IWW Meltdown?

133 posts / 0 new
Last post
BrigadaKryzys
Offline
Joined: 9-06-10
Jun 9 2010 00:49
IWW Meltdown?

Anyone know wtf is going on?

I'm not a member of the IWW, but know a few wobs from a while back (a few old timers) and am sort of a fellow traveler, and a member a long time ago in the mid 90s.

Can anyone here shed some light on the Labor Department audits, the (alleged) temper tantrum being thrown by members in Philadelphia about accounting and such, and why a member out there (a commercial landlord???) is making physical threats to IWW officers over the whole affair? Sounds like old SWP stuff.

Are there any actual organzing drives going on, or is the IWW still embroiled about diminishing monies? I'm not getting a lot of clarity from the old contact I used to have, just that it's the "same bullshit only 10x worse". I've been out of the loop b/c I was out of the country for a while but with the eeconomy I had to return here.

I was considering rejoining but I want to know what I'm getting myself into. I work in a warehouse and our current union has been fucking us to no end, and don't feel like dealing with the handful of trots in the shop and their solutions to go to party meetings to solve our problems. Bleh. Don't get me started.

Thanks.

Nate's picture
Nate
Offline
Joined: 16-12-05
Jun 9 2010 01:54
BrigadaKryzys wrote:
Can anyone here shed some light on the Labor Department audits

Caused by an accounting error, audit's over, found no wrongdoing

BrigadaKryzys wrote:
the (alleged) temper tantrum being thrown by members in Philadelphia about accounting and such, and why a member out there (a commercial landlord???) is making physical threats to IWW officers over the whole affair? Sounds like old SWP stuff.

This is overstated but there are some personality conflicts between some older members. It's really pretty minor ultimately, but I'm not going to get into details with non-members or in public.

BrigadaKryzys wrote:
Are there any actual organzing drives going on

Yes. In my branch (Twin Cities) there's one public drive (Starbucks) and at least three non-public drives to organize in unorganized workplaces. We also have concentrations of members in several other shops, some unionized with other unions and some not, that take part in job actions etc. Our branch has about 100 members though not all are paid up. There was also just a union-wide organizing conference (one happens every two years) and we continue to hold organizer trainings across the union. I'm not involved in the international anymore because of time commitments so I can't speak further to any of your questions. I will say that, yes, there's some annoying internal bickering but I think your contact sounds like someone who is checked out and not involved in any of the worthwhile parts of the organization. A lot varies by branch too.

What part of the country are you in? If you like we can talk more frankly in private, send me a private message.

klas batalo's picture
klas batalo
Offline
Joined: 5-07-09
Jun 9 2010 05:07

i'd second everything nate is saying. also if you sign back up and are able to check out the iww.org forum there you'll find a lot of updates on what is going on organizing wise.

888's picture
888
Offline
Joined: 30-09-03
Jun 9 2010 06:02

There is an iww.org forum? I thought it didn't exist. Took me long enough to get on the wobforum...

klas batalo's picture
klas batalo
Offline
Joined: 5-07-09
Jun 9 2010 09:04

oh there is and i find it useful since i was never able to get onto wob forum...

you sign up through iww.org and then will have access to the forum. gotta have your xNUMBER on hand though...

jef costello's picture
jef costello
Offline
Joined: 9-02-06
Jun 9 2010 12:20

I thought this was going to be a GUN SHOW thread.

BrigadaKryzys
Offline
Joined: 9-06-10
Jun 9 2010 15:37

It looks like it's already sort of public, and doesn't seemed very contained. I found this weblink:

http://www.formstack.com/forms/?967744-S5OUHQJ7z6

Here is the text:

Fellow Workers,

The General Executive Board has overstepped its mandate by passing motion KL-05, the Termination of the Literature Department Agreement. This motion removes the Literature Department from Philadelphia and moves it to GHQ in Chicago, despite the will of the membership that this decision should be made at this year’s upcoming convention.

I appreciate the hard work that the Philadelphia branch has done to create and run the Literature Department for almost a decade. Their consistent and dedicated service to the IWW should be commended and supported. Instead, the GEB, along with the GST Joe Tessone, have leveled accusations at the Philadelphia Branch, given no forum for a fair response, and are planning to disrupt the operation with no mandate from the membership.

I call on the members of the General Administration to respect the will of the membership, who they are elected to serve, that the Convention will decide the fate of the Literature Department, and not the Executive Board.

.
.
.
.
.
.
.

Sounds like some kind of wierd "let's get a politician to delete tons of e-mail so we will feel heard" tactic. For what it's worth, I made a small order a couple of years ago (cash, since I didin't have a bank card) and it never got filled. It was such a small amount I didn't bother to follow up. Maybe I should have.

Caiman del Barrio
Offline
Joined: 28-09-04
Jun 9 2010 16:15
Tommy Ascaso wrote:
Was anyone else disappointed when they realised this thread was about the US IWW and not the UK one?

Well not sure I cheer on an other organisation's collapse, but I am interested to hear what the UK IWW has actually done in the last 2 years. Tacks would hardly ever talk about IWW activity, preferring instead to harp on about L&S.

Why did Ftony stop posting?

Chilli Sauce's picture
Chilli Sauce
Offline
Joined: 5-10-07
Jun 9 2010 17:23

Laozi, who are you on the iww.org boards? (And why aren't you posting more?! I've been on a damn bloody mission to get those things used more!)

I've going to once again defer to Nate's post (spot on), but add a few more things.

1) There's lot of shit in the N. American IWW, no doubt. However, hella good stuff is coming out the organizing department and certain branches as well, not the least of which includes Twin Cities, Chicago, and Edmonton. (Full disclaimer: I edit the OD's newsletter, so I'm biased. But for good reason.)

2) One of the best things the IWW's instituted in the past couple of years is the organizer training program. We have a successful and effective program based around building a shop committee to lead direct action grievances. Sick! If you re-joined I can't stress enough just how effective a training is in getting organizing going in your workplace.

3) The industrial organizing committees (once again based around the OD). Functioning national networks designed to encourage organizing in a particular industry. And they're growing (both in terms of the number of networks and how many are involved in each one).

4) The leadership of the British section of the IWW (BIROC) is taking the union down a very trade union path and this is very problematic. (Not that these sentiment are absent in N. America....) If you want to learn more about that, I suggest you read this article as well as the discussion that follows: http://libcom.org/history/you-fire-worker-we-fire-boss-organising-showroom-cinema-sheffield

Chilli Sauce's picture
Chilli Sauce
Offline
Joined: 5-10-07
Jun 9 2010 17:27
Quote:
Why did Ftony stop posting?

You don't remember the mass exodus around the no-strike clauses, SSP, Dundee United, and Revol68?

I mean, hell, even me and Nate (who largely agree with the criticisms) have just ventured back to the libcom boards.

As for Ftony in particular I think L&S more or less takes and organizational stance against Libcom. I don't think you'll be seeing him any time soon.

admin - see next few comments, ncwob got confused between Tacks and Ftony, causing much confusion and headscratching, ncwob would like to apologise for the slur on ftony's good name etc. etc.

Chilli Sauce's picture
Chilli Sauce
Offline
Joined: 5-10-07
Jun 9 2010 17:33
Tommy Ascaso wrote:
ncwob wrote:
The leadership of the British section of the IWW (BIROC)

Is this L&S? Or is it wider than that?

I'm actually not going to speculate Tommy Ascaso as I'm not sure who holds membership in L&S. For example, there's one person in particular who's very close to the L&S crowd, but I don't think is a member and is very much pushing for registration, recognition, and the like. He may not be the only one in that position. There's also another person who I would consider in the leadership, but takes a much more 'moderate' position and is much more open to dialog than the L&Sers that we all know.

Chilli Sauce's picture
Chilli Sauce
Offline
Joined: 5-10-07
Jun 9 2010 17:36

Yeah, and you see it already. If you look at the Sheffield thread I linked to above, the author talks how some individuals in the union "felt that the Showroom organising had been too hasty in the first place, that we could risk getting the union sued and that we should scale back our efforts."

That's a statement that should scare the shit out of anyone who believes in the preamble.

Mike Harman
Offline
Joined: 7-02-06
Jun 9 2010 17:41

I had no idea that ftony joined L&S (presumably as part of the original split from the AF?), had him down as more sensible than that.

888's picture
888
Offline
Joined: 30-09-03
Jun 9 2010 18:01
Tommy Ascaso wrote:
ncwob wrote:
That's a statement that should scare the shit out of anyone who believes in the preamble.

Which is probably why some people want to scrap it.

Who wants to do that? I will exterminate them

Caiman del Barrio
Offline
Joined: 28-09-04
Jun 9 2010 18:09

I also had no idea Ftony joined L&S. I saw alot of him up until a year ago in political activity, and was always under the impression he was straight IWW.

I also find L&S' "policy" on Libcom hard to believe: Vanillaicebaby posted here as an L&S member, as did Tacks (for a while). Isn't Escarabajo still heavily involved with them (much in the same way I'd still consider myself an SF member, despite having been abroad for the last 12 months)?

Finally, do L&S have any real critical mass in the IWW outside of London?

Farce's picture
Farce
Offline
Joined: 21-04-09
Jun 9 2010 18:12
laozi wrote:
oh there is and i find it useful since i was never able to get onto wob forum...

you sign up through iww.org and then will have access to the forum. gotta have your xNUMBER on hand though...

Ahhh, so that's what those xnumbers are! For ages I just assumed that every poster I saw on the internet (well, in internet anarchies, anyway) using xnumber as a name was the same person, or a cyborg or something. Finally it makes sense.

Caiman del Barrio wrote:
Well not sure I cheer on an other organisation's collapse, but I am interested to hear what the UK IWW has actually done in the last 2 years. Tacks would hardly ever talk about IWW activity, preferring instead to harp on about L&S.

Eh? That's odd - I'm not in the best position to judge, living in a city with no L&S presence, but I thought their activity was mostly IWW activity, and they didn't really do public independent stuff?

Caiman del Barrio
Offline
Joined: 28-09-04
Jun 9 2010 18:22

My personal experience of L&S was that their members would participate in many/most "anarchist" "actions"/activities. Through sheer dedication and voluntarism they propped up half of London activism! Consequently, a lot of the stuff I heard of them doing was worthless, but some of their members were involved in some worthwhile shit too (I leafletted tower blocks in Enfield over Visteon with one member for example, and I saw a couple of them down the pickets). Other than that, their most prominent activity appears/ed to be taking barmy, quasi-sectararian positions inspired by Dundee Utd.

I never heard much about their "industrial organising" within the IWW, other than via a couple of other disgruntled (ex-)branch members.

Chilli Sauce's picture
Chilli Sauce
Offline
Joined: 5-10-07
Jun 9 2010 18:27

TIME OUT!! I had tacks confused with FTony. Let me edit that. My sincerest apologies.

Chilli Sauce's picture
Chilli Sauce
Offline
Joined: 5-10-07
Jun 9 2010 18:31

Shit, doesn't want to let me edit that post.

Can an admin fix my first post? This one:

Quote:
As for Ftony in particular I think L&S more or less takes and organizational stance against Libcom. I don't think you'll be seeing him any time soon.

To say that I was wrong and that when Caiman del Barrio switched form talking about Tacks to Ftony I missed the switch.

Sorry again.

Chilli Sauce's picture
Chilli Sauce
Offline
Joined: 5-10-07
Jun 9 2010 18:49
Quote:
I also find L&S' "policy" on Libcom hard to believe: Vanillaicebaby posted here as an L&S member, as did Tacks (for a while). Isn't Escarabajo still heavily involved with them (much in the same way I'd still consider myself an SF member, despite having been abroad for the last 12 months)?

Okay, I was being a bit facetious. But there is a lot of bad blood there.

Quote:
I never heard much about their "industrial organising" within the IWW, other than via a couple of other disgruntled (ex-)branch members.

Could you elaborate? When you say "industrial organizing", do you mean their involvement in the IWW generally or have they proposed some organizing strategies within the IWW?

Caiman del Barrio
Offline
Joined: 28-09-04
Jun 9 2010 18:50

Both!

Chilli Sauce's picture
Chilli Sauce
Offline
Joined: 5-10-07
Jun 9 2010 18:51
Quote:
L&S have any real critical mass in the IWW outside of London?

That's one of the things I'm reluctant to speak to. I know folks who are in the leadership outside of London who, like L&S, are prepared to take the IWW down the trade union path, but I don't know if they're L&Sers. Make sense?

Nate's picture
Nate
Offline
Joined: 16-12-05
Jun 9 2010 22:36

BrigadaKryzys,

I'd not seen that link. Like I said, there's some bad blood and it sucks. Despite some overblown rhetoric on all sides, it's really relatively minor stuff and not something that effects much of substance regardless of how it plays out. If you want to talk substantive stuff that's going on - particularly if you want to hear suggestions of worthwhile stuff to plug into - you can send a private message to me or to NCWob. And do let one us know if you rejoin, we'll tell you to to get you a copy of the internal publication he edits. This stuff is still getting off the ground a bit so distribution to members could a little better, but content-wise it's quite good for getting you up to speed on our organizing. (I should also say, like NCWob, I'm pretty biased, having been part of these areas of the union in their early stages.)

Also, I'm curious, I notice you signed up to the forum very recently so I don't know anything about you, where did you used to belong to the IWW at and where are you located these days, and where are the members located who you're talking to? You've got some relatively detailed info in a way that makes me curious, most members in my branch are not up on this, it's not like this stuff has circulated widely and it's not the kind of thing that I for one would have rushed to send an ex-member who was considering rejoining ("oh, you may want to participate again? great! here's the latest tempest in a teapot! isn't this annoying? still want to sign up?"). I don't mean to accuse you of trolling or anything but that's happened before and so thinking about your posts again I can't help but raise my eyebrows. Don't mean to be rude, sorry if this offends you, just want to hear a bit more about where you're coming from and where your sources are coming from.

About the UK stuff, I can't speak to any of that except to say that I'm sure that the UK IWW leadership are not all L&S. I'm pretty sure L&S agree with the stuff that NCWob's talking about and I know some of their members were active in the current direction of the UK IWW. From what I gather this was stuff that was already underway that they decided to get involved with rather than something that originated with them.

JoeMaguire's picture
JoeMaguire
Offline
Joined: 26-09-03
Jun 9 2010 23:41
Caiman del Barrio wrote:
Tommy Ascaso wrote:
Was anyone else disappointed when they realised this thread was about the US IWW and not the UK one?

Well not sure I cheer on an other organisation's collapse, but I am interested to hear what the UK IWW has actually done in the last 2 years. Tacks would hardly ever talk about IWW activity, preferring instead to harp on about L&S.

I read that Tommy Ascaso wanted a sincere airing of the problems the IWW has had of late and not wanting to rub his hands over the decline of a fellow traveller organisation. It seemed badly worded on his part. Its forecasts of critical mass were massively over-exaggerated and with the small exception of some Latin American cleaners joining en mass from UNITE who ditched them recently its actually from the outside appears to have lost more members than its recruited. I would put this down to a number of factors, but the leadership, the type of people it pulls in and the strategy are pretty central to this.

ncwob wrote:
Tommy Ascaso wrote:
ncwob wrote:
The leadership of the British section of the IWW (BIROC)

Is this L&S? Or is it wider than that?

I'm actually not going to speculate Tommy Ascaso as I'm not sure who holds membership in L&S. For example, there's one person in particular who's very close to the L&S crowd, but I don't think is a member and is very much pushing for registration, recognition, and the like. He may not be the only one in that position. There's also another person who I would consider in the leadership, but takes a much more 'moderate' position and is much more open to dialog than the L&Sers that we all know.

AFAIK there are 5/6 national internal positions within the IWW and L&S hold all bar one. They have positioned themselves in the organisation and due to the UK IWW being quite a young organisation it probably hasn't been able to deal with their "social insertion". Its clear all is not well and as someone who is keen for IWW and SF to work together on a principled basis free from the needless sectarianism put about, I am glad to hear that L&S are being taken to task and there attempts to shut down discussions with 'no politics in the IWW' hopefully won't continue indefinitely.

Devrim's picture
Devrim
Offline
Joined: 15-07-06
Jun 10 2010 08:18
october_lost wrote:
AFAIK there are 5/6 national internal positions within the IWW and L&S hold all bar one.

I am not sure whom that reflects worse on, the IWW or L&S. Basically dominating union branches and getting elected to union positions is something that leftists manage to do because branches are often empty shells. If they have 5 of 6, what does it say about the IWW?

Devrim

BrigadaKryzys
Offline
Joined: 9-06-10
Jun 10 2010 16:11

I think I have a pretty good idea that I need to shop elswhere, seeing what I have seen here thus far. Where I work, there is far too much accusation coming from the boss (and his buddies in our business union). Don't think I or anyone else can handle much more of it in seeking allies. I sincerly hope the IWW gets their act together though. Good luck.

Chilli Sauce's picture
Chilli Sauce
Offline
Joined: 5-10-07
Jun 10 2010 16:36
Quote:
I think I have a pretty good idea that I need to shop elswhere, seeing what I have seen here thus far. Where I work, there is far too much accusation coming from the boss (and his buddies in our business union). Don't think I or anyone else can handle much more of it in seeking allies. I sincerly hope the IWW gets their act together though. Good luck.

Maybe I've had a bit of a long day, but I've got to be honest this does seem like trolling. Numerous people have offered some examples of positives in the IWW (and not without acknowledging the shortcomings) and have asked you pretty specific questions to see if the IWW might be able to help you out in your situation. In any event, your engagement on the thread does not come across very comradely.

Steven.'s picture
Steven.
Offline
Joined: 27-06-06
Jun 10 2010 18:04

yeah, the original poster looks like a troll.

Nate's picture
Nate
Offline
Joined: 16-12-05
Jun 10 2010 19:15
Devrim wrote:
october_lost wrote:
AFAIK there are 5/6 national internal positions within the IWW and L&S hold all bar one.

I am not sure whom that reflects worse on, the IWW or L&S. Basically dominating union branches and getting elected to union positions is something that leftists manage to do because branches are often empty shells. If they have 5 of 6, what does it say about the IWW?

Devrim

Unless I missed something I don't think anyone said they're dominating *branches*, they've gotten into positions in the administration beyond branches, which is a different thing and has a murky relationship to what happens in actual branches.

ftony
Offline
Joined: 26-05-04
Jun 11 2010 08:39

lolwut? ftony joined L&S?

that's the first i heard...

certain L&S people were encouraging me to join, but i respectfully declined. currently not a member of any UK anarchist organisations as far as i'm aware (unless there's more stuff that libcomers know and i don't?)

my decision to stop posting on libcom was largely due to other priorities in life. no hard feelings at all. i still pop in from time to time.

incidentally, the suggestion that L&S have 5/6 national IWW positions in the UK is largely incorrect. for a start there is a hell of a lot more elected positions at the BIROC scale and i can only think of 3 who i know are definitely L&S members and national officers, but i suppose there could be more.

Quote:
The leadership of the British section of the IWW (BIROC) is taking the union down a very trade union path

in what way? in a reformist sense or a non-industrial sense? i'm curious.

Mike Harman
Offline
Joined: 7-02-06
Jun 11 2010 10:07

Hi ftony, not sure if you saw above, but ncwob got you temporarily confused with Tacks, and subsequently corrected it, but only after about 6 of us also said wtf.

Nice to see you again by the way.

If the direction coincides with L&S (even if not entirely springing from them), it's my understanding that L&S see Unite as an 'industrial union', albeit with a bureaucratic leadership, so I think it'd be entirely the former. Trade union not trade union.

Topic locked