IWW in Northern Ireland

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Matt_efc
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Apr 16 2010 15:40
IWW in Northern Ireland

Does it exist? Or anything similar? I've got a mate over there who is working in a call centre and he emailed me the other day asking for some advice on going about setting up a unionised floor. I have no idea about N.I but I know theres some of you on here.... can anyone fill me in?

Cheers

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Joseph Kay
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Apr 16 2010 15:54

if he wants to organise at work, might be best getting in touch with Organise, an anarcho-syndicalist group that should be able to offer some advice and support. If the guy wants to unionise, an actual recognised union might be worth considering otherwise you don't get the legal cover (i.e. the benefit of unionisation), then again the IWW is more democratic if you can get the bosses to recognise it.

i can't see an IWW group in NI, and they don't appear to have an NI contact, but maybe email one of the others and ask?

Matt_efc
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Apr 16 2010 16:00

Cheers. Had a quick flick round the IWW site and didnt notice any contacts. Organise might be worth a shout but the guy isnt really a politico in any meaningful sense so I wouldnt want to scare him away from developing his thoughts with an explicitly revolutionary type stuff just yet but saying that Organise seem pretty non mental.

Am I rgiht in thinking theres some Organise members on here?

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Joseph Kay
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Apr 16 2010 16:03

Yeah there's a few Organise people on here, hopefully they'll see this since it has NI in the thread title. If they can't help, they should certainly be able to point the guy in the right direction.

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Choccy
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Apr 16 2010 22:19

Yeah anyone in Organise! will be happy to help you, give Deezer on here a shout.
Notch used to be in IWW like 10 years ago and wrote some of their retail workers stuff I think but is also now in Organise.
Organise can now be found in the Just Books office in Clarence Street Belfast.

Deezer
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Apr 18 2010 21:32

Aye, drop us a line at 13-15 Clarence Street, Belfast, BT2 8DY or email organiseireland@yahoo.ie

Pretty much everyone in the IWW in Ireland ended up in Organise!

gypsy
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Apr 19 2010 09:48

Is Organise anarcho syndicalist then? Is it part of the IWA?

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Steven.
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Apr 19 2010 10:05

organise would not be allowed to be part of the IWA, according to IWA rules as they are in the UK, and the UK already has an IWA section - Solfed.

they were formed from a merger of the anarchist Federation and anarchosyndicalist Federation in Northern Ireland a few years ago. the anarchosyndicalist part was significantly bigger

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Joseph Kay
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Apr 19 2010 10:22

Yeah what Steven says - i think Organise are almost entirely anarcho-syndicalist these days and may even identify the organisation as such. I think they're pretty much on the same page as SolFed but due to IWA rules it's one country, one section.

gypsy
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Apr 19 2010 10:28

Ahh ok thanks for clearing that up guys.

JR Cash
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Apr 19 2010 12:37

Why Organise be part of the IWA given that they are based in Ireland and not the UK?

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Joseph Kay
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Apr 19 2010 13:35

I believe Organise are entirely based in Northern Ireland, which is part of the UK*, although in principle i think they're an all-Ireland organisation. if they seriously wanted to join the IWA i don't think this would pose insurmountable problems (i've no idea if they even do though tbh).

* the point of the 'one country, one section' rule is so that each section of the IWA can adapt its approach according to the legislative/industrial relations framework of their respective state, so this is simply a recognition of the legal status quo that Northern Ireland is under UK law. if there's significant devolution, you could probably make a good case for English/Welsh/Scottish/Northern Irish IWA sections.

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PartyBucket
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Apr 19 2010 14:39
Steven. wrote:
organise would not be allowed to be part of the IWA, according to IWA rules as they are in the UK, and the UK already has an IWA section - Solfed.

they were formed from a merger of the anarchist Federation and anarchosyndicalist Federation in Northern Ireland a few years ago. the anarchosyndicalist part was significantly bigger

Actually, the previous incarnation of Organise!, which existed before those organisations, and has origins going back to the 1980s was for a time the Irish IWA section. The current 'version' has previously had members living in the ROI.

syndicalist
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Apr 19 2010 14:52

Probably a whole other discussion, when did the IWA "Conditions of Affiliation" change? Maybe I'm going stiff headed (always a possibility) but I recall the Conditions being different not so long ago (OK, at least a decade).

The issue of two affiliates in the US (WSA and possibly the IWW) repeatedly came up. There's a whole record on this. Basically, it came down to the two (WSA & IWW) to work out some mutual affiliation agrement to allow for both the WSA and the IWW as seperate organizations to maintain IWA affiliation. This never advanced (it just died on the vine), but I clearly remember (as I was deeply involved with the back and forth) a proviso for two section's in one country based on mutal agreement.

Help me out here.

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Joseph Kay
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Apr 19 2010 15:16

i'm not up on the details, but i'm pretty sure it would be the case that where there's a will there would be a way, whether through mutual affiliation, some form of merger, setting up an umbrella federation that affiliates... however i'm not sure there's a will so this is all pretty hypothetical (Organise comrades can obviously clarify that).

syndicalist
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Apr 19 2010 15:25
notch8 wrote:
Steven. wrote:
organise would not be allowed to be part of the IWA, according to IWA rules as they are in the UK, and the UK already has an IWA section - Solfed.

they were formed from a merger of the anarchist Federation and anarchosyndicalist Federation in Northern Ireland a few years ago. the anarchosyndicalist part was significantly bigger

Actually, the previous incarnation of Organise!, which existed before those organisations, and has origins going back to the 1980s was for a time the Irish IWA section. The current 'version' has previously had members living in the ROI.

I recall the "original" Organise! folks. I don't theink they were actually affiliated, but damn near close. I mean, we all thought of them as IWA and their stuff had IWA on it. There was one guy in particular, I met at an IWA event, a rubber worker who great(who has since found religion and out of the moveent).

Well, so much for memory lane.

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PartyBucket
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Apr 19 2010 15:47
syndicalist wrote:
I recall the "original" Organise! folks. I don't theink they were actually affiliated, but damn near close.

They affiliated at the Congress of 1996.

syndicalist
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Apr 19 2010 15:51
notch8 wrote:
syndicalist wrote:
I recall the "original" Organise! folks. I don't theink they were actually affiliated, but damn near close.

They affiliated at the Congress of 1996.

Thanks for the refresher!

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OliverTwister
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Apr 19 2010 17:58

This is pretty far off-topic, but if the Spanish CNT can have French branches than surely Organize would be permitted to join the IWA, no?

Jason Cortez
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Apr 19 2010 18:11

Organise in a previous incarnation were in the IWA and already said it wouldn't be a problem.

martinh
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Apr 19 2010 19:48

The IWA "One Country" rule would not apply in the case of Ireland, as SolFed does not organise in Ireland. We are the British section (despite what it says on the latest Catalyst masthead).

The one section per country rule is simply to avoid the obvious conflicts that would occur if there were two. Northern Ireland is politically part of the UK, but there are other factors at work, such as the different legal system (as has Scotland) and the legacy of partition. SolFed and its predecessor DAM took the view that we should not try to organise there and instead support the efforts of workers on the ground who took an internationalist position.

Likewise, if several countries were sufficiently integrated there could quite easily be a transnational section (I think this may have been the case when KRAS first joined, though I think they only have Russian affiliates now).

Regards,

Martin

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JoeMaguire
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Apr 19 2010 19:59

Sorry I was under the impression ASI challenged this at the International Conference in Manchester and it got overturned.

Deezer
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Apr 19 2010 22:45

Yes a previous incarnation of Organise! was affiliated to the IWA. After Syndicalist met a member or two of the group.

We will be discussing whether we are specifically anarcho-syndicalist at our next Congress this May and it is correct to say that the membership are almost entirely anarcho-syndicalist in orientation.

As for the one section one affiliate Martinh describes the situation as it was when we affiliated. I believe that if it was a reflection of industrial legislation then it would probably make sense for the 'country' to be the UK as the industrial legislation in the North of Ireland is almost identical to that in the rest of the UK - certainly closer than the more formal social partnership arrangement they have in the south. Having said that we may only have members in the north right now but we are still an 'all ireland' organisation and I don't think there is any likelihood of that changing. Greater co-operation between folk in the same industries in SolFed and Organise! (in NI) makes a lot of sense tho.

Syndicalist - I vaguely recall that there are several types of groups that can affiliate to the IWA. Propaganda groups, minority groups in non-anarcho-syndicalist unions and anarcho-syndicalist or revolutionary syndicalist unions iirc. Not sure how that works in practice these days (I think its still in the statutes) but it might be the basis that both WSA (a propaganda group) and IWW (allegedly a union) would have got 2 sections in one country? Only thinking aloud here though.

syndicalist
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Apr 19 2010 23:32

OK, I gather I'm an ole geezer by Libcom standards, so I went into our files..... when we first got involved in the IWA in the 1970s until the glory days when we were "expelled" (1999/2000), the Statutes read as follows:

"Conditions of Membership:

"Those who can belong to the IWA are:

a) National revolutionary syndicalist organizations which do not belong to any International.
Membership of a second central national organization of the same country can only be accepted by an International Congress on the basis of preliminary information of a Commission appointed by the IWA Secretariat. This Commission will be composed of two members of each organizations concerned; the national organization already affiliated, the other national organization wishing to join and the IWA Secretariat."

Principles, Aims & Statutes of the IWA as adopted at the 1st Congress, Berlin 1922 and ammended at the following Congresses, Madrid 1931, Paris, 1935, Paris 1938, Toulouse, 1951. reaffirmed at the Congresses in Montpelliar 1971 and Paris 1976 and 1979. To the best of my knowledge, there were no changes up until our last month in the IWA, December 1999.

The current Statutes are actually sort of conflicting. I'll highlight what I mean.

" V Conditions of affiliation

The following can affiliate to the IWA:

National Revolutionary Syndicalist Organizations that do not belong to any other International. In every case only one section will exist in each country. The affiliated sections have to ratify the Principles, Tactics and Aims of the IWA, and send a copy of its Statutes and Principles to the Secretariat. The International Secretariat of the IWA will inform sections of the origin of the contact or contacts that have applied to affiliate.

Minorities of Revolutionary syndicalists organized inside other national organizations affiliated to other trade union Internationals.

Union organizations, crafts, industrial or general that are independent or affiliated to national organisations that do not belong to the IWA, which accept the Declaration of Principles and Goals of the IWA, with the prior consent, however, of the national organization already affiliated in the country, if such organization exists.

Crafts, industrial or general union organizations that have left or have been excluded from an organization affiliated to the IWA can only be granted affiliation upon the unanimous decision of a Conference consisting of two delegates of each of the affiliate organizations; that is, of the organization that has withdrawn or been excluded, two from the national Organization of the IWA and the Secretariat of the IWA.

...

In any case only one Section will be able to exist for each country.

syndicalist
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Apr 20 2010 00:02
OliverTwister wrote:
This is pretty far off-topic, but if the Spanish CNT can have French branches than surely Organize would be permitted to join the IWA, no?

Actually, the IWA Statutes have been pretty clear and consistant on this point:

"V Conditions of affiliation ....

"Since the IWA only consists of legal or illegal sections, with direct connection within the respective countries, the only groups that can be recognized as Sections of the IWA are those exiled groups that can give clear evidence to the IWA-Secretariat that they are authentic representatives of Organizations that act and work in the respective countries."

The reality was, for many years there was a CNT in exile in France.

Deezer
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Apr 20 2010 19:45
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There are only 2 classifications for sections in the IWA - friends and full affiliates. Friends aren't full sections and don't have voting rights, but as far as I am aware you couldn't have a friend of the IWA and a full section in the same country.

Yes, that is corect but not what I was talking about - I was referring to the section of the statutes that outlines what type of organisations or groups within organisations can apply to be either one of these. Syndicalist has quoted the relevant bits from the IWA statutes - badly amended as they are. Though I'm guessing that with the consent of the national organisation already affiliated or in the case of excluded groups applying for IWA affiliation there may be an unwritten assumption that the upshot of acceptance would be membership of the national affiliate that already exists or readmittance into the organisation that had previously excluded the group seeking (re)affiliation? Thus the end result is still one affiliated organisation per country - in practice in would be extremely strange to have two separate organisations in the same international.

syndicalist
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Apr 20 2010 20:16
Deezer wrote:
wrote:
There are only 2 classifications for sections in the IWA - friends and full affiliates. Friends aren't full sections and don't have voting rights, but as far as I am aware you couldn't have a friend of the IWA and a full section in the same country.

Yes, that is corect but not what I was talking about - I was referring to the section of the statutes that outlines what type of organisations or groups within organisations can apply to be either one of these. Syndicalist has quoted the relevant bits from the IWA statutes - badly amended as they are. Though I'm guessing that with the consent of the national organisation already affiliated or in the case of excluded groups applying for IWA affiliation there may be an unwritten assumption that the upshot of acceptance would be membership of the national affiliate that already exists or readmittance into the organisation that had previously excluded the group seeking (re)affiliation? Thus the end result is still one affiliated organisation per country - in practice in would be extremely strange to have two separate organisations in the same international.

OK comrade, but this is not my read of how it used to be. Nor was it the intent in the case of the WSA and IWW. There would have clearly have been two section's in the US, without nuanced differentiation.

I would also take exception to any "unwritten rules". It either is or isn't. I mean if folks wanted to play lawyers in cheap suite and tupees (uh, said generally, not specifically to anyone posting here) when dealing with this stuff, well, why even have made obvious changes to the Statutes to begin with.?

Deezer
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Apr 20 2010 21:25

No, I agree its not how it used to be.

I also agree that there shouldn't be "unwritten rules" but I didn't say there were any of those - by unwritten assumption I was just supposing (and all I have to go on is supposition) that they meant to make it clear that there would be one section per country and that in the event of the more ambiguous part of the statutes you quote coming into play that the idea (not clearly expressed) may have been that if affiliation/readmittance of another group was acceptable to all parties that the amendment may have been informed by an assumption taht both parties become a single organisation/section. It looks to me like its been badly amended either way. I don't think thats deliberate though.

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Felix Frost
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Apr 20 2010 21:25

The line saying "In any case only one Section will be able to exist for each country" was added to the statutes at the 1996 congress, at the same time as CNT-Vignolles and USI-Roma were expelled. I don't think the two decisions were totally unrelated.

syndicalist
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Apr 20 2010 21:35
Deezer wrote:
No, I agree its not how it used to be.

I also agree that there shouldn't be "unwritten rules" but I didn't say there were any of those - by unwritten assumption I was just supposing (and all I have to go on is supposition) that they meant to make it clear that there would be one section per country and that in the event of the more ambiguous part of the statutes you quote coming into play that the idea (not clearly expressed) may have been that if affiliation/readmittance of another group was acceptable to all parties that the amendment may have been informed by an assumption taht both parties become a single organisation/section. It looks to me like its been badly amended either way. I don't think thats deliberate though.

I think comrades may have been in a hurry to deal with a situation they felt they needed to handle a certain way. I'll be obsure and leave it at that, but Felix prolly said it best.

syndicalist
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Apr 20 2010 21:37
Felix Frost wrote:
The line saying "In any case only one Section will be able to exist for each country" was added to the statutes at the 1996 congress, at the same time as CNT-Vignolles and USI-Roma were expelled. I don't think the two decisions were totally unrelated.

I know we've discussed this elsewhere some years ago.... but USI-Roma was not expelled. They wlked out in solidarity with Vignoles. I think that's a bit different.