Help Required - Advice on how to provide useful solidarity

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Nick Durie
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Joined: 12-09-04
Jan 31 2005 11:48
Help Required - Advice on how to provide useful solidarity

Comrades,

I've been following an industrial dispute that's been rumbling for some time now (years in fact) and I want to support the workers involved in it but I'd like some suggestions on what to do. I've spoken to workers individually and told them that I support them and stuff, but that doesn't really seem like enough to be doing, and I'd like some concrete suggestions on how to build links or move forward with solidarity on this. Do comrades with more experience in labour disputes have any suggestions? I have very little experience with industrial disputes and most of my organizing has been community based (my politics tend to be somewhat platformist).

The text of an email I sent out earlier should provide some background into what's actually going on:-

---------------------------- Original Message ----------------------------

Subject: [GAP] Subway Workers Strike

From: nick_durie@riseup.net

Date: Mon, January 31, 2005 9:41 am

To: [snipped for privacy reasons]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Comrades,

Today subway workers are again on strike, not more than two weeks after their last strike. The strike includes ticket collectors

as well as drivers.

I send this information to comrades because many industrial disputes on

the west coast appear to have passed the movement by - for example the

body shop workers strike, where many comrades, such as myself, only read about the dispute after it had unfolded in the letters pages of freedom, coupled with comments from those who knew the dispute was going on, but told no-one, about how Glasgow anarchists need to do more to support organized workers.

It's not clear exactly what we can do about it as I'm not sure if the

strikers have pickets, but I think we shoulddo something.

Hopefully however folk know about this already, but this was just sent in

case comrades aren't aware of it.

Solidarity,

Nick Durie

--

Oh wad or I had seen the day

That treason thus could sell us

Ma auld grey heid had lien in clay

Wi Bruce and loyal Wallace.

Steven.'s picture
Steven.
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Joined: 27-06-06
Jan 31 2005 12:53

Is it a series of one-day strikes then?

Are they T&G?

Nick Durie
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Joined: 12-09-04
Jan 31 2005 12:57

Yes, it looks like it. They held two weeks ago. It is the T&G, but there have been a few wildcat strikes before.

Lazlo_Woodbine
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Joined: 26-09-03
Jan 31 2005 16:27

collecting money, handing out leaflets, etc is always a good thing. However action of that kind -- even direct action stunts and solidarity action -- can still just remain on the outside of the strike; if none of your friends/companeros are actually involved in the strike I suppose the thing to do would be to try to make friends with some of the strikers....fuck knows how you do that without stalking them...

BB
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Joined: 12-08-04
Feb 1 2005 12:10

Here's something that was posted on IWW open discussion list, yesterday, the first bits not so relevant.

"1. How to display solidarity and support workers in other unions who

are doing industrial actions? Like I've nev er done that before so I

ahve no idea what it actually entails."

From a local perspective, we've had prior contact with workers taking industrial action. Knowing members, from the RMT, GMB (general municipal boiler makers union), has helped us when supporting picket lines, (having dual carders). Keep your ear to the ground, the pub, local activist groups, social centres, unemployed groups... i think the list is endless.

Going along to their meetings an seeing what they've got to say, offering to cover things, maybe even photocopying (is a start), but never offer if you can't come up with the goods, getting your name down on a phone tree, for a picket or action, or helping with a strike/action fund, benefits gigs an the like, getting your name an face known. You know what kind of support you can offer, take it to a gmb (general membership branch) meeting an see how others feel, before you start chucking the gmb's name about. We're (b'ton gmb) currently offering a phone line to a group of organising workers, an have said we can be bodies on a picket.

Nick Durie
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Joined: 12-09-04
Feb 7 2005 17:23

Another one day stoppage today.

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Steven.
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Joined: 27-06-06
Feb 7 2005 17:50
Nick Durie wrote:
Another one day stoppage today.

Hmmm I suppose there's a real limit to what you can do when it comes to one day things, cos you can't really go collecting money... I suppose even small things like getting your union branch (if you have one) to send messages of support can be worth it.

OldGit
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Joined: 6-06-04
Feb 8 2005 00:22

The best way to make contact is to catch the pickets when they're out. That means knowing what day the action is scheduled for, which could be tricky. If they're handing out a leaflet that's your in, take one and start asking questions. If no leaflet just walk up and ask what the beef is. They're dying to tell somebody, that's one reason they're there, to let the public know. If you're in a position to do so, offer 'em publicity, i.e., if you've got a newssheet or a website. If not, ask 'em if labourstart knows about the dispute. That sort of thing. If it sounds like they'll accept outside help, sound 'em out for what they want and offer what you can. If they're suspicious of your motives let it go. You've tried.