WSA membership

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gypsy
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Oct 11 2010 04:10
888 wrote:
I don't really know the story between ASR and WSA, but Bekken is an expert at blowing up minor disagreements into political shitstorms. Now that he's gone from the IWW, things should hopefully run a lot smoother for the wobs!

what happened to him?

gypsy
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Oct 11 2010 06:18
syndicalist wrote:
3. Reach out to workers of color
.

Why differentiate?

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Juan Conatz
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Oct 11 2010 06:32
allybaba wrote:
syndicalist wrote:
3. Reach out to workers of color
.

Why differentiate?

Because they face life in the United States differently and have traditionally been excluded from concerted working class activity, either through the unions or through the revolutionary groups? That's my take anyway. I have personal opinions that go behind this one sentence, but they aren't WSA positions or have even been discussions to my knowledge.

I kinda feel like this discussion has happened here several times though.

gypsy
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Oct 11 2010 06:38
Dead End wrote:
allybaba wrote:
syndicalist wrote:
3. Reach out to workers of color
.

Why differentiate?

Because they face life in the United States differently and have traditionally been excluded from concerted working class activity, either through the unions or through the revolutionary groups? That's my take anyway. I have personal opinions that go behind this one sentence, but they aren't WSA positions or have even been discussions to my knowledge.

I kinda feel like this discussion has happened here several times though.

I feel it creates an us and them mentality. What are your personal opinions?
This is a good little article about multiculturism in the US.
http://www.iwca.info/?p=10154

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Juan Conatz
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Oct 11 2010 06:55
allybaba wrote:
I feel it creates an us and them mentality. What are your personal opinions?
This is a good little article about multiculturism in the US.
http://www.iwca.info/?p=10154

Well there is no 'creating', because this mentality already exists. To not acknowledge this in favor of some 'colorblind' mentality is a reactionary position in the United States. It is a right wing position that is advocated to leave the race inequalities as they are. To keep the status quo. The Old Left here (such as the CPUSA), did the same thing, promoting colorblindness and class reductionism out of some fear it would alienate the white working class. Meanwhile, grievances and struggles from people of color were not supported, told to go away or ignored in favor of a fictitious class unity.

I'm about to go to bed, so I don't have time to really get into the article, but, I guess the first thing I notice is that it's from the IWCA, a UK group.

Race is not the same everywhere, obviously, so whatever UK people have to say about UK race relations and whatever solutions they think will work is not going to be the same as the U.S., and vice versa.

gypsy
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Oct 11 2010 07:03
Dead End wrote:
allybaba wrote:
I feel it creates an us and them mentality. What are your personal opinions?
This is a good little article about multiculturism in the US.
http://www.iwca.info/?p=10154

Well there is no 'creating', because this mentality already exists. To not acknowledge this in favor of some 'colorblind' mentality is a reactionary position in the United States. It is a right wing position that is advocated to leave the race inequalities as they are. To keep the status quo. The Old Left here (such as the CPUSA), did the same thing, promoting colorblindness and class reductionism out of some fear it would alienate the white working class. Meanwhile, grievances and struggles from people of color were not supported, told to go away or ignored in favor of a fictitious class unity.

I'm about to go to bed, so I don't have time to really get into the article, but, I guess the first thing I notice is that it's from the IWCA, a UK group.

Yeah but its an article about the US. So totally relevant to you. Obviously racism is a problem, but I just don't think you need to put it in your 'fundamental principles' it should be obvious that as a communist you should be against racism, and that everyone should be treated equally. If you do get racist folk, get rid-simple. p.s-i am not colourblind and I am a 'worker of colour' myself.

syndicalist
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Oct 11 2010 12:03
Quote:
allybaba wrote:

syndicalist wrote:

3. Reach out to workers of color
.
Why differentiate?

To make the WSA and class struggle anarchism more relevant to people of color. To address racism in a meaningful way. And to have a movement that is reflective of our world. Racism is a big thing here and we all need to do a better job at addressing it and in building relationships in communities of color and with people of color.

Dead End is correct in saying that the "bullets" which appear on the top of this thread are not official statements. They were written by me in an effort to try to give a "feel" for what "some of the activities our members are involved in."

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Juan Conatz
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Oct 11 2010 16:43
allybaba wrote:
Yeah but its an article about the US. So totally relevant to you. Obviously racism is a problem, but I just don't think you need to put it in your 'fundamental principles' it should be obvious that as a communist you should be against racism, and that everyone should be treated equally. If you do get racist folk, get rid-simple. p.s-i am not colourblind and I am a 'worker of colour' myself.

Well, I guess that depends on how you see racism. I see it as a separate oppression, rather than seeing it only as class division. What I mean by that is that the establishment of communism wouldn't necessarily abolish racism as such. Of course one could nitpick and say "Well then it wouldn't really be communism.", but that's getting around the issue.

As an anarchist, I am against oppression, period. The ones based on race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. predate capitalism, so they can outlast it, as well.

I also don't think responses to racism have to be only negative ones such as kicking out racist folks, etc. Proactive, positive responses that address it directly are needed, desirable and a necessary part of the building of a revolutionary working class movement.

As far as colorblind goes, one could be any color and believe in that. It's an outlook that isn't limited to white people, although I think such an attitude in American society currently mostly benefits white people.

I should probably clarify that I am not arguing for centering on identity politics. Nor do I side with Bring the Ruckus or Race Traitor ideology, although I think they make some important contributions about the nature of white supremacy in the United States. However, I am not about promoting a false class unity that doesn't address the very real experiences of people of color and their/our experiences in the working class that are pretty specific.

I don't think this article really argues against anything I'm saying. It's arguing against the centering of liberal race politics at the expense of class. That is something that is certainly done by the left here. For example, the cries of racism because some notable right winger says something that is historically tied to black subjugation about Obama, but complete silence on the fact that millions of black and brown people live in absolute poverty in the slums and ghettos here. I don't think that's what I'm doing and certainly isn't reflective of the groups I'm in nor work that I do.

I'm not concerned that there aren't many Latino CEO's or something like that, although I think this is an indication of how race plays out in a given place.

gypsy
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Oct 11 2010 17:20

Ok cheers for your responses guys.

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Chilli Sauce
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Oct 11 2010 17:21

Thanks for all the responses Syndicalist.

Quote:
No, that's not what I'm arguing. I'm just against the sentiment I see on libcom sometimes that sees the need for a position on everything. That can be done, of course, but I don't see the use of it. I'm interested in practical work and involvement. Does so-and-so's embracing of parecon mean they are for no-strike clauses? Does it mean they are for cross class alliances? What does it mean when it determines the actual work of the group? I'm not convinced that there's something inherent in ideologies that makes people more likely to do this or that. I think there's undesirable traits in everything.

Dead End, if anything I said came across as confrontation, I do apologize. As someone said earlier, however the WSA chooses to structure its membership requirements, that's purely the business of the WSA. Personally, I thought it'd be a bit more expressly anarcho-syndicalist. It appears from your posts the net is cast a bit wider than that. Cool, that's fine. On a personal level and certainly the London branches of SolFed, we are looking forward to developing closer relationship with the WSA, both politically and in terms of practical solidarity.

Final thing, the argument that I was making wasn't that pareconists are more likely to adopt no-strike clauses or cross-class alliances. It's only that, for me in my own organizing and in my organizations, I worry that political differences may play out on the ground.

For example, at the time of the Vestas occupation, there were some radicals arguing for nationalization; others to turn it into a workers co-op; and other arguing for resolution that build the class--in terms of confidence and victories--for bigger battles whilst giving the workers as much as possible in terms of a payout including redundancy and pension. I think I can safely say that SolFed fell into the latter category and I think this comes from the fact we're much tighter in our politics (at least the London branches and the branches we're close to).

syndicalist
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Oct 11 2010 17:47

Briefly.... my experiance with "pareconistas" is really only limited to those I know in WSA.
It seems to me they have, more or less, developed something akin to a minimal libertarian communist perspective. I've heard it said that there are some in the Spanish CNT-AIT which have a similiar opinoon. And one of the Spanish panelists, at the CNT economics conference this year, argued for a perspective akin to something like WSA members perspective. I'm not a "pareconist" and really don't wade too deep into it. But as long as we maintain our unity around our "Where We Stand" some of the other nuances can be argued and discussed.

One of the good things about WSA is that we have, thus far, been able to maintain the unity of the organization by, basically, staying away from "buzz" words. I think our "WWS" stand spells things out in a way that bridges the unity. Our attempts at trying to be a non-sectarian class struggle anarchist organization creates many strength. And it also poses challenges as we modestly continue to grow.

Comrades should probably understand that the current WSA is grounded in the principles of anarcho-syndicalism, and many of us call ourselves anarcho-syndicalists and identify with that tradition, but our aim is to continue to develop that brings in the best militants involved in the broader class struggle anarchist movement (and traditions). Perhaps how we advance during this period will lead to great things, perhaps not, but we are well ahead of where we have been and, thus far, we have a great group of comrades.

petey
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Oct 11 2010 18:10

just a question about the a-s orientation: the WSA statement says:

Quote:
Our view is that such a society will be brought about only by working people building their own self-managed mass organizations from the ground up.

i believe this used to say "self-managed unions" instead of "mass organizations." is that right? if so, has WSA - how should i put this - broadened its approach?

syndicalist
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Oct 11 2010 18:20
petey wrote:
just a question about the a-s orientation: the WSA statement says:
Quote:
Our view is that such a society will be brought about only by working people building their own self-managed mass organizations from the ground up.

i believe this used to say "self-managed unions" instead of "mass organizations." is that right? if so, has WSA - how should i put this - broadened its approach?

By this we simply mean unions, community organizations and so forth. Basically, we changed the language to better accurately reflect longstanding practices (folks involved in workplace, housing, transportation stuggles).

Hope this helps.

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888
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Oct 11 2010 19:26
allybaba wrote:
888 wrote:
I don't really know the story between ASR and WSA, but Bekken is an expert at blowing up minor disagreements into political shitstorms. Now that he's gone from the IWW, things should hopefully run a lot smoother for the wobs!

what happened to him?

He was expelled from the IWW for a range of things but basically extortion

syndicalist
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Oct 11 2010 19:38
888 wrote:
allybaba wrote:
888 wrote:
I don't really know the story between ASR and WSA, but Bekken is an expert at blowing up minor disagreements into political shitstorms. Now that he's gone from the IWW, things should hopefully run a lot smoother for the wobs!

what happened to him?

He was expelled from the IWW for a range of things but basically extortion

Comrades, I most respectfully ask that this not be discussed here. This isn't about ASR, internal IWW issues or Bekken himself.

Thanks comrades.

gypsy
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Oct 11 2010 20:18
syndicalist wrote:
888 wrote:
allybaba wrote:
888 wrote:
I don't really know the story between ASR and WSA, but Bekken is an expert at blowing up minor disagreements into political shitstorms. Now that he's gone from the IWW, things should hopefully run a lot smoother for the wobs!

what happened to him?

He was expelled from the IWW for a range of things but basically extortion

Comrades, I most respectfully ask that this not be discussed here. This isn't about ASR, internal IWW issues or Bekken himself.

Thanks comrades.

im a member of the iww here, so was just wondering. cheers

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sabot
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Oct 11 2010 22:24

First, thanks to Dead End, syndicalist, and others for there responses.

Dead End wrote:
Strange that it has roots in stuff that happened before I was born or that I don't care?

Strange that the fued goes so far back and no reconciliation. I'm not a big fan of baseless conflicts that have no bearing.

syndicalist wrote:
1. WSA (and two of our founding groups before our formation) belong to the IWA from 1979-1999. From 2000 forward WSA has consistantly mainted relations and have stood in solidarity with IWA member sections. Our relations mainly consists of relations with either
individual sections, locals of sections or with militants within sections. The WSA has a consistant policy (and stated many times here on Libcom) of our willingness to work with all IWA Sections who wish to work with us. At this time there are no plans to pursue any discussions about our position inside the IWA. There are currently no relations with the IWA Secretariat (although WSA continues to send them info emails on a periodic basis). The WSA will always be internationalist.

If I'm reading this correctly, are there sections in the IWA who are not willing to work with the WSA at the present time?

syndicalist wrote:
3. I'm not sure I exactly understand what you mean by point #3. Can you please expand on it a bit or clarify more?

Sure, this is the part I'm wondering about:

Quote:
We also support the building of autonomous rank-and-file movements in the AFL-CIO and Change to Win unions, independent of the bureaucracy. The sort of rank-and-file opposition movements that we support should not aim at merely electing a different leadership, but should aim at changing the union into a social movement based on mass participation and member control.

Does this mean an attempt to change the structure of business unions such as the AFL-CIO from within? If so, how does the WSA tactically go about this? Has it had any success in the past?

P.S.- Hope to hear from the WSA soon. wink

petey
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Oct 11 2010 22:37
syndicalist wrote:
Basically, we changed the language to better accurately reflect longstanding practices (folks involved in workplace, housing, transportation stuggles).

Hope this helps.

yes, thanks

syndicalist
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Oct 12 2010 00:07

Thanks Sabot, let me give a try at this.

Quote:
syndicalist wrote:
1. WSA (and two of our founding groups before our formation) belong to the IWA from 1979-1999. From 2000 forward WSA has consistantly mainted relations and have stood in solidarity with IWA member sections. Our relations mainly consists of relations with either
individual sections, locals of sections or with militants within sections. The WSA has a consistant policy (and stated many times here on Libcom) of our willingness to work with all IWA Sections who wish to work with us. At this time there are no plans to pursue any discussions about our position inside the IWA. There are currently no relations with the IWA Secretariat (although WSA continues to send them info emails on a periodic basis). The WSA will always be internationalist.

Sabot:

If I'm reading this correctly, are there sections in the IWA who are not willing to work with the WSA at the present time?

A bit more "complicated" than that. The IWA relations are not really based on a decentalized format, certainly when it comes to unaffiliated organizations. Contacts, etc. are supposed to go through the IWA Secretariat. The reality is that many Sections have relations with a whole host of groups and organizations. In the case of certain organizations (Swedish SAC, Spanish CGT. CNT-Vignoles, USI-Roma), the IWA has a blanket "no contact" policy. No contact is allowed with the Secretraiats of these organizations, but somehow local-to-local contact is permissabl, Having been in the IWA, the WSA seems to be in a sort of gray area, well, gray for the IWA, not for us. So some IWA Sections have more interest or stronger bonds to the WSA then others. Not sure if this complicates things, but it's not a black and white situation either.

Quote:
syndicalist wrote:
3. I'm not sure I exactly understand what you mean by point #3. Can you please expand on it a bit or clarify more?

Sure, this is the part I'm wondering about:

Sabot wrote:
We also support the building of autonomous rank-and-file movements in the AFL-CIO and Change to Win unions, independent of the bureaucracy. The sort of rank-and-file opposition movements that we support should not aim at merely electing a different leadership, but should aim at changing the union into a social movement based on mass participation and member control.

Does this mean an attempt to change the structure of business unions such as the AFL-CIO from within? If so, how does the WSA tactically go about this? Has it had any success in the past?

"From within" for us means that if you are a member of a union your fight takes place in that context. Tactically the aim is to create a situation of dual power. The power of the individual workplace and local members in building at as much control and self-management of affairs and struggles "from below" as much as possible. Does this mean seeking electoral struggles for leadership positions or for field rep positions, no it does not. If tactically appropriate would steward, contract committeperson or health and safety reps be out of the question, maybe not. But these would still have to be shopfloor, directly elected positions.

Our longer term goals would eventually to be groupings within the unions to peel them away, to federate with other rebel groupings that have fomed in similiar situations.

How succesful have we been in this tactic, well, our numbers or abilites to do this thus far haven't been too great. Then again, who really has? I think that a number of us have enaged over years in efforts to implement many of our ideas. Perhaps as we grow, have more concentrated numbers in some sectors we can enage in a more concrete and systematic way. Until such time, some of this will be hit and missed and lots left up to the individual miliatnt.

Of course the "from within" part is only one aspect to our overall approach. And as less and less private sector workers are in unions WSA members will more and more find themselves in circumstances where they could organize independently of the maintsream unions.

trusting this is a clear enough reply.

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sabot
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Oct 12 2010 00:54

hehe, clear as mud. smile

syndicalist
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Oct 12 2010 00:57
sabot wrote:
hehe, clear as mud. :)

sorry, I tried...what's murky?

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jesuithitsquad
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Oct 12 2010 01:09

I'd just like to say thanks to syndicalist and the other WSA-ers for their even-handed and detailed responses. It's been an informative thread.

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sabot
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Oct 12 2010 01:09

Na, no worries. smile Although one thing I'm still dont understand fully is the "no contact" policy.

syndicalist
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Oct 12 2010 01:25
sabot wrote:
...Although one thing I'm still dont understand fully is the "no contact" policy.

"No contact".... basically, no contact with organizations that are or perceived to be "hostile" to IWA Section and/or the Aims & Principles of the IWA. I guess for some, the WSA is perceived as hostile to some because we have an open contact policy.... who really knows truthfully. I think someone in the IWA "know" that would be in a better position to answer the current IWA perspective on this.

gypsy
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Oct 12 2010 06:14

the WSA and the IWA should really be comrades again. Is there any chance they will apoligise and you will join them once more?

syndicalist
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Oct 12 2010 13:24
allybaba wrote:
the WSA and the IWA should really be comrades again. Is there any chance they will apoligise and you will join them once more?

Yes, the IWA Secretariat should apologise to the WSA.

I think the IWA question is not on our immediate agenda. Building meaningful and mutually respectful bridges with IWA Sections would work just fine at this time. But this is strictly a personal opinion.

Caiman del Barrio
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Oct 12 2010 13:55
allybaba wrote:
the WSA and the IWA should really be comrades again. Is there any chance they will apoligise and you will join them once more?

Christ, HOW many times have we been over this? It must be frustrating for Syndicalist to have to repeat himself over and over again, please drop this Ally.

As far as the IWA "no contact" thing goes, well it's absurd and borderline sectarian. Suffice to say it's not adhered to by every local of every section.

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Juan Conatz
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Oct 12 2010 15:06
Quote:
Dead End is correct in saying that the "bullets" which appear on the top of this thread are not official statements. They were written by me in an effort to try to give a "feel" for what "some of the activities our members are involved in."

Actually syndicalist, I was taking about how my own opinions were not WSA positions or had even been discussed.

Quote:
Dead End, if anything I said came across as confrontation, I do apologize. As someone said earlier, however the WSA chooses to structure its membership requirements, that's purely the business of the WSA. Personally, I thought it'd be a bit more expressly anarcho-syndicalist. It appears from your posts the net is cast a bit wider than that. Cool, that's fine. On a personal level and certainly the London branches of SolFed, we are looking forward to developing closer relationship with the WSA, both politically and in terms of practical solidarity.

Final thing, the argument that I was making wasn't that pareconists are more likely to adopt no-strike clauses or cross-class alliances. It's only that, for me in my own organizing and in my organizations, I worry that political differences may play out on the ground.

For example, at the time of the Vestas occupation, there were some radicals arguing for nationalization; others to turn it into a workers co-op; and other arguing for resolution that build the class--in terms of confidence and victories--for bigger battles whilst giving the workers as much as possible in terms of a payout including redundancy and pension. I think I can safely say that SolFed fell into the latter category and I think this comes from the fact we're much tighter in our politics (at least the London branches and the branches we're close to).

No, I didn't interpret any hostility from you. Most of this stuff is legitimate questions, I just may disagree with people on it.I guess I haven't really seen those type of disagreements come up in WSA in terms of practical work.To me, it seems that most disagreements occur over words, not action.

Quote:
I think the IWA question is not on our immediate agenda. Building meaningful and mutually respectful bridges with IWA Sections would work just fine at this time

I agree with this. I'm assuming most in the WSA at this point only know the IWA through libcom posters and hearing about the whole debacle that happened in the past. I'm not sure that's the best basis for affiliation... neutral

gypsy
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Oct 12 2010 16:53
Caiman del Barrio wrote:
allybaba wrote:
the WSA and the IWA should really be comrades again. Is there any chance they will apoligise and you will join them once more?

Christ, HOW many times have we been over this? It must be frustrating for Syndicalist to have to repeat himself over and over again, please drop this Ally.

As far as the IWA "no contact" thing goes, well it's absurd and borderline sectarian. Suffice to say it's not adhered to by every local of every section.

chill out mate neutral

syndicalist
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Oct 12 2010 17:00
allybaba wrote:
Caiman del Barrio wrote:
allybaba wrote:
the WSA and the IWA should really be comrades again. Is there any chance they will apoligise and you will join them once more?

Christ, HOW many times have we been over this? It must be frustrating for Syndicalist to have to repeat himself over and over again, please drop this Ally.

As far as the IWA "no contact" thing goes, well it's absurd and borderline sectarian. Suffice to say it's not adhered to by every local of every section.

chill out mate neutral

I will play the same broken record as long as people want to hear it groucho But I think there's enough stuff here on Libcom on this subject already.