banning paid organizers

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Jul 8 2007 22:45
banning paid organizers

This discussion started on other threads. I'll copy the posts in here.

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Jul 8 2007 22:56
revol68 wrote:
MJ wrote:
revol68 wrote:
MJ wrote:
revol68 wrote:
Smash Rich Bastards wrote:
Mike Harman wrote:
bump what?

Unless your prepared to link to posts where he's done something bannable, don't just post bumps. He's not the only person who's going to have multiple posts deleted from the culture thread.

Eh? Oh, I figured that this thread might act as a magnet to take the Kevin Keating banter off that other one. But deleting posts and banning him works too.

p.s. Chuck Hendricks is not in NEFAC. Most of us hate him too.

Is thugarist an official supporter?

Yes.

Do youse only have this supporters status in order to take money from people youse would be embarrassed to have in the group?

If so, fair fucks. grin

No, he's outside our region.

and if he wasn't?

surely NEFAC don't allow in union full timers!

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Jul 8 2007 22:57
Smash Rich Bastards wrote:
revol68 wrote:
MJ wrote:
revol68 wrote:
MJ wrote:
revol68 wrote:
Smash Rich Bastards wrote:
Mike Harman wrote:
bump what?

Unless your prepared to link to posts where he's done something bannable, don't just post bumps. He's not the only person who's going to have multiple posts deleted from the culture thread.

Eh? Oh, I figured that this thread might act as a magnet to take the Kevin Keating banter off that other one. But deleting posts and banning him works too.

p.s. Chuck Hendricks is not in NEFAC. Most of us hate him too.

Is thugarist an official supporter?

Yes.

Do youse only have this supporters status in order to take money from people youse would be embarrassed to have in the group?

If so, fair fucks. grin

No, he's outside our region.

and if he wasn't?

surely NEFAC don't allow in union full timers!

As long as he ain't a boss with hiring/firing power, yeah. Why not?

Does Organise! have a meticulous list of how the myriad of employment opportunities in the world effects one's standing in the group?

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Jul 8 2007 22:57
revol68 wrote:
Smash Rich Bastards wrote:
revol68 wrote:
MJ wrote:
revol68 wrote:
MJ wrote:
revol68 wrote:
Smash Rich Bastards wrote:
Mike Harman wrote:
bump what?

Unless your prepared to link to posts where he's done something bannable, don't just post bumps. He's not the only person who's going to have multiple posts deleted from the culture thread.

Eh? Oh, I figured that this thread might act as a magnet to take the Kevin Keating banter off that other one. But deleting posts and banning him works too.

p.s. Chuck Hendricks is not in NEFAC. Most of us hate him too.

Is thugarist an official supporter?

Yes.

Do youse only have this supporters status in order to take money from people youse would be embarrassed to have in the group?

If so, fair fucks. grin

No, he's outside our region.

and if he wasn't?

surely NEFAC don't allow in union full timers!

As long as he ain't a boss with hiring/firing power, yeah. Why not?

Does Organise! have a meticulous list of how the myriad of employment opportunities in the world effects one's standing in the group?

Organise! members can't take a role in the union's higher than that of shop steward and i always assumed NEFAC were opposed to members taking full time, unelected, paid roles in the union apparatus.

was I wrong?

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Jul 8 2007 22:57
MJ wrote:
revol68 wrote:
Smash Rich Bastards wrote:
revol68 wrote:
MJ wrote:
revol68 wrote:
MJ wrote:
revol68 wrote:
Smash Rich Bastards wrote:
Mike Harman wrote:
bump what?

Unless your prepared to link to posts where he's done something bannable, don't just post bumps. He's not the only person who's going to have multiple posts deleted from the culture thread.

Eh? Oh, I figured that this thread might act as a magnet to take the Kevin Keating banter off that other one. But deleting posts and banning him works too.

p.s. Chuck Hendricks is not in NEFAC. Most of us hate him too.

Is thugarist an official supporter?

Yes.

Do youse only have this supporters status in order to take money from people youse would be embarrassed to have in the group?

If so, fair fucks. grin

No, he's outside our region.

and if he wasn't?

surely NEFAC don't allow in union full timers!

As long as he ain't a boss with hiring/firing power, yeah. Why not?

Does Organise! have a meticulous list of how the myriad of employment opportunities in the world effects one's standing in the group?

Organise! members can't take a role in the union's higher than that of shop steward and i always assumed NEFAC were opposed to members taking full time, unelected, paid roles in the union apparatus.

was I wrong?

Do you allow employees of the state?

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Nate
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Jul 8 2007 22:57
Smash Rich Bastards wrote:
revol68 wrote:
Smash Rich Bastards wrote:
revol68 wrote:
MJ wrote:
revol68 wrote:
MJ wrote:
revol68 wrote:
Smash Rich Bastards wrote:
Mike Harman wrote:
bump what?

Unless your prepared to link to posts where he's done something bannable, don't just post bumps. He's not the only person who's going to have multiple posts deleted from the culture thread.

Eh? Oh, I figured that this thread might act as a magnet to take the Kevin Keating banter off that other one. But deleting posts and banning him works too.

p.s. Chuck Hendricks is not in NEFAC. Most of us hate him too.

Is thugarist an official supporter?

Yes.

Do youse only have this supporters status in order to take money from people youse would be embarrassed to have in the group?

If so, fair fucks. grin

No, he's outside our region.

and if he wasn't?

surely NEFAC don't allow in union full timers!

As long as he ain't a boss with hiring/firing power, yeah. Why not?

Does Organise! have a meticulous list of how the myriad of employment opportunities in the world effects one's standing in the group?

Organise! members can't take a role in the union's higher than that of shop steward and i always assumed NEFAC were opposed to members taking full time, unelected, paid roles in the union apparatus.

was I wrong?

Really? Before all the denunciations over our "leftist-tailgating" and "nationalism" I thought it was the fact that we had people close to us (or in a few cases, members) who were paid union officials (organizers, researchers, etc.) that seemed to be most objectionable thing about our group to the ultra-lefties and anarcho-syndicalists. I personally don't care that much. I would be opposed to any of our members using positions above shop steward to further any of our group's political objectives, but so far anyone from our group who's held a paid union position has, as far as I can tell, always separated their employed work from their political work.

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Jul 8 2007 22:58
revol68 wrote:
no cops or soldiers.

you miss the fundamental point here though, the reason there is a specific point about union positions is because of the role these have in mediating workers struggles not to mention the union ladder representing one of the best ways of recuperating workplace militants. This isn't some dry therotical purism it's based on years of experiance, even my da whose far from an ultra leftist knows that one of the best strategies both the bosses and union lackeys had for dealing with bolshie workers was to offer them promotions off the shop floor, whether into real management or the union bureacracy. If NEFAC are serious about wanting to see grassroots autonomous industrial organising they'd do well to remember that.

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Jul 8 2007 22:58
revol68 wrote:
Smash Rich Bastards wrote:
revol68 wrote:
Smash Rich Bastards wrote:
revol68 wrote:
MJ wrote:
revol68 wrote:
MJ wrote:
revol68 wrote:
Smash Rich Bastards wrote:
Mike Harman wrote:
bump what?

Unless your prepared to link to posts where he's done something bannable, don't just post bumps. He's not the only person who's going to have multiple posts deleted from the culture thread.

Eh? Oh, I figured that this thread might act as a magnet to take the Kevin Keating banter off that other one. But deleting posts and banning him works too.

p.s. Chuck Hendricks is not in NEFAC. Most of us hate him too.

Is thugarist an official supporter?

Yes.

Do youse only have this supporters status in order to take money from people youse would be embarrassed to have in the group?

If so, fair fucks. grin

No, he's outside our region.

and if he wasn't?

surely NEFAC don't allow in union full timers!

As long as he ain't a boss with hiring/firing power, yeah. Why not?

Does Organise! have a meticulous list of how the myriad of employment opportunities in the world effects one's standing in the group?

Organise! members can't take a role in the union's higher than that of shop steward and i always assumed NEFAC were opposed to members taking full time, unelected, paid roles in the union apparatus.

was I wrong?

Really? Before all the denunciations over our "leftist-tailgating" and "nationalism" I thought it was the fact that we had people close to us (or in a few cases, members) who were paid union officials (organizers, researchers, etc.) that seemed to be most objectionable thing about our group to the ultra-lefties and anarcho-syndicalists. I personally don't care that much. I would be opposed to any of our members using positions above shop steward to further any of our group's political objectives, but so far anyone from our group who's held a paid union position has, as far as I can tell, always separated their employed work from their political work.

no I assumed that some people left NEFAC to become union hacks, I assumed that's why thugarist wasn't in NEFAC but just a supporter.

thanks for telling me about your union full timer members, youse can just push your remaining principles back through the letter box when youse are ready.

seriously I can't believe this shit.

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Jul 8 2007 22:58
Smash Rich Bastards wrote:
revol68 wrote:
no cops or soldiers.

We don't take bosses or prison guards either. I'd be reluctant to take active soldiers, but considering the role radicalized soldiers have played in the past I think that might be a mistake.

revol68 wrote:
you miss the fundamental point here though, the reason there is a specific point about union positions is because of the role these have in mediating workers struggles not to mention the union ladder representing one of the best ways of recuperating workplace militants. This isn't some dry therotical purism it's based on years of experiance, even my da whose far from an ultra leftist knows that one of the best strategies both the bosses and union lackeys had for dealing with bolshie workers was to offer them promotions off the shop floor, whether into real management or the union bureacracy. If NEFAC are serious about wanting to see grassroots autonomous industrial organising they'd do well to remember that.

I dunno, I think its different here. Most people who take these jobs (at least most of the ones I know), don't exactly get picked from shop floor. Its more like an NGO-activist job, and a majority of people filling these positions, as far as I can tell, are middle class university graduates. Not exactly recuperated workplace militants. For someone like Thugarchist (who is from a working class background and may have gone from shop floor militant to organizer, I'm not sure) I think its a question of where they think they feel they can contribute the most towards building class confidence and winning short-term gains (in low point periods of class struggle) and still eat/pay rent. Perhaps if there was a wave of radical independent shopfloor militancy that swept across the industry he organizes within maybe he'd rethink his career. Who knows. I am sure he can answer better for himself.

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Jul 8 2007 22:59
Smash Rich Bastards wrote:
revol68 wrote:
Smash Rich Bastards wrote:
revol68 wrote:
Smash Rich Bastards wrote:
revol68 wrote:
MJ wrote:
revol68 wrote:
MJ wrote:
revol68 wrote:
Smash Rich Bastards wrote:
Mike Harman wrote:
bump what?

Unless your prepared to link to posts where he's done something bannable, don't just post bumps. He's not the only person who's going to have multiple posts deleted from the culture thread.

Eh? Oh, I figured that this thread might act as a magnet to take the Kevin Keating banter off that other one. But deleting posts and banning him works too.

p.s. Chuck Hendricks is not in NEFAC. Most of us hate him too.

Is thugarist an official supporter?

Yes.

Do youse only have this supporters status in order to take money from people youse would be embarrassed to have in the group?

If so, fair fucks. grin

No, he's outside our region.

and if he wasn't?

surely NEFAC don't allow in union full timers!

As long as he ain't a boss with hiring/firing power, yeah. Why not?

Does Organise! have a meticulous list of how the myriad of employment opportunities in the world effects one's standing in the group?

Organise! members can't take a role in the union's higher than that of shop steward and i always assumed NEFAC were opposed to members taking full time, unelected, paid roles in the union apparatus.

was I wrong?

Really? Before all the denunciations over our "leftist-tailgating" and "nationalism" I thought it was the fact that we had people close to us (or in a few cases, members) who were paid union officials (organizers, researchers, etc.) that seemed to be most objectionable thing about our group to the ultra-lefties and anarcho-syndicalists. I personally don't care that much. I would be opposed to any of our members using positions above shop steward to further any of our group's political objectives, but so far anyone from our group who's held a paid union position has, as far as I can tell, always separated their employed work from their political work.

no I assumed that some people left NEFAC to become union hacks, I assumed that's why thugarist wasn't in NEFAC but just a supporter.

thanks for telling me about your union full timer members, youse can just push your remaining principles back through the letter box when youse are ready.

seriously I can't believe this shit.

Did you really need another reason to hate us?

p.s. For the record, I think we have one member who is union organizer. Plus a couple paid community organizers.

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Jul 8 2007 22:59
revol68 wrote:
Smash Rich Bastards wrote:
revol68 wrote:
no cops or soldiers.

We don't take bosses or prison guards either. I'd be reluctant to take active soldiers, but considering the role radicalized soldiers have played in the past I think that might be a mistake.

revol68 wrote:
you miss the fundamental point here though, the reason there is a specific point about union positions is because of the role these have in mediating workers struggles not to mention the union ladder representing one of the best ways of recuperating workplace militants. This isn't some dry therotical purism it's based on years of experiance, even my da whose far from an ultra leftist knows that one of the best strategies both the bosses and union lackeys had for dealing with bolshie workers was to offer them promotions off the shop floor, whether into real management or the union bureacracy. If NEFAC are serious about wanting to see grassroots autonomous industrial organising they'd do well to remember that.

I dunno, I think its different here. Most people who take these jobs (at least most of the ones I know), don't exactly get picked from shop floor. Its more like an NGO-activist job, and a majority of people filling these positions, as far as I can tell, are middle class university graduates. Not exactly recuperated workplace militants. For someone like Thugarchist (who is from a working class background and may have gone from shop floor militant to organizer, I'm not sure) I think its a question of where they think they feel they can contribute the most towards building class confidence and winning short-term gains (in low point periods of class struggle) and still eat/pay rent. Perhaps if there was a wave of radical independent shopfloor militancy that swept across the industry he organizes within maybe he'd rethink his career. Who knows. I am sure he can answer better for himself.

Quote:
I think its a question of where they think they feel they can contribute the most towards building class confidence and winning short-term gains (in low point periods of class struggle) and still eat/pay rent.

Ah right, so that's NEFAC's industrial strategy? Whatever individuals members just decide on a whim. So if a NEFAC membe runs for union office?

What the fuck ever happened to good honest, aims and principles?

If someone wants to go work as a full time union organiser they can, they just shouldn't do it whilst being in an anarchist group that aims to build grass roots and shopfloor autonomy from the union apparatus.

Tlaking of recuperated bollox, is anyone watching LiveEarth?

I don't think I've wanted to built a coal power station so much in my life! That middle class cunt from Keane has just told me to put my hands in the air to save the planet.

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Jul 8 2007 23:00
rise wrote:
Quote:
the simple fact is that if workers want to be effective in their struggles they will be forced to move beyond union structures, to give two fingers to the full timers and co ordinate their own struggles. As such it makes sense for anarchists not to get sucked into the union bureacracy.

The key thing here is that this is a "simple" fact -- it is a little piece of ideology that, while vaguely and abstractly "true", or recognized to be the case, is being applied on a very specific level - one which was never intended by the vast historical and theoretical experience of many generations of committed anarchist-communists.

The complex reality is that many union officials, but not all, are people who have been radicalized by struggles within society or in the workplace, and as a result have sought greater participation in one of their only outlets to do something on a class level for the benefit of themselves and those around them. Often times, some of the most radicalized workers are not only "shop floor militants", but volunteer and paid union elected officials and staffers.

On a broad theoretical level, yes, it is untenable to have a revolutionary movement claiming to organize people when they are merely using the existing union structures to secure leadership positions within their organization. However, to suggest this is happening anywhere in the world with regards to anarchism is not only patently false, but wildly delusional. To even imply this is to grossly overestimate the influence of the anarchist movement within society.

I am pleased that ultra-leftists advocate a line of alienating active union volunteers and officials, because it means their fucked up politics will be less accessible and, hopefully, they will alienate less people to the term "anarchism" before more credible people with radical politics can approach them about what anarchism *really* is.

Anyway, this is a general problem with the ultra-left -- decontextualizing a scenario and applying macro-level theory on micro-level practice, almost always incongruently.

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Jul 8 2007 23:01
revol68 wrote:
Quote:
On a broad theoretical level, yes, it is untenable to have a revolutionary movement claiming to organize people when they are merely using the existing union structures to secure leadership positions within their organization. However, to suggest this is happening anywhere in the world with regards to anarchism is not only patently false, but wildly delusional. To even imply this is to grossly overestimate the influence of the anarchist movement within society.

I'm not following your point here? The issue isn't about the 'anarchist movement' per se but the overall workers movement. Workers with no explicit interest in anarchism or even politics in general have experiance of having the brakes put on their struggles, of having to fight their full timers and other union bureacrats before even getting round to fighting their bosses, this often leads to split aways, which we don't see as very useful yet are atleast are testimony to the frustrations many workers have with their unions.

An Organise! comrade was a shop steward in the railway for a very long time, he's plenty of stories of full timers screwing them over, of having a plus 90% vote in favour of industrial action being stroked off, of full timers trying to lay down when the rank n file could hold meetings to discuss issues.

Also it's not a mere matter of full timers deliberately sabotaging workers struggle because they are bourgeois running dogs or out for personal gain, it's the simple matter that their job depends on the union, they have bosses, the unions are essentially big business, with huge assets and investments, they aren't going to allow these to be put on the line, which is why they don't back wildcats and seek to keep all struggles under their control, a full timer who couldn't do so would be out the door pretty quickly.

I mean how long do you think you'd last on a committee if your union officials took issue with your support for a wildcat?

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Jul 8 2007 23:01
rise wrote:
Quote:
I'm not following your point here?

have you ever?

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Jul 8 2007 23:02
revol68 wrote:
I'll put it very simply, for workers to wage effective struggle, to empower themselves and realise their own power they are going to have to extend their struggles beyond the unions, as such it makes sense for anarchists to be working at a shop floor level, to be independent as they can be from the union structures, to build networks and groups that can break away from the unions, such a movement is going to be alot harder if the most militant workers are sucked into the union apparatus.
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Jul 8 2007 23:02
Nate wrote:
revol68 wrote:
An Organise! comrade was a shop steward in the railway for a very long time, he's plenty of stories of full timers screwing them over, of having a plus 90% vote in favour of industrial action being stroked off, of full timers trying to lay down when the rank n file could hold meetings to discuss issues.
revol68 wrote:
the reason there is a specific point about union positions is because of the role these have in mediating workers struggles not to mention the union ladder representing one of the best ways of recuperating workplace militants. This isn't some dry theoretical purism it's based on years of experiance, even my da whose far from an ultra leftist knows that one of the best strategies both the bosses and union lackeys had for dealing with bolshie workers was to offer them promotions off the shop floor, whether into real management or the union bureacracy. If NEFAC are serious about wanting to see grassroots autonomous industrial organising they'd do well to remember that.

Revol, I don't know what union organizing is like in the UK. But what you're saying simply isn't accurate about the US. In the US, the 'full timers' you talk about screwing over the ranks aren't organizing staff. They're the bosses of the organizing staff's bosses, or they're people in another section of the union's paid positions all together. Organizing staff aren't part of "union bureaucracy" and their role isn't to manage existing union members. Organizing staff in some instances _do_ do problematic stuff but this is at least in part due to the bureaucrats who are their bosses and their bosses' bosses, and due to legal constraints in some casts. And anarchist who work as organizers can and often do share tips with each other about how to minimize these negative effects, so there's actually something positive about anarchists - ones who are networked with each other - having those jobs. The 'union bureaucrats' involved in (messing up) organizing are already excluded by the exclusion covering the power to hire and fire.

revol68 wrote:
Also it's not a mere matter of full timers deliberately sabotaging workers struggle because they are bourgeois running dogs or out for personal gain, it's the simple matter that their job depends on the union, they have bosses, the unions are essentially big business, with huge assets and investments, they aren't going to allow these to be put on the line, which is why they don't back wildcats and seek to keep all struggles under their control, a full timer who couldn't do so would be out the door pretty quickly.

I think parts of this argument is more compelling. But the reality is that employees of unions, at least some who work as organizers, regularly navigate this. And organizers (it's the organizers you objected to being NEFAC members) frequently pretty much have nothing to do with people who are already members of the union so the 'wildcats by existing union members' thing doesn't apply. Also, the 'they're employees of a big business whose interests are anti-working class' argument - assuming for the sake of argument that it's true - isn't sufficient grounds for excluding organizing staff. By the logic of this argument you'd have to exclude every employee of a massive company. At a minimum you'd have to exclude every employee in any sector of the economy bound up with policing or discipling the working class, like teachers and social workers and TV camera men and workers at tank factories etc etc.

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Jul 8 2007 23:03
revol68 wrote:
btw Organise! do not have an issue with ordinary union employees, admin staff etc

What do paid organizers do over there?

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Jul 8 2007 23:03
revol68 wrote:
Quote:
Also, the 'they're employees of a big business whose interests are anti-working class' argument - assuming for the sake of argument that it's true - isn't sufficient grounds for excluding organizing staff. By the logic of this argument you'd have to exclude every employee of a massive company. At a minimum you'd have to exclude every employee in any sector of the economy bound up with policing or discipling the working class, like teachers and social workers and TV camera men and workers at tank factories etc etc.

I don't know if you are acting dumb for the sake of defending parasite organisers or you really are failing to grasp the issue.

It's not that they are employees of big business's it's that they are employees of big business's whose jobs are managing workers struggles, they are 'professional' organisers who are paid to organise other workers, it's completely repellent to the very basic principles of anarchism and especially to anarcho syndicalists who put special emphasis on how self organisation is the starting blocks of building the possibility of libertarian communism and in the short term breaking down the specialisation of struggle.

If union organisers in nefac want to engage in class struggle they should start by fighting their own bosses, instead of acting as paratroopers for the Union movement, afterall if the IWW ever got anywhere in a large industry the scum fucks of the mainstream unions would drop a ton of Thugarist's onto your heads, but hey I didn't think this would need pointed out to a wobbly.

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Jul 8 2007 23:03
revol68 wrote:
seriously do any of youse fucking wobs have a basic clue about your own history?

i'd have a lot more time for the IWW if the wobs stuck up for some basic revolutionary syndicalist principles instead of trying to be all things to everyone, for example, I hear you're applying to be a supporter of NEFAC Nate, maybe you should read up on what the Platformists make of syndicalism, namely the stuff about them never being revolutionary, the WSM's position paper is a right blast on that issue, give it a wee read and then ask yourself why you are in the IWW?

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Jul 8 2007 23:04
syndicalistcat wrote:
here i have to agree with revol's objection to what the WSM says about syndicalism. i've written now two critiques of it, one here on libcom, one on the WSA website, but they ignore me because I'm not in Ireland (a sorry and chauvinistic excuse).
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Jul 8 2007 23:05
Devrim wrote:
Nate wrote:
Revol, I don't know what union organizing is like in the UK. But what you're saying simply isn't accurate about the US. In the US, the 'full timers' you talk about screwing over the ranks aren't organizing staff.

I don't know much about conditions in the US, but they certainly seem different. Of course the UK unions employ full time staff. That is not what is meant by 'union fulltimer in the UK'. Basically the union officials for each branch are elected. They then continue workinging, but depending on the size of their work place will be given some 'facility time'. This is time not doing their normal job spent doing union work, which is paid for by the management as if they were doing their normal job. As an example when I was a UCW branch committee member in the 80's I got two hours a week. This can continue up to the point when people are on 100% facility time. They don't work in their job. They are paid by the management to do union business. Even these people are not technically full timers though they are often reffered to as such. Above that is the full-timer. He is still elected, but no longer employed by the company, and works for the union. He is what is meant by full-timer in the UK.

I will give an example of how it worked in the UK Post Office when I was there, of course there are differences in different jobs, but this will give Americans an idea of what people in the UK are talking about.

Committee member, sub-office with about 100 members: Two hours a week
Branch Sec, sub-office: 10 hours a week
Branch Sec, District Office about 2000 members: Full facility time.
District Council Officers (in the case of London DC 50,000 members): Full time

I hope that makes some things a little easier to understand.

Nate wrote:
I think parts of this argument is more compelling. But the reality is that employees of unions, at least some who work as organizers, regularly navigate this. And organizers (it's the organizers you objected to being NEFAC members) frequently pretty much have nothing to do with people who are already members of the union so the 'wildcats by existing union members' thing doesn't apply. Also, the 'they're employees of a big business whose interests are anti-working class' argument - assuming for the sake of argument that it's true - isn't sufficient grounds for excluding organizing staff. By the logic of this argument you'd have to exclude every employee of a massive company. At a minimum you'd have to exclude every employee in any sector of the economy bound up with policing or discipling the working class, like teachers and social workers and TV camera men and workers at tank factories etc etc.

To me this whole point seems strange as I have never met anyone who worked in this role in the union, the role of union staff has never come up in a political discusion I have been involved in except with Americans on here. I think that even in America, it can't be that common, yet NEFAC seems to have quite a few people in and around itself in these positions, and they have come up in discussions lots of times. I wonder if it is like lots of UK lefties working in the voluntary sector when I lived there. I am all for people getting involved where they work, but these people are hardly the vanguard of the proletariat, are they?

Devrim

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Jul 8 2007 23:05
Nate wrote:
Revol,

I do know a thing or two about IWW history, thanks. I just don't think you know what paid professional union organizers do. (Notice I didn't defend any other position, just organizers.) I respect Devrim resigning from union positions for reasons that are both principled and pragmatic. As for union employees fighting their bosses, they do. I worked as an organizer for one. I helped started an attempt to form a staff union because of some major problems on the job there, including big concerns that our bosses were having us push workers to take risks that might get them hurt and that we weren't going to really be able to do anything about. That's how I lost the job, after a vicious anti-union campaign against us, one that we weren't prepared for because we were poorly trained and naive, which was one of the worst experiences of my adult life. Thugarchist and some of his friends (no one else on here) were a big help to us during that effort, part of why we lasted as long and as well as we did. They were also part of their union and an informal group that did fight their own bosses and try to limit some of the fucked up things that their bosses did involving workers/members. From this experience I have no illusions about how unions treat workers they're organizing or their employees (I met a woman once who got fired by a union from her job as a secretary in their office because she missed too much work because she was getting treatment for a brain tumor) and I'm still really, really angry about it all though it's a few years ago (I really do want some of my former bosses to have bad things happen to them, like having their loved ones get terminal illnesses). But I think the probems are not all a matter of the organizing staff and that at least some of the problems in organizing unorganized workers are a matter of conflict between organizing staff and their bosses, rather than a foregone conclusion. You're overly simplistic in assimilating all organizing staff to being just bureaucrats and arms of the bureaucracy such that NEFAC shouldn't let them join. As long as people without the power to hire and fire can't join then it's all good in my opinion. At least in the US. I can't speak to anywhere else.

I also have no illusions about how other unions will react as the IWW bigger, but that's no grounds for a group other than the IWW taking a position on this stuff.

Also, I should say, I don't think becoming a paid organizer is radical. I think it can be a positive ethical choice, like becoming a social worker for the severely mentally ill or something, and I think it's something individuals can learn skills from, which can then be applied elsewhere, like with most any job. But I definitely don't think it's counter-revolutionary or whatever like you do.

Is that clearer?

Edit: Devrim, I think we were posting at the same time, I wasn't ignoring you. I need to go to bed, I'll get back to you later. For now, I'm not sure I know what "working in the voluntary sector" means. Is that like so-called nonprofit organizations?

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Jul 8 2007 23:06
pghwob wrote:
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Nate wrote:
Organizing staff aren't part of "union bureaucracy" and their role isn't to manage existing union members.

As you alluded to in a later post, I think we have to take a closer look at what business unions and organizers do. There are field organizers who are asked to get the membership more involved, but of course end-up doing so by bringing people in to that union's particular culture and mode of operation, which is not always a positive one. Then there are organizers of field staff who are brought in to work on mobilizing membership for a contract campaign. More often these are not the types of concessionary contracts signed by many UFCW locals we know and loathe, but it is not just about organizing workers to fight the boss, and we should recognize that. I do, but still support the idea of paying staff, recognizing that while worker self-activity certainly exists and is a positive thing, most people need to be pushed to be more active.

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Jul 8 2007 23:07
Devrim wrote:
To me this whole point seems strange as I have never met anyone who worked in this role in the union, the role of union staff has never come up in a political discusion I have been involved in except with Americans on here. I think that even in America, it can't be that common, yet NEFAC seems to have quite a few people in and around itself in these positions, and they have come up in discussions lots of times. I wonder if it is like lots of UK lefties working in the voluntary sector when I lived there. I am all for people getting involved where they work, but these people are hardly the vanguard of the proletariat, are they?

Devrim, I don't know why NEFAC has these folk in its orbit. I agree that these organizer positions aren't any particularly important sector or anything. I don't think anyone else would disagree. I just don't see why they should be banned from membership in NEFAC or other similar groups.

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Jul 8 2007 23:07
Devrim wrote:
I am all for people getting involved where they work, but these people are hardly the vanguard of the proletariat, are they?

Of course not -- why, are we supposed to be trying to get jobs as the vanguard of the proletariat? eek

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Jul 8 2007 23:08
revol68 wrote:
Nate wrote:
syndicalistcat wrote:
a thing that i particularly dislike about the anarchist milieu is this attitude that "I never have to say i'm sorry", that i can do whatever i want. It's completely individualistic.

Totally. I've said a bunch of times that if nothing else my union and organizing experiences has made me a better person than I was. The biggest one is learning to disagree. I'm from the midwest, in my house as a kid there were two way to be - agreeing with a smile or fighting with raised voices. My early political experiences had a similar dynamic. Later movement stuff (in the IWW mostly but not just there) is where I learned to tell the difference between disagreeing and fighting, and that really strong ties are the ones that don't demand constant agreement but can take or even grow from disagreement, even heated disagreement at times.

What pisses me off about the anarchist movement is it's foot loose approach to basic principles like self organisation and how a wobblie can defend the whole repellent 'professional activist/organiser' industry.

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Jul 8 2007 23:08

I think I'm right in saying that, despite what revol says, Organise! do not have an agreed position on this. Their only agreed position is their Aims and Principles.

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Jul 8 2007 23:08
syndicalistcat wrote:
revol:
Quote:
What pisses me off about the anarchist movement is it's foot loose approach to basic principles like self organisation and how a wobblie can defend the whole repellent 'professional activist/organiser' industry.

back around 1912 big bill Haywood was a staff organizer for the IWW. it's been said of him by his critics that he hired a bunch of his cronies for plum staff organizer jobs at the IWW. that may be sour grapes of course. point is, the IWW had staff organizers. one of the things that helped build the AWO to be the largest part of the IWW in the World War I period was that HQ did a special deal with the key organizer, giving him a personal "cut" of the dues money he collected. as i recall i think the AWO grew to contain something like 70,000 members, and branched out beyond agriculture to construction and other areas that employed migrant or temp workers. the organizers had a personal motivation to sign people up.

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Jul 8 2007 23:09
Nate wrote:
revol68 wrote:
What pisses me off about the anarchist movement is it's foot loose approach to basic principles like self organisation and how a wobblie can defend the whole repellent 'professional activist/organiser' industry.

Which wobbly defended the professional activist/organiser industry? This particularly wobbly thinks NGOs are crap places to work and doesn't think they're radical as a rule. My only point was that having a job in one (one which does not give you the power to hire and fire) should not be grounds for excluding someone from membership in a group like NEFAC.

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Jul 8 2007 23:10
revol68 wrote:
Nate wrote:
revol68 wrote:
What pisses me off about the anarchist movement is it's foot loose approach to basic principles like self organisation and how a wobblie can defend the whole repellent 'professional activist/organiser' industry.

Which wobbly defended the professional activist/organiser industry? This particularly wobbly thinks NGOs are crap places to work and doesn't think they're radical as a rule. My only point was that having a job in one (one which does not give you the power to hire and fire) should not be grounds for excluding someone from membership in a group like NEFAC.

well i'm an anarcho syndicalist so i don't accept the validity of a seperation of the political and economic like that, I would imagine your position would be similar but apparently not.

And surely if NEFAC are serious about working class self organisation (as opposed to mere leftist ideological recruitment) then surely they would think it's vital that any industrial strategy builds up working class self organisation and as such would have a bar on members taking 'full time' organiser roles.

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Jul 8 2007 23:11
revol68 wrote:
You still aren;'t grasping something really basic, Organise! has a ban on full time union organisers and such because we see them as upholding 'professionalism' and reproducing hierarchies within working classes struggle, have you never heard the shit that falls from Chuck and Thugarists mouths, it's directly linkd to how they relate to working class struggles, as a job, their profession, their activities in organising are tied to a higher chain of command namely the unions.

Like I said I thought NEFAC would have a work place strategy of supporting autonomous workers struggles and as such they would see 'professional organisers' as an immediate bar on that, and as I said if the IWW took off or for that matter some other form of workers self self organisation, the mainstream unions would have it swamped with 'professional organisers'.

If you are a paid union organiser and an anarchist you are going to have to make a choice one way or the other, it's tough shitty shit, and I can;t say it bothers me 'professional organisers' aren't exactly an important demographic in the class.