Workers Solidarity Alliance and IWA

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AES's picture
AES
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Dec 21 2009 02:44

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

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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
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Dec 22 2009 23:39

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.

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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.

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888
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Dec 22 2009 00:36

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Dec 22 2009 23:22

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's picture
AES
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Dec 24 2009 00:28

well said oliver

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fnbrill
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Dec 24 2009 04:55

good dog!

OliverTwister wrote:
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
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Dec 24 2009 06:57

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

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OliverTwister
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Dec 24 2009 08:39
fnbrill wrote:
good dog!
OliverTwister wrote:
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?

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Jun 6 2010 22:59

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.

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Jun 7 2010 01:09

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

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Jun 7 2010 06:58

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
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Jan 22 2013 00:02

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... and draw some Libcom closure on this relationship and final events at the end of the 1990s.

syndicalist
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Mar 20 2014 01:39

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
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Mar 20 2014 01:42

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
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Apr 11 2014 03:13

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

syndicalist
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Jul 28 2019 18:36

Rereading this for something I'm writing. Jeezuz.