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Are you...

Outside & Against
21% (8 votes)
Outside & For
10% (4 votes)
Inside & Against
41% (16 votes)
Inside & For
28% (11 votes)
Total votes: 39

Posted By

meanoldman
Sep 15 2005 15:33

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Lazlo_Woodbine
Sep 18 2005 15:48

I'd go along with that, too.

(and am also a IWW member 8) )

Deezer
Sep 18 2005 15:59
McCormick wrote:
Inside and against, although that needs some clarification.

I'm against the idea that we can transform the existing unions into revolutionary working class organisations, but the reality is that if you are involved in workplace activity you are going to be involved at some level with the trade unions. So how do we relate to them?

I think we do what we can at the most rank and file level (which means as members and in some circumstances, stewards/H &S reps.) whilst encouraging our fellow workers (yes, I'm an IWW member!) to organise themselves and to take control of their own activity, which will mean inevitable conflict with the union bureaucrats and official structures.

The IWW in Britain seems to me to be an attempt by people to create networks of militants who see this dual approach as useful. I'd agree with the reviewer of Wobblies! that (anti-state) communists and anarchists should join the IWW, if it makes sense in their circumstances.

red n black star

As far as I'm aware members of SolFed have much the same approach so your last paragraph may as well say we should all join SolFed.

Its also the approach members of Organise! take.

circle A red n black star

Lazlo_Woodbine
Sep 18 2005 16:12
Boulcolonialboy wrote:
As far as I'm aware members of SolFed have much the same approach so your last paragraph may as well say we should all join SolFed.

But solfed don't have those really cool red membership cards with stamps and everything 8)

big al
Sep 19 2005 09:47

Inside and for, IWW member

Steve
Sep 19 2005 10:33
Boulcolonialboy wrote:
McCormick wrote:
Inside and against, although that needs some clarification.

I'm against the idea that we can transform the existing unions into revolutionary working class organisations, but the reality is that if you are involved in workplace activity you are going to be involved at some level with the trade unions. So how do we relate to them?

I think we do what we can at the most rank and file level (which means as members and in some circumstances, stewards/H &S reps.) whilst encouraging our fellow workers (yes, I'm an IWW member!) to organise themselves and to take control of their own activity, which will mean inevitable conflict with the union bureaucrats and official structures.

The IWW in Britain seems to me to be an attempt by people to create networks of militants who see this dual approach as useful. I'd agree with the reviewer of Wobblies! that (anti-state) communists and anarchists should join the IWW, if it makes sense in their circumstances.

red n black star

As far as I'm aware members of SolFed have much the same approach so your last paragraph may as well say we should all join SolFed.

Its also the approach members of Organise! take.

circle A red n black star

The differences are that SolFed don't claim to be a union and that the unions we want to see are ones with libertarian communism as their stated aim and a structure that reflects that aim.

JDMF
Sep 19 2005 10:36

pretty meaningless differences if you ask me mate. IWW aims to destroy wage slavery and capitalism and replace it with direct workers control.

So especially if IWW were to become a proper union in a way that it could function as a union in disputes etc, i think that would be the ideal way to organise in a workplace without a union.

But in case where there is a union, or not very good chances to set one up, i think this "network" idea is pretty same in IWW and solfed.

But i don't really see any conflict between the two groups and would gladly be a member of both.

Steve
Sep 19 2005 10:48
JDMF wrote:
So especially if IWW were to become a proper union in a way that it could function as a union in disputes etc, i think that would be the ideal way to organise in a workplace without a union.

But the IWW claim they are a union. confused

JDMF wrote:
But i don't really see any conflict between the two groups and would gladly be a member of both.

Not so much a conflict just different ways of organising decentralised/centralised, federated/one big union. I really don't get his being a member of two organisations that are close in ideas but have crucial differences. For example anarcho-syndicalists don't seperate the political and economic, we see one organisation for both. Also there is an emphasis on community as well as workplace organising. You might as well pick the one you are happier with and get involved. If there is a IWW branch or SolFed Local where you are then join one of them. Then again you could just go of who has the nicest membership card. wink

Lazlo_Woodbine
Sep 19 2005 11:16

In practise, IWW and SolFed members seem to engage in very similar activity. The main difference I can see is that the SF has locally produced propaganda, which is better than Industrial Worker, and apropriate to UK context, but IWW people, e.g. in Edinburgh seem to do plenty of useful stuff.

wld_rvn
Sep 20 2005 18:28

Definately outside and against, but you knew that. If you want to know why, our pamphlet 'Unions Against the Working Class' is online here:

http://en.internationalism.org/pamphlets/unions.htm

World Revolution.

kalabine
Sep 20 2005 20:47
wld_rvn wrote:
If you want to know why

no thanks if i want political lunacy i'll read steve wallis cheers at least he's amusing and has good taste in women

IrrationallyAngry
Sep 20 2005 20:51
kalabine wrote:
has good taste in women

?

Steven.
Sep 20 2005 20:54
IrrationallyAngry wrote:
kalabine wrote:
has good taste in women

?

BB
Sep 21 2005 11:47
Lazlo_Woodbine wrote:
In practise, IWW and SolFed members seem to engage in very similar activity. The main difference I can see is that the SF has locally produced propaganda, which is better than Industrial Worker, and apropriate to UK context, but IWW people, e.g. in Edinburgh seem to do plenty of useful stuff.

Ed iww gmb produce there local rag burning issue, which covers local and national news, an is pretty good and free/donation. If irregular, probably due to the fact that no-one gets their asses in gear, apart from a few.

IW's got some interesting stuff in there occasionaly.

Also a lot of the locals in the states produce their own local rag.

A new issue of bread an roses should (hopefully) be out soon.

p.s. where did all the wobs come from...

Vaneigemappreci...
Sep 21 2005 17:52

Reading Staurt Christie's "we, the anarchsist" at the moment and it raises a few good conundrums regarding what christie see's as the problem of the institutionalisation of resistance to capitalism.

To quote:

"the danger, forseen by anarchists, was that the 'conscious men' would be tempted to accept positionsof responsibility within the union. Once an anarchist accepted permanent office in a union or any similar legalitarian body, he or she would be under obligation to defend the corporate economic interests of their membership....Faced with a choice between overthrowing or negotiating with capitalism, thereby perpetuating that satus quo, the 'conscious men' would be obliged either to follow their conscience and resign, or abandon anarchism to become accesories of capitalism and the state"

Now, i think what christie may be getting at here is the idea that anarchism and an acceptance of a position of authority within a union are completely incompatible, since such a move suggests the repudiation of the revolutionary self management of the rank and file workers.

A lot of people on here have mentioned taking certain positions as reps in unions and then finding that the membership expect them to do things for them without themselves getting involved in disputes, now this is the oposite of abusing power and going against what the members want but it still seems to induce passivity and complacency amongst certain elements of the rank and file.

There is also the problem of fighting for short term economic gains while not forgetting or sidelining the aim of workers revolution. Christie writes

"any improvemnt won by the union would be illusory and short lived so long as capitalism and the state remained"

I think this is an important point to put across to fellow workers, that every partial gain will always be subject to attack by government and the bosses unless it leads to the overthrow of capitalism. We could spend entire lifetimes defending partial gains only to end up in the same place that we started at, unless our acts bring to fruition the ultimate goal of the overthorw of capitalism and its replacement with workers control and direct democracy.

As for which union to be part of, i think any union which is organised on the basis of direct democracy of its members, doesnt compromise with bosses, has revocable delegates as opposed to reps and doesnt have as its goal its own self preservation as an institution is on the right tracks.

Whether this is the IWW or Solfed i dont really know, are there many solfed members here? Might join up when i get back to blighty, though the members fee's are a slight stumbling block at the mo!

JDMF
Sep 21 2005 18:29
Vaneigemappreciationclub wrote:
are there many solfed members here? Might join up when i get back to blighty, though the members fee's are a slight stumbling block at the mo!

how much is it there mate?

I think you should just say "i'll pay you the minimum price, £20, take it or leave it" grin

Vaneigemappreci...
Sep 21 2005 18:46
Quote:
Locals - £1 per month per member; for those working the recommended rates are £5-10 per month, depending on what you can afford. All members must also pay £8 annually for IWA affiliation.

when i return home, this will be too much cry

i suppose i could get a job though

Steve
Sep 21 2005 19:05
Vaneigemappreciationclub wrote:
Whether this is the IWW or Solfed i dont really know, are there many solfed members here? Might join up when i get back to blighty, though the members fee's are a slight stumbling block at the mo!

£2 a month (50p per week) a stumbling block? confused

JDMF
Sep 22 2005 07:29

You could just pay a fiver for the first three months or something as well i guess, rather than paying the £20 for the year.

Is there a solfed local in your area anyway?

http://libcom.org/hosted/sf/directory.htm

Vaneigemappreci...
Sep 22 2005 13:50

i think that if i join up we could have one on my doorstep in brum tongue

JDMF
Sep 22 2005 14:02

well, i think you would need 3 comrades to set up a local - then you could keep the £12 to your own activities smile

Spartacus
Sep 22 2005 23:43

wetheyouth is already a member, and i'm also thinking for joining, with van = 3. although as i'm only planning on being in the country for about a year i'm not sure if there's that much point me joining...

JDMF
Sep 23 2005 07:28

year is plenty mate - i hope i'll be out of the country in about a year as well.

Thing is, you will start the local and it will quickly grow into workers mass movement of hundreds of members anyway, right? So it doesn't matter if you are going to leg it wink

the button
Sep 23 2005 08:52

..... plus if you're leaving the country to go live in one that also has a section of the IWA, you would transfer your membership to that section. In South London, we have a couple of Aussies and a couple of Spaniards who did just that.

Vaneigemappreci...
Sep 23 2005 10:48
Quote:
although as i'm only planning on being in the country for about a year i'm not sure if there's that much point me joining...

you just cant sit still for a moment can you! Where you off to next?

baboon
Oct 10 2005 14:14

Outside and against.

The idea is that the unions are where the workers are. This is the "reality" we are told. This is as though nothing will ever change - we have to live within the "reality". The unions are totally integrated into the state and have been since their support of the first world war, thus crossing a class line.

I was a militant shop steward in the 70s and 80s. Many strikes, demonstrations, anti-"bureaucrats" movements and so on. The unions tops loved it - this was their life blood. This is what gives the whole sham credibility. But outside of strikes, etc., it was becoming clear to me (and others) that being a shop steward ultimately meant enforcing union policy - a cop on the shop floor. And all the more effective because you're a "militant".

Look at all the strikes for recognition in the 70s/80s. Up and down the industrial spine of Britain. All of them long drawn our useless defeats with the workers involved - with union "solidarity" - hammered into the ground over long and painful periods of time. Militant, combative workers completely hammered by trade union ideology and totally disillusioned at the end. When they fell out of the leftists favour, sure enough, another recognitions strike would come along. How many times do you need your head kicked in?

The trade unions, since the beginnig of last century, are anti-working class. There is no way to reform them. Look at the Heathrow caterer's strike. They've been done by the unions. Only a new high level of spontaneous, ie, anti-union struggle could take this forward. Outside and against. don't be frightened to call a spade a spade.

McCormick
Oct 10 2005 23:39

Ultimately, workers will have to organise their own struggles independently not only of the bureaucracies of the unions, but increasingly the entire union structure. But this break will be the product of struggle and clarification, not because revolutionaries hand out a few leaflets etc.

The question of how much we involve ourselves in the unions is an important one. Baboon is right that the activities of militant shop stewards can actually bolster the union leaders, etc. But stewards aren't neccesarily cops on the shop floor. I don't police other union members and I do my best to bolster their scepticism about the union. But yes, it's problemmatic.

The difference, I think, between an anarchist approach to activity in unions, is in the fact that we (should) encourage fellow workers to go beyond the unions, whereas the left see no need for this. Even when they appear to tactically support a break with trade union practice, ultimately it is to support their own vision of a more leftist union. Anarchists, I think, should see the union as a common point of departure. For leftists, it's where they think workers should stay.

I feel that, given the low level of 'autonomous' activity amongst workers in the workplace in Britain, historically, its emergence will be pretty laboured and rank and file movements which are still nominally) within the unions may play some role in this.

The Libcom poll put a majority of folks inside and against the unions, which I think is encouraging. Though it may not, i suspect, be good enough for Baboon?

wink red n black star

alibadani
Oct 11 2005 06:17

Mccormick,

If yours is the anarchist position, then this left commie agrees with anarchism on one point. I would like to hear the what the other marxists on the forum have to say about the apparent hatred of the rightists for unions. The Times of India just called for the destruction of unions (and the banning of strikes). Why destroy something as useful to the ruling class as the unions?

This site has proven itself useful for me. At the very least, I've learned a few British words such as bollocks (I think that's how it's spelled). I'm not sure what it means exactly, but given the context in which the term has been used, I can guess grin

Steven.
Oct 11 2005 08:46
alibadani wrote:
This site has proven itself useful for me. At the very least, I've learned a few British words such as bollocks (I think that's how it's spelled). I'm not sure what it means exactly, but given the context in which the term has been used, I can guess grin

Whereabouts are you from?

I met punks in the US who thought "bollocks" was a meaningless word invented by the Sex pistols.

It means, literally "testicles". "That's bollocks", means "bullshit". "Bollocks!" means like "Oh fuck!" (exclamation). "The bollocks", means "excellent"; e.g. "unions are the bollocks" etc. wink

JDMF
Oct 11 2005 08:48

...and "The Dogs Bollocks" means that it is uber-exellent 8)

ie. "This anarchism man, it is the dogs bollocks!"

Lazlo_Woodbine
Oct 11 2005 14:53
alibadani wrote:
The Times of India just called for the destruction of unions (and the banning of strikes). Why destroy something as useful to the ruling class as the unions?

There are different strategies for managing workers. Some involve a merger of unions with the state (corporatism), some involve semi-autonomous unions managing workers' struggle, and some involve the outright smashing of all workers' organisations.

I'd say that any period where the ruling class wants to smash unions indicates that the level of struggle must be fairly high, and so the rulers are going for a zero-sum game where they try to dominate through brute force. Hence, the call to destroy unions, to me, indicates that the Times of India is representing a ruling class in a fairly weak position.

Maybe something to do with the rapid industrial and social changes happening in India right now?