Who else does the IWW organise?

Now that it has come out the the IWW 'organises' Scottish members of Parliment, and there is also a preacher from America, posting on here, who is an IWW member, I'd like to know if they 'organise' any other shockingly anti-working class 'fellow workers'.

It puts all of the anarcho-syndicalist arguments that we had here a while ago about whether they should organise workers in prisons (not prison officers) to shame.

Devrim

Posted By

Devrim
Dec 19 2006 08:19

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madashell
Dec 21 2006 12:57
Devrim wrote:
I didn't raise it, and I also agree that the 'how many members have you got?' thing is rubbish.

I wasn't really adressing that solely at you, just making a general point.

Quote:
In the case of the IWW though, which is claiming to be a union, not a political organisation, I don't think that it is completely wrong that people in Europe have some idea of its relative size.

A fair point, but even with a union, relative size can be misleading.

Hypothetically speaking (because I don't know the situation in the US) 1,500 people who are mostly focussed in particular areas and industries, with good horizontal communication are infinitely more valuble than 3,000 dispersed up and down the length of North America. If you have the former, you have a good base for slowly developing a union of sorts.

It's not that I don't agree with the criticisms you're making (except for the preacher thing, which I couldn't give a toss about if I'm completely honest), but you can't deny that the IWW in North America have done some positive and valuable work over the last few years, particularly in terms of the Starbucks Union.

Dundee_United
Dec 21 2006 13:09
Quote:
do you?

I reckon I could count the number of active wobblies in the UK on my fingers and toes, tbh.

That's not to say that people with Red Cards aren't active politically, but that they aren't involed with the wobs. The Manchester branch for instance, hasn't met since I've lived here.

Activity may be an issue in some places, but that's a question of organisational culture, and it can be changed by breaking that culture and replacing it with a new one.

Currently we have over 200 members in the UK and growing.

ftony
Dec 21 2006 13:53
Quote:
I suppouse Graham Norton has very strong gay tedencies but he's not gay?

no, graham norton is gay. he is a practising homosexual and labels himself as such. the IWW sees itself, constitutionally speaking, as being part of the creation of a future society, not the be-all-and-end-all of it. if you want a specifically syndicalist group, then Solfed is for you.

the button
Dec 21 2006 13:55

Anarcho-syndicalist, thanks. angry

grin grin grin

(The differences between syndicalism & anarcho-syndicalism? -- answers on a postcard to: -

"Who gives a fuck?" competition
Blue Peter
London W12 8QT)

Dundee_United
Dec 21 2006 14:00

"Who gives a fuck?"

Maggid, the Spanish CNT, and the IWA-AIT apparently...

ftony
Dec 21 2006 14:01

sorry button, no insult intended smile

out of interest, are there (m)any non-anarchist syndicalist organisations (that aren't unions) around any more?

Sorry.
Dec 21 2006 14:01
Dundee_United wrote:

Activity may be an issue in some places, but that's a question of organisational culture, and it can be changed by breaking that culture and replacing it with a new one.

Currently we have over 200 members in the UK and growing.

How many, excluding the SSP workers, would you say are in regularly meeting branches and actively engaged in IWW activity?

ftony
Dec 21 2006 14:03

my estimate would probably be between 70 and 80. there are a lot of isolated wobs who can't really do much very easily too.
do we win a prize if we get it right?

Sorry.
Dec 21 2006 14:07
ftony wrote:
my estimate would probably be between 70 and 80. there are a lot of isolated wobs who can't really do much very easily too.

whereabouts are they?

Dundee_United
Dec 21 2006 14:57
Quote:
they decided the term 'industrial unionism' is more appropriate.

It is, especially if prefaced by the words 'international' and 'revolutionary'. Syndicalist tells you not very much at all.

Quote:
whereabouts are they?

McCormick answered this point extensively on another thread.

Sorry.
Dec 21 2006 15:09
Dundee_United wrote:
Quote:
whereabouts are they?

McCormick answered this point extensively on another thread.

which one?

Steven.
Dec 21 2006 15:39
Sorry. wrote:
Dundee_United wrote:
Quote:
whereabouts are they?

McCormick answered this point extensively on another thread.

which one?

Yeah and I've still seen no evidence for it. I'm not trying to have a go at the IWW, but their members in the UK a lot do tend to keep "showing off" about their numbers, saying how they're so much bigger than the other groups, yet seem to have no profile, no regular publications or anything - not to mention when i joined as a stupid kid like 5 years ago I was told it had 3-400 members.

ftony
Dec 21 2006 16:36
Quote:
Yeah and I've still seen no evidence for it.

okay well i'll answer it again then, and i'm just talking about the active wobs, you understand.

there are a good forty active wobs in glasgow, edinburgh and the central belt, about 20 in leicester (along with half a dozen in nottingham who aren't in any official branch, but are quite active with leicester folk), another 10ish in tyne and wear, 8-10 in london, a handful in the leeds/bradford area (tho i've not heard much from them in recent months), and i'm not sure about the mancs - they seem a bit quiet at the mo, but a few are active on a national level. there's also quite a few active members who aren't affiliated to any branch. haven't a clue about the irish, but there's only about 9 or 10 of them, same with wales. until recently there were active and sizeable branches in brighton and hull but a fair few members have either moved or dropped off the register.

there, i think i've been pretty honest about how many folk are active at the moment. as i said, about 80 or so. there's a much bigger presence in scotland than anywhere else in the UK, not sure why, and i doubt it's because of the SSP branch.

Quote:
5 years ago I was told it had 3-400 members.

hmm, not sure who signed you up but we've not been that big since the 60s! although even from the 'inside' it's hard to tell precisely how big the IWW is, because of the whole good standing/bad standing malarkey.

Serge Forward
Dec 21 2006 16:57

John, when you talk about the IWW having "no profile" I think you'll find that where the IWW has active local branches, it does indeed have a very high local profile. So with this in mind, the more branches we develop across the country, whether geographical or workplace based, this will undoubtedly increase our national profile. And funnily eneough, we are already in the process of developing new local branches right now. How about that!

ftony
Dec 21 2006 17:00
Quote:
we are already in the process of developing new local branches right now. How about that!

very true serge, i'm helping out a sizeable chunk of our membership in oxford and reading get organised at the moment. as i said previously in this thread, everthing is in process and in flux (whatever org/fed/union you're in).

Smash Rich Bastards
Dec 21 2006 17:41
ftony wrote:
sorry button, no insult intended smile

out of interest, are there (m)any non-anarchist syndicalist organisations (that aren't unions) around any more?

The IWW? wink

ftony
Dec 21 2006 19:50

kerpow! damn, i genuinely didn't see that one coming embarrassed

Smash Rich Bastards
Dec 21 2006 22:37
ftony wrote:
kerpow! damn, i genuinely didn't see that one coming embarrassed

Sorry, couldn't resist.

Dundee_United
Dec 21 2006 23:55
Quote:
when i joined as a stupid kid like 5 years ago

I joined as a stupid kid about four years ago. Nothing doing then either - locally it was mostly an anarchist and De Leonist discussion forum. I rejoined relatively recently, the De Leonists have left my branch, but there is still an element of discussion forum but this is being mixed with more serious organisational efforts. Things are different. The organisation is better now. It's blatantly obvious.

Steven.
Dec 22 2006 14:25
ftony wrote:
there are a good forty active wobs in glasgow, edinburgh and the central belt, about 20 in leicester (along with half a dozen in nottingham who aren't in any official branch, but are quite active with leicester folk), another 10ish in tyne and wear, 8-10 in london, a handful in the leeds/bradford area (tho i've not heard much from them in recent months), and i'm not sure about the mancs - they seem a bit quiet at the mo, but a few are active on a national level. there's also quite a few active members who aren't affiliated to any branch. haven't a clue about the irish, but there's only about 9 or 10 of them, same with wales. until recently there were active and sizeable branches in brighton and hull but a fair few members have either moved or dropped off the register.

Ok ftony, I'm really not trying to have a go, I'm just appealing to realism. I mean that all sounds very nice, but you're saying leicester there are like 20 active members? serge seems to be one of them, and all I've heard from him is that they had a couple of meetings and signed up 15 people, total. And I can't really believe the majority of them are active. I remember when AYN London was getting like 40 people to meetings for a while, the active membership was about 4-8, other groups have had similar ratios.

But anyway I hope that whatever activity you undertake is beneficial - I'm just not sure the sentiment among some people that since the IWW is so much bigger than everything else that's it's the best game in town is a helpful one.

Serge Forward
Dec 22 2006 15:01
John. wrote:
but you're saying leicester there are like 20 active members? serge seems to be one of them, and all I've heard from him is that they had a couple of meetings and signed up 15 people, total. And I can't really believe the majority of them are active.

John, maybe that's just because the vast majority of the Leicestershire Wobblies don't actually use Libcom. You know, there really is a whole world of stuff going on outside of London and off the internet.

Yes, we have around 20 members now and this is still growing. We have a very high profile locally and there's a high level of active organising and ongoing work in a) building the general membership branch, and b) organising in workplaces. Sure, the level of activity varies from member to member, but the core of active IWWers is not only increasing, but is inclusive towards those who for whatever reason can't be as active as they'd like to be.

Yes, we now have an active branch at one major employer in the city. These are mostly disgruntled Unison members, sick of that organisation's collusion with management, and who see the IWW as a radical alternative. We have four shopworkers at another workplace (which only consists of five workers) in the town and are working on organising in other workplaces too. Only this week, the local IWW represented a member at a disciplinary panel at work - happily, that member managed to hang onto their job. We are also doing outreach work helping other groups to get off the ground outside of Leicestershire. What more do you want? The revolution starting in Leicester with 10,000 workers marching down Granby Street all singing the international?

You're correct of course, the numbers game is a waste of time. What's important is what's achievable, what's feasible in terms of organising and action. Obviously, the more people you have, the more you can do and the more effective you'll be. In the meantime, I think we're doing something right and the IWW is in very good health, thank you very much.

cantdocartwheels
Dec 22 2006 17:19
John. wrote:
(Something a lot more specific like libcom we'd require a much higher degree of unity and so potential members would have to be atheist mind.)

really? somewhat bakunist no? tongue

thugarchist
Dec 22 2006 22:51

An oldie but a goodie. I so lament the loss of wit and humor since the demise of P-CRAC...

Worker & Parasite No. 2 January 2006

Revolutionary Does Not Mean Fringe:
The Modern IWW "Revolutionizes" Syndicalism

Worker & Parasite is the weekly Editorial of P-CRAC's News and Information Blog.

Greetings Comrade-Enemies,

Let's be clear... The IWW is Fringe Unionism. No. We're wrong. The IWW is not Unionism, fringe or otherwise. Lets all be honest... just for once here in McAnarchy World. Can we? Seriously?

The IWW does not actually exist as a Union. It exists as a tiny leftist propaganda group and labor support network. There are less than 2000 people in the whole "Union" and most of them are either crazy old lunatic labor historians masturbating to Big Bill Heywood pictures in the dark or hippy-punk lefty Anarchists that have a friend that has a friend that once read the first four pages of Elizabeth Gurley Flynn's Sabotage pamphlet and are busily organizing themselves and their siblings against the oppression of having to do chores at home.

The IWW is not a Revolutionary Union.
The IWW is not a Radical Union.
The IWW is not a Mainstream Union.
The IWW is not a Fucking Union.

The IWW is a reactionary and counter-revolutionary organization, as are all Syndicalist and Anarcho-Syndicalist "Unions."

Syndicalism has two possible outcomes:

One is that the Union in question will remain true to its ideological underpinnings of Revolutionary Unionism. This forces a reality that it cannot grow seriously as a base membership requirement must be to believe in the union's ideology. People's social understanding and consciousness change while in struggle not before engaging in struggle. This deliberate ideological isolation forces Syndicalist unions that are honest and true to themselves to remain a tiny force of agitation within a larger labor movement which can be a good thing, but isn't even Unionism, never mind not being Revolutionary Unionism;

The other option is that a Syndicalist Union can choose to forget about its ideological underpinnings. When that happens, the Union actually becomes successful. It organizes lots of people. Takes on the boss. Builds to a force in society. However, that’s done by increasing in size without requiring that members of the Union actually believe in the Union's ideas and mission. So as the Union grows and becomes successful there becomes an internal division. The majority of the membership doesn't give a shit about Revolutionary Unionism and a small inner core does. This creates hierarchy and conflict with democracy while simultaneously removing the practical application of revolutionary ideology to the Union's decision making. This is Unionism, but it isn't Revolutionary Unionism.

So the only two possible outcomes of Syndicalism are:

1. Remain a Marginal Fringe "Union" That's Completely Useless.
2. Become a Mainstream Union and Pretend You Aren't.

However, having said that, we at P-CRAC have been modifying our analysis slightly. We now believe that there is a third possible outcome of Syndicalism in practice as exemplified by the modern IWW. The IWW is actually becoming the worst of both of those two scenarios.

Congrats Fellow Workers! You've done something new in the history of Syndicalist organization. The IWW sucks more effectively than anyone has sucked before.

With this new theoretical understanding of the eventualities of Syndicalist Organization, we now have three possible outcomes for the Syndicalist "Union:"

1. Remain a Marginal Fringe "Union" That's Completely Useless.
2. Become a Mainstream Union and Pretend You Aren't.
3. Become a Marginal Fringe Mainstream Para-Union That's Useless and Pretends it Isn't.

So the IWW is an organization of innovation. They remind me of that famed American artist Walt Disney who once said, "I believe in being an innovator." Which holds a beautiful symmetry if you think about it for a second.

The IWW and Walt Disney were/are both committed to innovation and both believe(d) in innovating by creating cartoons, one of them on the page and one in the world.

Go Fellow Workers! Go!

Serge Forward
Dec 22 2006 23:00

Yawn... farts, turns over and goes to sleep.

Nate
Dec 22 2006 23:08

Another great piece of satire from the comedians at P-CRAC. It's impressive how well the piece gets the tired old sectarian leftist voice. Kudos.

thugarchist
Dec 22 2006 23:44
Nate wrote:
Another great piece of satire from the comedians at P-CRAC. It's impressive how well the piece gets the tired old sectarian leftist voice. Kudos.

Those guys were brilliant.

pgh2a
Dec 23 2006 06:04

Are we allowed to threaten people on this site? wink

rosa_sub_rosa
Dec 23 2006 06:13

The IWW's strength can not be measured by its numbers but by the conviction of those who are involved...its not a historical society or a club for marginal anarchos, it is a functional union that fights to make gains for workers, and those who are involved continue to be so because they believe in the validity and viability of its revolutionary premise.

As 'small' as it is, it is the one organization- in America, anyways-that has the best chance of spreading class consciuosness and facilitating a true working class revolutionary sensibility. Its characteristic impatience with/disdain for ideological puritanism is one of its greatest virtues.

Devrim
Dec 23 2006 12:20

Despite the tone of that attack on the IWW it did contain some relevant points, particularly the statement that the IWW is not a union, and the idea that 'revolutionary syndicalism' is an impossible goal.

rosa_sub_rosa's assertions do nothing to counter these arguments, and the idea that:

rosa_sub_rosa wrote:
The IWW's strength can not be measured by its numbers but by the conviction of those who are involved...

is nothing more than pure volunteerism.

Devrim

petey
Dec 23 2006 12:29

but dev...

Devrim wrote:
rosa_sub_rosa wrote:
The IWW's strength can not be measured by its numbers but by the conviction of those who are involved...

also could describe left communist groups. should i guess that you'd say it's the strength of the ideas that distinguish these tendencies?