Post-Trump North American left trends

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OliverTwister's picture
OliverTwister
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Aug 31 2018 22:50
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"We decided to try and recruit every person who was mad about Trump and just open the flood gates. Now all of the problems of the activist scene are the problems of the iww. Where we were once an island of a bit of sanity we have now been overrun with people, lots of whom are actually opposed to workplace organizing."

Where exactly are all these phantom people who have overrun the IWW who are "actually opposed to workplace organizing"? I've met a lot of newer members, and they're all super involved with organizing or supporting organizing at work.

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EdmontonWobbly
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Sep 1 2018 15:37

So on stuff that isn't workplace organising I think there should be radical organisations that do that stuff and in a lot of cases there are groups already that do good work. Black Rose is a good example, Parkdale Organise in Toronto etc. You don't need to have everyone in one organisation doing one thing.

As for DSA I think having something that does electoralism and a bunch of non electoral stuff will see the non electoral stuff crowded out. The NDP here claims to be a social movement organisation, except they order the cops to beat social movements when they get too strong.

As for IWW members who are hostile to workplace organising I was actually basing that comment entirely on screencaps from the internal WRUM discussions. Maybe they weren't representative of the whole but in the discussion I saw they also went unchallenged.

The thing is though over the last year a lot of those people have quit and moved on to the next issue. Because that was what was always going to happen. In ten years we will probably organising their craft brewery.

The reason we didn't explode in growth was because it wasn't our time to do it. We aren't ready yet, we're a mess and it's largely because of these get rich quick schemes and shortcuts. To say we didn't grow because we didn't adopt OT's poorly thought out plan of bandwagon jumping is basically the same as a faith healer saying we didn't get well because we lacked faith.

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OliverTwister
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Sep 2 2018 11:52
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we have now been overrun with people, lots of whom are actually opposed to workplace organizing.
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As for IWW members who are hostile to workplace organising I was actually basing that comment entirely on screencaps from the internal WRUM discussions.

So being "overrun with people ... who are actually opposed to workplace organizing" actually means that you saw comments from one person (who has since been expelled from the caucus) that you interpret to be hostile to workplace organizing?

This is a great example of the kind of gaslighting and trolling that you and your allies have been subjecting the union to internally. Thanks for taking ownership of it publicly.

ETA: If anyone wonders if WRUM is "actually opposed to workplace organizing", instead of EdmontonWobbly's interpretation of one person's comments in some screenshots, they can check out our program, which was drafted and voted on by the entire caucus. The first point states clearly:

Quote:
Revolutionary Organizing in the Workplace and Across Industry

We aim to further develop our capacity to support organizing that combines the revolutionary aspirations of the class with immediate fights in the workplace. This includes struggles against racism, sexism, and all of the oppressions which define the specificities of working class experience. Our overall strategy will be built from the flexible and experimental experiences of our organizers, with the encouragement of wide-ranging debate and discussion across the union.

R Totale's picture
R Totale
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Sep 8 2018 14:06

This three-part series looks to be really interesting: https://itsgoingdown.org/elections-power-the-dsa-1-the-failure-of-the-left-in-power/

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Entdinglichung
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Sep 26 2018 09:03

and now for something completely different: https://themilitant.com/2018/09/22/are-frenzied-liberals-afflicted-with-trump-derangement-syndrome/

Quote:
Moves by the White House — from Korea to Afghanistan and the Middle East — are aimed at advancing the interests of the ruling rich. But they have unintended results that are good for working people, opening space for political discussion, debate and action by workers to defend their rights and class interests.
R Totale's picture
R Totale
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Dec 26 2018 16:50

This looks like a fairly decent take on "the antifa debate": https://communemag.com/anti-anti-antifa/

Spikymike
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Dec 28 2018 16:07

Edited...Will give it another read later but.... the communemag's view appears to be against the communist position in the previous era and not just now, which makes me skeptical in regard to their understanding of what Fascism amounts to historically and it's claimed rebirth today. Some decent anti-capitalist ideas in the heads of some small antifa groups does not necessarily make them at a practical level any more effective as an opposition to capitalism rather than just some aspects of street level reaction, but then it is maybe a step forward if they recognise ''the limits of antifa identity'' and then move on to reject that identity all together?

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klas batalo
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Jan 4 2019 18:19

i'm with spikymike that article was really bad...

it counters the critique with what: grey block?

now don't get me wrong i prefer that tactical method in general but there really was no innovations in thinking or politics that i saw in the article

Mike Harman
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Jan 4 2019 23:10

Not sure if anyone is following the Marxist Center stuff.

It seems to be mostly Leninists who are extremely frustrated with US sects, i.e. leaning on people like Hal Draper. But also anarchists and anti-state communists to some extent. Quite loose at the moment, but less loose than the DSA in that they all reject the Democrats. Not sure what a good link would be, so no link yet.

R Totale's picture
R Totale
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Jan 6 2019 11:44

Saw the New River Workers' Power lot had joined, which mildly surprised me, but don't really know enough about either to comment that much further.

Spikymike
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Jan 13 2019 12:39

I haven't heard of the 'Marxist Centre' in the USA before but borrowed this explanatory link from the spgb which might clarify some points but doesn't promise too much as far as I can see;
https://theleftwind.wordpress.com/2018/03/16/where-does-the-marxist-center-stand-answering-aspersions/
Edit; And I see that Donald Parkinson (ex of the Tampa Communist League) has written up a report of the last Marxist Centre conference here;
https://cosmonaut.blog/2019/01/12/building-revolution-in-the-usa-notes-on-marxist-center-conference-2018/ pushing his usual 'build the mass socialist party' line. The Center itself seem a non to encouraging mixed bag of disparate left groups.

sherbu-kteer
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Jan 9 2019 07:37

The DSA Libertarian Socialist Caucus has released a strategy statement called 'Dual Power: A Strategy To Build Socialism In Our Time'. I'd be interested to know people's thoughts on it, seems to be better than the platform document they released earlier in the year, but they still appear very reluctant to use the big 'Ⓐ' word...

Spikymike
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Jan 9 2019 10:59

Well something for everyone is offered up (by the libertarian Socialist Caucus of the DSA) in this extensive list of 'models' popular within the self-identified radical movement and each of them has probably got some benefits as means of survival within the capitalist system for some people, but the retained 'preamble' is just wrong to start with along with the tried and failed strategy of 'building socialism within the shell of capitalism' or ''assembling it piece by piece'' etc. If it had started off with a thorough analysis of what was wrong with the old model of 'welfare state capitalism' from a genuine communist perspective, beyond it's sadness at it being a claimed lost class 'compromise' then the stated opposition to the capitalist economy and state in it's entirety would be more convincing. Of course I'm just repeating my criticism of other proposals on this site for a 'solidarity economy' and in general the errors of 'self management' as promoted by Castoriadis and the old UK Solidarity group. So some good intentions but more hope over reality in this document.

R Totale's picture
R Totale
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Jan 10 2019 19:48
klas batalo wrote:
i'm with spikymike that article was really bad...

it counters the critique with what: grey block?

now don't get me wrong i prefer that tactical method in general but there really was no innovations in thinking or politics that i saw in the article

Went back and had a look at that article, and I don't really understand this response: it counters the critique with 1) pointing out how weak the "antifascism = 1930s popular fronts" argument is, and 2) responds to the claim that antifascists see racism and fascism as being about bad individuals with bad ideas by citing antifa talking about their structural analysis. Like, maybe it doesn't advance any great tactical innovations, but it definitely does take on and rebut the kind of critique advanced by Lucha no Feik and Garneau.

Another thought: maybe this discussion has been had out elsewhere and everyone's tired of it, but are there parallels between the current controversy over whether the IWW should take an antifascist stance or just concentrate on workplace organizing, and the historical debate about whether it should've explicitly opposed WWI or just concentrate on workplace organizing?

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Jan 11 2019 20:41
R Totale wrote:
klas batalo wrote:
i'm with spikymike that article was really bad...

it counters the critique with what: grey block?

now don't get me wrong i prefer that tactical method in general but there really was no innovations in thinking or politics that i saw in the article

Went back and had a look at that article, and I don't really understand this response: it counters the critique with 1) pointing out how weak the "antifascism = 1930s popular fronts" argument is, and 2) responds to the claim that antifascists see racism and fascism as being about bad individuals with bad ideas by citing antifa talking about their structural analysis. Like, maybe it doesn't advance any great tactical innovations, but it definitely does take on and rebut the kind of critique advanced by Lucha no Feik and Garneau.

Another thought: maybe this discussion has been had out elsewhere and everyone's tired of it, but are there parallels between the current controversy over whether the IWW should take an antifascist stance or just concentrate on workplace organizing, and the historical debate about whether it should've explicitly opposed WWI or just concentrate on workplace organizing?

Yes, there are very important parallels. I've had conversations in the past with some of the main anti-antifa people where they said that the IWW should not have opposed conscription. Also, some of us pointed out the parallel last year:

Revolutionary Unionism or White Workerism wrote:
One hundred years ago, on August 1, 1917, Frank Little was lynched while organizing copper miners in Butte, Montana. Just one week earlier, at a General Executive Board meeting in Chicago, he was the lone voice calling for the IWW to oppose conscription for World War 1, in line with the 1916 Convention’s anti-war resolution. The rest of the Board refused out of fear of repression, and saying that they should keep focusing on workplace activity. Frank’s last letter before his murder was to “Big Bill” Haywood, the GEB Chair, urging him to have the GEB come out against conscription. As Frank predicted, the repression came anyways, and Big Bill died in exile in Russia.

We are seeing history repeat itself in bizarre, pathetic miniature. As a union, we haven’t adequately acknowledged the reality of increasing state repression and a growing, violent far-right. We haven’t acknowledged the growing possibilities for the IWW to expand as people are attracted to our model – the recent spike in membership is dismissively referred to as a “Trump bump.” We barely responded to the attempted political murder of one of our members in Seattle, or to the mass arrest and felony charges of many of our members at the protest of Donald Trump’s inauguration. More recently, we’ve had nothing to say or do after the racist murders in Portland, despite the Ferguson solidarity motion from our 2014 Convention which commits us to organizing against white supremacy. The IWW has an incredible opportunity to grow and to make itself relevant in this moment, but we are stuck at an impasse and feel paralyzed. How did we get here, and how can we get beyond it?

jolasmo
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Jan 12 2019 16:19
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We are seeing history repeat itself in bizarre, pathetic miniature.

First time as tragedy etc.

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Juan Conatz
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Jan 13 2019 02:13
R Totale wrote:
Another thought: maybe this discussion has been had out elsewhere and everyone's tired of it, but are there parallels between the current controversy over whether the IWW should take an antifascist stance or just concentrate on workplace organizing, and the historical debate about whether it should've explicitly opposed WWI or just concentrate on workplace organizing?

I never thought about it compared to that. I thought it had more in common with the debate over free speech fights. From what I remember, the language that was used by free speech fight detractors was similar to the anti-activist language that users of this site are familiar with.

Spikymike
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Jan 13 2019 18:06

The ongoing discussion in this thread around Trump and 'antifa' in the USA and the divergent strategies adopted by various elements of the marxist and anarchist left is addressed better than much else I've seen from an anarchist source here;
https://itsgoingdown.org/diagnostic-of-the-future-a-forecast
It's been mentioned on a couple of other websites and in other threads on this site in it's attempt to get some kind of grip on the underlying changes within the global capitalist order both economically and politically post the 2008 crash and some of the misplaced responses to that within the broader libertarian anarchist and communist milieu. It's a pretty long text but worth a read.

R Totale's picture
R Totale
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Jan 13 2019 18:22

Yep, Diagnostic of the Future is great, would be good to add it to the library here sometime.