Workers Solidarity Alliance and IWA

Submitted by gatorojinegro on February 10, 2007

Background on the Workers Solidarity Alliance and the International Workers Association

I'm going to give a brief summary here, for the record, of the relationship between the Workers Solidarity Alliance/Alianza Solidaridad Obrera and the IWA.

The Workers Solidarity Alliance (WSA) was founded in November, 1984. The WSA mainly derived from a syndicalist tendency that had existed in the Anarchist Communist Federation in 1978-80 (members of the New York, Milwaukee and West Virginia affiliates of the ACF), plus some ex-wobblies who had been active in the IWW Industrial Organizing Committee. From 1981 to 1984 this political tendency had exsisted as a network around the magazine ideas & action, which was set up at a conference in New York City in July, 1981.

The WSA has always understood that it is a political group, not a union, and with no pretentions to becoming a union. WSA has always assumed what some anarchists call the "dual organization" theory: distinct roles for a left-libertarian political activist organization and for mass organizations such as unions. Moreover, WSA also supports community organizing and struggles outside the workplace as well as workplace organizing. WSA also recognizes there are struggles around various non-class forms of oppression -- racism, structural gender inequality, the oppression of gay people, and accepts the autonomy of people in these areas. In the late '80s and early '90s, one of WSA's areas of focus was on the defense of reproductive rights and we had people in three parts of the USA working on defense of abortion clinics against the right-wing anti-abortion movement. Although the WSA was an affiliate of the IWA, the WSA's politics were not defined solely by the IWA Principles, but by its own political perspective, based on our understanding of the situation in the USA.

WSA's strategy towards labor organization is two-pronged and based on tactical flexibility:

(1) In workplaces where the bureaucratic business unions (AFL-CIO or CtW) exist, we propose the organizing of a rank-and-file organization independent of the union bureaucracy (such as the Needle Trades Action Committee organized by some WSA members in the New York area in the '80s), which can draw in workers who want to fight, encouraging active participation in struggle by workers, and able to pursue a range of possible tactics, from worker actions independent of the union (the JeffBoat wildcat would be a good example) to a campaign for changes in the structure and functioning of the union, to decertification in favor of a new self-managed union, if there is a real movement behind it; in other words, efforts to enhance rank and file control, and to encourage a higher level of class consciousness, recognizing the contradiction between the interests of workers and the dominating classes.

(2) In certain situations where conditions are favorable to building a new union organization, we also support organizing projects to build a new independent union that has a self-managing character, as a way to enhance control by workers over their struggles and avoid the limitations posed by the entrenched union bureaucracies.

When WSA was formed in 1984, a group that merged into WSA was the Libertarian Workers Group in New York City. LWG had been an affiliate of the IWA and the IWA in the '80s accepted WSA as the section in the USA. The fact that WSA was a political group, not a union, did not seem to bother the IWA at that time. People sometimes ask, "Why didn't WSA affiliate to the International Association of Anarchist Organizations (IFA). WSA is not a loose umbrella for all sorts of anarchism -- we're not a so-called "synthesist" organization. WSA has a more definite political perspective, articulated in the 1980s in our "Where We Stand" statement (http://www.workersolidarity.org/wherewestand.html), and a libertarian syndicalist strategy is central to our politics.

Since 1984 the membership of WSA has fluctuated between 20 and 50 members. The WSA constitution provides for local geographic organizations called "groups". A group requires a minimum of three members who live within some regular commuting distance of each other. When WSA was at its height in the late '80s and early '90s, WSA had groups in a number of cities, including Knoxville, San Francisco, New York, and Sacramento.

Even with 40 to 50 members, WSA had a difficult time maintaining its magazine and loss of the magazine in the '90s, plus a general downturn in the radical left in that period, led to a drop in WSA membership. If the membership of an organization drops low enough, it becomes a struggle to even function as an organization. By 1998 WSA had reached a particular low point in its history. It was at this time that a group in Duluth, Minnesota, joined the WSA, but not by negotiating a merger, but by joining as individuals.

This group in Duluth now calls itself the "Syndicalist Action Network." SAN has a few scattered individual followers outside Duluth, but is a small group overall -- less than 10 members. The leading personalities in this group are Seamas Cain and Jeff Hilgert. SAN has operated over the years under various names including "Syndicalist League of Minnestota" and "IWA Action."

WSA has a seven-member national committee, made up of the national secretary, treasurer, international secretary and four regional delegates. SAN members offered to take on the administrative tasks on the WSA national committee. SAN's subsequent behavior shows that their joining WSA was a classic entryist takeover attempt. In retrospect I think WSA's mistake was not requiring merger negotiations since the Duluth people were a pre-existing group.

By joining WSA, SAN members were pledging to uphold the politics and constitution of the WSA. However, after election to the WSA national committee, SAN members used the national committee to try to bureaucratically expel long-time members of the WSA.

The WSA constitution does not empower the national committee to expel members. SAN members used various pretexts for these expulsions such as the fact that some expellees were self-employed. However, the WSA constitution does not require that one work for a boss as a condition of membership. Moreover, the WSA constitution only permits expulsion by a vote of a national conference, after the individuals are given 90-day notice and an opportunity to defend themselves. These conditions were never met in the expulsions attempted by the SAN entryists. Hence, they were null and void.

In its attempt to dump the political legacy of WSA, SAN tried to change the name of WSA to "U.S. Section of the IWA." However, the WSA constitution requires that this action be approved by a valid mail vote of all the members. Because the people invalidly expelled were not sent ballots, this vote was invalid.

The WSA constitution requires mail ballot votes for proposed changes to
the constitution, after a proposal is discussed in the internal discussion bulletin, because the membership is scattered across the gigantic territory of the USA, so it's impossible to get all the membership together in a single meeting.

In public statements issued by the SAN folks while they were in control of the WSA national committee (for example: http://www.ainfos.ca/01/jul/ainfos00045.html),
they claimed to have "collectives" in places like Oakland, California, and Bath, Maine. Subsequent fact-checking by WSA has failed to find any evidence of any such groups. SAN has a tendency to create a fictional image of themselves as larger than they are.

While these entryist maneuverings were going on, WSA had another problem with its San Francisco group. Two IWW members had joined the group. These two individuals were actively involved in the planning for the I-99 international syndicalist conference, which was held in San Francisco in 1999. To understand the problem this posed for WSA, it's necessary to understand the "no contact" rule in the IWA. As part of the fallout of the split in the Spanish CNT in the 1980s, the IWA adopted a rule of "no contact" with the CNTU (which became the CGT in 1989), and with organizations outside the IWA supporting them, especially the SAC in Sweden. At the time the WSA stated its opposition to this rule (for example, I was a delegate at the 1988 IWA congress and I stated WSA's opposition to this rule at that time). Nonetheless, WSA does believe in organizational discipline and was therefore not willing to blatantly disgregard the feelings of some European sections of the IWA in regard to I-99, and therefore did not endorse it. However, the two IWW members in the San Francisco WSA group who were promoting I-99 got that group to publically endorse I-99, which violated the WSA's organizational discipline. After I-99, however, these two individuals didn't stick around, and are now no longer members of WSA.

When the New York Group of WSA and other WSA members rallied to take back control of their organization, the SAN folks in Duluth decided to withdraw in 2002. SAN, as the Duluth group of the WSA, then sent a message to the IWA Secretariat saying that they "disaffiliate from the IWA". A vote of five or six people in the Duluth group could not validly disaffiliate the entire WSA from the IWA. The WSA constitution requires that such a decision be approved by mail ballot of the entire membership. No such mail vote ever took place. Therefore, the so-called "disafilliation" from the IWA by the SAN folks in Duluth was not valid. To suppose that a vote of one local WSA group could disaffiliate the WSA from the IWA is like saying that a local branch of the CNT in Seville could disaffiliate the whole CNT from the IWA.

This is why the IWA Secretariat is mistaken when it claims that the WSA -- the
U.S. Section of the IWA -- disaffiliated from the IWA. No valid disaffiliation
vote of WSA members ever took place.

The question of whether to recognize the continued affiliation of the WSA to the IWA came up for a vote at the IWA congress in 2004. At that time, FAU and USI voted to recognize the WSA as still an affiliate, but the CNT-AIT, Solidarity Federation (UK), and NSF (Norway) voted against recognition of the WSA as an affiliate. This amounted to a vote of expulsion of the WSA from the IWA.

Caveat: I post this here because WSA's relationship to the IWA comes up from time to time. My own personal assessment is that the WSA needs to let the period of its IWA affiliation fade into the past.

syndicalist

15 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I'd like to add some additional comments, but time doesn't permit tonite.

Anyone interested in more WSA history can go http://www.zabalaza.net/index02.htm and read "A Brief History of the WSA"

EDIT: I see this link isn't doing the trick, so:

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE WORKERS' SOLIDARITY ALLIANCE: (M, WSA, USA) eng
Author: blackdragon (---.argus.co.za)
Date: 06-30-05 17:13

A Brief History of the Workers' Solidarity Alliance
by M

The W.S.A.'s Origins

Some members of the WSA can trace their roots to the 1974 effort to establish an anarcho-syndicalist "Committee of correspondence for an anarcho-syndicalist liaison group". In their June 2, 1974 circular the Committee established its basic approach to moving forward. The Committee was to be the "clear expression of syndicalist principles in the face of 'do your own thing' anarchist movement drifting away from [the] class struggle'." We, therefore, wanted to clearly establish an organization that was both structured and accountable. Another aim of the Committee was to form a US Section of the International Workers Association (IWA).

Although the Committee effort did not immediately succeed, new contacts were made and a new and mainly younger generation of anarcho-syndicalists began to come together. Further contacts and networks were also established through involvement in the Anarchist Communist Federation of North America (ACF, 1978-1981), the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) and various workplace campaigns. Many of the founding members of the Workers Solidarity Alliance met and worked together during this time.

In 1978 the New York City based Libertarian Workers Group (now NY-NJ WSA) affiliated to the IWA. Soon to follow was the Syndicalist Alliance (SA) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. According to the former IWA Secretary General Fidel Gorron Canoyra, we became the "first [US] IWA section in the history of the IWA."

While a formal "national" anarcho-syndicalist organization was not formed until 1984, a network of anarcho-syndicalists decided began to work together. By 1981 we came together to publish an explicitly anarcho-syndicalist magazine titled "ideas & action". "ideas & action" later went on to become the magazine of the WSA.

Also during this period we worked with like-minded folks on the US and Canadian newspaper "Strike!" and the informal network publishing it. The informal "Strike!" network also engaged in some activities aside from publishing the paper. These mainly consisted of various solidarity campaigns in the US, Canada and abroad. Our internationalism has always been strong and we engaged in many internationalist activities.

During this time period, many Latin American countries were under US supported military dictatorships. A number of these countries also had a rich tradition of anarchist or anarcho-syndicalist activity as well. Given our own proximity to Latin America, we cooperatively set up the Libertarian Aid to Latin American Workers (LALAW) committees with others in the "Strike!" network. Our various LALAW committees worked on a number of campaigns and published an impressive journal "No Middle Ground".

Additionally some of our members, mainly in the New York area, were also engaged in activities in support of the underground struggles of workers to establish independent unions in the former "socialist" East Europe, as well a trying to organize the Needle Trades Workers Action Committee of rank-and-file workers. Members in West Virginia were particularly focused on the coal industry and rising unemployment and its effects on the rural coal mining communities. Californian members were active with publishing tasks, community activities and workplace outreach and activity mainly in the emerging high tech sector. [It is also worthwhile noting that it was the WSA that first made contact with the anarcho-syndicalist Awareness League in Nigeria and recently donated it the equipment to set up its own radio station in Enugu! So the WSA's internationalism has had a strong African connection, too - note by ZACF international secretary]

During this time period, the main areas of network activity consisted of distributing various informational leaflets, newsletters, newspaper and magazine ("On The Line" in NYC, "Strike!" and "ideas & action"), and solidarity activities. Network participants were also involved in their workplaces, labor unions, on picket lines and in various social issues and student movements. Particular attention and focus was also given to anti-militarist and anti-nuclear power and weapons struggles as well.

These events bring us to the period preceding the formation of the W.S.A. in November 1984. Perhaps in future issues we will review in detail some of the events of this time period, as well as the early years of the W.S.A.

A Brief History of the W.S.A.

2004 marked the 20th anniversary of the W.S.A. Never a large organization, we have always made up for it in spirit.

Originally a network of anarcho-syndicalistsand class struggle anti-authoritarians in the early 1980s. The network included the magazine "ideas & action", began in 1981, and the Libertarian Workers Group organized in New York City in the 1970s.

It was flexible in its approach to workplace organizing, which was integrated into the WSA when it was founded in New York City in November 1984. Identifying with the syndicalist tradition, the WSA affiliated with the International Workers Association in 1984 - until recently. However, the WSA continues to be sympathetic to the traditions and Principles of the IWA.

Although the WSA's main strategic focus is on the labor movement, the WSA also believes that a working class-based movement needs to be broadly based in working class communities, not just in the workplaces, and that the movement needs to be anti-racist, anti-sexist, and internationalist in character. These concerns are expressed in the WSA's "Where We Stand" statement developed in the 1980s.

Surely the WSA can not claim credit for the adaptation of other workers' organizations alternative approaches to workplace and community organizing. On the other hand, we have seen others draw similar conclusions as we have in developing a variety of alternative and self-managed movements and ideas. Many very similar to the ideas we envision and have been advocating for. Examples of this can be seen in the growth of workers centers; the concept of "solidarity unionism"; "flying picket squads"; independent organizing against sweatshop conditions and other forms of workers themselves organizing on their own and in their own name.

WSA documents and some articles from "ideas & action" may be viewed at our website: www.workersolidarity.org.

Mark.

15 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I'm new to libcom - I came across it doing a search on the last IWA congress in Manchester. As I haven't been involved for years and haven't followed events I'm finding the recent history of the IWA puzzling to say the least. Can anyone from Solidarity Federation explain why they voted not to recognise the WSA as an IWA affiliate - and do they still think this was the right decision? I'm just trying to understand what happened and what the issues were.

syndicalist

15 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

As it's almost 130AM, having just got in from work, so I'll be brief at the moment.

I should be a betting man, I probably could retire. I should've placed a bet that when I returned from work there would be no reply to JH's question.

It is clear to me that members of the IWA feel comfortable with just sweeping things under the rug. Ignore the WSA, they'll just go away. Forget all the times the WSA stood by our side when we needed their solidarity. I find it quite telling that not one comrade can come forward and say why they voted the way they did. Tough to look a comrade in the eye and say you were wrong, eh?

syndicalist

15 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Elsewhere on libcom:

http://libcom.org/forums/nefac/nefac-and-iwa-ait-vs-ils-sil

Flint wrote:
"In my opinion, in terms of international solidarity from U.S. anarchists groups... the group that does the best job of that is the WSA ... The IWA lost a lot by loosing ... the WSA. WSA does a better job of it than NEFAC, than the IWW's international solidarity committee, and better than Black Bridges International."

JDMF

15 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

syndicalist, i think most SolFed members on libcom were not members during that time so it is difficult to comment. I dont think "we", as in libcom solfed members, are trying to sweep things under the carpet, i mean we have been answering lots of difficult questions about IWA issues before (many of which i dont support myself).

I dont have a first clue about this issue and didn't know that solfed voted against WSA.

Sorry cant be more helpful.

Steven.

15 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Yeah that sounds pretty shitty from the point of view of the IWA/Solfed/etc.

I know some people on libcom would've been in solfed then - it was only 2004. Steve and martinh at least, wasn't the button in then too?

Is the SAN still around then? And are they fucking insane or what?

the button

15 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

John.

wasn't the button in then too?

I was, but only just, IIRC.

WeTheYouth

15 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The WSA question should be brought up again at the next congress, and until then i think that SF locals should keep in good contact with the WSA as if they were a section of the IWA.

syndicalist

15 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Good AM.

Thanks to all of the younger Solfed folks who have replied and for the interest. More comments later as I have to get to work.

WSA (and our respective NY-Libertarian Workers Group and the Milwaukee-Syndicalist Alliance) have for better than 20 years enjoyed a good, positive and mutually respectful relationship with the SWF, the DAM and briefly with Solfed. I can only assume that some of the older comrades who were around over the years read libcom. I suspect there are other IWA members reading libcom as well. So whatever historical comments which are made are surely directed at those involved at the time. But they bring forward a legacy which has not simply harmed the WSA, but the IWA as well.

Over a period of time you build not only organizational but personal relationshiops as well. You assume that cause you got a comrades back, they got yours. You don't expect them to knife you in the back. Organizationally and personally speaking, this is what folks in the IWA did, including Solfed. When you have relationships with comrades and they refuse to answer mail, refuse your questions and refuse to allow debate, there's a problem. Cause if they do it to "you" they will do it to others.In the long run this is the more far reaching issue.

I'll get to the SAN and other stuff later. I will say,in reply to John,the people from Duluth are stuck in the cespool of intrigue, personal animus and simply off their medicine.

martinh

15 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I rejoined in 2005 so can't say why SolFed voted as it did. I think Steve is probably the only one who ever posts here who was around at the time.

On a personal level I consider the WSA comrades and it's quite clear they have been treated badly,

regards,

Martin

David in Atlanta

15 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I'd add a couple of words to this sentence, which sounds rather cold:

However, the WSA continues to be sympathetic to the traditions and Principles of the IWA.

We're also, of course, in complete solidarity with economic and political struggles undertaken by IWA sections or sections facing repression.
OK, thats more than a couple of words.

I was involved in the I99 organizing, more as a wobbly than as a WSA member. I thought at the time, and still do, that it's good for the IWW (or someone) to host periodic cross-organizational conferences, both for their own membership and for the libertarian workers movement overall. I saw it as follow-up from Mayday '86 and the Workers Democracy initiated conference in St.Louis. I can't claim to have realized it at the time, but i'm of the opinion that I99 was also an important part of the organizing that led to the Seattle WTO actions the next year. Also I acted in political defense of the SF branch, who were being attacked inside the IWW primarily for being WSA members.

I didn't see a violation of formal WSA discipline. It looked at the time like it was the New York group disagreeing with SF and the rest of the organization who were more willing to actively break the "no-contact" rule in an informal and non-binding conference setting. Am i correct in my recollection that SAN supported I99?

Flint

15 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

gatorojinegro

While these entryist maneuverings were going on, WSA had another problem with its San Francisco group. Two IWW members had joined the group. These two individuals were actively involved in the planning for the I-99 international syndicalist conference, which was held in San Francisco in 1999. To understand the problem this posed for WSA, it's necessary to understand the "no contact" rule in the IWA. As part of the fallout of the split in the Spanish CNT in the 1980s, the IWA adopted a rule of "no contact" with the CNTU (which became the CGT in 1989), and with organizations outside the IWA supporting them, especially the SAC in Sweden. At the time the WSA stated its opposition to this rule (for example, I was a delegate at the 1988 IWA congress and I stated WSA's opposition to this rule at that time). Nonetheless, WSA does believe in organizational discipline and was therefore not willing to blatantly disgregard the feelings of some European sections of the IWA in regard to I-99, and therefore did not endorse it. However, the two IWW members in the San Francisco WSA group who were promoting I-99 got that group to publically endorse I-99, which violated the WSA's organizational discipline. After I-99, however, these two individuals didn't stick around, and are now no longer members of WSA.

This was when I was a member of the WSA. I had joined the IWW through my acquaitence with Rafi Sharif Bey, also a long time AFSCME member, as well as in the WSA. In the IWW, I got on good terms with the San Francisco folks. In the lead up to I-99, I joined the WSA. At the time, I believe the National Office (I don't recall who exactly had which posts) was in San Francisco. throwhen also joined. We did so out of our feelings of political sympathy with the only anarcho-syndicalist organization in the U.S. I attended I-99, so did the folks setting it up from San Francisco (were you there, Tom? I forget; I know our WSA/IWW comrade from Atlanta was there also). There were a large number of wobblies, as well as the SAC, CNT-F (Vignoles). I believe some comrades from the FAU also showed up. One of the big topics was Seattle Wobs like Jason Adams trying to motivate folks to come to Seattle for the protests against the WTO.

This was also around the time of Sam MBah (Nigerian Awareness League) had a speaking tour in the U.S. thanks to the hard work of the WSA; and I setup a successful event in Baltimore.

Both of these events were mentioned in the "Quiet Americans" articles that lead to the "We Dare Be Free" collective in Boston to be contacted "Groupe Emile Henry" in Quebec. They went on to form NEFAC.

All this stuff going on with SAN was going on during all of this, and to someone new to the IWA; it was very confusing. While the internal bulletin always came out well when it was being sent from NYC; (and I believe it came out from SF as well); under the folks Duluth... it was being used to further their agenda. The international email lists were still hot over elements of the WSA and the FAU being at a joint discussion conference with the CNT-F (Vignoles) and the SAC. At the time, the WSA also hadn't been producing a publication, and Anarcho-Syndicalist Review still had venom for the WSA.

One of the San Francisco WSA comrades was also in a bid to become GST for the IWW. He lost that election to Alexis Buss, who was relected to the post several times. He seemed to drift away at that point.

As we came up to the World Bank/IMF meetings the following spring in Washington, D.C.; Baltimore WSA members got involved with that protest. We also host a talk at Black Planet Books from someone who had been at the founding NEFAC congress. I know I signed onto the call for a Revolutionary Anti-Capitalist Bloc as a "Northeast Regional Delegate of the WSA" (I was never entirely sure what my role was there, but the organization was in very bad shape at the time). Baltimore WSA/wobblies were part of a shared reading group with Collective Action Notes and Claustrophobia. The WSA/wobblies ended up joining up with NEFAC as the Roundhouse collective and attended their next conference that summer in West Virginia (I also think that the West Virginian WSA member was there in the evening, but declined to join).

"We Dare Be Free" was active on the street, had a regular publication, and a lot closer to where some of us folks in Baltimore were in temprament. So, while the WSA got embroiled in a fight with the folks from Duluth; I decided to focus my time with NEFAC... rather than get involved in what was a confusing situation to me.

It was the Roundhouse collective that pushed for a position of engagement with unions (including, but not limited to the IWW) in NEFAC, instead of adopting a more "outside and against" position that was popular among some folks sympathetic to the A(C)F or various council communist ideas.

There is a lot of other history before we get to all this about the ACF, "Strike" and the animosity from the LLR/ASR, etc... but I wasn't around for any of it.

Is that all as clear as mud now?

gatorojinegro

15 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Thanks to David and Flint for clearing some of this up
for me. I had dropped out of WSA in 1994 and didn't rejoin til 2002.

t.

Mark.

15 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Although it doesn't answer my original question thanks to the Solfed members for responding. I was in the SWF and then DAM for a while - a long time ago obviously - and for what its worth I can remember that I was always impressed with what I read from the Libertarian Workers Group and the WSA.

At the risk of derailing this thread I'd like to ask more about the IWA's "no contact" rule. Gatorojinegro mentioned the CGT and SAC. Who else does this rule apply to? In the Liverpool dockers dispute in the late nineties there was a lot of active support from SAC and from the Coordinadora, the main spanish dockworkers union. These contacts were initiated by Hull Syndicalists through Hull Trades Council. Does the "no contact" rule mean that Solfed would not have been allowed to approach SAC? Would this apply to the Coordinadora as well?

Long before the main body of the CNT-F was expelled from the IWA I remember talking to Solfed members who felt a lot more sympathy with them than with the Bordeaux group (now the official CNT-AIT). Have Solfed now cut off contact with the CNT-F? I understand that FAU have contacts with the CNT-F and that this was an issue at the congress in Manchester. Was there any debate or support for changing the "no contact" rule?

JDMF

15 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Again, cant really answer your question JH because of being a new member and dont know all the historical details about who said what when. I am a member of Solfed, but havent seen any official documents about this alleged no contact rule, and i have asked to see some.

I am in close personal contact with people in SAC and also in the CNT-F because I have friends there, and i doubt any one would like to try to prevent those contacts being in place. As far as official contacts i dont know for sure.

Anyways JH, sounds like you are still interested in the international A-S drama if not solfeds current practical work itself :D SolFed is doing pretty well these days, lots of new blood in and some locals are doing a good job I think. The international issues seem to be more of a burden than a benefit.

syndicalist

15 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Interesting stuff. I'm a bit pressed for time at the moment. So let me address some things quickly. I'll come back to I-99 later.

Flint

"outside and against" position that was popular among some folks sympathetic to the A(C)F or various council communist ideas.

For clarification, you mean the British A(C)F. Not to be confused with the old ACF of North America.

JH

I was always impressed with what I read from the Libertarian Workers Group and the WSA.

Thanks, good to hear. And we always felt the same about the SWF and DAM.

As a total aside, I think the first rough englsih of the IWA Aims translation we got from the SWF was from (I think) Pete Turner. Hand written no less! Our local NY comrades then went on to actually translate into english the first (post-war?) Statutes, Aims & Principles of the IWA.

Anyway...

JH

At the risk of derailing this thread I'd like to ask more about the IWA's "no contact" rule. Gatorojinegro mentioned the CGT and SAC. Who else does this rule apply to? In the Liverpool dockers dispute in the late nineties there was a lot of active support from SAC and from the Coordinadora, the main spanish dockworkers union. These contacts were initiated by Hull Syndicalists through Hull Trades Council. Does the "no contact" rule mean that Solfed would not have been allowed to approach SAC? Would this apply to the Coordinadora as well?

Ok, this is actually a two-fold question.

On the "no contact" question: It is my understanding is, if they have contact with
a local branch of the SAC it was ok. no contact with SAC central. No contact at all with CNT-F or CGT. This
is my general understanding.

The issue of the Hull Syndicalists complicated the first question even further. As you must be aware JH, the folks in Hull created quite a stir inside the DAM over their handeling of an issue of "Direct Action" and other things. Without reliving too uch of the history, they (Hull) tried to cause fritction between the WSA and the DAM. They were trounced by the DAM in that effort.

Back on point: Because of the problems with Hull, and because of the "no contact" policy with the SAC, etc. I can only imagine some form of "no contact" would've prevailed. As far as Coordinadora goes, I suspect IWA sections would've had no restrictions.

JH

Long before the main body of the CNT-F was expelled from the IWA I remember talking to Solfed members who felt a lot more sympathy with them than with the Bordeaux group (now the official CNT-AIT).

The reason why some in the FAU have maintained contact with some in Vignoles is the same reason wh some in Solfed today have contacts in the SAC, etc.: personal friendships.

I really gotta run now. More later.

syndicalist

15 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

JDMF

Anyways JH, sounds like you are still interested in the international A-S drama if not solfeds current practical work itself :D SolFed is doing pretty well these days, lots of new blood in and some locals are doing a good job I think. The international issues seem to be more of a burden than a benefit.

Ok, one last thing.... the SF is an intergral part of the IWA. The SF continues to play a key role in the IWA. The SF was part of an injustice to a sister organization (WSA). An organization that always stood in solidarity with SWF, DAM and SF when asked.It's all part of the mix.

JDMF

15 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

shit, why is this A-S world so full of this kind of bullshit drama though! Reflects badly on our politics IMO.

No suprise the non IWA anarcho syndicalist/revolutionary syndicalist groups are not too keen on setting up a new international!

Ah, i remember my first years as an anarcho syndicalist without good english skills, i was blissfully ignorrant about these issues :D Life was good then, the SAC poster was next to the spanish CNT one.

syndicalist

15 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

JDMF

the SAC poster was next to the spanish CNT one.

You must've been to the NY WSA office ... we've got cool posters from all around the globe on the walls -;)

epk

15 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

gatorojinegro

As part of the fallout of the split in the Spanish CNT in the 1980s, the IWA adopted a rule of "no contact" with the CNTU (which became the CGT in 1989), and with organizations outside the IWA supporting them, especially the SAC in Sweden. At the time the WSA stated its opposition to this rule (for example, I was a delegate at the 1988 IWA congress and I stated WSA's opposition to this rule at that time)

Could you elaborate on ...
- The reason for adopting a measure as severe as 'no contact'?
- Your reasons for opposing it, and your position regarding SAC, the Spanish CGT et alia?
- Whether the I-99 event was intended to be IWA-unfriendly (or IWA-opposer-friendly perhaps) somehow?

Mark.

15 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The issue of the Hull Syndicalists complicated the first question even further. As you must be aware JH, the folks in Hull created quite a stir inside the DAM over the handling of an issue of "Direct Action" and other things. Without reliving too much of the history, they (Hull) tried to cause friction between the WSA and the DAM. They were trounced by the DAM in that effort.

I'd forgotten that the WSA had a run in with Hull Syndicalists. It does ring a bell now, though I can't remember any of the details. Anyway I wasn't intending to refer to this - the point I was trying to make was that their contacts with SAC came in very useful in supporting the Liverpool dockers. I can't see what the IWA achieves as a union international by restricting these kinds of contacts, even if there are some serious disagreements.

I only met the people from Hull a couple of times. The last time was about nine years ago when they arranged a meeting to try and set up a national organisation. My feeling was that some kind of network for anarchosyndicalists who found themselves outside Solfed might have been worthwhile, but they were aiming for a formal organisation, something like a re-run of DAM with a pro-CGT and SAC line. At least that was my impression - I'm not sure if it's a fair assessment or not. It was all a bit abortive really.

The most interesting thing about the meeting was that they had people over from the CGT and SAC. There's an interview with the CGT observer at http://libcom.org/library/cgt-union-interview-cnt-split-freedom
I think the people from Hull were also aiming at a new international - the kind of thing that sometimes causes paranoia in the IWA. It was clear that SAC were opposed to this. The CGT observer was against it as well although from what he said I think there might have been more support for the idea in the CGT. The general feeling was that a parallel international would only entrench the divisions with the IWA and that there was a lot more to be gained from setting up international networks and avoiding being sectarian. The position of SAC on the CNT and CGT actually sounded pretty reasonable to me.

gatorojinegro

15 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

in regard to your first question, you'll have to address that to the people in other sections of the IWA who supported such a rule. i believe that there was some fear of efforts to peel off sections of the IWA to form a competing international, based on groups that had been excluded from the IWA, such as CGT and CNT-Vignole in
France.

My impression is that the WSA opposed the "no contact" rule because it would be a roadblock to solidarity between workers in actual struggle and because it struck some of us as sectarian. Other WSA members here can explain their own impressions.

I don't think the I-99 event was intended by its organizers to be "IWA unfriendly". However, refer to my comment above about the fear of some in the IWA about the possibility of creating a competing syndicalist international. i believe that the WSA's sense was that these fears were exaggerated.

in any event, my own view is that the IWA should have been aiming to expand its influence, and that restricting itself would undermine that. my own view is that it would be best for the IWA to be a broad umbrella of organizations supporting syndicalist methods and strategies. the WSA was generally unhappy about the various splits in the European sections, as in France and Spain. thus at the time of the split in the French CNT, the WSA took no position on it.

JDMF's sentiment about these conflicted affairs in the IWA being a drag on one's own organization is totally shared by WSA members.

t.

Mark.

15 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

shit, why is this A-S world so full of this kind of bullshit drama though! Reflect badly on our politics IMO.

Well yes. It's a bit depressing coming back after years not being involved to find the same issues rumbling on. Maybe there's a need to look beyond the divisions between the IWA and the SAC, CGT etc and think about what the underlying problems are. After all there have been splits in the CNT, the CNT-F and USI. I think there was also some kind of split in SAC at one point though I don't know much about this. Taking sides in these disputes doesn't really help. When the CNT split it was certainly damaging for DAM. There were only a handful of members with good enough Spanish to follow the arguments at first hand and a couple of them ended up getting expelled. Other people probably got a fairly one sided picture. With hindsight it doesn't make a lot of sense.

OliverTwister

15 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

my own view is that it would be best for the IWA to be a broad umbrella of organizations supporting syndicalist methods and strategies.

Tom weren't you, and the WSA, against the IWW joining the IWA in the early 90s?

I've read the old ASR's which talk about this; do WSA have any articles on the web which talk about this as well?

I'd like to see what the WSA's position was on the dispute, from their own POV

gatorojinegro

15 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

my viewpoint on a variety of things probably isn't what it was at an earlier time. that's called learning.

i think the IWW never has actually asked to affiliate to the IWA, and so your question is sort of hypothetical.

t.

calvin

15 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

On the "no contact" question: It is my understanding is, if they have contact with
a local branch of the SAC it was ok. no contact with SAC central. No contact at all with CNT-F or CGT. This
is my general understanding.

shit i don't get how it works???

Its not so easy. There is no general linie in the IWA.
For exampel. The East-West meetings were organized by east-european groups, always with help by the FAU. The FAU get therefor a mandat from the IWA. It was never a problem, that the SAC was invided (and take part) by every East-West meeting.
Years ago, the FAU get the order from the IWA not to call for the participation on an Anti-Global demonstration in Cologne, because the CGT and the SAC take part too...
In the discussions of having contacts to the "enemys of IWA" they mostly talk about "contacts on an organisation level". But a local branch is also an organisation level.
The extrem interpretation was made on an IWA plenery by a CNT-F IWA member (I think) that there is no purely meet up with a person who is member of a "no contact" group. Every meeting is planned, even you sit near by him or her in a coffee shop on holiday. And therfore forbidden.
:wall:

Uncontrollable

15 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

OliverTwister

my own view is that it would be best for the IWA to be a broad umbrella of organizations supporting syndicalist methods and strategies.

Tom weren't you, and the WSA, against the IWW joining the IWA in the early 90s?

I've read the old ASR's which talk about this; do WSA have any articles on the web which talk about this as well?

I'd like to see what the WSA's position was on the dispute, from their own POV

I wasn't a member of the WSA at the time but I would've been opposed to it if it meant that WSA members would have to join the IWW, maybe if there wasn't the one organization per country rule. The IWW is already an international organization so I don't know how that would've worked. Would the Solfed members have to join IWW-UK, WSA members into the IWW-US, etc.? It would be nice to be a member of an international but I'm kinda soured on the IWA. The way they treated the WSA, the "parallelism" paranoia, the "no contact" rule all seems pretty absurd to me.

-Rick

OliverTwister

15 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Well it's all hypothetical now.

But at the time I believe the conditions for affiliation were that the IWA open itself up to revolutionary unions which were not specifically anarcho-syndicalist.

In my anarcho-daydream sessions I wonder what the IWA (and the IWW) would look like these days, if that had happened.

Tom:

It was 17 years ago now, we certainly all do learn (in fact back then I was in elementary school). Regardless it feels like you are dodging the question. I can respect that there's been a lot of conflict over the years, but all I've read is the LLR writing about the WSA trying to keep the IWW out of the WSA. (Too many TLAs....)

I'm not trying to raise a shitstorm, I'm only asking if the WSA has any writings from that time online, explaining their position. If you disagree with the old position now, I'd like to hear about that too. If there isn't something, could you summarize what happened?

I'm only trying to get the 'other side of the story', not accuse you of anything

gatorojinegro

15 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Oliver, I don't even remember what my thinking was on this subject back then.

And since i don't recall WSA taking any position on this subject at the time, i doubt there are any "WSA writings" (writings, that is, stating a position of WSA as an organization) on this subject, tho, who knows?, i could be wrong.

t.

Felix Frost

15 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

OliverTwister

I can respect that there's been a lot of conflict over the years, but all I've read is the LLR writing about the WSA trying to keep the IWW out of the WSA. (Too many TLAs....)

I'm not trying to raise a shitstorm, I'm only asking if the WSA has any writings from that time online, explaining their position.

I wasn't a member of either group back then, but I did look through the written material about this at one point. I think the only position WSA took as an organization, is that any negotiations with US groups wanting to affiliate to the IWA had to go through them, as stipulated in the IWA constitution. (IWA did allow multiple affiliates from one country at the time.) Much of what is written about this in the LLR are just conspiratorial fantasies, like dual WSA-IWW members acting as a secret faction inside IWW working to sabotage affiliation, etc.

There were individual WSA members who were against the IWW affiliating, for various reasons, but there was never any organizational position about it.

David in Atlanta

15 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I don't recall WSA ever taking an official position on the question of IWW-IWA affiliation. A former wsa secretary and formner member made a remark in an interview that some pro-affliation wobs took as an official policy statement opposing it, but that was a bit of a stretch. I personally opposed, on the grounds that the IWW constitution and the one-country-one-section rule of the IWA would make it impractical.

All i can say about the IWW as a revolutionary union is that they explicitly call for the abolition of capitalism using workers direct action. Their practice might not allways live up to the rhetoric, but who's does?

syndicalist

15 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Hello all....lots of stuff to go over but i have no time.

I will try and address all of the WSA issues. I guess since I've been through it all I may have some insight.

Oliver, on the WSA and IWW, I would not use the LLR/ASR articles as a guide. These were written at a time of "bad blood". Both ASR and WSA have avoided going at it for the past few years. WSA does not intend to revisit those and I think this should close that conversation.

Briefly, on the IWW 1990s consideration of affiliating with the IWW, WSA was not opposed. The IWW has put forward at least 3-4 resolutions over time to affiliate with the IWA. This resolution also failed as did previous ones. The WSA position was neutral in the sense that it was an internal matter. WSA did have some questions pertaining to general affiliation. I will have to look thses up in our records. respectfully I do not care to turn this thread into one about the IWW and the IWA. I think there's already another thread for that.

Gotta run.

syndicalist

15 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Felix Frost

I think the only position WSA took as an organization, is that any negotiations with US groups wanting to affiliate to the IWA had to go through them, as stipulated in the IWA constitution. (IWA did allow multiple affiliates from one country at the time.)

I think this is probably pretty accurate.

syndicalist

15 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

BTW, pretty much all of the WSA documentation from 1984-2000 (or so) is in hard copy. None of this stuff is electronic. We have on disk WSA stuff from the Granada Congress (2000) forward. These consist mainly of WSA replies & correspondence to the IWA. Some of this stuff may be archived on the [email protected] (or blackflag) lists.

We can probably email folks whatever we have on disks. No of it is private.

PM me with private emails and we'll see what we can do.

gatorojinegro

15 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

syndicalist:

BTW, pretty much all of the WSA documentation from 1984-2000 (or so) is in hard copy. None of this stuff is electronic.

This is true of all internal discussion bulletins and things like that, which is what I believe syndicalist has in mind. However, some of the articles in our magazine from that era are online, at:

http://www.workersolidarity.org/archives.html

t.

OliverTwister

15 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Syndicalist, gato, and felixfrost, thanks for the replies. This is something that had been on my mind since I went through the LLR/ASR archives in the local IWW office.

are the IWW a revolutionary union?

I'm not a IWA stalward but i'd be opposed to the IWW joining it.

Revol this is pretty inconsistent with everything else you say about the IWA.

The IWW has a lot of contradictions, and had more in 1990, but it had 500 members and called for workers to "take possession of the earth and the means of production" and "abolish the wage system".

Maybe if the IWW's proposal, which as I understand it was for the IWA to hold a "unity conference" of sorts with the fellow traveling groups outside of it, had worked, then the IWA wouldn't be the melancholic joke that it is today, and maybe anarchosyndicalist ideas would be held in more esteem in other groups, like the IWW.

I mean, FFS, its really hard to talk to wobs (or anyone else) about anarchosyndicalism when they can say "well, what about the IWA?"

For that matter, maybe anarchosyndicalism would look attractive to workers in Nepal or Bangladesh...

petey

15 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

gatorojinegro

some of the articles in our magazine from that era are online, at:

http://www.workersolidarity.org/archives.html

t.

i'm interested but the link doesn't work!!

OliverTwister

15 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Also I should say that I'll drop the matter of IWW and IWA on this thread. Another time...

gatorojinegro

15 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

i got one 's' too many. try this:

http://www.workersolidarity.org/archive.html

t.

petey

15 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

beauty

gatorojinegro

15 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

oliver: "its really hard to talk to wobs (or anyone else) about anarchosyndicalism when they can say "well, what about the IWA?""

in my experience, almost no one here in the USA has even heard of the IWA. so it's hard to see how the IWA, with its problems, is a barrier to actual organizing. of course, i'm referring to actual involvement in workplace or community organizing. even apart from the problems of the IWA there are disagreements about what anarcho-syndicalism means, and the problems in the IWA reflect these disagreements.

t.

syndicalist

15 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

OliverTwister

Maybe if the IWW's proposal, which as I understand it was for the IWA to hold a "unity conference" of sorts with the fellow traveling groups outside of it, had worked, then the IWA wouldn't be the melancholic joke that it is today, and maybe anarchosyndicalist ideas would be held in more esteem in other groups, like the IWW.

I know its been a long hard day for me and my head is tired, but I have no idea what you're talking about Oliver.

What "unity conference"?

On the topic of anarcho-syndicalism: it is what you make it.

The IWA created its own mess here in the US. Will that stop the WSA from being anarcho-syndicalist? Will that stop us from promoting A/S views in the manner we see appropriate? Will that stop us from acting in solidarity with others? No. Nor should the assinine errors of others stop you from talking up A/S within your organization.

Gotta have some dinner.

syndicalist

15 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Eyal Rozenberg

- Whether the I-99 event was intended to be IWA-unfriendly (or IWA-opposer-friendly perhaps) somehow?

Briefly on the question: NO, no and no. I-99 was never meant to be anti-IWA, pro-"parallelist" or the like.

It was meant to be an open space for syndicalists--regarless of affiliation---to come and share ideas and experiances in an open, non-binding and free-flowing way.Sorta of like the former East_west meetings, only with a clear syndicalist theme and format.

Whatever differing WSA viewpoints there were on how to go about organizing I-99, no one that I'm aware of, saw this event as anti-IWA or a first step towards the formation of a new syndicalist international. WSA would've rejected this outright.

robot

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

syndicalist

Whatever differing WSA viewpoints there were on how to go about organizing I-99, no one that I'm aware of, saw this event as anti-IWA or a first step towards the formation of a new syndicalist international. WSA would've rejected this outright.

Well of course you a aware of some of those who think that the I-99 was exactly that first step towards the formation of a new syndicalist international. Like for instance Mr. Garcia Rua, the then secretary general of the IWA who told us at the IWA Reggio Emilia plenary (where the FAU asked the sections to endorse the I-99) that the aim of the I-99 was nothing else "but to open North America to the SAC". In my opinion the Minnesota coup d'etat and later the infamous "Minnesota report" was nothing but Garcia Ruas bill for WSA endorsement of I-99.

David in Atlanta

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

JDMF

shit, why is this A-S world so full of this kind of bullshit drama though! Reflects badly on our politics IMO.

No suprise the non IWA anarcho syndicalist/revolutionary syndicalist groups are not too keen on setting up a new international!

Ah, i remember my first years as an anarcho syndicalist without good english skills, i was blissfully ignorrant about these issues :D Life was good then, the SAC poster was next to the spanish CNT one.

in my house it still is :)

David in Atlanta

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

gatorojinegro

Background on the Workers Solidarity Alliance and the International Workers Association

This group in Duluth now calls itself the "Syndicalist Action Network." SAN has a few scattered individual followers outside Duluth, but is a small group overall -- less than 10 members. The leading personalities in this group are Seamas Cain and Jeff Hilgert. SAN has operated over the years under various names including "Syndicalist League of Minnestota" and "IWA Action."

WSA has a seven-member national committee, made up of the national secretary, treasurer, international secretary and four regional delegates. SAN members offered to take on the administrative tasks on the WSA national committee. SAN's subsequent behavior shows that their joining WSA was a classic entryist takeover attempt. In retrospect I think WSA's mistake was not requiring merger negotiations since the Duluth people were a pre-existing group.

One way or another, handing over the secretariat to a group we didn't know wasn't the brightest move we've ever made.
i hope this drawn out saga is giving comrades a study of mistakes to avoid. to spell it out, unresolved internal disagreement over the conference project (I99) made this possible. The only contact with what became SAN i recall off hand from this period was a phone call about the name change. i told them i'd never been all that brand identified with wsa as a name, but their proposal was clunky and meaningless and i wouldn't vote for it.

Shortly after they started kicking out comrades and friends i might have been annoyed but was not seriously angry with and it reforged unity. It even raised a protest from a syndicalist journalist who hadn't had a kind word to say about WSA since it's founding.

If the "coup" was, as robot and others have stated, "payback" for i99, why on earth was it targeted at the New York group and not the rest of us? Whatever wrath anyone in the IWA might have thought we'd earned with that, New York had opposed it! I don't entirely discount the possibility, but the heavy-handedness and absurd inventions used to justify it would force me to question not only the principals but the grasp on reality of whoever promoted the intervention

i also entertain the notion that the duluth folks were just a bunch of unprincipaled wankers who caught WSA at a weak point and played to people in the international who were disposed to accept, which doesn't let them off the hook.

syndicalist

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

robot

In my opinion the Minnesota coup d'etat and later the infamous "Minnesota report" was nothing but Garcia Ruas bill for WSA endorsement of I-99.

yes, i would agree with this -- 100%.

David in Atlanta

One way or another, handing over the secretariat to a group we didn't know wasn't the brightest move we've ever made.
i hope this drawn out saga is giving comrades a study of mistakes to avoid. to spell it out, unresolved internal disagreement .

I think it was a bit more complicated than this. I'll try and backtrack later.

After I-99 the san Fran. comrades literally dropped the ball. They said, in mid-term, they didn't want to do the Secretariat and we're sending everything to NY---and you (NY) folks do it!

NY didn't want the Secretariat as we had it so many times. It wasn't healthy for the WSA, nor for NY WSA.Of course we did as we we're not irresponsible people. And did so on the basis that it was on an interium basis. I think there was something like 6 months left. I think this was summer 1999.After I-99, the initiators (SF WSA) simply walked away from the WSA and left us with a mess to sort out.

The Duluth people came forward and said they were interested. At this point there was minor concern about them, but not a whole lot. By late summer/early Fall 1999 it became apparent that the Duluth people were starting to manouvre. All hell broke loose in Oct. 1999 at the time of the IWA Plenary (in Bourdeax). From this point forward and into the election for a new National Committee and Secretariat (for 2000) the Duluth people--with the apparent support of then IWA Sec. (Granada), the NSF, USI to a degree and a wink and a nod by SF --- used every trick in the book to capture the WSA. Of course, they really didn't have to as the WSA was pretty weakened at this point to begin with.

The irony of all this bru-ha-ha by Duluth and the IWA is that they really didn't have to go through such intrigue, such dirt and such low-life tactics. From a personal point of view I was tired. I need to be NS and involved with national/international stuff like I needed a hole in my head. My mother died from cancer in 1998, my father died suddenly in late 1994 and I had so many other things on my plate that I really needed some personal time. Aside from that, the NY group was only holding together by a string at this point.

The Duluth people and the IWA are poor strategists. Fools and schemers filled with illusions and paronia maybe. Instead of knowing who they (the IWA) were dealing with in Duluth, they were so hungry to, as robot says, "stop the SAC's north american entry". In place, they tried to spoil people reputations, isolate an active section and, basically, destroy the reputation of the IWA here in the US.In the end the IWA got nothing out of this but a black eye.

You know, you don't mess with a junk-yard dog---even a sleeping one. This is what happened. While the IWA thought it was getting its way within its own house, the WSA actually started to grow again. Old timers rallied around the WSA and some new folks as well. As David alluded to, even someone who was not friendly to the WSA (let's say an editor from ASR) even came forward and affirmed his disbelief in what was happening.

David in Atlanta

Shortly after they started kicking out comrades and friends i might have been annoyed but was not seriously angry with and it reforged unity. It even raised a protest from a syndicalist journalist who hadn't had a kind word to say about WSA since it's founding..

Again, speaking personally, I just want to acknoledge my gratitude to David. David was probably the first old time comrade to come forward and publically say that what was happening to the WSA was absolutely wrong. From this other folks outside WSA started to come forward. For this, I am indebted to David's decency and comradeship

David in Atlanta

If the "coup" was, as robot and others have stated, "payback" for i99, why on earth was it targeted at the New York group and not the rest of us? Whatever wrath anyone in the IWA might have thought we'd earned with that, New York had opposed it!

Well, NY didn't quite oppose it, but we weren't gung-ho either. We (NY) said to folks in San Fran. to approach it differently; to get the IWA involved from the ground-floor; to stop poking people in the eye with a certain aggressive tact and so forth. I'll try and come back to that in another email.

Why was NY targeted? Why have I been the subject of so many mean-spirited personal attacks, lies and slanders? I suspect we were simply the best target due to our longstanding association and participation in the movement.
I suspect I bemae the personal target as you all have elected me so many freakin' times to things---and i the idiot accepteed -:)--that it was easy enough to focus in on NY. The irony of it all, is that it shows how little respect some in the IWA have for the good hard work that others do.
David in Atlanta

i also entertain the notion that the duluth folks were just a bunch of unprincipaled wankers who caught WSA at a weak point and played to people in the international who were disposed to accept, which doesn't let them off the hook.

I agree. But even beyond the WSA, they have created such disrespect for the good name of the IWA that they have created a different and larger problem. All of this is a real pity.

Got to get to work.

Randy

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Syndicalist wrote: "...even someone who was not friendly to the WSA... came forward and affirmed his disbelief in what was happening."

Well. Glad to hear that.

gatorojinegro

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I think the reason the Duluth wingnuts targeted syndicalist was because he was a founding member who could articulate the original perspective of the WSA. The Duluth characters apparently had no interest in that. Given the "one section per country" rule of the IWA, i suspect the Duluth whackjobs wanted to seize the "IWA franchise" in the USA. Señor Garcia Rua may have intended WSA's expulsion as the bill for I-99, as robot says, but the junk-yard dog ain't being silent about it. The bill is being sent back to the IWA's door. The whole affair has damaged the IWA's reputation in North America...that is the bill to Señor Garcia Rua and his supporters.

the WSA wasn't mainly about the IWA when it was founded. our affiliation to the IWA was an expression of our anarcho-syndicalism and internationalism. as i see it, being expelled from the IWA has the unintended advantage of getting the albatross off our necks.

t.

Mark.

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

the WSA wasn't mainly about the IWA when it was founded. our affiliation to the IWA was an expression of our anarcho-syndicalism and internationalism. as I see it, being expelled from the IWA has the unintended advantage of getting the albatross off our necks.

All a bit sad this but understandable given the history. The response of libcom Solfed members has been positive:

On a personal level I consider the WSA comrades and it's quite clear they have been treated badly

The WSA question should be brought up again at the next congress, and until then i think that SF locals should keep in good contact with the WSA as if they were a section of the IWA.

What do WSA members think needs to happen to sort out relations with the IWA? What do you think are the reasons for the current problems in the IWA? What needs to change?

gatorojinegro

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

JH:

What do WSA members think needs to happen to sort out relations with the IWA? What do you think are the reasons for the current problems in the IWA? What needs to change?

I can't speak for other WSA members. All i can tell you is that we've voted twice to reject the IWA's suggestion that WSA re-apply for affiliation. WSA will never do that. It's the position of the WSA that WSA never disaffiliated. I suspect that WSA members would probably say that, to undo the wrong that was done, the IWA needs to accept officially, via IWA congress vote, that the WSA did not disaffiliate.

Personally, i would say that if the IWA is to have much of a future, it needs to be more open, less sectarian and less paranoid. The fact is, there are nowadays a variety of different interpretations of what anarcho-syndicalism means (actually, even in 1922 there were different interpretations...).

I have other personal criticisms of the IWA. When the DAM proposed in the '80s (with WSA backing) that the IWA principles be amended to recognize racism and gender inquality as distinct forms of oppression, the resulting amendment didn't really do that. Altho i haven't reread it in a long time, i believe the resulting amendment was class reductionist.

Beyond that, I believe that the focus for the WSA MUST BE its situtaion in the context of the USA. What that might mean goes beyond the topic of this particular thread, and beyond the questions you raise.

t.

syndicalist

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Quote gatorojinegro: "I can't speak for other WSA members. All i can tell you is that we've voted twice to reject the IWA's suggestion that WSA re-apply for affiliation. WSA will never do that. It's the position of the WSA that WSA never disaffiliated. I suspect that WSA members would probably say that, to undo the wrong that was done, the IWA needs to accept officially, via IWA congress vote, that the WSA did not disaffiliate."

I would say this is the spirit from which most WSA appraoch this.

syndicalist

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Here's a few emais concerning the NY WSA's office. In this is in responce to a part of the Duluth report on all sorts of bizarre stuff concerning the WSA, the IWW and others.

The IWA Secretariat, in a report distributed to IWA sections on the IWW, liberally quoted from the Duluth report. A report which was "copyrighted" no less!
--------------------------------------------------
Feb. 1, 2007

To IWA Sections & Friends

Comrades,

We would like to bring to your attention an item which appears in the very
silly and sad Duluth, Minnesota report which was attached to the
Secretariat's Fall 2006 report supposedly on the IWW.

In making all sorts of the usual wild and insane claims against the Workers
Solidarity Alliance, the half-balanced folks from Duluth claimed that
somehow the building that the WSA has offices in is affiliated with the
socialist party. And that our office is some kind of grand palace.

The building is owned by the Muste Institute and we republish a description
from their website below. Anyone who has been to our office knows the shape
it's in. We welcome all of you to come and paint it. Obviously the Minnesota
spies have some very poor intellegence. Perhaps they served on George Bush's
pre-war Iraq"intellegence" team -:)

Over the years our office has housed a few libertarian groups and has been
the only consistant anarchist space for more than 20 years. Our low rent is
paid out of our own pockets and has been that way from the start.

The other building tenants consist of different sorts of solidarity,
political, cultural and peace and justice types. We have little to no
interaction with most of them. Of course we all say "Hello, how are you?"
when passing each other in the halls or starirs. Tho most of the anarchists
inter-act with the War Resisters League.

While we will address other aspects of the so-called report, we thought it
would be easy enough to start the demystification process with this email.

Lastly, anyone travelling to NYC is welcome to stop by our offices. We'd be
happy to see you.

Mitch
for NY WSA

"The Muste Building

In 1978, with a dream of establishing a permanent home in New York for the
nonviolence movement, the Muste Institute purchased a three-story loft
building in downtown Manhattan from the War Resisters League and began
managing it as part of our program work. By subsidizing the office rents for
our movement tenants, and using income from several commercial storefronts
to offset expenses, the Institute provides a way for activist groups to
maintain low-cost offices in a convenient location, freeing up vital
resources for their social justice work. As the real estate market in New
York City tightens, 339 Lafayette Street - affectionately known as the
"Peace Pentagon" - remains a sanctuary for the movement."

http://www.ajmuste.org/ajbuildingpg.html
In a message dated 2/4/2007 3:22:55 PM Eastern Standard Time, rab.writes:

Here's another piece you can add to the 'demystification' process:

In the bizarre SAN 'report' it is claimed that Seamas Cain (or Jim Cain as he
was known then) was 'threatened' by IWW member Henry Pffaff in 1973. I met
Henry in 1973 when visiting some friends in Buffalo. He and his wife were
well in their 70's and living in a small house in a working-class district of
the city. Mrs. Pfaff made coffee and strudel (and excellent strudel it was,
her being from Hungary) and they told many stories about IWW acitivities and
organizing during the 1920's and 30's. They were warm and gentle people and
of course they are long dead, so that they cannot speak in their own defense,
but if Mr. Cain felt 'threatened' by Henry Pfaff, I feel sorry for him, because
he must be a very timid and easily frightened person (which would not match
the Cain who I met in 1975 when he came to NYC).

Steven R.

-----Original Message-----
>From: Scott R.
>Sent: Feb 4, 2007 1:24 PM
>To: A list for members and active supporters of Workers Solidarity Alliance
>Subject: Re: [WSA-members] SAN and the NY Office
>
>The WSA office is one room in a 3-storey building in lower Manhattan in a
nondescript neighborhood of small businesses, a convenient distance to the
subway stop. It need paint and perhaps some organization, but I trust Mitch and
others can find stuff if need be. I saw a big War Resisters League office, a
conference room and a little socialist group office [I forget which faction].
Everything in Manhattan seems expensive to me so it is a good deal that we have
this space. Consider how many infoshops, peace centers and co-op houses have
failed over the past 15 years---I know of several in the Los Angeles area.
>
> I got involved with the WSA because I thought they had a lot of experience
and potential and I wanted to contribute my political labor somewhere where
people were behind me and not in my way.
>
> I never heard of our naysayers on the reputation of their deeds; only their
complaining. I won't speculate what their trip is, but they seem to want
attention for their "club". I've met plenty of Twin Cities (A)ists who I know by
their deeds, not complaints. This kind of competion is for Marxists! ;-)
>
> Scott

syndicalist

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Further in the Duluth report, distributed by the IWA Secretariat, Tom was accused of being a "Marxian libertarian municipalist"

In their report "The 'Alternative Unionism' of the IWW: a critical statment by the Syndicalist Action Network". [email protected] Copyright(c)
2006. September 12, 2006.

"Between 1995 and 2001, Tom Wetzel, another member of the rump 'WSA', openly identified himself as a 'Marxian libertarian municipalist.' He participated, as such, in the Lula-sponsored event in Brazil"

In a message dated 1/31/2007 1:31:52 PM Eastern Standard Time, tom wrote:

i think what they probably mean is that i gave a
paper on the city and talked about "self-managed
cities" and advocated neighborhood assemblies, along
with worker assemblies. I suppose that anyone who
does that is, in their book, a "libertarian municipalist."
That's crazy since the CNT in the '30s advocated neighborhood assemblies. And since Murray was anti-marxist how can one be a "marxist libertarian municipalist". And i wonder what i said that makes them say "marxist"? i've never called myself a "marxist". in fact i think in some of the stuff i wrote for the WSF talks i criticized marxism.
t.

syndicalist

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Over the years various IWA Secretariats and others have criticised I-99 as being the begining of a "parallel" international.

I thought this would be of some interest as it's clear what the participants intentions were.This report appeared in the WSA internal discussion bulletin.

From "WSA-SF Report on the International Solidarity Conference '99 (I-99)- 10 Nov. 1999"

"At the I-99 Conference that took place the weekend of June 1-5th, 1999. we had 110 registered participants from all over the world, including Australia,Canada, France, Germany, Sweden and Switzerland, as well as from all over the USA.

"Although there were diverse groups of people we found that we have many of the same struggles, but often use different tactics. ... We saw the need to overcome our own boundaries, both geographically and ideologically.

"... Given the fact that the IWA is the current International, no one felt the need to discuss forming a new one. ...Some industrial organizing strategies
were discussed especially among computer, timber, food service industries as well as students.

"The most immediate task at hand was to establish and strengthen international communications. We decided to both share the experience and stay in contact with each other via the internet."

gatorojinegro

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The reference to a "Lula-sponsored event" is to the 2003 World Social Forum, where I participated in the Life After Capitalism series that had been organized by Z magazine and Brazil indymedia. I gave a talk in a panel on the city, along with an anarchist Brazilian architect and two others. I was mainly talking about the use of a particular counter-institution, community land trusts, in the USA, since that's what i've been working on. It was an earlier, and briefer version of my article "The Capitalist City or the Self-managed City?" which was published in the anthology "Globalize Liberation." I was also talking about the participatory economics model of a post-capitalist economy, and how we could develop community and worker organizations prefigurative of that.

I think the only time i mentioned Marxism was at another panel where I questioned Alex Callinicos of the British Socialist Workers Party, asking him if he still agreed with the Marxist idea of a party seizing state power, which I said I thought would lead to a coordinator class dominated regime. Callinicos replied that he didn't advocate a party taking power but assisting the people in taking power. A reply closer to councilism than Leninism.

t.

syndicalist

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

On the question of WSA's position concerning the SAC (when we were in the IWA). Here's our position submitted to the Oct. 1999 Tolouse Plenary. This was the last Pleanry WSA attended before the full-scale war between WSA, Duluth and the IWA.

Our position, as you will see, hardly can be considered "parallelist". It is, indeed, constructive and pragmatic.

The reference to Point #9, etc. was to its order on the Plenary Agenda and on the subject of a Commission concerning the SAC and the IWA. This Commission (which never came about) was oft spoken about in the late 1990s.

"Point #9) Commission on the SAC

There should be an on-going commission to examine the historical context of the conflict between the IWA and the SAC. The ultimate goal of this commission should be to work towards some resolution of this long-term problem. In the
interim, IWA Sections should be able to exchange publications, correspond with and extend solidarity to either the national SAC or its affiliated bodies. IWA
should engage in a period of discussion before making a major change its existing policy."

Mark.

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

There's more about relations between SAC and the IWA in this period at
http://libcom.org/library/an-open-letter-to-the-iwa-from-sac-1998

syndicalist

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

And here's what the IWA has to say about it all:

"Defence of the IWA and anarchosyndicalism"
http://www.iwa-ait.org/Defence2.html

WeTheYouth

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

After reading through this thread, i cant beleive that SolFed supported such crap. I think one section of the IWA should raise the re-entry of the WSA as the continued IWA section in the USA, when it comes closer to the next congress i will raise it in my local.

Steven.

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

WeTheYouth

After reading through this thread, i cant beleive that SolFed supported such crap. I think one section of the IWA should raise the re-entry of the WSA as the continued IWA section in the USA, when it comes closer to the next congress i will raise it in my local.

That's good.

Mark.

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

WeTheYouth

After reading through this thread, i cant beleive that SolFed supported such crap. I think one section of the IWA should raise the re-entry of the WSA as the continued IWA section in the USA, when it comes closer to the next congress i will raise it in my local.

Glad to hear it.

syndicalist

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

WeTheYouth

After reading through this thread, i cant beleive that SolFed supported such crap. I think one section of the IWA should raise the re-entry of the WSA as the continued IWA section in the USA, when it comes closer to the next congress i will raise it in my local.

Interesting read. We hope that others will take note of the point that WSA never left the IWA.

While correscting this injustice is important, the WSA continue to forge ahead on the ground.

syndicalist

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

For the sake of the historical record, I will be posting some items for your review. I do so not to tarnish the good work of those IWA members who we consider comrades, but to simply get these around to some of the younger comrades. Of course we are aware there are IWA members who read these threads and don't comment but who are keenly involved in the life of their respective section's and the IWA.

For the record:

November 2004
By email only: IWA Secretariat, Sections & Friends

Comrades,

The Workers Solidarity Alliance (WSA) would like to reply to the
Secretariat's Report, in particular the "US- QUESTION".

Our reply will be honest, straight forward and critical. While describing
the events as they unfolded we do so not out of malice but to straighten the
record.

As we have previously written, some WSA members have known many IWA members
for decades. We have been disappointed that some of these same comrades have,
since 1999, turned their backs on us and have actively helped AIT-Minnesota
engaged in trying to keep us out of the IWA, dirty our names and our integrity.
While we personally find this painful and a betrayal of trust and comradeship
the WSA must present the facts as they are, not how they are now being
presented.

In spite of our criticisms, we offer them in the hope that only positive
things can come from this experience. We hope that others will not have to
experience what we have and that the IWA as an organization can also learn and grow
in a positive manner.

THE BEGINING: 1999 - 2000

In regards to the US situation, the Secretariat stated: "This question can be
looked upon in three different phases"

We believe that there are actually four phases to the situation

We would characterize the first phase as being crucial as everything else
follows from this phase. We also believe that this phase was left out by the
current IWA Sec. because of the NSF's, Granada and then Oslo's complicity in
creating a negative atmosphere both within WSA and the IWA.

It is our view that the origins of this phase began in October 1999, prior to
the IWA Toulouse Plenary. AIT-Minnesota began to make unreasonable and
inappropriate demands on the WSA. They based their demands on their alleged size,
rather then following WSA internal protocol and procedure. In short, they
wanted to dictate policy rather then collectively discuss and make policy, as was
common practice.

In Toulouse the Minnesota representative (Seamas Cain) did everything he
could to attack the legitimate written positions/mandates of the WSA. To the
contrary of the Minnesota delegates claim, all WSA positions/mandates were based on
documented members written positions. opinions. In Cain's "1999 AIT Plenary
Report" (1)issued by AIT-Minnesota after the Plenary he began his campaign of
repeated, dirty and untrue personal attacks the then National Secretary Mitch
Miller and on the WSA (2).

Further in his report, Cain describes how General Secretary Garcia Rua at the
Plenary rushed over to him and declared that he was "…so happy to learn that
there are authentic Anarcho-Syndicalists in America!". (3) As if to say, all
other WSA members were not.

It was also clear from this report that all efforts were being made by
Minnesota to dirty founding members good names, spread false information favorable
to Minnesota while distancing themselves from both the national organization
and their own previous positions. All in an obviously attempt to find allies in
the IWA Secretariat and Section's.

This was just the start of what the IWA Secretariat calls the "hard clashes".

During this phase, AIT-Minnesota made an effort to find friends and allies
within the IWA, AIT-Minnesota seems to have found a friend in the NSF.

Under the portion entitled: "Gunnar Matheissen and new directions for the
WSA" (4) Seamus writes: "After being introduced to members of the Norwegian
Syndicalist Federation- one of them…insisted on describing to me at length a
problem… Clearly, this conversation involved a formal complaint by an official
delegate of the NSF to an official delegate from the WSA!" (5)

Always having an amicable and comradely relationship with the NSF we wrote
them seeking their feedback whether or not these (and other) comments were
accurate. WSA simply wanted clarification and the letters to the NSF were written
in a friendly and comradely manner. We sent five separate WSA (or personal)
letters over a period of four months to the NSF (6). At no time did we ever et a
reply. We found this very disappointing given our previously good relations.
Clearly the NSF lack of reply indicated their support for Seamus' accusations
against us.

Seamus's Toulouse report and the non-response by the NSF to WSA, provides us
a glimpse of things to come.

Further along this path were the actions of the then Secretariat in Granada.
We had no reason to believe that they would also act in a hostile manner. For
close to 20 years the New York office served as one of the main IWA contact
points here in the US. NY members active in the IWA were known as honest and
active militants. We recall a communication by the Granada Secretariat to one NY
militant stating how they were "very pleased to resume having direct
communication with you." (7)

We suspect that upon the request of AIT-Minnesota that the IWA Secretariat
should ignore our correspondence and we should be removed from the IWA mailing
list. We can only use our creative imagination to conceive what sort of dirt
Minnesota was writing the Secretariat.

We believe the catalyst for this was the failure by AIT-Minnesota, who in
2000 became the WSA Secretariat, to circulate IWA issued materials to WSA
members. Since the NY office were getting the mailings we knew what was being held
back from the WSA membership by Minnesota. Given the fact that AIT-Minnesota
failed to circulate materials relevant to the IWA Congress NY felt it appropriate
to directly circulate them to all known WSA members. By April 2000 the NY WSA
began to publish "Views & Comments". This bulletin, sent to all known WSA
members, contained, amongst other things, the IWA documents that Minnesota was
withholding from the WSA membership.

Concurrent to being taken off the IWA mailing list it appears that a IWA
Secretariat decision was made not to answer any our mail. A situation which to a
large extent still exists today.

The final aspect of this first phase is when, in 2000, AIT-Minnesota became
the WSA Secretariat. We have serious reason to believe that Minnesota engaged
in some highly irregular voting practices, both in this election and in
referendum vote later that year. We know they also kept a member off the ballot for a
regional delegate position.
We also believe that some of the people they claim to exist might not
actually exist at all.

While neither time nor space allows us to go into this election, let us site
one example.

In an undated letter to a previous WSA member, Seamas wrote:

"I enclose a referendum packet for you. Please help us, Sachio! ... If you do
not have the money for dues, I will pay for you: just return the filled-out
referendum ballot." ( 8)

We do not know how many more votes Seamas tried to buy or bought. The simple
fact that Minnesota engaged in vote rigging and buying speaks volumes about
their libertarian ethics and principles.

An orderly transfer of records and funds from NY (May-Dec. 1999 Secretariat)
took place. This was the only orderly things to occur in 2000. Soon after the
transfer it became clear that AIT-Minnesota goal was to ignore and then get
rid of, at a minimum, some WSA members and local affiliates.

Whenever there is a transfer of records and funds the practice has been by
the in-coming Secretariat to "sign-off" that the materials and funds were
received in good order. Not only did AIT-Minnesota refuse to "sign-off", they
refused to answer any of former WSA Secretariat's correspondence and declined to
accept our mail. Mail to their homes and postal boxes were returned by the post
office stamped "Refused. Return to Sender". (9)

Throughout the summer and into the fall of 2000 the Minnesota based
Secretariat applied all the bureaucratic and undemocratic methods known to both
Leninists and trade union bureaucrats. They refused to provide a regional mailing
list to National Committee member (10) (which was a standard internal practice
and to which they had been previous beneficiaries). (11) They further refused
to print or circulate statements or positions of the NY group (12). They
refused our access to their slick looking and externally oriented "Bulletin". They
altered our correspondence to support their viewpoint or to make us look
ridiculous. They further withheld our solidarity letter to the MEI strikers.

At the 2000 WSA national conference held in Minnesota they withheld any
information that they intended to publicly and without recourse expel long-standing
militants. This was not revealed until they issued their so-called report at
the Granada Congress in December. (13)

The final and most severe Secretariat intervention on the side of
AIT-Minnesota came at the Granada Congress when the credentialed WSA delegate was
physically barred from entering and participating in the Congress. Additionally, let
us quote from our
17 November 2004 email:

"[T] his Congress the dishonest and disrespectful lock-out of the WSA
delegate (Miranda) took place. It was also at this Congress the Secretariat gave a
free hand to the
distribution of a deceitful and false report by Minnesota. The Secretariat
also refused to allow any challenges to this report from the floor. Our
locked-out delegate was also refused the right to distribute a WSA statement
specifically sent to her in response to Minnesota report."

Miranda was further refused any floor time to respond to the wild and untrue
claims being by promoted by Minnesota. A review of the Granada Minutes will
show how Minnesota, with the chair's permission, made wild and untrue
statements about the WSA and WSA militants. When the chair (a member of the IWA
Secretariat) makes a statement at the Congress there is "Agreement: [AIT-Minnesota]
has clarified the position. Documentation exists which the IWA can have" (14)
and refuses to allow for floor discussion or WSA presentation, it is only too
clear that he has taken a favorable position to Minnesota.

CLAIMS OF "HOSTILITY" AND "PARALLELISM"

With this apparent IWA intervention, the WSA was now to be considered a
"hostile" organization. Without any independent investigation by the IWA into the
claims and charges made by Minnesota, the WSA was considered hostile. The post
and email feel silent.

We reject the claim that the WSA has ever been hostile to either the
"Principles & Aims" of the IWA or to the IWA itself. Current WSA membership includes
militants who have been active in organizing IWA activities and a Section to
the US since the 1970's.As we previously wrote (17 November 20004), not one
founding WSA member has ever joined AIT-Minnesota. In fact, after the 2000 Granada
Congress and the shameless activities of both the IWA Secretariat and
Minnesota, WSA saw a some former members rejoin, including a couple of founding
members.

Furthermore, throughout the period since the 2000 Congress, the WSA continued
its long-standing tradition of showing solidarity with others in the IWA and
IWA campaigns as we learned about them.

We have seen the rather strange and bizarre email claims by Minnesota about
so-called
WSA "parallelist activities". (15) At no time did the IWA Secretariat allow
us to reply to any of these claims.

As with the "hostility" claims, we reject the label of "parallelism" and
simply see it as a diversionary tactic.

WSA's AFFILATION

Perhaps our disappointment with the IWA Secretariat's and some Section's & Fri
ends refusal to respond to our issues manifested itself in our some of the
correspondence quoted by the Secretariat in their report. Since the IWA
Secretariat refused our continued offers to mutually work together, keep us informed
and updated on campaigns perhaps our correspondence wasn't as precise as it
should have been. We no longer "felt" like a part of the IWA even though we
always believed we never left it.

It should, however, come as no "surprise" to the Oslo Secretariat that the
WSA should be "perceived as the IWA Section in the USA". In their own report
they write "The WSA-office in New York sends us lots of emails, faxes and
posts..." They fail to mention that many of these included documents stating our
positions on what was happening inside the US, with WSA and Minnesota. Documents
which they failed to circulate to the section's and Friends.

THE ROAD AHEAD AND THE IWA IN THE US

In the immediate sense the WSA stands by its position that we never left the
IWA. Since the WSA's formation in 1984 we have not disaffiliated from the IWA.
The WSA has taken our internationalism seriously these past 20 years (and
more).

Should the IWA be unprepared to reaffirm our affiliation at this Congress,
let us suggest that you set-up a representative standing committee to resolve
the issue.

We agree with the comments of the Serbian ASI of 19 November 2003 (16). He
wrote:
"[the WSA] positions should be examined and their documentation carefully
read." He continues in part"... their expulsion without reasonable and sound
explanation (if any!) would give the IWA a bad name in the US."

Although this episode with Minnesota and the IWA practices have given the IWA
a "bad name", we believe this can be changed. The WSA has been a proud part
of the IWA for a quarter of its history. We say to our IWA comrades it is time
to recognize the WSA's affiliation and our contributions to the rebirth of the
IWA and to its future.

For a world without bosses, states or bureaucrats,

WORKERS SOLIDARITY ALLIANCE
------------------------------------------------------
All cited correspondence and documents are available upon written request.
Copies of these are being mailed to the IWA Secretariat in Oslo.

1. "1999 AIT Plenary in Toulouse, France" written by Seamas Cain.
2. 10 December 1999 Mitch Miller issued a detailed response to the Cain
report
3. "1999 AIT Plenary in Toulouse, France", page 4
4. ibid., page 12
5. ibid., page 12
6. WSA to NSF, 12/03/99, 12/16/99,1/28/00,3/11/00 & 4/9/00
7. IWA Secretariat to Mitch Miller, 12-28-98
8. Undated, Seamas Cain to Sachio-Ko-Yin
9. Copies of refused letters and correspondence span a period of close to a
year and are available upon request.
10. 18 September 2000 letter from NY-NJ WSA to Seamas Cain, Nat. Sec.
11. 8 August 2000 Mitch Miller letter to WSA DB, copied IWA Secretariat
12. 25 September 2000 letter from NY-NJ WSA to Seamas Cain, Nat. Sec.
13. At no time were formal charges made against Mitch Miller & Ed Elhauge
prior to their "expulsion". Nor were these members ever allowed any due
process under the WSA's Constitution, a Constitution which was never changed when
AIT-Minnesota became the so-called "US AIT/IWA".
14. Agenda Item 7c), page 9 english version. See Point #13 AOB. The WSA
reply to the Congress Minutes were sent to the IWA Secretariat for distribution
at the Manchester Plenary, 1/2002. This document, to the best of our
knowledge has never been distributed to the Section's & Friends.
15. "The Parallelism of Mitchell H. Miller" 18 January 2002. This was
also sent out with another strange email attacking a French CNT member
("Opposition From Thomas P.")
16. WSA?, 19 November 2003, International Secretary of ASI to Secretariat
and Sections

OliverTwister

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Well comrades it is clear that some really shameful behavior has taken place.

The Serbian delegate was right.

robot

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

WeTheYouth

After reading through this thread, i cant beleive that SolFed supported such crap. I think one section of the IWA should raise the re-entry of the WSA as the continued IWA section in the USA, when it comes closer to the next congress i will raise it in my local.

Once the SolFed should decide to raise such a motion, there is no need to wait for the next IWA congress in two years time. This could as well be done by means of an international referendum if there are enough sections that endorse the referendum. Just to add one thing concerning the "Minnesota report". After that report and after Mirandas treatment at the IWA congress the FAU decided to stop any contact with the gang of liars and cheaters at Minnesota. Neither does the FAU understand why the IWA secretariat is still in constant contact with that same people that tried to cheat and trick the IWA with their "report". Just to mention the report on the IWW published by the Norwegian IWA secretariat that was presented at the IWA congress in Manchester and is made up of more than 200 pages of documents provided by the already mentioned Seamus Cain (ASN).

Steven.

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Does the SAN have a website?

syndicalist

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

John.

Does the SAN have a website?

No website.

In fact, they've never articulated what their "politics" are. There is no published statement of principles, aims or working document (constitution).

The only published materials they issue are attacks against the WSA, WSA militants, the IWW and others. Like the jailhouse snitch, they survive on their ability to rat people out----for things they haven't even done. This seems to curry them favors with .... we'll just let it be at that.

David in Atlanta

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

To be totally fair, SAN has, over the years, taken two positive actions. in 2000, working with USI contacts, they were able to coordinate a solidarity strike in Italy for striking metal workers in Minnesota, and in 2001 they compiled and published a anthology of brief writings on immigrant struggles in the united states for a AIT conference. It should be pointed out that most of the authors of the anthology were not members of SAN.

Two decent actions balanced against years of personal attacks and underhanded organizational dealing isn't much to show for a would-be section of a revolutionary international.

Steven.

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

David in Atlanta

To be totally fair, SAN has, over the years, taken two positive actions. in 2000, working with USI contacts, they were able to coordinate a solidarity strike in Italy for striking metal workers in Minnesota

you got any more info on this?

, and in 2001 they compiled and published a anthology of brief writings on immigrant struggles in the united states for a AIT conference.

this online anywhere? or anyone have it in electronic format?

David in Atlanta

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

John.

David in Atlanta

To be totally fair, SAN has, over the years, taken two positive actions. in 2000, working with USI contacts, they were able to coordinate a solidarity strike in Italy for striking metal workers in Minnesota

you got any more info on this?

Only self-agrandizing after the fact ainfos posts from SAN. There's some archived material on the Duluth local newspaper site, but it has to be paid for. Mitch mentioned that SAN blocked attempts by WSA to show any solidarity with the strike.

, and in 2001 they compiled and published a anthology of brief writings on immigrant struggles in the united states for a AIT conference.

this online anywhere? or anyone have it in electronic format?

It's mentioned here
http://www.iwa-ait.org/immigration.html
you might want to ask NSF or USI if they have copies.
AH, i poked around a bit and found it.
http://www.ainfos.ca/01/jun/ainfos00381.html

WeTheYouth

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

robot

WeTheYouth

After reading through this thread, i cant beleive that SolFed supported such crap. I think one section of the IWA should raise the re-entry of the WSA as the continued IWA section in the USA, when it comes closer to the next congress i will raise it in my local.

Once the SolFed should decide to raise such a motion, there is no need to wait for the next IWA congress in two years time. This could as well be done by means of an international referendum if there are enough sections that endorse the referendum.

Interesting, are you sure we can do this by referendum?

robot

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

WeTheYouth

Interesting, are you sure we can do this by referendum?

Well, I don't really like that bureaucratic kind of stuff. But from my experiences within the IWA I would suggest the following:

a. If there were a formal decision of an IWA congress or a plenary that it's section in the USA shall no longer be a member section, than this could be subject to a referendum:

At the request of at least three national affiliated Organizations, an international agreement can be submitted for revision by a general referendum within all Sections. (en) A instancia de un mínimo de tres organizaciones nacionales adheridas, un acuerdo internacional puede ponerse a revisión por referéndum general dentro de todas las Secciones.(es)

b. If the IWA secretariat just stopped treating the US section as a member section because someone there declared to no longer be a member of the IWA then it should be up to the US section to inform the IWA secretariat, that they did not take any such decision. The IWA secretariat must then check whether or not there was a statuary decision of the US section to withdraw from the IWA. If not, the US section has to be treated as still being a member section. This does not apply for those individuals or groups that declared their withdrawel from the IWA.

syndicalist

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Robot, correct me if I'm wrong, but I think this is what he may be refering to.

From the IWA Statutes (my emphasis)

"VI The International Congresses

...
The agreements and resolutions adopted by the International Congresses are binding for all affiliated Organizations, except when those Organizations, by a resolution of a National Congress or by referendum, reject the agreements of the international Congress.

At the request of at least three national affiliated Organizations, an international agreement can be submitted for revision by a general referendum within all Sections.
In the international referendums and Congresses, every Section has one vote, and it is recommended that unanimity be sought before one proceeds to the voting."

http://www.iwa-ait.org/statutes.html

WeTheYouth

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Thanks. What is WSA's relationship with the FAU like?

syndicalist

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The (LWG and)WSA has had a very long and comradely relationship with the FAU. Our intitial contact goes back to the anarcho-syndicalist initiaitives even before FAU was formed.

This is not to say we are twins about everything. But we have always had a mutually respectful and comradely relationship.

WeTheYouth

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

syndicalist

The (LWG and)WSA has had a very long and comradely relationship with the FAU. Our intitial contact goes back to the anarcho-syndicalist initiaitives even before FAU was formed.

This is not to say we are twins about everything. But we have always had a mutually respectful and comradely relationship.

Do you thik that the attacks on the WSA were also because of the support it gave to the FAU call for a referendum on the CNT France split?

syndicalist

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

WeTheYouth

Do you thik that the attacks on the WSA were also because of the support it gave to the FAU call for a referendum on the CNT France split?

This requires a more detailed reply rather than a simple yes or no. The whole internal split with the French CNT dominated IWA discussions for a couple years prior to the vote to expel Vignoles.

Within WSA the issue of the French CNT split was a hot one. The WSA was lietrally split down the middle on this question going into the 1996 IWA Congress. Our delegate was mandated to abstain on the question. As important as the question may have been to our French comrades, the WSA couldn't aford to allow this issue to split us apart.

WSA, along with Solfed and a majority of other Section's abstained on the question. In reality I believe it was only 3 section's (CNT-Spain, CNT-Bordeaux, NSF)who voted for the expulsion of the Vignoles CNT. Under IWA proceedures a majority of those voting in favor of a motion carries the day. So there were, I believce, more than 10 abstaintentions,not sure how many no votes, 3 or so Yes votes. So a grand majority of 3 or so votes carried the day.

I believe that it was on the basis of such a small vote in favor to expel that the WSA delegate to that Congress took the position they did.

The WSA's delegate's position was not without internal WSA controversy. Unlike the FAU, the WSA really did not have a lot of personal friendships on the line with the French comrades. Of course there is more to this and I will have to leave it our good comrades of the FAU to explain their views on the matter.

All I can say is that within the WSA it was not a simple issue. I have severe criticisms of those in the WSA who acted on their own and without mandadte. Personally, I think the matter---all the way around---could have been handled in a much better and constructive manner. It is my personal view that the French split (in addition to all the problems arising out of the Spanish situation) created a real negativity within the IWA. It set the stage for other things to come.

Maybe it's just my nature, but I think you have to go the full mile and make every effort to resolve issues. This isn't to say one foresakes principles, I simply think you have to make efforts to work things out in as a constructive manner as possible. I do not believe that a vote of 3 or so to expel a section (or a portion thereof)constitutes a correct basis from which to operate. Perhaps the wisest thing to have done was to have a special plenary to review the matter one last time and then put it to a vote. Perhas the vote would've been to expel (or not), but at least it would've been a majoritarian mandate.

But i gotta get to work now. I'll come back to it tonight.

Mark.

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

This may be off-topic but I'd be interested to hear the views of WSA, Solfed and FAU members on relations between the IWA and other organisations. Does anyone still see a justification for restricting contacts between IWA affiliates and the CNT-F, the SAC and the CGT etc.? Is there any possibility of all these organisations working together at some level, without necessarily having to be in the same international or abandon their tactical disagreements? I'm asking as someone who's neutral in the anarcho-syndicalist wars.

syndicalist

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

JH

This may be off-topic but I'd be interested to hear the views of WSA, Solfed and FAU members on relations between the IWA and other organisations. Does anyone still see a justification for restricting contacts between IWA affiliates and the CNT-F, the SAC and the CGT etc.? Is there any possibility of all these organisations working together at some level, without necessarily having to be in the same international or abandon their tactical disagreements? I'm asking as someone who's neutral in the anarcho-syndicalist wars.

This could probably make for another thread.

I'll say that I-99 was an attempt to bring differing tendencies together in a neutral space. The idea was to allow for free and open discussion. To allow comrades to agree to disagree on some issues, to cooperate on others while still maintaining ones own affinaties and perspectives. I would say that, in this respect, the various International Solidarity Conferences are of value.

On a practical basis,such as solidarity with strikes, actions, cooperation on an intra-company basis, I think the no contact policy is a hinderance. But local comrades can support locals in any one of the aforementioned organizations and be within the intent of the "no contact" policy. As I understand it, the "no contact" policy applies to cooperation/contact with the national offices of the SAC and CGT. The Spanish CNT has dealings with CGT locals routinely. As for CNT-Vignoles, I think there's a blanket ban. But I'm not 100% sure about that.

My understanding of the local cooperation scheme was explained to me over the past years. The way it was laid out was local-to-local contact is more "organic". Contact with the national offices of either the SAC and the CGT is "inorganic".

Now I suspect if all of these International Solidarity Conferences were organized by local groups and endorsed by locals from other organizations (be they inside or outside the IWA), they would consititue "organic" gatherings. I suspect the label of "parallelist" gatherings would, in a strange way, not apply. That is, they're not organized by national committees or international committees of an organization.

Well JH, I guess I really didn't answer the question as stated. So just chalk this up to an opinion.

Steven.

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Yeah if people want to discuss JH's question it's best to start a separate thread.

syndicalist

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

hello--test--for internationalism

Mark.

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

John.

Yeah if people want to discuss JH's question it's best to start a separate thread.

Fair enough. I could start a new thread. It depends whether people actually want to discuss this. I'd imagine it could be a sensitive subject.

OliverTwister

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I'd like to see people's thoughts.

Mark.

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

OliverTwister

I'd like to see people's thoughts.

I've started a new thread at: http://libcom.org/forums/general/can-iwa-work-together-cnt-f-sac-and-cgt

syndicalist

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Moved from: http://libcom.org/comment/reply/27525/356517?quote=1#comment-form

robot

petey

here again i begin to see a political element to the unpleasantness. if the IWA's treatment of the WSA was based on something more than personal viciousness (...) could it be that, from the point of view of many IWA sections, WSA had too many currents in it to call itself an anarcho-syndicalist organization or that WSA included in their statement bits that are extraneous to anarcho-syndicalism in a pure sense (comparing the WSA statement with the IWA statement)?

While this is the wrong thread (IWA Congress report-backs?), my personal feeling is that this was not at all the reason for the IWA's treatment of the WSA. The main reason was that the bay area WSA supported the i99, an international syndicalist open conference endorsed by the IWW. That conference was qualified as "hostile" by a majority of the IWA sections. What happened then was a series of attempts to trick the WSA out of the IWA by any means necessary. The key for it was an entrist bunch of scumbags (I guess they were from Minnesota) that tried to kick the other members out with some manouevres worth any trot infight-manual. The others within the WSA didn't realize it until was too late. And even worse, the scumbags even tricked the IWA by presenting obviously faked "evidence" against a couple of long-standing members and they got support for that by the Garcia Rua faction within the Spanish CNT and others in the IWA. Later the entrists dissolved the WSA – mission completed.

Point of clarification: The Duluth, Minnesota entryists claimed they dissolved the WSA at a conference which they called and controlled. It was at this conference they proclaimed themselves as the "US IWA/AIT". They then proceeded to expelled members on their own and in blatant violation of all the proceedures as previosly established in our Constitution.

If I may, the entryists have never once published a statement of who they were, what they stood for or constitution. Aside from never willing to comit in writing anything whoch would identify their politics, means of operation, etc., they were then quickly and without internal IWA discussion adhered to the IWA. This is all clear and the records will show that this is accurate.

And when they disaffilaited from the IWA (soemthing like within a years time) it was for the bizarre reason that some in the IWA were still talking to and working with the WSA! I mean this is in writing, I'm not a science fiction writer!

vanilla.ice.baby

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Where are they now? What are their names? Have you got any idea why they did this, or what their background was?

ETA: in case anyone is suspicious of my interest, well I think the WSA is the only good nationwide anarchist group to ever appear in the US, and I think the IWA have a cool tradition.

akai

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

From the IWA Congress sidetracked thread:

Robot wrote:

While this is the wrong thread (IWA Congress report-backs?), my personal feeling is that this was not at all the reason for the IWA's treatment of the WSA. The main reason was that the bay area WSA supported the i99, an international syndicalist open conference endorsed by the IWW. That conference was qualified as "hostile" by a majority of the IWA sections. What happened then was a series of attempts to trick the WSA out of the IWA by any means necessary. The key for it was an entrist bunch of scumbags (I guess they were from Minnesota) that tried to kick the other members out with some manouevres worth any trot infight-manual. The others within the WSA didn't realize it until was too late. And even worse, the scumbags even tricked the IWA by presenting obviously faked "evidence" against a couple of long-standing members and they got support for that by the Garcia Rua faction within the Spanish CNT and others in the IWA. Later the entrists dissolved the WSA – mission completed.

Well, from what I know of the Bay-Area WSA, which now has a Pareconist faction if I am not mistaken, politically many of them would be closer to currents in alternative syndicalism than many currents in the IWA. Of course there are exceptions in the IWA, but these are not a majority - hence the reluctance of the majority of IWA sections to lend support to the conferences organized mostly by such groups. (The FAU tending to be the major exception.)

I think that political difference have to be solved in a different way - not by tricks but by frank discussion. I don't know the deepest details of it all, but I know that I didn't believe these people from Minnesota and said it to some IWA members. Again, I suppose that really what was happening was that some people were looking for a pretext to get rid of the WSA. I don't know if the word "trick" is the same. I think that people wanted to believe it and were tricked themselves.

Certainly from today's perspective, people can see where the mistakes were made. But, as I have suggested, ultimately the reason for this must have been related to some anxieties about WSA's actual political positions. Whether or not they were justified is another issue.

syndicalist

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

vanilla.ice.baby

Where are the entrist scumbags now?

Condiering there might have been 4-5 people in Duluth, with questionable names elesewhere
(we actually think some folks did not exist)....... But they are all disappeared. Maybe in a bluemoon one of them issues a statement. But they only existed in reality to do the dirty deed against the WSA.

syndicalist

vanilla.ice.baby

Where are the entrist scumbags now?

Condiering there might have been 4-5 people in Duluth, with questionable names elesewhere
(we actually think some folks did not exist)....... But they are all disappeared. Maybe in a bluemoon one of them issues a statement. But they only existed in reality to do the dirty deed against the WSA.

I apologise if it seems a bit callous and academic of me (to be fascinated by the idea), but do people have any inkling about why these people might have done this - what could they possibly gain from this behaviour?

I mean I could understand if they were trying to get the WSA disaffiliated so they could set up a new IWA franchise, as that is a powerful concept for some people. But if they just walked away for spurious reasons after a year...

petey

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

thanks robot, syndicalist, akai.

the entryists have never once published a statement of who they were, what they stood for or constitution. Aside from never willing to comit in writing anything whoch would identify their politics, means of operation, etc.,

right, one of my next questions was what the political differences were, if there were any, so you've read my mind :)

ultimately the reason for this must have been related to some anxieties about WSA's actual political positions. Whether or not they were justified is another issue.

but what were these anxieties, justified or not?

Steven.

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I don't know about the politics of the time - and as I said on here previously it appears clear that the WSA were treated appallingly.

However, in terms of moving on from now syndicalist said that the majority of the WSA would not want to rejoin the IWA, and I would think that many people in the IWA would have legitimate concerns about admitting people who supported Parecon as opposed to libertarian communism.

So I guess this issue is basically over now. Although I understand that syndicalist would probably like an apology for how he was treated after 20 years of work for the IWA. But I think that other than a few individual comments here, this is unlikely to happen...

888

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

IWA would have legitimate concerns about admitting people who supported Parecon as opposed to libertarian communism.

The WSA as a whole does not have a position on Parecon, as far as i know.

Why would the IWA care about the particular political positions of individuals within different sections? It's not like Pareconism implies support of state run works councils, or anything. Surely an anarchosyndicalist union (as opposed to a political group), especially it intends to become a mass movement, should tolerate a wide range of tendencies within it, like the historical CNT*. After all, the CNT statutes still say you don't have to be an anarchist to join...

*Especially given the friendly relation between IWA and the IAF, which has various synthesist groups like the FA and FAIt in it.

Would WSA host a public event (of one of its members) which favours Parecon to Libertarian Communism?

[ edit 1: 888 your avatar might be a health risk for epileptics ]
[ edit 2: I will (of course) return to your above comment ]

akai

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

About the people from Minnesota -
Yes, it is obvious that these people were some adventurist scumbags. But, another question is about how the WSA got crazies in it and probably had fake people it didn't know? Or how these people from Minnesota got influence? That's why I think there was also an internal problem from the WSA's side.

Let me just say this - I know this type of person. We know some people with equally active imaginations waving the anarchosyndicalist flags - and keeping in mind that these people turned out to be adventurists and frauds, when I read this http://www.ainfos.ca/01/jul/ainfos00045.html, I see quite clearly how these people may have got some influence or had some support outside of the US. This may sound cynical, but there are even more people who want to hear tall activist tales than are guilty of spinning them and I am sure that some people read stuff like this and honestly thought - hey, that's great! Stuff is happening! And SOMEBODY is behind this push in activity. It is absolutely amazing to me how many seemingly intelligent people rush to believe in these things, these miracle big activist groups that spring out of nowhere - even though it defies good judgment. I do not doubt for a moment that some people got taken in by this all. I also do not doubt that some people were tricked and got on these people's sides.

This thing that happened within the WSA shouldn't have happened. I suppose that it is not the last time an IWA section will face such challenges - I know two IWA sections that currently has problems with a splinter faction, but it seems like their situations are clear and nobody is confused about them. The IWA should learn from these situations and mistakes made, both on the local and international level and create procedures and instruments for avoiding them.

ultimately the reason for this must have been related to some anxieties about WSA's actual political positions. Whether or not they were justified is another issue.

but what were these anxieties, justified or not?

Well, they have been displayed in more or less open form in different threads. If I need to spell them out, I will, but please note that actually I am just inferring here from other, private conversations:

1. There is general anxiety about some contact issues. If I am not mistaken (please correct me if I am wrong), the WSA (as well as FAU) in the past recognized and supported the CNT-F as more legitimate than the CNT-AIT.

This would cause anxiety for several reasons. The first is that, it is often the case in organizations that if a couple of groups have a differing opinion, certain organizational difficulties can arise. There is sometimes a very thin line between the idea of the autonomy of the groups and breaking a unified position.

In my opinion, this issue is wrongly attributed to "sectarianism", but this is a whole different decision.

Anxiety in this case could be further attributed then be doubts as to whether sections are just trying to be friends to everyone, or whether they are supportive of tactics and politics determined to be non-beneficial by some of the sections, or a majority of them.

In this situation, their may be anxiety that a minority of sections would try to push a more liberal view towards these tactics on the IWA and try to foster stronger relationships with groups outside the IWA than within.

This anxiety is not irrational since in fact there are differences between the groups in the IWA and some groups feel like they have more in common with some outside groups that some inside groups.

Anxiety about the smooth integration of the groups inside the IWA with each other is a legimate issue. Of course, whether or not people have always dealt with this anxiety in a positive or helpful way is another issue.

2. The second point of anxiety is not specific to the WSA. This is whether or not the WSA, after many years of activity, could expand and become a more dynamic movement. This is not specific to the WSA. There are groups in the IWA who express concern about smaller sections. (But often the tolerance of a smaller section or lack of tolerance corresponds to a shared politic line. ) To be fair, there are smaller sections in the IWA, so maybe wasn't a major issue.

We can see that the appearance of the frauds from Minnesota compounded this anxiety. Provided we assume that somebody actually believed their reports / stories, this could have been interpretted by someone to mean that, aha, there really is potential for something more dynamic in the US - it's just the old-timers in the WSA are somehow holding this back. (You said, write about anxieties, justified or not.) If anybody had anxiety about the WSA's abilities as organizers - and "Syndicalist" writes himself that in 1998 the WSA reached an all-time low point in its activity - which may have caused doubts - then the sudden appearance of people seemingly able to organize things much more quickly would have compounded doubts about the core WSA group. Of course this turned out to be bullshit.

Also, it should be noted that this concern would have been inconsistent if it was expressed by smaller sections, although I believe a few did do this.

I believe this is a real anxiety in the IWA, not only related to the WSA. From what I see, some people are very critical of some sections' lack of workplace activity and there are people who say that basically these sections are "making excuses". I believe that sometimes this anxiety is not dealt with in the correct way, but this is another issue.

Another anxiety is about growing platformist trends, although this one would have been less pronounced a few years ago. This would be more of a current anxiety. The same about Parecon.

About Parecon, the issue about WSA members who support Parecon is wider than that. I am fairly critical of Parecon, but wouldn't be too crazy about somebody who just thought it is a good system for running a collective bookshop. :-) 888 says it's not like Parecon implies support of things like state works councils - but many of the leading advocates of Parecon, including WSA members, uncritically support some state-run institutions. (Fuck, a lot of Parecon people support Chavez, so what are we talking about?)

Some WSA members support the participatory budget schemes in Porto Alegre, which are state controlled plans to get people to co-manage (not actually manage) the allocation of limited funds (after tax money is taken out for the state bureaucracy and IMF loans). The critique is very long - maybe just read this: http://www.zmag.org/znet/viewArticle/11044

Of course this is not an official WSA position, but it makes me wonder about the folks who do it.

Since I already have quite a lot here - sorry, am not launching an attack but just trying to answer frankly - I'll put in another for good measure. Although again it is about an individual member, not the whole group, there was something extremely questionable for me: some years ago a current member of WSA was an ardent advocate for Jugoremedia, basically spreading information all around the globe that this was a "recovered factory", leading people to think this was some sort of Zanon. But it was a worker shareholder scheme based on capitalist principles. This is a common form of privatization in the so-called post-communist countries and cannot be mistaken for a form of collectivism since workers can hire and fire non-stakeholder workers, they can accumulate as many shares as they can afford, they can sell their shares and they can own shares but not work there - just take profit.

I got really angry about this campaign. I could go on and on about worker shareholder schemes and what they really look like - not like anything we want to support. At the very best, they occasionally can help some people to keep a job, but in many schemes like this, restructurization is required by a business plan required by lending institutions (yes, workers often have to take conditional loans to buy stakes), people without capital are fired and the workers have co-management roles at best (many times they are just managed by majority stakeholders from the old management). And this is co-management in capitalist conditions, and often conditions where loans are being repaid.

If I go back and read the now WSA member's account of this workers' struggle, which was so misleading, I see that it's sort of like the crazy Minnesotan's tales. For me it is not clear whether this is the work of a myth-maker, someone who has misread the situation, or someone who is supportive of stuff which may not be too cool. (Maybe all of the above.)

One might wonder why anybody would be concerned by an individual member, but high-profile, charismatic members of an organization can be convincing. Some other individual members of WSA I spoke with expressed the opinion that all of these things (Parecon, participatory budgeting, workers' shareholders' schemes) were good things, even basically the direction why want to go in.

In fact, they are all quite watered down, coopted versions of anything we'd want to do, all working within the capitalist framework.

So I think that there is reason to wonder what could become the dominant current.

Surely an anarchosyndicalist union (as opposed to a political group), especially it intends to become a mass movement, should tolerate a wide range of tendencies within it, like the historical CNT*. After all, the CNT statutes still say you don't have to be an anarchist to join...

Well, WSA is not an anarchosyndicalist union. It is a propaganda group.

Thus what kind of things are being propagated are of concern.

If you have a mass organization, than having a few people with different tendencies within it is not as harsh. Of course even then, it would be problematic to have even a very high-profile individual would might be outspoken on some issue most people don't agree with.

Of course we see how in reality many people treat anarchism itself as a supermarket of dozens of contradictory ideas, so I know some people will think there's nothing wrong with this at all. It's just a question if there are well-known and outspoken people arguing for Parecon, platformism, syndicalism or whatever else, what actually comes out of it. And if it's inevitable that just the most mainstream / palable of the options will become most popular.

Jason Cortez

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Not sure why (this has happened to me before) but the first quote below should extend down to the beginning of the sentence in bold.
From the other threadsyndicalist

Jason, I have no agenda when I try and ask factual questions. Do I get snipets of stuff, yes, of course I do. As much as people think it's ego and as much as thery hate to hear about the past, I mean, I do know folks and some for decades. Yes, some stuff filiters to me, much not. That said, it doen't mean that when I first wrote the posting I have any information

I think Jack is probably right, I should not be curious and just let stuff take its natural pace.

Do I feel the WSA was wronged, yes. But this does not drive the interest in the IWA.

OK, I'll just let it rip here. I suspect it will be the first & last time.Am I looking for the IWA trip over its feet and fall and become marginal and irrelevant, no. As much as some don't want to hear about the past, a more than 20 year relationship should have some meaning and value. And not to still maintain an interest in something you did not chose to leave on your own is somehow deemed wrong here. As much as some of you want to think whatever you want to think, in spite of feeling that the WSA was wronged, the Principles & Aims of the IWA and the few few friendships built will alway remain meaningful to a few of us here, it will for me. But I guess, according some here that's egotistical. Yes, because I actually give a shit that the good name and reputation of the IWA was tarnished here in north america. Yes, that makes me angry. So excuse me that I am one of the few people who actually care. yeah, ego...no, it's called putting in hard work and hours of time trying to build an IWA affiliate, one that was more than a paper affiliate.

Do I think it would have been simple enough to actually ask WSA to make a presentation at the Congress they were not allowed in, yes, that would've been appropriate. Or any of the following IWA meetings where WSA asked to make a presentation and were denied. Ok, it means nothing to folks at this point. I get it. It all has no relevance to anyone, I get it. Because it may not have any relevance to folks, doen't mean things didn't happen.

It is clear that anyone who is not in the IWA and asks questions on this listserv automatically have a negative agenda. Well, that is the pity.

Yes, of course I have an agenda but not the one folks think I have. My so-called agenda is to find out what's positive going on, what I can report back as good things happening with IWA Section's and "the IWA" in general. How can I use the positive stuff to build relations and break down barriers that have grown over the past decade.

Jason, comrades, what would a fair review of those events reveal today? What would it mean for the IWA and the WSA today? The die has been cast and there obviously is no changing that.

If comrades feel there are internal weaknesses in the IWA, respectfully, they should be identifed and corrected. Use the WSA example (and any others) of how not to do things. Turn what was a negative experiance into a positive. Don't repeat past mistakes.

What would be fair to the WSA? A simple on-the record and recorded in the minutes. recognition by the IWA of that an error occured in how the WSA situation was handled.
And a simple written apology would be just fine to the WSA and to our delegate Miranda who was physically barred entry to the Granada Congress (after her credentials were pre-approved and paid airfair from the US to Spain). Yeah, that would probably be the fairest thing for all at this point.

Look, it is clear enough to me that our or my participation on Libcom having anything to do with the IWA will be deemed in a certain manner. I think I have said what needs to be said and wish you all good tidings.

Syndicalist despite you replying to me by name, you seem to have conflated me with other posters, which is not very helpful.

That said, it doen't mean that when I first wrote the posting I have any information

No your right I don't for sure but this statement is pretty vague and does not actually state you had no prior information before posting. You clearly do have an agenda(I am not using this in a pejorative sense) on this issue, which remains a personal injury. If I remember correctly my local felt on reflection at the time (99-02) that we supported your position in NYC, but it look more like a three way split from over here. MartinH can confirm if my memory is up to much, I maybe wrong. It was certainly our opinion afterwards that the WSA should not have been disaffliliated, but i think pride on both sides lead to the impasse of your not re-applying and the IWA not reviewing the question again (which helped those who were opposed to your involvement). Had you re-applied you would had forced the question. My local dissolved in the late summer of 04 and I can't remember if we had discussed it then, at the moment. But I would of been surprised if our position had changed.

Do I feel the WSA was wronged, yes. But this does not drive the interest in the IWA.

as I stated "Now I don't doubt for a moment that you have a genuine interest in other issues discussed at the IWA congress." I assume this is not really addressed to me.

It is clear that anyone who is not in the IWA and asks questions on this listserv automatically have a negative agenda. Well, that is the pity.

Well I don't think everyone in IWA affliliated groups acts this way. But some definitely act overly defensively in my opinion. Jason

I also don't see you as being hostile to the IWA, but you clearly still feel very wronged.

As it appears to me that the WSA has no interest at the current time in being a section of the IWA and most of the folks around at the time seem to feel it is (a shameful) history, I fail to see the point of continuely going over old ground. However I do believe that a review on how the IWA deals with issues such as the status of a section that is questionable in some way, needs to undertaken. Such a review would need to look at the whole WSA situation and come to some clear conclusions on why it happened and how we could improve our structures and procedures to prevent a re-occurrence (although this in of itself is no guarantee).

Jason Cortez

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

DP

petey

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

akai, thanks very much for post 97. on the one hand i'm not fishing for genuinely confidential information to be exposed. on the other hand i am trying to make an informed political judgement. i myself had detected the multi-tendency issues, the rest is news to me. in WSA's defense they have been quite honest, on this board and elsewhere, about the steps which led to minnesota business.

Hmmm. much too read, so it will take me time to reply to all the questions and statements.

AES

Would WSA host a public event (of one of its members) which favours Parecon to Libertarian Communism?

Sorry to disappoint anyone waiting in the parecon weeds waiting for an affirmative.

A direct answer to your question is: NO.

I realize the parecon issue is thrown into a bunch of stuff here. I'm not a pareconista nor do I have a full understanding of it. That said, WSA has maybe 5 people who identify with some form of parecon. The other 40 plus do not. You do the math.

Inside the WSA we recently had a conversation about parecon. One of our long time members described his concept -- as opposed to the Michael Albert version -- as something equal to the CNT's Zaragoza of 1936. He described his vision as being in concert with a "minimum libertarian communism" (or some such wording). I think there are folks within the pareconist world who have probably evolved similiarly. This is an observation, like I said, I'm not a pareconist.

For the record, WSA has always tried to stay away from using lots of rethoric in our "Where We Stand". What we try and do is set out, in as common enough language as possible (which doesn't always work) what our vision is and what our general tactics are.

Let me continue to read other posts now.

syndicalist

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Comrades, the more I read, the more I find some of this stuff to be, at best, a stretch and trying and wrap the parecon whatever around the WSA. I think all this stuff written about parecon is, well, rubbish. I mean it's stretching things. I can probably find one or tqo members in each of your groups that have views that may not be 100% the same as yours. Does that mean your organization accepts those views?

Also, I've never seen anyone speak on behalf of WSA in the name of WSA promoting some of the things said above. Please find me those links with quotes in the name of the WSA. Very important in the name of the WSA not an individual speaking on their own behalf. Let's be clear about that distinction.

Jason

Syndicalist despite you replying to me by name, you seem to have conflated me with other posters, which is not very helpful.

Jason, no, my posting was directed to you personally. Maybe the way I replied seemed that way. Where I used your name was in direct reply. No, I wasn't trying to attribute others opinions/comments to you.Sorry for the confusing writing style.

Jason: but i think pride on both sides lead to the impasse of your not re-applying and the IWA not reviewing the question again (which helped those who were opposed to your involvement). Had you re-applied you would had forced the question.

Here's the point on that question. It was our position that WSA never withdrew from the IWA, a point those of us who were around still agree today. It was at the Manchester Congress in 2006 that the Congress agreed we were null and void in their book. At that point WSA moved on from the question. That said, from the time the shit hit the fan in Granada in 1999 the WSA repeatedly, repeatedly requested a hearing on the matter. I mean, WSA was never even given the courtesy of such a hearing.

While we may have disagreements over particulars, I thank you for continuing to express your opinion that the way things went down between the IWA and the WSA wasn't proper. And I will extend those thanks to all who have said similiarly.

Jason, I've tried to chose my presentations and wording pretty carefully. I distinguish between friends/comrades and those who have acted in the most uncomradely manner. So I try not to use the broad "the IWA" paint brush. But clearly those who have occupied the Granada and Oslo Secretariat's have not been comradely towards the WSA.

I suspect that "the IWA" when addressing some of the internal issues that are releveant to the past and the present will sweep the WSA experiance under the rug. I'm under no illusion that given both time and feelings. I get it, that's just how it is.

syndicalist

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

petey

....in WSA's defense they have been quite honest, on this board and elsewhere, about the steps which led to minnesota business.

Thank you. WSA has tried to be as transparent as possible, warts and all.

Before I go to sleep, I will say this. WSA during all the broohas, internal fights and meltdowns consistantly provided the IWA Secretariat with detailed reports and positions. So, to the best of my knowledge, the Secretariat has always been plugged into what's been happening the WSA. I suspect a review of any WSA records in IWA archives will reveal this to be factual.
Additionally, as WSA always had a solid relationship with DAM and early Solfed, special efforts were made to share stuff with them as well.

You know, you can be tas transparent as glass, but some will only see what they want to see. Even when you say it's day, some will say it's dusk. I think this is largely what transpired with stuff.

Steven.

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

hi syndicalist, the points on parecon here by you and others are fair enough - membership of the CNT is not restricted according to your political views, so it would be inconsistent to apply that to you.

On the IWA stuff, on how to resolve this, it seems that may be something quite simple like it being written into IWA practice that if there is a dispute within a national section which jeopardises membership of the IWA, that there should be the right to a hearing heard by a panel with people from different sections, with both sides of a dispute in a national section able to be present, submit written evidence, and be heard.

maybe there is something like this already, but it just was not used in your case, but if this sort of process doesn't exist it probably should.

Joseph Kay

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Steven.

membership of the CNT is not restricted according to your political views, so it would be inconsistent to apply that to you.

well CNT Sevilla say this, but also say you have to agree with the aims and principles, which include libertarian communism, an opposition to state structures etc, so it's not really true. If the CNT had no politics they wouldn't have split with the CGT renovados over a point of principle. I'm not sure how his translates in practice though.

syndicalist

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The WSA politics are defined in our "Where We Stand". That is the basis for being a member.

akai

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Syndicalist, thank you for taking the time to answer and please understand that the points I mentioned are an attempt to understand what the uncertainties on the positions may be. This question was asked and also people directly referred to some of them.

According to you, WSA does not officially support Parecon and it is just the idea of 5 individuals in the group. I think that everybody can appreciate that there can be differences between the group line and some ideas of individuals members, so this is noted.

However, I respectually reserve the right to monitor the influence (or lack thereof) of the Pareconists, both on "anarchosyndicalist" theory in the US. This is not because I do not believe your explanation but rather I find that in practice, the ideas of prominent individuals known to be members of a certain group can effect the understanding of what anarchosyndicalists as a while are or aren't propagating. For example, I hadn't read the "Where we Stand" document in ages, but I have more recently read the works of the WSA Pareconists, so these were more fresh in my mind.

One other quick point: it was decided at the 2006 Manchester Congress to make a Commission to investigate the WSA situation. The meeting with the Minnesotan's did not take place, due to their refusal, and things looked pretty obvious. I personally mentioned to you the opinion of the then Secretary that WSA should reapply, but , as mentioned, it was a question of pride not to do it and rather wait for an apology. Maybe this was justified to some extent, but as pointed out before, it was a convenient way then for people not to deal with these issues. To my mind, these issues were probably sublimated political anxieties which I alluded to and not any personal intrigues.

syndicalist

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Akai, comrades, no problem with answering stuff. Perhaps if only to try and give a perspective from our point of view. And from the viewpoint of one who has been involved with IWA stuff since the process of having an IWA section more than 30 years ago (something some reading this thread don't like for me to say, but it is a reality). As always, I am trying to be transparient and straight forward with stuff. I write as an individual and not as a group representative. So please respect that aspect.

I reciognize that there are prolly at least 5 periods in the broad scheme of things. Years 1978-1983(Libertarian Workers Group, Syndicalist Alliance adhesion to IWA). 1984-1996(ish ---WSA adhesion to IWA, internal IWA problems). 1996- 1999 (Internal IWA splits and attendant problems created by them in WSA; appearence of Duluth and their shennanagons). 1999-2000 IWA Secretariat's involvement in WSA affairs. IWA Granada Congress; Duluth uniltaterial actions within & against the WSA. good faith efforts by WSA to seek equal hearings within IWA). 2001-2009 (Isolation from IWA via the so-called " no contact" policy.. Continued good faith efforts by WSA up to 2006 to seek a hearing and internal resolution of the US situation. 2006-2009 WSA finally begings to rebound and grow again)
.
On the Commission, fair enough. Sadly, it was too late by then. I think by the time 2006 rolled around, there wre few in WSA saw IWA affiliation as a priority. This is about the same time WSA was just begining a serious rebound.

In terms of pride, of course, everyone has it.That wasn't the determining factor. It took the hionest and sincere position that there was no break in our affiliation. "The IWA" recognized a faction without the decency of a hearing. I mean, if a similiar situation arose inside Solfed and Manchester was to be allegedly booted out by a faction, would they not get a hearing? Would not Oslo in the NSF? Of course they would. I use them for example because those of us who were affected by the Dulutrh nutjobs go back at least as long in the history of the rebirth of the IWA. It's not pride, it's fairness.

As for "monitoring" the WSA, monitoring? Please my dear comrade, "monitoring"?

BTW, the so-called "anixities" you raise had no bearing to the issues in 1999. The one original pareconist member, well, wasn't even a member then. He actually rejoined after the vicious deeds were done and out of personal solidarity with the comrades he knew. In fact, a couple of folks did. Funny way to re-energize some folks.

I'll be back with you again.

Jason Cortez

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Jason

Syndicalist despite you replying to me by name, you seem to have conflated me with other posters, which is not very helpful.

Jason, no, my posting was directed to you personally. Maybe the way I replied seemed that way. Where I used your name was in direct reply. No, I wasn't trying to attribute others opinions/comments to you.Sorry for the confusing writing style.

Syndicalist

OK, I'll just let it rip here. I suspect it will be the first & last time.Am I looking for the IWA trip over its feet and fall and become marginal and irrelevant, no. As much as some don't want to hear about the past, a more than 20 year relationship should have some meaning and value. And not to still maintain an interest in something you did not chose to leave on your own is somehow deemed wrong here. As much as some of you want to think whatever you want to think, in spite of feeling that the WSA was wronged, the Principles & Aims of the IWA and the few few friendships built will alway remain meaningful to a few of us here, it will for me. But I guess, according some here that's egotistical. Yes, because I actually give a shit that the good name and reputation of the IWA was tarnished here in north america. Yes, that makes me angry. So excuse me that I am one of the few people who actually care. yeah, ego...no, it's called putting in hard work and hours of time trying to build an IWA affiliate, one that was more than a paper affiliate.

Well it was this that made me say that as I never called you egotistical and never suggested you should not have an interest in the goings on in the IWA or implied you were hostile to the IWA.

syndicalist

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

No problem Jason. As I said in a previous post, my written to reply to a number of postings were not clearly defined as to who I was responding to. In the matter you raise in the above post, it was in response to some thing MT said (who I really did not want to call out personally, but to address it in a general manner).

Again, apologies for not being clear enough in defining who said what. I just should've left it as general comments.

Jason Cortez

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Syndicalist

Here's the point on that question. It was our position that WSA never withdrew from the IWA, a point those of us who were around still agree today.

Well considering the context of the times with the expelled french CNT claiming to still be members of the IWA and the situation with USI Roma, FAU flauting the "no contact " rule and Garcia Rua's machinations etc I think it was completely naive and politically unrealistic to take this stance. Like I said if you had re-applyed at the next congress it would forced the issue.
Syndicalist

It was at the Manchester Congress in 2006 that the Congress agreed we were null and void in their book. At that point WSA moved on from the question.

and

On the Commission, fair enough. Sadly, it was too late by then. I think by the time 2006 rolled around, there wre few in WSA saw IWA affiliation as a priority.

So which is it? I really think it is time to move on and hopefully through future joint work around international issues we may mend broken bridges. And the even now I hope that the IWA can learn from it past mistakes in handling such situations, but then maybe it is me being naive and politically unrealistic :D

Joseph Kay

Steven.

membership of the CNT is not restricted according to your political views, so it would be inconsistent to apply that to you.

well CNT Sevilla say this, but also say you have to agree with the aims and principles, which include libertarian communism, an opposition to state structures etc, so it's not really true. If the CNT had no politics they wouldn't have split with the CGT renovados over a point of principle. I'm not sure how his translates in practice though.

Clearly the historical CNT had a large proportion of members who weren't anarchists (even while they became increasingly sympathetic through struggle) - and obviously most new members when a shop is organised aren't anarchists. The organisation can have very specific politics (especially on immediate issues) while still retaining a large proportion of fairly apolitical members, or even some ideologically conservative (in practice radical though) ones. The organisation must rely on its core militants and its internal culture, radicalisation through struggle, and education to maintain its political character.

There is possibly a distinction to be drawn between a propaganda group and a mass organisation (or even a small one with new workplace members)

AES

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Maybe this is your experience with the IWW, its not nearly as typical of the CNT-AIT as far I am aware

Joseph Kay

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I think historically 888 has a point - but then the historical CNT didn't start out anarcho-syndicalist, but became progressively more anarchist through the 20s and 30s. The modern day CNT however clearly has anarchist politics - the CGT split being the obvious example. Now some CNT branches may be ideologially looser than others, but if they end up with a majority of members who don't agree with their A&Ps then the outcomes going to be another split on principled grounds. the impression I get of IWA sections is that they accept maintaining your principles can cost you members, but accept that trade off.

Jason Cortez]Syndicalist

Here's the point on that question. It was our position that WSA never withdrew from the IWA, a point those of us who were around still agree today.

Well considering the context of the times with the expelled french CNT claiming to still be members of the IWA and the situation with USI Roma, FAU flauting the "no contact " rule and Garcia Rua's machinations etc I think it was completely naive and politically unrealistic to take this stance. Like I said if you had re-applyed at the next congress it would forced the issue.

I think there's a difference. In the case of France there were years of discussion --- not that I think we would've wanted that, but the point being there was discussion and a vote. So there is a real differnce here.

I guess the point I was trying to make, was up until the Manchester conference we had a particular viewpoint. Honest comrades can differ on that viewpoint, which we obviously do.But you can not have one set of rules and means for addresssing issues for one set of sections and another for another set. Anotherwords, cherry picking should not be the IWA way, nor was it up until that time.

USI-Roma walked out in solidarity with CNT-Vignoles.

I'm not clear about the FAU. But I would say that most in WSA think the "no contact" position
is not one we would subscribe to. That said, I personally think there's a difference between
exchange of publications, prsioner or strike solidarity campaigns and even cordial (yet principled) face-to-face discussions in such events as the International Solidarity Conferences and having an on-going and work relationship.

Syndicalist --- It was at the Manchester Congress in 2006 that the Congress agreed we were null and void in their book. At that point WSA moved on from the question.

and

On the Commission, fair enough. Sadly, it was too late by then. I think by the time 2006 rolled around, there wre few in WSA saw IWA affiliation as a priority.

Jason ---So which is it? I really think it is time to move on and hopefully through future joint work around international issues we may mend broken bridges. And the even now I hope that the IWA can learn from it past mistakes in handling such situations, but then maybe it is me being naive and politically unrealistic :D

Which is it or whoch was it? I guess all I can say on the Commission was it was too late. After 6 years I think most in the WSA moved on from a desire to pursue a formal relationship with the IWA. If it was six months, a year for the commission to be set up and go about its work, maybe, but six years.

Anyway, by the time the IWA sort of got it together on this, the value was totally diminished by the Duluth nutjobs becasue they refused to meet with members of the IWA. NY WSA members were willing to meet with the IWA, but that was not sufficient enough for the IWA to make the trip.

On the question of joint work, the WSA has continued to stand in solidarity with IWA Section's, etc. I think the record is pretty clear on this. We welcome working with comrades on a campaign by camaign basis and generally seek a decent with rapport with those who wish to have one with us.

AES

Maybe this is your experience with the IWW, its not nearly as typical of the CNT-AIT as far I am aware

It's not typical of the general membership branches of the IWW, but when a new workplace joins the IWW, most of the new members will not be die-hard anarchists (or revolutionary syndicalists, or whatever) - despite proclaiming their agreement with the IWW's preamble. This must be the case with any anarchosyndicalist union too. In fact judging by the information below it is even easier to join the CNT than the IWW, rightly so in my opinion, because that is how anarchosyndicalist unions are supposed to function, as directly democratic organs of all workers, not ideologically correct unions.

Requirements to join the CNT:

"Anyone can voluntarily belong to the anarcho-union, with the exception of police, soldiers and members of security forces. No ideological qualification is necessary to be in the CNT. This is because the CNT is anarcho-syndicalist, that is, it is an organization in which decisions are made in assembly, from the base. It is an autonomous, federalist structure independent of political parties, of government agencies, of professional bureaucracies, etc. The anarcho-union only requires a respect for its rules, and from this point of view people of different opinions, tendencies and ideologies can live together within it. Ecologists, pacifists, members of political parties .. can be part of the CNT. There will always be different opinions, priorities and points of view about concrete problems. What everyone has in common within the anarcho-union is its unique way of functioning, its anti-authoritarian structure."

http://www.anarchosyndicalism.net/archive/display/203/index.php

Requirements to join the IWW:

We want you! Join the IWW and create the One Big Union of all workers. However, to join the IWW you must first meet the following conditions:

* You must be a worker (not an employer);
* You agree with the Preamble to the IWW Constitution;
* You will study the IWW's principles and make yourself acquainted with its purposes.

http://www.iww.org/join/joinnow.shtml

syndicalist

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

BTW, see Post #66 for WSA background on the situation.

888, you don't seem to understand anarcho-syndicalism at all - we don't tell people that there's "no politics in the union" or depreciate the political capability of workers' organisations in the way neutral organisations do, in fact this leads directly to the mindset that the union is "defensive" and not capable of developing beyond "trade union consciousness" while the political organisation is only capable of taking the "offensive". Our duty is to advancing the working class

The way I see it is that a revolutionary union will have as its role to welcome workers as they are and encourage them to advance the politico-economic form of the union to reflect their ongoing experience of struggle and to identify priorities and defend, secure and extend on gains for the broader working class, with the intention to achieve our aims, which is libertarian communism.

Oh and the IWW dropped the "must be a worker (not an employer)" condition of membership to sign up self-employed and please explain how you dealt with signing no strike agreements or signing up members of parliament or the tension between the UK and USA IWWs, because none of these have been dealt at all as far I know at least.

AES

888, you don't seem to understand anarcho-syndicalism at all - we don't tell people that there's "no politics in the union" or depreciate the political capability of workers' organisations in the way neutral organisations do, in fact this leads directly to the mindset that the union is "defensive" and not capable of developing beyond "trade union consciousness" while the political organisation is only capable of taking the "offensive". Our duty is to advancing the working class

The way I see it is that a revolutionary union will have as its role to welcome workers as they are and encourage them to advance the politico-economic form of the union to reflect their ongoing experience of struggle and to identify priorities and defend, secure and extend on gains for the broader working class, with the intention to achieve our aims, which is libertarian communism.

Oh and the IWW dropped the "must be a worker (not an employer)" condition of membership to sign up self-employed and please explain how you dealt with signing no strike agreements or signing up members of parliament or the tension between the UK and USA IWWs, because none of these have been dealt at all as far I know at least.

I think this would make for a nice forum of its own some place else.

AES

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Actually not just yet - it be relevant to the WSA too, or am I entirely mistaken?

AES

Actually not just yet - it be relevant to the WSA too, or am I entirely mistaken?

You mean the internal poilcies of the CNT and the IWW? I mean we don't refer to them in our internal discussions. As I'm not in the IWW, I don't know what our dual members talk about. They don't talk internally about it and I'm not on IWW internal lists to know what they talk about there. What I do know from lists like libcom and ABC, they clearly against "no-strike" clauses. I've seen that articulated.

At this point, all that is required from our members are: 1) Agreement with "Where We Stand"; 2) Payment of dues; 3) Good internal decorum.

I would say that the point which 888 seems to be making is that there will be workers in both the CNT-AIT and the IWW who are not anarcho-syndicalist or revolutionary industrial unionists in ideology, perhaps in practice, but not in ideology. And there will be workers who join because a majority or those of their respected coworkers have joined and it would appear to be the proper thing to do. I mean, this is how I read what's being said.

So, let me flip it a bit. In an industrial network, how would the matter above be handled?

As the WSA was/is not a union or union formation I think there's a different view on the matter being raised. Like I said, people join the WSA on the basis of our "Where We Stand".

AES

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

To join a network you need to be a member of SF, see the Aims of the Solidarity Federation

The Aims of the Solidarity Federation

The Solidarity Federation is an organisation of workers which seeks to destroy capitalism and the state. Capitalism because it exploits, oppresses and kills working people and wrecks the environment for profit worldwide. The state because it can only maintain hierarchy and privilege for the classes who control it and their servants; it cannot be used to fight the oppression and exploitation that are the consequences of hierarchy and the source of privilege. In their place we want a society based on workers' self-management, solidarity, mutual aid and libertarian communism.

That society can only be achieved by working class organisations based on the same principles - revolutionary unions. These are not Trades Unions only concerned with “bread and butter” issues like pay and conditions. Revolutionary unions are means for working people to organise and fight all the issues - both in the workplace and outside - which arise from our oppression. We recognise that not all oppression is economic, but can be based on gender, race, sexuality, or anything our rulers find useful. Unless we organise in this way, politicians - some claiming to be revolutionary - will be able to exploit us for their own ends.

The Solidarity Federation consists of Locals which support the formation of future revolutionary unions and are centres for working class struggle on a local level. Our activities are based on Direct Action - action by workers ourselves, not through intermediaries like politicians and union officials; our decisions are made through participation of the membership. We welcome all working people who agree with our Aims and Principles, and who will spread propaganda for social revolution and revolutionary unions. We recognise that the class struggle is worldwide, and are affiliated to the International Workers' Association, whose Principles of Revolutionary Unionism we have adopted.

syndicalist

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

damn....i posted something before the site went down for maint. last night.

basically, i see from the Education Workers Network you basically have to belong the SF.

basic anarcho-syndicalism: Internationalism

Workers in the Education Workers Network are part of an organization, Solidarity Federation, that has international links. The Solidarity Federation is the British affiliate of the International Workers’ Association, established in 1922 in Berlin.

This International is based on principles of direct democracy (see EW3) and all decisions affecting the whole organization are taken by all members of the International. We believe in real international solidarity – not charity or nice words – when workers are in struggle by means of direct action – not waiting for politicians or leaders to take action but by taking action ourselves.

EWN, as part of this international anarcho-syndicalist movement, regularly supports other education workers in struggle but also supports other workers in struggle, both in the UK and abroad. We believe that it is only by illustrating how local struggles are part of a broader international dynamic that we can build an analysis and a strategy that will be able to defend workers and build a new type of society. The ultimate aim of our internationalism is the abolition of all borders and the states that uphold them.

888

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I also posted something but it was deleted (due to the server update). The IWW has multiple problems, but unlike AES I do not feel a duty to defend every position, right or wrong, of my organisation.

888, you don't seem to understand anarcho-syndicalism at all - we don't tell people that there's "no politics in the union" or depreciate the political capability of workers' organisations in the way neutral organisations do, in fact this leads directly to the mindset that the union is "defensive" and not capable of developing beyond "trade union consciousness" while the political organisation is only capable of taking the "offensive". Our duty is to advancing the working class

How does this have any bearing on my post? I never said anything about 'no politics in this union'. You are reading things into it in your typical paranoid style. Perhaps you think I am some kind of crypto-platformist since it seems that in your world everyone who asks questions is secretly trying to undermine the one true proletarian organisation - the IWA. In reality, I think that the platform is a moderately useful document, and the existence of a specific anarchist organisation would be useful in many instances, but I disagree with many currently existing platformist organisations' positions on trade unions and national liberation struggles, and am closer to anarcho-syndicalism.

The way I see it is that a revolutionary union will have as its role to welcome workers as they are and encourage them to advance the politico-economic form of the union to reflect their ongoing experience of struggle and to identify priorities and defend, secure and extend on gains for the broader working class, with the intention to achieve our aims, which is libertarian communism.

I agree, however this obviously means that not everyone in the union will be a die-hard anarchosyndicalist, as I said.

Oh and the IWW dropped the "must be a worker (not an employer)" condition of membership to sign up self-employed and please explain how you dealt with signing no strike agreements or signing up members of parliament or the tension between the UK and USA IWWs, because none of these have been dealt at all as far I know at least.

I am a member of the IWW not because it is the one true expression of proletarian will, but because it is more useful to be a member than not. So I have no particular need to defend its faults, but anyway: the IWW did not drop the requirement of being a worker - somehow some self-employed people got in (1 or 2?), although I am not terribly bothered by their presence. As for no strike agreements this was a severe mistake and the IWW's general strategy is not to sign such agreements, however branch autonomy allows the making of mistakes. The parliament thing is over, I can't be bothered to dig that all up again, and the tension between the UK and US is being resolved, I believe. This issue was caused by one individual with an obsession with filing frivolous charges and petty grievances constantly.

OliverTwister

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

888 the trans-atlantic tensions weren't just caused by that one individual. There were and are real political differences which some individuals exacerbated in some messed up ways. This is something that does need to be dealt with but not here.

AES

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

well said oliver

good dog!

OliverTwister

888 the trans-atlantic tensions weren't just caused by that one individual. There were and are real political differences which some individuals exacerbated in some messed up ways. This is something that does need to be dealt with but not here.

syndicalist

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Alright...if we're going to talk about internal IWW stuff, time to shove the IWW conversation elsewhere.

fnbrill

good dog!

OliverTwister

888 the trans-atlantic tensions weren't just caused by that one individual. There were and are real political differences which some individuals exacerbated in some messed up ways. This is something that does need to be dealt with but not here.

Yeah because recognition that more than one person is responsible for the IWW's problems is really sycophancy to the first person that was blamed.

Just curious since you never tell anyone, are you a member this month or not?

Nate

12 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I've barely skimmed this thread but I want to give it a bump with a few thoughts. I'm gonna read it over closely when I get time. Anyway here goes -

There is no significant self-conscious anarcho-syndicalist left in the US and not much of a plain old syndicalist left. About the first, there's the WSA and we're most of it and there are some important generational differences among members, and then there's ASR. About the second, there's the IWW and that's most of it and the IWW is not really self-consciously syndicalist (I think the IWW has a lot of great things about it but it does not have a vibrant intellectual culture or rich ideology, unfortunately, and falls down a lot on member education), and I suppose there are some moves through the CSAC milieu that are a small step in a better direction. None of this is where stuff appears to be in Europe. That sucks. I say this because I think it'd be valuable to try to figure out how to build syndicalist/anarchosyndicalist perspectives among the US left.

Another thought - this history of the WSA and IWA is interesting to me as a newer member. I joined like 2-3 years ago I think, way after all the stuff described here. I think it'd be incredibly helpful to have resources to educate WSA members and other anarchists about the IWA as it exists today, its principles and traditions, and about anarchosyndicalism. I for one don't feel up on any of this, beyond having read some SolFed/SolFed Brightong publications, this stuff just wasn't in the air when I was coming up and it's not much in the air on the US left still, as I said. Not knowing enough about any of it, its hard to have an opinion about WSA and IWA affiliation. I'm predisposed to be in favor of it, personally, but that's sort of a kneejerk position. It'd help me out a lot, and I suspect it would help some other WSA members think this through too, if folk would break down what affiliation would entail and what it would take - like what do you think would be the needed informal but real steps - for affiliation to make sense? As in, what would it take for affiliation to become a sensible question to pose to the WSA membership and to the IWA? One obvious thing would be educating WSA members about the IWA today and its traditions and vision/values, as I said that's something I don't know where to start at and is a daunting sounding project, but a worthwhile one I think.

I'm rambling now, sorry. Other two things - how did WSA end up becoming the IWA affiliate in the first place, and why, and what did that mean? That all gets covered really, really quickly in all the historical stuff posted here.

And, at some point Syndicalist said something about the IWW and possible IWA affiliation and how this was some issue with the WSA or something, I don't remember the details sorry. Can someone talk about this a bit, I don't know that history, I know it's not at all a serious proposal in the IWW today that the IWW be an IWA affiliate, I'm surprised to learn that it was ever seriously considered. (No hostility implied there, honestly I just didn't know this was anything but a wish by a tiny handful of older IWW members.)

Thanks y'all.

Juan Conatz

12 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

If I remember correctly, Nate, I believe there are a couple threads on here from a couple years ago on the topic off IWW-IWA.

Might be one of these.

http://libcom.org/forums/organise/iww-iwa-ex-iwa-anarcho-syndicalism-19062006

http://libcom.org/forums/libcommunity/iwwiwa-split-iww-membership-12052006

Nate

12 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

hey Dead End, Thanks. That first one is particularly helpful. i think syndicalist was talking about stuff more in the 80s or 90s though, which I didn' see in those threads (i may have missed it though, I'm a little tipsy). I wish I could find the thread I'm thinking of, I thought it was something about a question of the IWW possibly becoming an IWA affiliate when the WSA was also an affiliate (which would mean some kind of merger). I may hve totally misunderstood or misread, though. Do you know or does anyone else know about any talk in the 80s or 90s about the IWW joining the IWA? I ask because as I may have said I've haerd that some of the IWW older members wanted this but I always assumed it was sort of a fantasy on their part, if it was taken seriously at all that'd surprise me and I'd like to know more about it.

syndicalist

9 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

At some point I'll draft a few last comments on some of the stuff raised on this thread: http://libcom.org/forums/solidarity-federation/question-relation-between-solfed-cnt-practices-16012013?page=1#comment-506622 and draw some Libcom closure on this relationship and final events at the end of the 1990s.

syndicalist

8 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

There's some interesting stuff and some way out stuff. Just started to glance at it again in light of some of the other convos.

syndicalist

8 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

just started to skim after all these years in light of posts elsewhere. some really interesting things, some way out.

whatever happened to petey?

syndicalist

8 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Sorry. I'm on my cell. I was reading this again. Screwed up and hit send on something I made larger to read

syndicalist

3 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Rereading this for something I'm writing. Jeezuz.