No strike clauses and the IWW

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petey
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Dec 16 2007 18:25
thugarchist wrote:
one of those fucking IWW yoyos

they make great stocking stuffers

pgh2a
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Dec 16 2007 18:25

I agree with the "primary picket line" terminology being a bit iffy. Most contracts are a mix of stuff, as they represent both where the union is at which is advising workers, and also where the workers are at in terms of their relative power vis a vis their employer.

Here is the link to the Bay Area K's:

http://www.iww.org/branches/US/CA/bayarea/ioc

I have also reviewed the contract at Madison Market in Seattle, where the IWW represents administrative and maintenance workers. There are other unions there (which have included a number of IWW dual carders from time to time) and it was quite important to have similar language there, to make sure the unions did not scab on each other.

There provision, which I think is an excellent provision, is as follows:

19.1 It is understood and agreed that refusal by any employee, covered by this agreement, to go through a picket line shall not constitute a violation of this agreement nor shall such refusal by an employee be cause for discharge or disciplinary action of any kind.

Again, my bigger concern is binding arbitration, mandatory grievance adjustment, etc.

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thugarchist
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Dec 16 2007 18:33
Nate wrote:
Brill, that nefarious internal faction has that long of tentacles? That's why the most recent no strike clause was in the social service shop in your branch like this year and why you couldn't stop it? That sounds a bit dubious to me. I think "faction" is a misleading term here, more like "mindset."

Duke, no, no check-off contracts. The lack of greater info on the contracts isn't secrecy, it's disorganization on our part.

Edit: As for the AFSCME staff union thing, that would have been stupid and I'm glad it didn't happen. Aren't you a fan of growth by merger, though?

The IWW was always a fan of growth by merger son. Mergers and affiliations can be just as important as new organizing if they're focused industrially. Do you think otherwise?

As for the USU-IWW conversation... there was a delegation of folks to the USU convention that brought it up to a floor vote and it got voted down. If you want details you'd have to ask someone else. I wasn't there. More interestingly, how come no one knows about this stuff? Alexis went to Amherst and cut the UAW deal herself, she spoke with me via email and phone about the AFSCME thing. Yet when I've mentioned those things no wobs seem to know anything about it. I can understand why there's some communication difficulties in a union like mine or UFCW or the Teamsters because of size but c'mon, you guys seem to have worse communication than, and the same practices as, every other union.

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thugarchist
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Dec 16 2007 18:37
pghwob wrote:

19.1 It is understood and agreed that refusal by any employee, covered by this agreement, to go through a picket line shall not constitute a violation of this agreement nor shall such refusal by an employee be cause for discharge or disciplinary action of any kind.

Again, my bigger concern is binding arbitration, mandatory grievance adjustment, etc.

Thats good language.

As for binding arbitration... it is generally a very shitty thing unless the market is in your favor and it usually isn't. As for grievance stuff, its almost always useless when used for small level disciplinary issues. Totally useful for large scale employer economic abuses. But it is what it is. Generally disempowering.

pgh2a
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Dec 16 2007 18:38

Its the problem with letting anarcho-independents who echew procedures for reporting and disseminating information as being oppressive, yet you make a good point about anti-democratic effects the other way.

severin
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Dec 16 2007 19:11
thugarchist wrote:

Ok. I'm not trying to be a dick here, I'll save that for some future moment when I get called a business unionist by some goatee wearing college student who pays his six bucks a month and owns one of those fucking IWW yoyos, but what exactly is the difference between the IWW and any other union except for being miniscule?

So from what we have learned here, basically when the IWW asserts that it is in any way 'radical' or 'revolutionary' in its approach towards organizing workers- as opposed to the big bad business unions- it is in fact, willfully dishonest.

And that in truth, the only things that separate it from any normal trade union, outside of its constant trading on the quasi-revolutionary imagery and aura of its martyred past- which is, pretty much wretched, and disgraceful, if you think about all the sacrifices that were made- by hundreds of thousands of workers who most certainly had no degrees to on- are the facts that it is

a: well, woefully incompetent.

b: direly lacking in transparency when it comes to its dealings, and prone to the influence of cliques and factions. (actually that latter part is surely endemic to many business unions..)

And
c: miniscule, yes- prolly because most workers are alienated by the ideological preening of its membership.

check?

Mike Harman
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Dec 16 2007 19:17
ncwob on the dual card thread wrote:
No more than three of our contracts have no strike clauses in them.

How many members in the IWW?
How many contracts?
How many workers are covered by those contracts?
What percentage of these workers are covered by no-strike clauses?
How many contracts compared to "shops"?

Thanks in advance for your answers.

Quote:
It is certainly not union policy, and as you can see plenty of Wobs are far from comfortable with the situation.

And what are they doing about it?

pgh2a
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Dec 16 2007 21:30

Catch:

None of your business how we handle our internal affairs.

Severin: aren't you a member of the morally bankrupt SWP, whose fearless leader, Carleton College graduate and wannabe prole Jack Barnes just sold a million-dollar dwelling in NYC?

severin
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Dec 16 2007 21:37

No. Not at all.

Not a member of any organization nor, given the choices, at this point, do I have the desire to be.

Have NO idea where you got that from.

SWP: Trots, right?

I understand that you are on the defensive. But you have the power to change your organization...and NOT just because somebody on libcom has criticism. But because you owe it to the base, to the working class.

So don't get all riled up bro.

Mike Harman
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Dec 16 2007 21:39
pghwob wrote:
Catch:
None of your business how we handle our internal affairs.
fnbrill wrote:
The problem is that the internal life of the IWW in the US encourages secrecy, informal factions, etc.

neutral

I'll just assume that you have few job shops, few contracts, and therefore no strike clauses make up a fair percentage of them then. Otherwise anyone remotely sensible would try to put us straight rather than "none of your business".

pgh2a
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Dec 16 2007 21:44

severin,

I must have had you confused with severian from revleft. I'm well aware of the changes that should be made in the union, but discussing them with you won't really make much difference.

Seems like since you are not involved with any organization you find it easier to snipe from the sidelines?

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jef costello
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Dec 16 2007 21:50
pghwob wrote:
severin,

I must have had you confused with severian from revleft. I'm well aware of the changes that should be made in the union, but discussing them with you won't really make much difference.

Seems like since you are not involved with any organization you find it easier to snipe from the sidelines?

from one ad hominem to another.

severin
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Dec 16 2007 21:55

It is not idle sniping. I can apololgize for my tone but not the sentiment.

Because one is not involved with an organization does not mean they are not committed. I have known many many people whose endeavours I regard as revolutionary, yet they have no need to pin themselves on any ideology or affiliate with any organization. That is not to say that I am an 'individualist'...frankly i just believe there needs to be a wholly new type of organization.

If I have beliefs, I'm not going to engage in the activities of an organization whose practices conflict with them. Very simple.

The fact is that there is a certain organizational fetishism that I am wary of, and frankly I DO believe that regardless of many of the controls and such that are established in ostensibly libertarian organizations, informal heirarchies tend to crop up.....through secrecy, or cult of personality.

That is not to say that it is not worth running that risk.... but after a while it gets tiresome.

So, no, I don't have a 'team' or 'academy' and am far from embarrassed about it. I think that a new and inclusive, non-union, non-party and non-ideological form of organization has to be be built and it occupies my thoughts most of the time.

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Chilli Sauce
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Dec 16 2007 23:25
Mike Harman wrote:
ncwob on the dual card thread wrote:
No more than three of our contracts have no strike clauses in them.

How many members in the IWW?
How many contracts?
How many workers are covered by those contracts?
What percentage of these workers are covered by no-strike clauses?
How many contracts compared to "shops"?

Thanks in advance for your answers.

Quote:
It is certainly not union policy, and as you can see plenty of Wobs are far from comfortable with the situation.

And what are they doing about it?

To be honest with you Catch, I don't think for a second you are concerned in engaging in any sort of meaningful dialog around this issue. As such, I tend to agree whoever said that discussing it with you would be worse than useless. As to what we're doing about it, would you like me to travel to the opposite coast, tell them to all Catch on Libcom thinks they and the union are class traitors and that they should de-certify immediately? Would that make you feel better? I can tell you that if any of our most prominent campaigns, or any of our current campaigns for that matter, decided to go contract and include a no-strike clause in them, there would be a cacophony voices in the union to oppose it.

----

But I do think this brings up a fundamental position of democracy and internal autonomy within the union. What if a shop by democratic majority decides to accept a contract with a no-strike clause in exchange for some other benefit? My initial response would be that we as union have done a really lousy job propagating our views, but still is does bring up some fundamental issues of union democracy, namely what power should the rest of the union have over the contracts of individual shops?

[Note I mean this to be a legitimate discussion, please respond as such. In fact, why don't serious responders--wobblies and others who want to see us succeed as a union--hop on over to this thread to answer:
http://libcom.org/forums/libcom-wobblies/bring-no-strike-clause-discussion-back-libcom-wobblies-16122007]

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OliverTwister
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Dec 16 2007 23:50

i just want to say i agree with severin about no-strike-clauses being in contradiction with our revolutionary principles.

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jef costello
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Dec 17 2007 00:00

In principle yes, although if there is a contract that I'm happy with I'd agree to no strikes during the contract because obviously if they stick to an agreed contract then there's no need to strike (usually) and if they break the terms then they can't bitch about workers breaking the no strike clause.

severin
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Dec 17 2007 00:05
OliverTwister wrote:
i just want to say i agree with severin about no-strike-clauses being in contradiction with our revolutionary principles.

There is no 'our', I am not a member of the IWW nor do I wish to be. Nor would I recommend it to any working-class layman interested in revolutionary activity.

I don't think that a revolutionary organization should negotiate with bosses at all, frankly.

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EdmontonWobbly
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Dec 17 2007 00:10
Quote:
In principle yes, although if there is a contract that I'm happy with I'd agree to no strikes during the contract because obviously if they stick to an agreed contract then there's no need to strike (usually) and if they break the terms then they can't bitch about workers breaking the no strike clause.

But that is precisely what the IWW in Portland did, frankly even if the workers wanted a no strike clause and I was a member of the shop I would argue against it. Also if I was an organizer working with the workers in the shop I would advise against it.

Mike Harman
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Dec 17 2007 00:22
ncwob wrote:
To be honest with you Catch, I don't think for a second you are concerned in engaging in any sort of meaningful dialog around this issue.

Well that's very hard to do when only a couple have voiced their opinions and the rest of you seemed to be engaged in the usual damage control, ad hominems and random abuse. I'm hardly fucking surprised since it was exactly the same with the Scottish parliament "dispute".

Quote:
As such, I tend to agree whoever said that discussing it with you would be worse than useless

Which is very convenient when you don't want to discuss it at all right?

Quote:
As to what we're doing about it, would you like me to travel to the opposite coast, tell them to all Catch on Libcom thinks they and the union are class traitors and that they should de-certify immediately? Would that make you feel better?

No you just get of your high horse and step up with some figures - you know how many shops have no strike contracts, so presumably you know the numbers for total shops, and total contracts. Otherwise three shops with no strike contracts and no other context looks like quite a lot to me in an organisation with what, 1500 people in it? I don't really give a shit about what you're all doing about it, it's pretty clear not much as yet - since half y'all don't even seem to know which shops where have the contracts.

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fnbrill
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Dec 17 2007 00:34
EdmontonWobbly wrote:
Quote:
In principle yes, although if there is a contract that I'm happy with I'd agree to no strikes during the contract because obviously if they stick to an agreed contract then there's no need to strike (usually) and if they break the terms then they can't bitch about workers breaking the no strike clause.

But that is precisely what the IWW in Portland did, frankly even if the workers wanted a no strike clause and I was a member of the shop I would argue against it. Also if I was an organizer working with the workers in the shop I would advise against it.

I tried to convince BB not to, tried to intervene in the workers meetings, etc. which is some of the things which led to charges against BB. But the Friend's Center contract had already been signed and allowed for justifications on no-strike.

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Steven.
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Dec 17 2007 00:57
Quote:
But I do think this brings up a fundamental position of democracy and internal autonomy within the union. What if a shop by democratic majority decides to accept a contract with a no-strike clause in exchange for some other benefit? My initial response would be that we as union have done a really lousy job propagating our views, but still is does bring up some fundamental issues of union democracy, namely what power should the rest of the union have over the contracts of individual shops?

I think a much more fundamental issue here is that the revolutionaries who run the IWW (attempting to be a "union" or "mass organisation") decided that they would let people with all sorts of politics in. This means that if they organise actual workplaces there will be mostly people who don't give a shit about the IWW's actual aims, and so will do things like sign no-strike contracts. Unfortunately this seems to be supported as "practical" by some of the "revolutionaries."

I've got more responses to other people tomorrow...

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EdmontonWobbly
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Dec 17 2007 00:59
Quote:
No you just get of your high horse and step up with some figures - you know how many shops have no strike contracts, so presumably you know the numbers for total shops, and total contracts. Otherwise three shops with no strike contracts and no other context looks like quite a lot to me in an organisation with what, 1500 people in it? I don't really give a shit about what you're all doing about it, it's pretty clear not much as yet - since half y'all don't even seem to know which shops where have the contracts.

We are talking about 10-15 shops under contract currently I imagine (I don't have exact figures) but there is also a lot of non contractual organizing happening where a contract isn't the goal, in fact I would say the vast majority of organizing right now is around issues and is not aiming for, or under a contract. These numbers are pretty rough, I'm a long way from the USA where a lot of the organizing happens.

Frankly I think there are two answers to this problem:
1. More training on negotiations and how to conduct them.
2. A stronger ban on this crap in the constitution.

Still curious what Jef Costello was getting at are you actually saying no strike clauses are just dandy?

Mike Harman
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Dec 17 2007 01:12
EdmontonWobbly wrote:
We are talking about 10-15 shops under contract currently I imagine (I don't have exact figures)

EW, thanks for the straight answer. So that's 20-30%, ish, quite a significant minority (enough to get you elected as the British Government for example). Unless someone who knows could speak to the relative size of those shops, that's probably as good a working figure as is likely.

EdmontonWobbly wrote:
but there is also a lot of non contractual organizing happening where a contract isn't the goal, in fact I would say the vast majority of organizing right now is around issues and is not aiming for, or under a contract.

Well that's all well and good, but there are members of mainstream unions doing similar things in non-unionised workplaces, also not trying to get contracts - it doesn't negate what those unions do elsewhere, and I think we should be holding self-professed revolutionary organisations up to much, much higher standards.

EdmontonWobbly wrote:
Frankly I think there are two answers to this problem:
1. More training on negotiations and how to conduct them.
2. A stronger ban on this crap in the constitution.

Like John. said - I think this goes to the heart of the discussion in the what is and isn't a mass organisation thread. Clearly some people (not on here of course, god forbid!) think all this is a good idea. And it's part of the structural basis of the role of trade unions. It's more than just a training or constitutional issue.

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EdmontonWobbly
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Dec 17 2007 01:41
Quote:
Well that's all well and good, but there are members of mainstream unions doing similar things in non-unionised workplaces, also not trying to get contracts - it doesn't negate what those unions do elsewhere, and I think we should be holding self-professed revolutionary organisations up to much, much higher standards.

Not in North America. Off for sushi, I'll carry this on later.

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thugarchist
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Dec 17 2007 02:22
EdmontonWobbly wrote:
Quote:
Well that's all well and good, but there are members of mainstream unions doing similar things in non-unionised workplaces, also not trying to get contracts - it doesn't negate what those unions do elsewhere, and I think we should be holding self-professed revolutionary organisations up to much, much higher standards.

Not in North America. Off for sushi, I'll carry this on later.

Unions in North america don't run campaigns in non-union workplaces except to get contracts? Thats just not true. Look at the Manor Care campaign for a most recent example. Its all about stopping equity funds from buying healthcare companies. Not about organizing a union. There's plenty of other examples but thats the biggest most recent in international news.

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thugarchist
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Dec 17 2007 02:30
ncwob wrote:

But I do think this brings up a fundamental position of democracy and internal autonomy within the union. What if a shop by democratic majority decides to accept a contract with a no-strike clause in exchange for some other benefit? My initial response would be that we as union have done a really lousy job propagating our views, but still is does bring up some fundamental issues of union democracy, namely what power should the rest of the union have over the contracts of individual shops?

Oh but wait... if the union has a whole can have a say in what happens locally then once again you'd be doing the same thing that large mainstream unions do that are constantly pilloried for it in the pages of the IW.

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gurley
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Dec 17 2007 03:07
thugarchist wrote:
EdmontonWobbly wrote:
Quote:
Well that's all well and good, but there are members of mainstream unions doing similar things in non-unionised workplaces, also not trying to get contracts - it doesn't negate what those unions do elsewhere, and I think we should be holding self-professed revolutionary organisations up to much, much higher standards.

Not in North America. Off for sushi, I'll carry this on later.

Unions in North america don't run campaigns in non-union workplaces except to get contracts? Thats just not true. Look at the Manor Care campaign for a most recent example. Its all about stopping equity funds from buying healthcare companies. Not about organizing a union. There's plenty of other examples but thats the biggest most recent in international news.

Plus you have a number of organizations which get a *ton* of backing from unions and are essentially front groups but don't organize explicitly to get a contract. I'm thinking of groups like Young Workers United and EBASE (East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy) who organize working people around economic justice issues. More on this later...i'm going out for dinner.

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Chilli Sauce
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Dec 17 2007 03:23
thugarchist wrote:
ncwob wrote:

But I do think this brings up a fundamental position of democracy and internal autonomy within the union. What if a shop by democratic majority decides to accept a contract with a no-strike clause in exchange for some other benefit? My initial response would be that we as union have done a really lousy job propagating our views, but still is does bring up some fundamental issues of union democracy, namely what power should the rest of the union have over the contracts of individual shops?

Oh but wait... if the union has a whole can have a say in what happens locally then once again you'd be doing the same thing that large mainstream unions do that are constantly pilloried for it in the pages of the IW.

Jesus, you and Catch with the demeaning tone... Anyway, I brought this up as a point of discussion to be worked out and dealt with. Hence my little disclaimer about hoping to solicit serious responses. And the issue brought up in the IW is the role of centralized union brass in making decisions that undermine the basic autonomy of local branches. The point that I raised, on the other hand, is about the balance of power in a non-hierarchically organized, democratic, rank-and-file union (the IWW or otherwise) regarding local autonomy and national or international union democracy. But thank you for sidestepping a legitimate issue for your own partisan ends.

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thugarchist
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Dec 17 2007 03:28
ncwob wrote:
thugarchist wrote:
ncwob wrote:

But I do think this brings up a fundamental position of democracy and internal autonomy within the union. What if a shop by democratic majority decides to accept a contract with a no-strike clause in exchange for some other benefit? My initial response would be that we as union have done a really lousy job propagating our views, but still is does bring up some fundamental issues of union democracy, namely what power should the rest of the union have over the contracts of individual shops?

Oh but wait... if the union has a whole can have a say in what happens locally then once again you'd be doing the same thing that large mainstream unions do that are constantly pilloried for it in the pages of the IW.

Jesus, you and Catch with the demeaning tone... Anyway, I brought this up as a point of discussion to be worked out and dealt with. Hence my little disclaimer about hoping to solicit serious responses. And the issue brought up in the IW is the role of centralized union brass in making decisions that undermine the basic autonomy of local branches. The point that I raised, on the other hand, is about the balance of power in a non-hierarchically organized, democratic, rank-and-file union (the IWW or otherwise) regarding local autonomy and national or international union democracy. But thank you for sidestepping a legitimate issue for your own partisan ends.

Partisan? Fascinating. I have been arguing with wobs for years about the tension between industrial and local democracy in unions. And the wobs have always attacked me as a business unionist because I don't agree that 5 fucking workers in one shop should be able to destroy the entire program of a union. Fuck you and your volunteer pie-card squadron.

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Chilli Sauce
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Dec 17 2007 03:44

That's funny then Thug, I specifically bring up the opportunity for you to do that exact thing and instead you're a jackass about it? Makes a lot of sense to me. Excuse me for not knowing your history with the IWW (and you can check all my posts I have never once made reference to your involvement with business unions), but when I try to address an issue that seems pretty damn important--one you evidently feel you could offer some insight on no less--and you're snarky to me about it, it seems pretty damn partisan to me.

Not that I particularly want to engage your arrogant ass, but if you hadn't been such a prick I'd want to hear about your experiences organizing as a radical inside the mainstream unions and hear valid, constructive criticisms of the IWW. But seeing as how this conversation has gone so far, I don't think you have much to offer.