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A questionnaire about political/workplace organisation

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Steven.'s picture
Steven.
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Jan 23 2007 00:01
Mathias wrote:
For the record the link was to a video made by a large US industrial union. The video was critical of other US labor unions that were in the process of leaving the AFL-CIO, the same unions K-Dog referenced in his posts and the ones Duke and Chuck work for.

Apologies, in haste I thought you were a maoist nutcase, please feel free to repost the links.

Mathias's picture
Mathias
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Jan 23 2007 03:35

No, Chuck is the fake maoist.

blackstarbhoy
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Jan 23 2007 14:34

i dont get why the admin took off kdogs post but left Duke and Chucks comments on here, comments that have no positive or productive contribution. if people are gonna talk trash let them see that there will be reprocutions that extend beyond stupid internet chit chat forums. i got respect for libcom, i think it is helpfull, but it better have more guts than NEFAC did who let these chumps run all over the place.

Smash Rich Bastards
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Jan 23 2007 16:58
blackstarbhoy wrote:
i dont get why the admin took off kdogs post but left Duke and Chucks comments on here, comments that have no positive or productive contribution. if people are gonna talk trash let them see that there will be reprocutions that extend beyond stupid internet chit chat forums. i got respect for libcom, i think it is helpfull, but it better have more guts than NEFAC did who let these chumps run all over the place.

I don't know that violence is ever the best way to solve political/personal beefs on the internet, but gotta agree that I think a lot of the time the problem of disrespect on these discussion boards is a lack of real world consequences.

Then again, who knows, maybe someone like Duke might just be into taking a down-the-road ass beating from someone like Kdog, so maybe its not very effective at all...

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gatorojinegro
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Jan 23 2007 17:52

Neither Jimmy Hoffa Jr nor Andy Stern are members of the working class. As I see it, they're members of the coordinator class, which is one of the classes that dominates and exploits the working class.

Matthias is right that, in the USA especially, people in the proletarian class often try to scratch their way out of that condition if they can, and the intensely individualist culture of the USA encourages this, encourages people to have social climbing fantasies -- from winning the lottery to owning your own bizness, to becoming a drug kingpin, whatever. My brother and i grew up in the working poor. My brother fought intensely to make his way thru college, became a lawyer, is now a Republican (albeit an anti-racist liberal one) living in a leafy suburb, and doesn't tell his kids about his origins. That's what mainstream ideology in the USA approves of.

But the labor movement, from our perspective, should not be a path for careerists to climb their way out of the working class. The type of structure that does that makes the working class not a movement authentically controlled by the workers, and thus not a potential means to working clas liberation, which can only happen collectively.

Also, i'll point out that using this forum to express personal resentments and attacks is self-indulgent, it is also a form of individualism. It's destructive to the spirit of dialogue the movement needs. It's also a long-standing problem of the anarchist milieu in the USA.

t.

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Jan 23 2007 18:06
Quote:
Neither Jimmy Hoffa Jr nor Andy Stern are members of the working class. As I see it, they're members of the coordinator class, which is one of the classes that dominates and exploits the working class.

I'm not sure anyone argued that they are working class. The issue, as I tend to see it, is whether thay are merely an impediment to a purely class based organization or if they are an actual enemy of a purely class based organization. Thats usually how I see this discussion framed anyway.

Quote:
Matthias is right that, in the USA especially, people in the proletarian class often try to scratch their way out of that condition if they can, and the intensely individualist culture of the USA encourages this, encourages people to have social climbing fantasies -- from winning the lottery to owning your own bizness, to becoming a drug kingpin, whatever. My brother and i grew up in the working poor. My brother fought intensely to make his way thru college, became a lawyer, is now a Republican (albeit an anti-racist liberal one) living in a leafy suburb, and doesn't tell his kids about his origins. That's what mainstream ideology in the USA approves of.

That's not exactly what Mathias said. What he seemed to be getting at is that fetishizing shitty jobs is usually done not by the people who come from the segment of society that performs those functions but from people who don't but have a political conciousness. You seem to be addressing the flipside of that phenomenon.

Quote:
But the labor movement, from our perspective, should not be a path for careerists to climb their way out of the working class. The type of structure that does that makes the working class not a movement authentically controlled by the workers, and thus not a potential means to working clas liberation, which can only happen collectively.

I don't think anyone disagrees with you. There seems to be three poles of thought on it though. One is to abandon the mainstream labor movement for purer class institutions (lets say the anarcho-syndicalists as an example), the second being both work inside and out at the same time (the WSA is a good example of this) or to focus one's efforts on building within the shell of the old (the distinct minority position within anarchism).

Quote:
Also, i'll point out that using this forum to express personal resentments and attacks is self-indulgent, it is also a form of individualism. It's destructive to the spirit of dialogue the movement needs. It's also a long-standing problem of the anarchist milieu in the USA.

I agree. To the extent that I disrupted some discussion by being obnoxious I apologize to the greater libcom community. Although I do think people take the internet a wee bit too seriously.

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Jan 23 2007 19:27

okay, Duke, let me see if i understand you about "fetishizing shitty jobs." I've sometimes had disputes with certain leftists where they will say that i'm demeaning the people if i criticize certain jobs, such as janitor, housekeeper, dishwasher, whatever. My reply is that i'm dissing the jobs, because they undervalue the people. Capitalism develops jobs in such a way that they do not develop people's potential, but stunt or underdevelop a worker's potential, by circumscribing the repsonsibilities, taking away control over things like planning, more discretionary skilled tasks, etc. To say that criticizing shitty jobs is demeaning the people is sort like saying that we want jobs like janitor, dishwasher, assembly line wheel installer, etc. in a society beyond capitalism that we're aiming for, which is wrong, in my view, we want to get rid of those jobs and have more well-rounded jobs, that develop people's potentials, jobs fitted to human capacity ("species being" in Marx's language).

(Some "post-lefts" might intercede here and say we want no jobs at all, but I'd say that's bonkers...)

t.

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Jan 23 2007 19:39

oh for goodness sake, no anarchist organisation worth its salt would take on full time paid officials. so why are we letting them post and deliberatetly derail threads.

throwhen
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Jan 23 2007 20:39
Smash Rich Bastards wrote:
blackstarbhoy wrote:
i dont get why the admin took off kdogs post but left Duke and Chucks comments on here, comments that have no positive or productive contribution. if people are gonna talk trash let them see that there will be reprocutions that extend beyond stupid internet chit chat forums. i got respect for libcom, i think it is helpfull, but it better have more guts than NEFAC did who let these chumps run all over the place.

I don't know that violence is ever the best way to solve political/personal beefs on the internet, but gotta agree that I think a lot of the time the problem of disrespect on these discussion boards is a lack of real world consequences.

Then again, who knows, maybe someone like Duke might just be into taking a down-the-road ass beating from someone like Kdog, so maybe its not very effective at all...

No one on this list has come up with a real arguement yet against anything i'm saying other than troting out some cliches.

Please someone answer without a random insult.

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Jan 23 2007 23:00
throwhen wrote:
Smash Rich Bastards wrote:
blackstarbhoy wrote:
i dont get why the admin took off kdogs post but left Duke and Chucks comments on here, comments that have no positive or productive contribution. if people are gonna talk trash let them see that there will be reprocutions that extend beyond stupid internet chit chat forums. i got respect for libcom, i think it is helpfull, but it better have more guts than NEFAC did who let these chumps run all over the place.

I don't know that violence is ever the best way to solve political/personal beefs on the internet, but gotta agree that I think a lot of the time the problem of disrespect on these discussion boards is a lack of real world consequences.

Then again, who knows, maybe someone like Duke might just be into taking a down-the-road ass beating from someone like Kdog, so maybe its not very effective at all...

No one on this list has come up with a real arguement yet against anything i'm saying other than troting out some cliches.

Please someone answer without a random insult.

Thats because all your saying on here is rhetoric that makes out that without an official union, or without full time officials all of us workers are just directionless sheep. Like that example you brought up about indian casino workers, do you think they just do nothing, that class struggle stops untill the union steps in. I bet you thought that was a good extreme example because we must all have cushy jobs or something, well no offence but you might impress some student full timer recruits with that sort of shite but i don't think most people on here are impressed with it. Personally in my job i'm banned from speaking with co-workers for issues of 'client confidentiality' (read: no standardised pay agreement) does that mean i do nothing in the hope that 'the union' might save me? Of course fucking not.

I've yet to see you do anything except big yourself and your e union up, so how about seeing as your a union organiser, you tell me what i should do and maybe i'll take you seriously.

My main earner is working for a contract based care agency in essex, a place not exactly known for its union culture. I am in touch with a handful of other workers, but its lone work so i don't speak to them that much. Wages are non-standardised, work is based on the shifts the company gives you, ie they can just deny you work without officially sacking you. Office staff are 80-90% completely tied to management, to the point of often being related to them. The only union i could join would be unison, who would probably just stick me in 'county council' and forget about me as long as i paid dues, which would achieve nothing.

So what should i do hotshot? beyond the basics of slowly trying to build workplace confidence on a day to day level, making small gains by standin g up on certain issues and building contacts in the company.

In addition to this my other problem with what you post, is that you always go on about 'the movement', but the movement towards what? Do you think you can build a socialist society of workers control based on your union? Call me crazy but i'd kinda hoped communism would be a bit better than that.

ps my random insult for today will be ''you repulsive, fetid and deformed offspring of keynes and kruschev'' but its more added as an afterthought, i hope you enjoy it though

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Jan 24 2007 01:04
gatorojinegro wrote:
okay, Duke, let me see if i understand you about "fetishizing shitty jobs." I've sometimes had disputes with certain leftists where they will say that i'm demeaning the people if i criticize certain jobs, such as janitor, housekeeper, dishwasher, whatever. My reply is that i'm dissing the jobs, because they undervalue the people. Capitalism develops jobs in such a way that they do not develop people's potential, but stunt or underdevelop a worker's potential, by circumscribing the repsonsibilities, taking away control over things like planning, more discretionary skilled tasks, etc. To say that criticizing shitty jobs is demeaning the people is sort like saying that we want jobs like janitor, dishwasher, assembly line wheel installer, etc. in a society beyond capitalism that we're aiming for, which is wrong, in my view, we want to get rid of those jobs and have more well-rounded jobs, that develop people's potentials, jobs fitted to human capacity ("species being" in Marx's language).

(Some "post-lefts" might intercede here and say we want no jobs at all, but I'd say that's bonkers...)

t.

I think this posting illustrates the divide between self-proclaimed revolutionaries and those who are from the working class and work/organize/agitate on behalf of the class everyday.

Yes I am a paid staff person belonging to a large US based labor union, the same union I was a member of since 1989.

I worked for 4 years in a department store stockroom and then 10 years as a forklift operator. Prior to that I worked a few different dishwashing jobs.

As a worker I always enjoyed and took pride in the actual work I was doing. What always made a job shitty and demeaning was the treatment you would get from bosses, the low pay and the occasional running in to the type who looks down on these jobs and the people in them. Except for the last case a labor union usually takes away the shittyness that comes with any job.

p.s. The most coveted job in any unionized auto plant is Janitor.

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Jan 24 2007 01:07
Mathias wrote:
p.s. The most coveted job in any unionized auto plant is Janitor.

I seriously almost quit organizing when the Baltimore steel plant was hiring night janitors. Those guys made more money and had better benefits than I've ever seen.

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Mathias
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Jan 24 2007 01:14

Oh just to add on.

For the last 3 years I have been adjusting to professional work as opposed to the manual labor I had always done. There is a tremendous downside to professional work. Yes I have a job where everyday I am using my creativity and intelligence, I don't have a boss watching over my shoulder and the position I hold is well respected within the field.

However, in the past all my creative energy and intellectual capacity went towards my own personal endeavors. I spent all day doing manual labor (and enjoying it) but when the whistle blew work was done and I left it there. While my muscles were tired my brain was just becoming active. I could come home, read, write pursue different interests (like flame wars on nefac list). Now i am completely intellectually and creatively drained. I have little energy to pursue intellectual interests outside of my job etc.

All this to say there are many different ways of judging and evaluating the usefulness, value and worth of a job. I think those of us who work with, work for and are members of unions have it right essentially; regardless what field or occupation one chooses or finds themselves in they are compensated fairly for the work they do and are able to live a dignified life because of the respect unionism brings to the job.

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Jan 24 2007 02:07

To say that one wants the existing jobs to continue, is to say one wants the working class to always be subordinate to bosses. I don't think that the constraints on the employers that unionism can achieve is sufficient. What, then, does it mean to say that the subordination of the working class is to be done away with? To say jobs should be redefined is to say that the larger questions about industry and society should be within their power. We don't want power concentrated into the hands of some small elite. If not, then that implies that jobs will have to be redefined. That's not saying that the work that people do is of no value or should be sneered at.

I understand Mathias' point, I think. When I worked as a typesetter, I had plenty of energy for ideas and writing in my free time. Now that i work as a technical writer, i find that it is more mentally draining. This is because I'm required to put my mind to use for the employer's ends, and to write about something I didn't create, for purposes I don't know about or necessarily agree with. The work is still alienated, but now it requires more of my self to be alienated.

t.

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Red Marriott
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Jan 26 2007 15:24

Dev, Gun's auto-bio is in 3 volumes:

Yarilma: 1954-1972
Havariler: 1972-1983
Sapak: 1983-1992

Steven.'s picture
Steven.
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Feb 13 2007 13:16

BTW Kdog just saw your post here, don't know how it slipped my notice before but that's really great. I'd never heard of Uprise! before. I'm putting that stuff in the library now...

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Steven.
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Feb 16 2007 11:39

orig questions updated. need to sort way to make it valid for ongoing or defunct groups while still leaving it easy to update...