Industrial Worker (December 1994)

Articles from the December 1994 issue of the Industrial Worker, the newspaper of the revolutionary union, the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW).

For paper subscription info, please visit the IW page at iww.org

IWW delegate attends European syndicalist conference

An article by Jeff Shintz aout a conference hosted by the Swedish syndicalist union, SAC, in 1994.

European syndicalists were to carry out a series of actions Nov.4 to protest attacks on the working class throughout Europe. A joint leaflet and poster on the theme *Solidarity Against Social Exclusion* were distributed across Europe, with space for local organizations to add local info.

The Nov.4 action was decided at a European syndicalist conference at Osstersund hosted by SAC (Swedish Workers Central-organization). Conferees agreed that our movement must define what we want and don't want, and represent our visions as an alternative to the compromises of the gutless mainstream unions.

The conference was held along with SAC's 25TH Congress. Independent unions participating were Russia's KAS (Anarcho-Syndicalist Fed.); Regional Trade Union Assoc. of Lithuania; Spain's CGT (Gen. Confed. of Workers); LAB-Basque; France's CGT-Corr; Portugal's A Bathalia; Norway's Lonnsslaven; Italy's UNI-COBAS; and SAT (esperantistas).

I was able to travel to Sweden to attend Anarkistisk Massa and the SAC Congress. The 3- day Anarchist Fair outside Gothenburg was a marvel of organization. A soccer field was turned into a small village through volunteer labor. A huge circus tent provided space for tables, including a bar and music stage. Smaller tents
housed debates, speeches, eating and meetings.

Numerous reports covered the broad range of political and cultural concerns. Discussions on workplace organizing, developing alternative economy and culture, anti-nuke work, feminism, anti-fascist organizing, along with lots of music were going on from 10 a.m. to midnight. My talk on the IWW drew about 60
people.

Participants addressed questions: how do we deal with the crisis presented by capitalists; how do we reach a range of people; what does outrage, vision and culture have to do with media. One participant, a leftist journalist, burned his leftist bridges by publishing an attack on anarchists in the national daily he works
for. Taking note of the controversies around feminism and separate space for women, this journalist sought to portray the diverse group of Swedish anarchists as anti-free thinking, anti-free speech and dogmatic.

Evert Ljusberg, an anarchist singer and story teller who is popular in Sweden, performed on the last day. Evert is Sweden's Utah Phillips, and the crowd loved him. Saturday night about 1 a.m., Stockholm's Mollys took the stage and cranked everyone up with their unique Icelandic-Irish-Swedish-Ska rock. This band named for the Molly Macquires is irresistably danceable.

An anarchist from Texas joined me for the pilgimage to the boyhood home of Joel Haaglund, better known as Joe Hill. The building is now maintained by SAC as a museum with Hill memorabilia. Most of the space is used as SAC offices while a garden provides open air meeting space.

The talk on the condition of unions in America was attended by students and workers. I demonstrated the foolish American rightwing metaphor, that individuals should "pull themselves up by their bootstraps." Doing that meant I had to fall on my ass, folks laughed and a reporter with camera requested an instant replay.

The SAC Congress was held in Osstersund, a town in the center of the country with 3 military bases, a university and a large lake with a legendary Loch Ness type monster. On Saturday we marched
to the town square; black and red flags and boisterous singing syndicalists took over the sunny summer streets.

I was honored to be the international guest invited by SAC to address the public meeting, which opened and closed with music by Billy Shamrock. Mattias Gardell of the SAC International Dept. spoke on the historic important role of international solidarity from IWW and other unions in launching the Swedish syndicalist
union.

Many delegates from several countries praised the Industrial Worker newspaper, saying they reprint articles from it. The_Wage Slave World News_ didn't always make sense to Swedes and Russians, but they praised the IWW for using humor.

We have sisters and brothers who appreciate the IWW, in Sweden and elsewhere. Folks who want to build a libertarian socialist world where working folks, not capitalists, are in charge. Small steps of informal solidarity help along the road to revolution in our life times.

Originally appeared in the Industrial Worker (December 1994)
Taken from spunk,org