WSA, IWW and IWA affiliation

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syndicalist
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Aug 31 2012 15:16

Right quick on the LLR/ASR statements. They have generally been hyperbole. The statements, as we know them to be, were of a few folks who were mostly IWW members who were also members of the LLR/ASR. This was acserbated by one of their members initially using their GST stationary to attack the WSA. Then, they and a couple of members had the IWW agree to what was known as the "Kaufman Report". The Report was an attack on the WSA. It was later voted down by the
IWWs membership.

Throughout many of these years I was either the WSA's NS, IS or NC member. I was heavily involved in a) responding to all of the attacks and b) trying to ascertain if the attacks (in the name of the IWW) were actually widely held. To the best of our knowledge (based on significant correcposndence by me), it was clear that most Wobs were not supportive of the various attacks and accusations against WSA. In fact, every good faith effort was made by WSA to assure IWW members we were not anti-IWW. But the LLR/ASR efforts created much tensions, many divisions and was just a real waste of time (for all of us).

On some of the other questions....here's a partial and incomplete reply I started, This is incomplete, does not address all the matters and does not really set-up the time period very well.

I will contend that the LWG of the 1970s is not the same as the WSA of the 2000s. And the 2012 IWW clearly is not the same as it was in 1970s. And, it must be put in perspective that any criticisms which we raised of the IWW are based on our 1970s experiance.

Draft in progress...

In regard to the various questions pertaining to views and events of
more than 30 years ago, it will be some time before I sit down and
reflect on them. This will prolly take some time. I am not a good
writer. I do not think that trying to translate events and consitions
of those years might, at this point, be adequately be transfered in a
clear enough manner for a 2012 audience.

The matter of dual union cards (being a member of a trade union and
the IWW) seems to be a non-issue in 2012. It was a serious issue, a
cause for major conflict and stress in the mid-1970s and for a number
of years thereafter. To try and discuss whether the OBU model is
centralist and not federalist seems to be almost a silly discussion at
this point.

Do I think the IWW and the IWA would be a good fit, probably not.The
many conversations here on Libcom are prolly refective of different
perspectives and outlooks and is instructive enough.

Should north american anarcho-syndicalists should work inside the IWW,
yes, I have generally felt that way for long time. Should it be the
only place we work or foucs our time, no, and in that it would be
consistant with views held by us in the 1970s.

Being consistant with another long held view, "we" have long beleived
that the IWW is one component of the class struggle workers novement,
albiet perhaps a key one for a generation that is mainly unorganized.
Would a criticism "we" held back in
the 1970s that the IWW is the actual One Big Union of all the working
class, I would say still stands. I hope that the IWW will be the OBU
in its efforts in the food and retail sector. But it is doubtful it
would become the OBU of the class. But I tip my hat to all the
hardworking comrades who are trying to advance the IWW and those
trying to advance the revolutionary aspects of the IWW.

[EDIT --- Akai, some of the questions which are asked, require further review, by me,
of the writtten materials of the time. I have been going by memory here thus
far. So any additional replies must be based on my review of the hard
copy stuff]

syndicalist
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Aug 31 2012 15:02
no1 wrote:
I don't think that the two positions here ('conflict is due to personality' and 'conflict is political') are incompatible -- for the simple reason that in a democratic organisation controlled by its members, the big egos should find it impossible to get support for their feuds unless the conflict is based on a genuine political difference.

I hear you...but.... it didn't exactly turn out that way. Ultimately it prolly did, but for some period of time, the egos with an agenda were in control.

akai
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Aug 31 2012 17:43

Ok, thanks.

Basically I have a good enough idea of what was happening and thanks for your time commenting it.

syndicalist
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Aug 31 2012 18:46
akai wrote:
Ok, thanks.

Basically I have a good enough idea of what was happening and thanks for your time commenting it.

OK. So no further comments need, right? Mr. T

akai
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Aug 31 2012 19:03

If you want go ahead but I have no other questions. Will probably look through some things from that time out of curiosity as I am interested in understanding some things from the past, but mostly for my own private understanding / analysis.

syndicalist
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Aug 31 2012 19:07
akai wrote:
If you want go ahead but I have no other questions. Will probably look through some things from that time out of curiosity as I am interested in understanding some things from the past, but mostly for my own private understanding / analysis.

OK, I can answer any additional stuff privately....you know where to fine me. laugh out loud

If there are any others who have questions, please ask them. If not, I'll turn the page in this chapter of history.

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altemark
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Nov 4 2012 15:58
akai wrote:
(I will not reprint it in full, because the first part is terribly, terribly mistaken. It related to the situation in Russia at that time, when the KAS went under, its leaders taking over the former communist trade unions. It is completely uninformed what LLR writes. I know because I was there. Due to complete ignorance, the SAC popped up there as well, giving a large sum of money to the already dead organization, which was quickly stolen.)

Interesting! I'd be interested in knowing more about this (sad) episode - how come SAC could be so misinformed? Where did the money go?

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sabot
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Nov 4 2012 17:03

Also, Prairie Struggle?? I'm not familiar with them. When did they come about?

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klas batalo
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Nov 4 2012 17:09

Oh within the last year or so. They seem pretty active.

syndicalist
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Nov 4 2012 22:36
sabot wrote:
Also, Prairie Struggle?? I'm not familiar with them. When did they come about?

I can't speak to their activities, but here's their website: http://www.prairiestruggle.org/

I did correspond with PS about their sloppy and ill-informed use of the LLR article. they said they were sorry. BFD.

akai
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Nov 5 2012 13:54

dont know but it is clear that sac and other foreign organizations were and are misinformed about a lot if things in,eastern europe. also related to a lust for money on the one side and lust for foreign influence on the other.
in the aforementioned case the money was simply stolen. the thief lied about
what happened but I dobt think anybody was so stupud to believe it, but wIho knows. people amaze me sometimes

s.nappalos
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Mar 26 2014 23:55

No one has info on the votes in the 90s from IWW history?

Here's from syndicalist years back, sources? So IWW did vote to affiliate in 1990? What happened? IWA didn't reply, was that right?
"1990 saw the IWW pass another resolution (71 in favor, 44 against) to affiliate. This lingered and was revived in 1992."

My own read on what has happened in the IWW is that since 1908 anarchosyndicalist positions have been contested essentially continuously though in different forms (around policies from 1908-1916, around particular industrial unions 1916-1924, around things like IWA affiliation, contracts, and anti-communist affidavids 30s-50s, so on). The IWW occupied a particular space because it came out of movements for social democracy, but had strong anarchist currents via indigenous stuff in the US (like IWMA) and immigrant anarchists, all which came to prominence with the expulsion of SLP, purge from SP, and attacks from CP later. None of that was really resolved, and the organization has remained somewhat balanced if pragmatic between different countervailing tendencies. The uptick in concrete activity in workplaces in the 90s complicates the picture, and I think we're dealing with a different set of issues coming out of that.

Still, if we have a situation where membership voted at least twice to affiliate (and two IWW bodies maintained affiliation; Chilean IWW & MTWIU) and twice was defeated through administrative maneuvers, either by IWA or IWW, that's pretty nuts. Any original sources?

syndicalist
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Mar 27 2014 00:21

Just posted this on FB------------

Quote:
The 1990 IWW proposal to affiliate with the IWA was put on hold in 1993.In the fall 1993 IWW Referendum

Quote:
"The IWW declares that, at this time, it would be imprudent to seek offical or formal affiliation with the IWA. However, the IWW feels that this union can and should work with the IWA on matters concerning international solidarity" [The language placed before the IWW membership in referendum]. Hard copy emailed to SN.

s.nappalos
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Mar 27 2014 01:35

Here's the referendum that passed & then was put on hold in 1993. The relevant stuff is from GOBs that have individuals names and stuff that shouldn't be posted online. http://libcom.org/history/1989-iww-referendum-affiliate-iwa

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Lugius
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Mar 27 2014 04:14

So why wasn't this 1989 referendum acted upon?

I notice that there was an understanding that "IWW members in regions where there are existing IWA sections be permitted to maintain IWW membership"

Why would be so? It doesn't seem to make any sense.

Also "the IWW wiil advocate extending IWA/AIT membership to include all revolutionary unions independent of government or party control"

Who did they have in mind?

akai
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Mar 27 2014 20:09

I have written this elsewhere, but the IWW did not officially apply to be an IWA Section, nor did it ever negotiate its conditions. It contacted the IWA at some point. There was a negative reaction from WSA as well. IWW was told WSA was the American section of the IWA and probably to talk to them. (If I remember correctly.) Since there seems to be some interest and I have read the original correspondence and know where it is, I will scan it for historical purposes and people can read it themselves. But it's not in my city, so in a few months at earliest.

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klas batalo
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May 13 2016 21:06

yeah as syndicalist said the IWW in 93 basically unvoted the 1990 IWW GA decision:

On 90s IWW and IWA affiliation:

The 1990 GA voted to affiliate to the IWA. This got passed on to the International Committee. But that committee was eventually subsumed into the GEB. The GEB members and GHQ officer workers at the time were generally against affiliation and spoke out against it in the GOB. Eventually in 1992 the GA put to referendum the creation of a four year International Commission to take the load off the GEB to explore affiliation and other international matters, since the reasoning for the International Committee being subsumed into the GEB, was it was a one man show basically, and the GEB was strapped for capacity. This referendum failed. In 1993 members of the GEB and two dual IWW/WSA members and a few others circled a petition for referendum at the GA that the IWW cease to explore affiliation with the IWA, but continue relations with the IWA and WSA. This passed. 1994-96 there are mumblings and arguing about such issues in member correspondence in the GOB but it eventually dies out (short of Ottowa GMB wanting to explore IWA affiliation again at one point, and a bunch of people repeating the same arguments about IWA being too anarchist, even though its just a revolutionary unionist international.)

syndicalist
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May 13 2016 21:45

Weird to see this one again. The two "dual" members referred to above acted alone and did not act in concert with the Wsa on this. In fact, this was their MO with all things they did in the Wsa's name. So, for the record, whatever they did was on their own

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klas batalo
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May 13 2016 22:10
syndicalist wrote:
Weird to see this one again. The two "dual" members referred to above acted alone and did not act in concert with the Wsa on this. In fact, this was their MO with all things they did in the Wsa's name. So, for the record, whatever they did was on their own

Reading these GOBs I concur with syndicalist they were acting on their own for what they thought would be good for the IWW, not as some WSA conspiracy as LLR/ASR types would later lambast them for.

syndicalist
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May 13 2016 22:28

During all the years, not one moment was spent on what dual members should be doing in the IWW be it on IWA or internal IWW stuff. There was an unwritten rule that it was verboten
Mainly cause the history has been IWW was not interested in IWA membership. And not wanting to be accused of meddling in the internal affairs of the IWW. The Wsa founding members were very keen to maintain organizational seperation and internal neutrality, though solidarity was gladly given. A number of us, with IWW histories, were keenly away of how certain things would be perceived and we wanted to avoid negativity at all costs.

akai
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May 14 2016 06:31

Hear you. None of this surprises me. Sometimes moves to get close to this or that or to affiliate here or there are mostly the work of just a few people. This has happened a number of times as l see. l am not only talking about the lWW situation. Recent events in the lWA also show this was happening. And outside of the lWW and lWA l know a few cases.

Basically, these things should be discussed more in the general membership, although sometimes some people, including delegated people, are not so transparent in what they are doing or have such a broad mandate that they just pursue what they see fit. lt may be surprising to know that some organization that claims to be in our spectrum actually gave all the powers to join international federations to just the chairperson, but now this goes to the National Commission, so you need 3 people to decide. (Again l am not talking about lWW or lWA. Just saying how these issues can be pushed by a small group of people.)

l also don't find it surprising that there was some grumbling about how the lWA is too anarchist in the lWW. There was a long history of this and we see how long ago Mr. Thompson wound people up against it by claiming that you could not be religious or something like that. Actually, what he said was not true, just that the lWA statutes criticized the role of the church in one place. But it is clear that two things must have been in play: first, as a socialist and with many socialists, they did not want to be "too anarchist" and second, they see themselves as an international.

The second fact, that it is international, not national, would present a problem for lWA affiliation as it is against the statutes of the lWA. (Although personally l think the part it contradicts is outdated and probably should be trashed.) But the first is probably more problematic. This is about an identity issue.

lnterestingly, at least over here where there is more than one organization claiming to be in this realm, we can see that the ones who have the most objection to "anarchism" etc. are leftists organized in other tendencies. (They aren't in our org.) They sometimes publish even publically articles against anarchosyndicalism, etc. and generally are not to interested in these tendencies on the international level. (But contacts are made by the elected officials who say they are anarchists.)

Maybe off-topic, but l suppose any organization that has any critical mass from leftist tendencies are not going to be too interested in anything to politically alligned to anarchosyndicalism. This also is a growing tendency in some sector of the lWA (ex-lWA? TBA)

julio27
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May 14 2016 18:34

If it is of any use or interest to contribute with an insider-view of IWA of that period…

When we were approached by the IWW with a project of joining AIT at that time, we just couldn’t believe it! Our informations and analysis told us that the official letter from the wobbly-bureau wasn’t an accurate reflection of the wobbly-rank&file. We were considering it at least pre-mature.

But for sure, from the very beginning, we have been protective of our comrades from WSA, I mean, really defensive. And I remember our first reaction was to consult… New York!

(Historical eye witnesses, conspiracies dismantled, libcom is getting better and better every day!)

syndicalist
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May 14 2016 19:43
julio27 wrote:
If it is of any use or interest to contribute with an insider-view of IWA of that period…

When we were approached by the IWW with a project of joining AIT at that time, we just couldn’t believe it! Our informations and analysis told us that the official letter from the wobbly-bureau wasn’t an accurate reflection of the wobbly-rank&file. We were considering it at least pre-mature.

But for sure, from the very beginning, we have been protective of our comrades from WSA, I mean, really defensive. And I remember our first reaction was to consult… New York!

(Historical eye witnesses, conspiracies dismantled, libcom is getting better and better every day!)

Having been in the thick of this at the time, as a national officer, I'm not really sure of what to
make of what you're trying to say? At the time the WSA was the IWA US affiliate, so, of course, we were asked questions about things relative to the US. As was the cases with all sections being asked about things relative to their respective lands.

EDIT: Julio27 --- Let me suggest you read the whole thread with all of the replies. That might make what we were talking about off list somewhat clearer.

julio27
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May 14 2016 19:49

"At the time the Wsa was the IWA US affiliate, so, of course, we were asked questions about things relative to the US. As was the cases with all sections being asked about things relative to their respective lands."

That is exactly what I "am trying to" say. Not only were you asked questions about things relative to US, but you were the first to be asked questions about things relative to US, because you were the IWA section and following the statutes (of that time), we had to ask you first.

Nowadays the question wouldn't be put. (please have mercy and don't try me on this one)

EDIT: please pm me BEFORE you're answering on the thread, that will spare us some time and energy.

syndicalist
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May 14 2016 19:55
julio27 wrote:
Nowadays the question wouldn't be put. (please have mercy and don't try me on this one)

Huh? Basically the Statutes are the same as they been since the 1970s. Well, whatever. Whenever WSA was asked about the IWW as the IWW I think we were honest, truthful, careful in how to frame some of the anti-WSA views of some in the IWW (see above comments) and we always tried to advance cooperation where it could be advanced.

julio27
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May 14 2016 21:20

“Nowadays the question wouldn’t be put”

OK, maybe you like this…

And maybe I shouldn’t try complex phrases in a language where I’m “not at home”.

But “nowadays” if “the question would be put” by IWW to affiliate IWA, my guess is the IWA secretariat wouldn’t consult WSA in the first place. It really is banal because WSA is no section of IWA nowadays, if I’m correct. That’s what I was trying to say, basically, with my stupid “nowadays the question wouldn’t be put”. (and deeply regret if it means something else I didn't intend to say)

As for the time “once upon a time” I was talking about, I now openly declare and clarify:
The WSA never was formed as a counter to the IWW by some ex-IWW members and the WSA was non hostile to IWW in those times I was talking about and I can testify about.

akai
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May 14 2016 21:23

Maybe l will try to infer what is meant, but please don't kill me if l am wrong because this is just an educated guess and don't start screaming "lies" and so forth if l got it right.

As far as l understand the issue, the interpretation of FAU members was that there could be 2 sections per country, up until 1996. So somewhere, when l was cataloguing the lWA archives l came across a letter to the lWW about this issue and the then FAU Secretariat told them that it is possible to have two Sections, but WSA would need to be consulted about it.

l believe that is what he is referring to.

Of course, that understanding is questionable because, as far as l know, the one section rule was agreed but not but in the statutes before hand. Also being in the lWA, we found that a number of things were agreed but not put in the statutes for various reasons, just like some things were left in after they should have been taken out.

As a historical note, l do know that this push to finally recognize this rule in the statutes was important after the CNT split but also was made more urgent by splits in France and ltaly. But as a curiosity, there was a discussion about whether a second section in one country could join in 1978 and it was not accepted. After 1996, the question was brought again to the 2006 Congress, but it did not pass. And finally, in 2014 the CNT proposed that there could be two sections in another country, (l mean not their own), but it also did not pass.

That all said, my personal opinion on the topic is somewhat different from the lWA regulation, but l certainly agree that our Sections need to be the first ones to decide about the lWA in their locations.

syndicalist
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May 14 2016 22:37

OK, just to beat a dead horse some more. I am lost here on the one section one country thing then as both the current Statutes and the ones we adhered to in 1979 seem to be pretty clear on the matter..

The current IWA Statutes say:

Quote:
In every case only one section will exist in each country.

The Statutes that we adhered to and which were in place when we departed the IWA reas:

Quote:
Membership of a second national central organization in the same country can only be accepted by an International Congress on the basis of a report submitted by a Committee appointed by the IWA Secretariat. This Committee will be composed of two members of each of the organizations concerned; i.e., the national organization already affiliated, the other national organization wishing to affiliate and the IWA Secretariat.

[ "V. Conditions of Affiliation",
http://dwardmac.pitzer.edu/dward/anarchy/rebelworker/spunk041.html ]

I gather that was to deal with splits or unusual matters. Not sure where there are any ambiguities.

julio27
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May 14 2016 22:50

OK i'll contribute my version

Condiciones de adhesión

„A la A.I.T: pueden afiliarse
a) organizaciones sindicalistas revolucionarias nacionales que no pertenezcan a ninguna otra Internacional.
La adhesión de una segunda organización central nacional del mismo país sólo puede admitirse por un Congreso Internacional tras informe de una Comisión nombrada por el Secretariado de la A.I.T. y compuesta de dos miembros de cada una de ambas organizaciones interesadas, es decir, de la organización nacional que desea adherirse, y por el Secretariado de la A.I.T.
b) minorías de sindicalistas revolucionarios organizadas en seno de organizaciones nacionales adheridas a otras Internacionales sindicales, en cada caso solamente si es aceptado por la Organización nacional adherida a la A.I.T. dentro del país, en caso de que la misma exista.
c) organizaciones sindicales, profesionales o industriales independientes o afiliadas a Organizaciones nacionales no pertenecientes a la A.I.T., que acepten la Declaración de Principios y Finalidades de la A.I.T, con el consentimiento previo, sin embargo, de la Organización nacional ya adherida en el país si tal existe."
(Antiguos estatutos hasta la plenaria de Reggio Emilia)

The actual ones :

„Las siguientes pueden afiliarse a la A.I.T:
a) organizaciones Sindicalistas Revolucionarias Nacionales que no pertenezcan a ninguna otra Internacional. En todo caso, solamente existirá una Sección en cada país. Las Secciones afiliadas tendrán que ratificar los Principios, Tácticas y Finalidades de la A.I.T. y mandar una copia de sus Estatutos y Principios al Secretariado. El Secretariado Internacional de la A.I.T. informará a las Secciones del origen del contacto o contactos que hayan solicitado la afiliación.
b) minorías de sindicalistas revolucionarios organizadas en seno de otras organizaciones afiliadas a otras Internacionales sindicales.
c) organizaciones sindicales, profesionales o industriales independientes o afiliadas a Organizaciones nacionales no pertenecientes a la A.I.T., que acepten la Declaración de Principios y Finalidades de la A.I.T, con el consentimiento previo, sin embargo, de la Organización nacional ya adherida en el país si tal existe."

julio27
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May 15 2016 06:34

Essentially, a) allowing several member organizations in one country if an existing one agrees to it, and b) allowing only one section per country is not the same thing and it is not the same spirit.

(And I do not believe that our grandfathers and grandmothers were anticipating splits, when they wrote the original statutes in 1922. Now what they had in mind is another interesting question. Not the issue and place, here.)

So the reaction in AIT and the answer to the IWW letter by the IWA secretariat has to be seen in the context of this statuary fact of that time.

I’ll leave it here, there has been no intention of harming or discrediting any of the mentioned groups, WSA, IWW or AIT in the past and in the present.