IWW and IWA current in Australia

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syndicalist
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Sep 2 2012 18:06

i think of something different....ha,ha,ha

akai
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Sep 2 2012 18:55

I don't think anybody should be suggesting what these other organizations should do. Personally don't think IWW and IWA is a good merger, as I said, unless in some particular country (presumably with smaller unions), something clicks.

happyanarchy
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Sep 3 2012 00:36
Rob Ray wrote:
Sorry to butt in but may I suggest, given neither ASF or the IWW have a movement worth a damn across the entire continent, that you wind your collective necks in and try to get along?

This is the most sensible comment in this whole thread. As far as revolutionary anarcho-syndicalist politics go in this country, our time and energies are better spent on discussing how to practically improve our tactics and processes here.

Also in Brisbane, the 'General Workers Assembly' idea is one worth pursuing and discussing. The Brisbane Branch of IWW has formally agreed to support this. http://workersbushtelegraph.com.au/2012/03/11/reigniting-the-struggle-fo...

For the record as a Wobbly I personly don't have a political problem with the ASF. As an organisation, if they can actually organise, radicalise and mobilise workers, then that can only be a good thing. So just go ahead and do it. No one needs to be publically having a go at the other if they are organising effectively.

Sectarian arguements don't create revolutionary situations. Personal egos should not get in the way of effective organising. Also it helps if people remember not everything that happens on the internet is the same as what is happening on the ground. Grassroots, ground up actions are what we need.

I think there is little value in nitpicking at what is politically wrong with the other organisation. The average Australian is not interested in obscure political abstractions, factions or 'alliances'. They want to see a Union/Syndicate that works, and see proof of it (and not just some websites and flags). If it works, is relivant and is practical, they will vote with thier feet.

When there is a campaign (what ever organisation is running it), we can talk about what worked, and what didn't and what was interesting. That way we are all learning and improving.

"From little things, big things grow"

caterpillar
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Sep 5 2012 03:51

I think that some IWW members on this thread have not been careful enough to distinguish between their own views and that of the organisation. I don't think that has been helpful, so I want to emphasise that the following comments are my own personal views.

Firstly I think that the ASF has very good reason to be angry with some of the conduct of individual IWW members. I also agree that our non-response to the email about the Domino's campaign, as well as the "boycott Domino's" graphic, really wasn't good enough at all.

However as an individual member I find it extremely frustrating being held responsible for actions that the general membership has absolutely no control over.

I was shocked to hear about what happened in Brisbane, and have a very big problem with someone who has done something like that being a delegate of our union. But I am not in the same branch as this person and have heard two different versions of the story. While I may believe one version over the other, there is no real way for me personally to prove anything. This makes it very difficult for IWW members outside of the branch to do anything about this situation. I would like to know if the ASF has actually asked IWW formally to intervene in this issue?

Regarding the Domino's campaign, there was no discussion among IWW members of either the leaflet or the graphic in DA. The graphic was purely the mistake of the editor. In hindsight I think we should have inserted an apology into all the papers as soon as this was found out. I have no idea what happened with the emails, but our ROC was in a shambles at that time. Also, while I see reason in sending an email as it is recorded, I have never before heard of a union making a formal request for solidarity to another union by sending a couple of emails. Usually some effort at phone calls, personal visits, formal meetings would be made. Perhaps in future this might help avoid misunderstandings. Or if it was a deliberate snub of the ASF (which I sincerely don't believe it was), then at least it would allow the IWW membership to know what is going on and deal with whatever elected official would do something so fucked up.

Also I am frustrated by comments made by an IWW member that there has been too much "bad blood" between individual IWW and ASF members to work together. Most current IWW members joined in the last year or so. We do not mostly have any history with the ASF or it's members. I find it frustrating that some people would like to drag the rest of us into their personal fights.

Anyway obviously we have internal problems in IWW that need sorting out. But I'd ask that ASF members have some patience with this, and also not blame all IWW members for the actions of certain individuals.

Also, regarding the which form of organisation is better argument, the discussions about merging, etc. maybe it would be useful if we worked on getting a better working relationship on the ground. This way maybe the discussion could happen in a productive way rather than degenerating into pointless bickering.

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axxs
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Sep 12 2012 02:39
Quote:
I would like to know if the ASF has actually asked IWW formally to intervene in this issue?

Yes, I sent a formal email Mon, Aug 27 to AUSROC and cc'd all ASF affiliates as well as the Sydney IWW.

I have not even got a response in regards it being received.

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Lugius
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Mar 21 2013 23:51

On 20 March 2013 at 12:03 happyanarchy wrote:

Quote:
Anyone who goes back through the Libcom forum threads will see that you spent the entire time denegrading the IWW.

This assertion is directed at axxs. It's a bit unfair on two counts; it confuse denigration with criticism, it ignore due credit given.

To criticise is to make a judgement as to merits and faults, to denigrate is to criticise in a manner that is derogatory and defamatory.

With regard to the ASF Brisbane initiated Domino's campaign, the criticism made was the minimal to non-existent response to the call for solidarity with Domino's delivery drivers by the IWW in Australia. The notable exceptions being the Sydney IWW's excellent effort on the International Day of Action and the response by IWW members in Woolongong during the May-July domestic protest campaign. (Not to mention the amazing response of IWW branches in the US, Canada and the UK on the Day of Action)

Is this not a legitimate criticism given the IWW's track record when it comes to supporting reformist unions engaged in industrial disputes? If the IWW, a self-avowed revolutionary union, willingly and wholeheartedly supports reformist unions, why not extend that same level of support to a revolutionary anarcho-syndicalist union?

I'd challenge anyone to produce evidence of the ASF denigrating the IWW. Yet a prominent member of the Brisbane IWW (the Queensland delegate) publicly denigrates the ASF in addition to engaging in a vicious campaign of rumour-mongering.

I'd suggest this is a problem for the IWW. In August 2008, the ASF organised a protest at the main Starbuck's outlet in the Melbourne CBD in support of IWW and CNT members who had been sacked for attempting to organise workers into revolutionary unions. The news section of the Australian IWW's website made no mention of this presumably to be consistent with pretending the ASF doesn't exist. If you are going to filter news to suit your own sectional interest, it stops being news and starts to resemble propaganda.

The ASF has always made a clear distinction between supporting workers who are members of reformist unions and any support, implied or otherwise, of reformist unions. The ASF has never given its imprimatur to any reformist union campaign, unlike the IWW (e.g. 1999 TCF campaign)

Contrasting and comparing the Australian IWW's attitude to reformist unions on one hand, and its attitude to the ASF on the other, strikes me as counter-intuitive.

Ultimately, who benefits?

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ites
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Mar 23 2013 00:10
Lugius wrote:
I'd challenge anyone to produce evidence of the ASF denigrating the IWW. Yet a prominent member of the Brisbane IWW (the Queensland delegate) publicly denigrates the ASF in addition to engaging in a vicious campaign of rumour-mongering.

You do that all the time, but as you never admit when you're wrong presenting the evidence scattered throughout this forum would be a pointless exercise as you would not recognise it as such. Comments about anyone else engaging in campaigns of vicious rumour-mongering are based on such brazen double standards that it's impossible to take them seriously, which I guess explains why few outside of the ASF do.

Lugius wrote:
The ASF has always made a clear distinction between supporting workers who are members of reformist unions and any support, implied or otherwise, of reformist unions. The ASF has never given its imprimatur to any reformist union campaign, unlike the IWW (e.g. 1999 TCF campaign)

Contrasting and comparing the Australian IWW's attitude to reformist unions on one hand, and its attitude to the ASF on the other, strikes me as counter-intuitive.

This is a perfect example of a prominent member of the ASF putting shit on the IWW, and in the same email where you defy anyone to provide evidence of it - not that you would recognise it as such which is why the exercise is characteristically pointless, as is any other attempt at meaningful reciprocity in this context.

The IWW supported the TCFUA campaign and people working in sweatshops, therefore it supports reformism, but the ASF goes to Unfair Work Australia in pursuit of its campaign with all that involves in reliance on legalism and taking the power out of workers at the shopfloor as that's as revolutionary as overthrowing the wage system in July 1936.

If that's the tenor of debate in this country then the lack of influence of anarcho-syndicalism in this country would appear to be a bit of a no-brainer.

caterpillar
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Mar 23 2013 02:21

I think there were 3 main problems that contributed to the IWW not showing as much solidarity with the Dominoes campaign as it should have:
- The IWW was going through all kinds of internal problems, which meant that communication wasn't really happening between IWW members or between the IWW and other groups.
- Certain individuals within the IWW were deliberately spreading confusion and mistrust with the ASF in order to cover up their own bad behavior. Also speaking on behalf of other IWW members without permission.
- Due to mistrust over past issues ASF members were making a lot of assumptions about why the IWW wasn't responding to emails etc.
There may well have been other more sectarian motives by long term members as Lugius implies, but I don't know the history and individuals well enough to know.

I think it's a real shame. The Dominoes dispute is clearly the most successful (possibly only) example of syndicalist workplace organising for many years in Australia. Given the upsurge of interest in grass roots unionism around that time, it was a really good opportunity to show an alternative way of organising to the main stream unions.

I also think there is a lot to be learned from the way it was conducted, in particular for how non-registered unions can navigate Australia's workplace relations laws. It would be good if ASF members wrote more about this.

Anyway as uncomfortable as everyone finds it when these arguments are had out in public, it did mean that some of us were able to find out what was going on, which we probably wouldn't have otherwise.

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Lugius
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Mar 23 2013 03:52

caterpiller wrote:

Quote:
- The IWW was going through all kinds of internal problems, which meant that

Yeah, I've heard. I can well-imagine how hard that must have been. Ok, I take the point and maybe I haven't adequately taken that into account.

Quote:
There may well have been other more sectarian motives by long term members

Yeah, fair point. The IWW has kind of acted as a repository for some ex-ASF members embarassed at their own past behaviour and seeking to avoid scrutiny feel the need to attack the ASF as a some kind of cover. At least there is a place for them to go.

I think it is entirely fair to criticise the ASF on strategic or tactical grounds but I get pissed off when I see a certain kind 'playing the person not the ball' goes on or criticism based on opinion and not fact.

Quote:
I also think there is a lot to be learned from the way it was conducted, in particular for how non-registered unions can navigate Australia's workplace relations laws. It would be good if ASF members wrote more about this.

You've hit the nail on the head! Navigating the workplace laws is the key. Have you read the Fair Work Act 2009? It is mind-numbingly complex and you really need someone with a good grasp of industrial law. Suffice to say the campaign has been one giant learning experience and some mistakes have been made but have been quickly corrected. At this stage one can't say too much. There are other interested parties with greater resources than the ASF.

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ites
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Mar 23 2013 04:48
Lugius wrote:
Yeah, fair point. The IWW has kind of acted as a repository for some ex-ASF members embarassed at their own past behaviour and seeking to avoid scrutiny feel the need to attack the ASF as a some kind of cover. At least there is a place for them to go.

It's not anyone else's fault if certain ASF members choose not to distiguish between being criticied and being attacked. Anyone who feels that criticism of the ASF is unjust should put their money where their mouth is and sign up.

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ites
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Mar 23 2013 07:09
ites wrote:
Anyone who feels that criticism of the ASF is unjust should put their money where their mouth is and sign up.

Just out of curiosity, does the ASF actually have dues cards? I remember something to that effect over a decade ago as a way of raising funds, but if I remember correctly my suggestion was dismissed at the time as bureaucratic.

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Lumpen
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Mar 24 2013 06:10

I managed to secure this image of an ASF dues card:

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ites
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Mar 24 2013 09:59
Lumpen wrote:
I managed to secure this image of an ASF dues card:

Yeah that looks pretty accurate.