out in the same manner (and with my sometime support) as the international Domio's actions. Some success has been claimed for this campaign in disuading various retailers to withdraw, in part or wholly, from engaging with these government schemes, but I would suggest that to the extent that these were a limited sucess it was due as much to the fact that the SolFed actions were only part of a much wider campaign by a variety of other organisations with much the same (not especially anarchist) tactics.

This assessment may seem harsh in relation to an organisation that does some useful basic work and which I am sympathetic to, but as with other small groups in our milieu there is IMO a need for a bit more realism and transparency in how our efforts are publicly represented and less defensiveness to honest questioning from within our milieu.

Joseph Kay's picture
Joseph Kay
Offline
Joined: 14-03-06
Sep 28 2012 15:21
Spikymike wrote:
pumped up in IWA propaganda to be more significant than they were with the primary aim of promoting the IWA's own significance

Can you give any links or examples to IWA propaganda claiming it was anything other than standing outside some shops in support of people in Australia? (genuine question, I haven't seen much prop at all beyond a few hasty write-ups).

Spikymike wrote:
the SolFed campaign against 'workfare' carried out in the same manner (and with my sometime support) as the international Domio's actions. Some success has been claimed for this campaign in disuading various retailers to withdraw, in part or wholly, from engaging with these government schemes, but I would suggest that to the extent that these were a limited sucess it was due as much to the fact that the SolFed actions were only part of a much wider campaign by a variety of other organisations with much the same (not especially anarchist) tactics.

Clearly it's a coincidence that the most high profile firm to withdraw from workfare recently was the one singled out for a targetted campaign. roll eyes [/derail]

syndicalist
Offline
Joined: 15-04-06
Sep 28 2012 15:35

Spikey..... I guess I don't get the criticism..... to the extent it was a solidarity action in support of Dominos workers in Australia. And, for the record, the IWA has no section in the US or Canada.
The WSA initiated the campaign, with mostly members of the IWW Foodworkers getting on board in short order to really make the pickets a reasonable success (given the short order to organize and the issue happening down under).

The goal of the campaign was to put pressure on Dominos-Australia. If some organizing leads, in north america, came about for the IWW Foodworkers, cool. But that was the goal of the campaign (but it would be a nice side aspect if it happened).

In some respects I see this in the same vein as when these terrible fires happen in the Bangladesh garment factories. Oft time pickets are organized in front of retail shops, whose corporate owners contract with the Bangladesh sweatshops.Why? To put pressure on the corporation's. Years ago, WSA (and others) picketed on behalf of the Scottish Laura Ashlely factory workers. We did so in front of a very posh NYC outlet....the workers sorta smiled, the bosses asked us what it was about and the usual back and forth. Our point was to make a point, to get some pressure on the companies and so forth. Again, if workers wished to organize, we would've helped them.

I guess I don't get the point about selective solidarity or who calls for solidarity or if its by a small organization (aren't we all?) and so forth. And, honestly, if we can't support "our own", who will get out in front on that?

Recognizing I'm not the brightest person on earth, perhaps I've missed something. Perhaps not.

axxs's picture
axxs
Offline
Joined: 16-03-06
Sep 28 2012 16:31

It would not matter if we had one or a hundred members that were drivers (we have no where near a hundred!)

touch one, touch all.

However, I will point out that around 20 drivers were represented and recognised at the past FWA hearing, drivers we have been working with since April.

The GTWA is still in a process of being formed, it hasn't jumped out of the block as in your face radical workers each and every one and I am sure people are familiar with the fact these things need work, the promotion of the GTWA as a group is part of that. Yes, ASF Brisbane has been working with them and doing a lot in solidarity, we have helped provide websites, Facebook groups, contacts, networking, emails, legal advice etc, but the whole direction of the campaign comes explicitly from drivers (eg: the list of demands is unedited and verbatim from drivers), and the majority are not driver members of ASF Brisbane but other drivers 'loosely' in the GTWA. By loosely I mean dues are still being worked on, Secretary is a position no one seems to want to take on directly as the 'face' of the GTWA (and I don't blame them atm, some also have things like uni and other stuff), most of the drivers are just happy to have others deal with the issues and just nod their heads, getting people to organise meetings rather than email rounds is a pain in the arse etc etc. Is this abnormal? Or should the GTWA be way beyond this before there is an attempt to get their wages reinstated?

These are real issues and I don't think they are ones other groups avoid. The vast majority of drivers are not anarchists, they are in the GTWA because other drivers are actually doing something. They are in it because the reformist union let them down and the ASF stood by the few drivers we had, solid.

Sometimes it feels like people think we are claiming some sort of pizza-driver-anarchist-militia ready for a Fast Food War.

If anyone can point out more definitively what we have done wrong it would be appreciated, and we will try and correct it. For what it's worth I think we simply have been effective in bringing about both awareness of the issue in the IWA, only after months of work did we call on help for a reason.

However posting stuff an implying a 'myth' is simply incorrect and demoralising. It is especially galling that those people that are local to Brisbane that state this have never contacted us before either to ask what is going on, how things are going, or dare I say help or contributed. It's second hand information and most probably from members that are pretty much inactive in ASF-B let alone the dispute, not coming to meetings and only one picket (and not the first as claimed I might add, which shows exactly how much idea they have about current affairs)

Anyway, things are happening, it's been really busy as things have changed since the international day of action (funny that!), and it's all good news that we should be able to talk about next week with an announcement. atm we are herding cats.

In the meantime if you want to know what is going on, just email info@asf-iwa.org.au it's not hard. Unfortunately stuff just can't be mentioned in public quite yet.

Spikymike
Offline
Joined: 6-01-07
Sep 29 2012 16:03

Joseph,

As you know I've taken this approach before in relation to these kind of 'solidarity' actions when we disagreed then.

To be fair to the extent that actual photo's were offered on sites showing 6 or10 casual looking people outside Domino's it probably didn't look too impressive or boastful, but the publication of long lists of such actions along with some slightly hyped descriptions, which actions it seemed to me were largely ineffective, precisely because of their 'externality' to Domino's workers, restriction in size, time and political narrowness were being presented in a way as an expression of some kind of IWA strength (even with the equally limited IWW support). It might just be me but I suspect your presentations may come accross differently to those outside of the IWA and fellow travellors than they do to insiders?

syndicalist,

Sorry I can't be more explanatory but do ponder on the difference between my basic expression of support and my criticism of how the specifically international solidarity actions were publically presented. I made this point in reference to the IWA/SolFed in this case, but my limited criticism is broadly one I have made towards a number of groups in our milieu, so I'm not particularly having a go at the IWA. I suppose you could say ''our own'' are ''our class in action'' and not specifically our particular political group or union, but I'm not suggesting that support for our immediate comrades should necessarily be sacrificed to the wider struggle.

I hope the actions taken Internationally have at least given a moral booster to the Austratian Domino's workers directly involved in this fight.

akai
Offline
Joined: 29-09-06
Sep 30 2012 10:17

Personally I find the opinions of Spikymike to be part of an unproductive way of thinking. There are certain facts which have to be considered. When making any workplace or solidarity campaign, we are not dealing with any larger "working class" but with concrete people, with concrete demands. In any given case, this may be a small group of people, or it may even be an individual. If he is not suggesting that "support for our immediate comrades be sacrified to the wider struggle", then what on earth is the bitching about?

In each concrete case, workers have a number of choices. The most basic ones are either to believe that nothing can be done, or try to exert pressure on the company and gain demands.

In many cases, as growing segments of the workforce are outside of any unions domain, or of no real interest to the mainstream ones, this leaves smaller groups of workers or groups in smaller workplaces faced with how to make actions. In our experience here, successful actions can be made using direct action, solidarity pickets, etc. A lot depends on the target and the methods used might have to be different to win demands.

If the target is an international firm, certainly solidarity actions can make pressure and at least boast the morale of the workforce. My personal reflection however is that in some cases, ie the Dominos case, a longer campaign might need to be done to bring success. However, it is yet to be seen and we know that drivers already had a partial success with getting back part of their wages.

The reason I find the opinions of that poster to be unproductive is simply because he is offering no alternative ideas for the workers in struggle. This is what is problematic, since if workers want to do something and if they generate ideas to fight, it is a much better situation than if they decide that nothing at all can be done. So of course this type of attitude should be supported by any activists who share it.

I mean, frankly, if my wages were cut and somebody started bullshitting to me about the significance of my actions on the scale of the working class, I wouldn't waste my time in such a theoretical discussion and only be interested if that person had a better idea for conducting the concrete struggle. (Keeping in mind that people don't want to go to the mainstream union bureaucrats and have limited resources.)

Lugius's picture
Lugius
Offline
Joined: 19-04-10
Oct 1 2012 00:32

Spikymike writes:

Quote:
I was happy to add my individual support to a brief SolFed organised 'symbolic' protest outside of a Domino's outlet here in the UK because: I had the time available with no other pressing engagements and more importantly I recognise that there is some (if only psychological?) value in providing this kind of small personal act of solidarity to other comrades. Additionally although it was a remote possibillity it does sometimes happen that such retail organisations will respond to what they perceive as bad publicity if, rightly or wrongly, they think it might be the start of something bigger.

Here you have detected the two objectives sought by the ASF in calling for an international day of action; raise the morale of those Domino's drivers who want to fight by making them aware of the widespread support their struggle has beyond Australia, make DPE aware of the widespread support that their employees have and open the possibility that bad publicity may have a detrimental effect on how their consumer product is perceived given that the product (fast food) is sensitive to negative perceptions. This may encourage DPE to seek a speedy resolution to the dispute.

Quote:
However as far as I can see (and as far as most participants expected) these solidarity actions were precisely as I described, ie carried out by non-Domino's workers from a political commitment and purely of symbolic significance, and subsequently pumped up in IWA propaganda to be more significant than they were with the primary aim of promoting the IWA's own significance as a force in the political-economic battle contrary to reality.

Wrong. The primary aim was to achieve the two objectives outlined above and on this basis, the DoA can be judged a success. Promoting the IWA was a secondary aim. What could be wrong with that? I'd be interested in your explanation of exactly how the 'force' of the IWA in the battle is 'contrary to reality'

Quote:
This assessment may seem harsh in relation to an organisation that does some useful basic work and which I am sympathetic to, but as with other small groups in our milieu there is IMO a need for a bit more realism and transparency in how our efforts are publicly represented and less defensiveness to honest questioning from within our milieu.

First, define 'our milieu'. I don't accept the premise of your statement. Simply being of 'our milieu' does not entitle you any information with which you may determine the reality or otherwise of the situation. At least not right now. You ought exercise some patience.

If, like me, you regard the struggle between the productive classes of society and the non-productive classes of society as a war, and you have already used the term 'battle', then what sense would there be in revealing everything to the enemy? Why would you not employ camouflage or a ruse or whatever else that might amplify your chances of victory? Afterall, the GTWA is not only taking on the mutinational DPE but the largest reformist union in Australia. A realistic appraisal is that the chance of victory is slim. But it is still a chance.

It would have thought this is pretty basic.

Quote:
It might just be me but I suspect your presentations may come accross differently to those outside of the IWA and fellow travellors than they do to insiders?

Do you actually know? I suspect you are attempting to give your own personal view the authority of public opinion. My own view, based on my own experience, is that most workers will join unions that they think will fight and that they can have some say in. It has little to do with how your politics are perceived in most cases.

Your criticism seems to boil down to how the actions were presented in public, and that it had the ancillary effect of promoting the IWA. I fail to see the problem, perhaps you could be more specific and go into greater detail about how this is a problem. Particularly, why is promoting the IWA a 'problem'?

No one on this list has a right or an entitlement to know anything other than the broad outlines right here, right now

The IWA Secretariat and the KRAS, ZSP, FAU, CNTF, SolFed, CNT, PA, FORA, COB need only know that they can trust the ASF. The ASF knows it can trust the IWA, the DoA being evidence proof positive. Without trust there is nothing, trust me. The trust between the ASF and the WSA has been built up over more than twenty years on account of sharing a language that facilitated communication and understanding.

In the fullness of time, the entire campaign will be subjected to a thorough scrutiny as to why it was won or lost and the lessons or conclusions will be widely diseminated amongst 'our milieu'.

In the meantime, shut up and wait patiently. If you are unable to understand this, it would be your problem and yours alone. It can never be a problem for the ASF.

Disclaimer: My opinions are my opinions, others in the ASF may or may not share them.

akai
Offline
Joined: 29-09-06
Oct 1 2012 07:50

I think that the remarks about IWA just reflect the writer's own bias. The way I see it, we federate internationally largely in order to support each other internationally, so when somebody asks for solidarity, if you are able to do it, great. It should be that way and if the Sections reacted in an organized fashion, this is a good sign to be happy about, and if other organizations also supported, we are also happy for the chance to cooperate in defending a concrete struggle.

Spikymike
Offline
Joined: 6-01-07
Oct 1 2012 11:04

Lugius/akai,

I don't think I asked for any detailed inside information did I - you may have mixed me up with other protanganists in this thread. My comments were made on the basis of what I know about this international solidarity campaign and other campaigns of a similar nature in terms of the IWA/SolFed's practice and ambitions - and of course this is a reflection of my own political 'bias' rather than yours.

This is an open discussion forum and it is not unreasonable to take practical examples as a basis for wider criticism and discussion - if that's a problem for you then I suggest you keep your communications restricted to your own networks.

At the risk of irritating you and my SolFed comrades further - I could summarise my criticism here as saying that the IWA (whatever useful work it does indeed carry out) is a 'minow' which seeks to convince itself and others that it is as now, or is potentially in the future, a really big fish -a reflection of it's inabillity to come to terms with the way that capitalism has changed since it's heyday.

I do regard the IWA/SoFed as part of a slightly wider libertarian communist milieu but I don't think it has somehow discovered on it's own the road to succesful working class defense let alone the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism.

See your pricklyness has rubbed off on me now but then I am already 'spiky'.

syndicalist
Offline
Joined: 15-04-06
Oct 1 2012 14:28

WSA Joins in International Day of Solidarity With Domino’s Workers
http://ideasandaction.info/2012/10/wsa-joins-in-international-day-of-sol...

Lugius's picture
Lugius
Offline
Joined: 19-04-10
Oct 2 2012 04:46

Spikymike,

Irritate away! It's fine by me. Pricklyness? I plead guilty.

I still don't get your criticism; the IWA is small compared to reformist unions - this is a critique?
Can you be more specific with regard to the alleged inability of the IWA to come to terms with how capitalism has changed since its 'heyday' (When would that heyday be?) I don't have a problem with criticism but when it is couched in such vague and broad terms I don't think it's useful. Your critique essentially posits quantity over quality.

Name a larger revolutionary union than the IWA.

Forgive me, but you sound like you are looking for an excuse to chuck it in. Mate, surrender is not an option. I know the task can appear to be overwhelming at times but you have to get up, dust yourself down and press on regardless. There is no Geneva Convention in the class war.

At the core of the Domino's campaign is the restoration of a wage-cut of a significant proportion. It resists the general trend towards a downward pressure on wages going on all over the world.

International action demonstrates the possibility of global unions to fight global bosses. I would expect that this sounds like common sense to many.

Name a reformist union that is capable of mounting an international campaign with the same breadth as this one.

Disclaimer: My opinions are my opinions, others in the ASF may or may not share them.

Spikymike
Offline
Joined: 6-01-07
Oct 3 2012 13:26

Lugius.

OK your not so prickly and I certainly don't doubt your comitment to miltant action in the workplace, except that most of the international actions we've been discussing have not been IN the workplace ,which reflects a weakness in both our class and the abillity of what I would term minority agitational groups of communist workers to respond to the attacks which are part of the current international economic crisis.

My critique of most anarcho-syndicalist strategies is based on a critique of 'unionism' perse whether trade, industrial, reformist or supposedly revolutionary in the context of modern global capitalism.
You would get a flavour of my point of view in various of my discussions on libcom around the earlier Brighton SolFed strategy document (now revised as a national pamphlet though I haven't seen that yet) and criticism of the AF pamplet on workplace strategy but I'm sure following up on that is not a priority for you at the moment. Probably not worth either of us trying to pursue this more general discussion on this particular thread as I think we just end up talking at cross purposes.

By the way I will continue to support some of these retail 'pickets' where that seems the only option at present - especially now I have retired from waged work, but they are hardly an adequate way forward for our class.

syndicalist
Offline
Joined: 15-04-06
Oct 3 2012 13:46

Was just about to close the computer ......

Quote:
Spikeymike: .... support some of these retail 'pickets' where that seems the only option at present - .......but they are hardly an adequate way forward for our class.

I actually think this raises a different discussion, but I dig the point.

While I may not share Spikeymike's political views, the question of forms of activities "we" take while, basically, starting from scratch is of interest. Obviously we don't want to engage in substitutionalism, by the same time, there will be times when support for in-house workers will take on "outside" forms. Like I said, a different discussion.

wojtek
Offline
Joined: 8-01-11
Oct 7 2012 02:00
Quote:
...There was a quality of excitement lacking from the whole affair.

Fortunately, the boss changed that in a bigger way than we could have ever hoped.

Suddenly, workers started running outside with flyers and pizzas, and started passing them out to anyone that seemed interested. A fellow worker who had been passing out flyers at the corner asked what the deal was, and ran back to us with an big grin on his face:

“That idiot is giving free pizza away to everyone. She thinks it’s gonna convince people that Domino’s isn’t so bad.”

That’s right, the boss’ response to our attempt to cost Domino’s money was… to cost Domino’s way more money than we could have ever anticipated.

Not wanting anyone to miss out on this opportunity, 3 of us split up and ran to the busiest intersections in Berkeley, telling everyone that they could get free pizza just by asking for it. Most folks were skeptical, but hordes of hungry teenagers were willing to take the risk that we might be pulling a fast one. Within minutes, twitter was crackling with the news. From Telegraph to Shattuck, crowds of Berkeley’s nightlife were descending upon Domino’s.

By the time I had returned to the pizza joint, a dense line was stretching out the door and down to the corner. Domino’s workers were passing out free sodas to everyone waiting. As we observed the people coming out the door, it was obvious that they weren’t just getting free slices, the boss was throwing away full pies. Some even had the gall to ask for sides… and got them...

http://www.iww.org/en/content/dominos-fall

Chilli Sauce's picture
Chilli Sauce
Offline
Joined: 5-10-07
Oct 7 2012 06:05

Hmmm...I don't know about that.

I think we have to be strategic and recognise we don't win disputes by getting the company to give away free food. Without sounding a bit preachy, we win disputes like this by spreading disputes; it's substitutionalist to think that a small group of outsiders can force the boss to shell out free product for a night and think that it's any sort of class victory.

Also, by reading the write-up, it doesn't particularly seem like workers in the shop totally grasped the significance of what was happening. It could be the author is being intentionally vague; it could be that it may take some time for the workers to grasp the significance of the event. But, honestly, I feel like this is still quite an activisty approach to workplace struggle.

Similarly--and again I apologize if this all seems excessively pessimistic--it doesn't seem like the customers were getting free pizza in order to support our comrades in Australia. Of course, action often precedes consciousness, but, as revolutionaries, we should be aware of such dynamics and our write-ups should reflect such realities.

I don't know, it sort of reads like a trade union 'everything that we do is an unqualified victory' piece and life--and certainly the class struggle--is much more complicated than that.