Workers Solidarity Alliance and IWA

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petey
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Dec 18 2009 21:36

thanks robot, syndicalist, akai.

Quote:
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 smile

Quote:
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?

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Steven.
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Dec 18 2009 22:24

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...

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888
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Dec 18 2009 22:30
Quote:
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.

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AES
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Dec 19 2009 00:10

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
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Dec 19 2009 02:09

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.

Quote:
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.
Quote:
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. smile 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.

Quote:
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
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Dec 19 2009 02:15

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 thread

syndicalist wrote:
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.

Quote:
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.

Quote:
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.

Quote:
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 wrote:
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
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Dec 19 2009 02:15

DP

petey
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Dec 19 2009 02:41

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.

syndicalist
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Dec 19 2009 03:43

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

AES wrote:
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
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Dec 19 2009 03:59

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.

syndicalist
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Dec 19 2009 04:36

Jason

Quote:
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.

Quote:
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
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Dec 19 2009 07:05
petey wrote:
....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.

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Steven.
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Dec 19 2009 11:54

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.

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Joseph Kay
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Dec 19 2009 13:05
Steven. wrote:
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
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Dec 19 2009 13:59

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

akai
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Dec 19 2009 14:52

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
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Dec 19 2009 16:13

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
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Dec 20 2009 17:44
Quote:
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 wrote:
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
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Dec 20 2009 17:49

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
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Dec 20 2009 18:07
Syndicalist wrote:
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 wrote:
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

Quote:
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 grin

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Dec 20 2009 21:38
Joseph Kay wrote:
Steven. wrote:
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)

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Dec 20 2009 22:00

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

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Dec 20 2009 22:24

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.

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Dec 20 2009 23:30
Quote:
Jason Cortez]
Syndicalist wrote:
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.

Quote:
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

Quote:
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.

Quote:
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 grin

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.

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Dec 21 2009 01:07
AES wrote:
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:

Quote:
"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:

Quote:
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
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Dec 21 2009 01:30

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

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Dec 21 2009 01:56

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.

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Dec 21 2009 02:12
AES wrote:
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.

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Dec 21 2009 02:18

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

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Dec 21 2009 02:32
AES wrote:
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".