hey SolFed comrades,
a friend and I got to talking about member education in the IWW in North America and how we'd like it to improve. I'm curious what you lot do around this in SolFed, in a few ways.
1. This self education curriculum - http://www.selfed.org.uk/ - does it get much use? Are there things you've found that make it more effective in terms of getting people to make use of it? Do you have an recommendations, if a group of decides to work on developing something similar for the IWW?
2. It seems to me that there's like a baseline level that people would want members to be at in terms of political education in at least three ways. One is like basic grasp of important issues in the world. Another is common vocabulary/framework to have with other members. And another is the current issues of discussion or things the organization is currently thinking through. It seems to that stuff's important for letting newer folk participate fully. I'm curious what SolFed does, formally or informally around these to bring newer members up to speed. (I understand if the answer is "it's imperfect" but I'm sure you're doing more than the IWW on this.)
3. I've thought for a long time that it'd be great to have an overview of the IWA groups and similar groups to present to IWW members. I feel like there's people who seem to know everything about all this, and people like me who have snippets due to conversation but don't really know how to get beyond that, and then loads of people who know basically nothing about any of this. It'd be great to have a guide to the history and present of these groups like along the lines of "here are groups around the world who are operating in a somewhat similar spirit, though there are important differences among these groups." Hopefully something like this already exists and you can point me to it. Any ideas?
Nate wrote: 1. This self
Not nearly as much as we should tbh!
I'm not sure of any recommendations - it's pretty old , eg it was well in place when I joined SF in 2006). I'm not sure if any of those involved post on libcom unfortunately (martinh maybe?)
We have an induction, but that's it really. I could probably email you a copy of the presentation if you're interested? Again tho, the answer on this would unfortunately be "not enough" - we're pretty busy the past few years, and political education has probably not had quite the level of priority it should have. It might be different with different locals tho!
Other things we've done (and
Other things we've done (and yeah, all imperfect); had a presentation and talk/Q&A for people interested in joining setting out what we're about before they join*; compiled important internal discussions from the IB into archived pdfs (this has only happened once so far, but it's a good precedent); implemented an online decisions database so all members can search for past decisions, view the text of motions etc; and (in Brighton at least) held regular internal discussions for members and periphery discussing texts like Work, Community, Politics, War, or presentations from members on things like capitalism and the environment, feminism, and contradictions of various jobs and what revolution would mean for them.
The induction has been decent, but unevenly rolled out. there's also a pdf members handbook which is pretty decent and gets circulated to new members (or is meant to at least), and explains how we do things. tbh, we really should have a proper new members pack with all the relevant stuff together ready to give to any new member. it's one of the ideas that's been doing the rounds for a while but we've been busy with more outward looking stuff (workfare etc) and it's not got done systematically yet. The new pamphlet also has a partly internal education role, summing up the past 2-3 years of discussions, touching on relevant historical stuff and including further reading (like SelfEd).
Edit: in Brighton we've also got a buddy system for new members as a point of contact for anything that doesn't make sense, or if they'd like to know more etc. And also a Local library of books and pamphlets (which doesn't get used much, but exists).
* some people have decided not to join after this, but we've maintained good relations with them, which might not have happened if they'd have joined then quickly dropped out when they realised it wasn't what they were after.
General question: Looking
Looking for any IWA Sections/Friends (and others) info on member education. Materials? Links?
Do any IWA Sections/Friends run internal education programs? New membership orientations?
"Day schools"? Anything else?
Please feel free to contact me either publicly or privately.
Thanks & solidarity!