IWW Sites

Wobblies of the World – Interview

Industrial Workers of the World - Mon, 2017-06-26 20:33

By staff - New Syndicalist, June 20, 2017

New Syndicalist Blog spoke to Peter Cole, David Struthers and Kenyon Zimmer about their upcoming volume, ‘Wobblies of the World: A Global History of the IWW’ – available for preorder from Pluto Press. We asked them what their history revealed about the organising approaches of the IWW in the past, what lessons can be learned for the future and how the One Big Union has adapted to a changing world.

1. What motivated you to publish a global history of the IWW at this time? 

Although the world seems insane right now, our book was conceived of some years back—but shit was crazy then, too. Just as the rise of the global New Left in the 1960s sparked interest in the history of the Wobblies so have recent events. Anti-globalization, Occupy Wall Street, the Arab Spring, and other recent social movements were impressive but lacked a strong union presence. However, these push-backs against neoliberalism revealed examples of anarchist and anarcho-syndicalist tactics and ideals, a la the IWW of old. We believe that history must be “useable,” meaning people should look to Wobbly history for examples of successful struggles that are applicable to the present-day. Transformations within history as an academic discipline also made this book possible, as scholars have increasingly turned to global and transnational approaches to topics previously studies within neat national compartments, as thought people, goods, and ideas have not always traversed (and transgressed) borders.

2. Did your contributors reveal any significant variations in the IWW over place or time? 

Obviously, for the IWW to grow in the soil of many lands, it had to adapt to local conditions. In Australia, the IWW worked with the mainstream unions—despite ideological differences—in opposing World War I, which resulted in surprising solidarity from those unions when the IWW suffered fierce government repression. In Ireland, one-time Wobblies led a nationalist revolution. What Wobblies did in Tampico, Mexico could be quite different than what they did in Malmö, Sweden. Perhaps equally fascinating are the commonalties. For one, the IWW did not shed its bedrock opposition to racism and xenophobia, no matter the mainstream customs of whichever society in which it organised. The IWW was the first white-majority union or organisation to attempt lining up Maori in New Zealand and Xhosa in South Africa. The IWW rejected anti-Asian sentiment in California and embraced Finns across northern Ontario. Some things never change.

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IWW and radical influences on the San Francisco waterfront

Industrial Workers of the World - Mon, 2017-06-26 20:27

By Hieronymous - Libcom.org, May 3, 2017

For May Day 2017 Local 10 of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union invoked a contractual "stop-work" privilege and refused to work any Bay Area docks in celebration of International Workers Day for the third consecutive year. This speech, originally delivered at the 75th Anniversary of the 1934 San Francisco General Strike at the Marine Firemen’s Hall in San Francisco, was adapted for the rally preceding the May Day march on May 1, 2017.

    John Ross wrote:
    In my own country
    amnesia is the norm,
    the schools teach us
    to unremember from birth,
    the slave taking, the risings up,
    the songs of resistance,
    the first May first,
    our martyrs from Haymarket
    to Attica to the redwoods of California
    ripped whole from our hearts,
    erased from official memory . . .
    (from "Against Amnesia)

In the 1950s, when he was a North Beach resident, poet Allen Ginsberg shipped out various times with the merchant marines from the Embarcadero. Earlier, the proximity of the waterfront to the vibrant intellectual life of the bohemians and political radicals of North Beach made San Francisco the most radical port city in the U.S. But Ginsberg lived in North Beach during the height of the Cold War, so perhaps it should be expected that his poem “America” has the line:

Allen Ginsberg wrote:
“America I feel sentimental about the Wobblies”

Poet Kenneth Rexroth, who was close to the circle of anarchists and anti-World War II pacifists who founded KPFA in 1949, and earlier had been a soapboxer and wrote for the Waterfront Worker, said this about the pre-World War II period:

Kenneth Rexroth wrote:
. . . people became involved in red San Francisco. The interesting thing is that most of them became practical labor organizers, rather than Bohemians sitting around Union Square arguing about proletarian literature . . . You see, all of us were very actively involved and this makes all the difference in the world. Another thing, very few of these people were orthodox Commies because the basic tradition on the West Coast was IWW.

From the California Gold Rush onwards, a worker on the West Coast could easily go out and get a job in the woods or at sea or in the fields.

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Categories: IWW Sites

Utica, NY: IWW and Community Groups Mobilize to Halt Deportation

Industrial Workers of the World - Sun, 2017-06-18 17:42

By anonymous - It's Going Down, June 8, 2017

A father, soccer coach, and Utica resident Ricky Morgan was separated from his family on June 5th during a routine check-in with ICE and will now be deported to Jamaica. Family members, community members and local activists are struggling to come to terms with this sudden, grim reality.

Over the last few months, a broad coalition of organizations, including ICE-Free Capital District, the labor union Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), Troy Sanctuary Movement and the Unitarian Universalist Society of Saratoga Springs have come to Ricky’s aid and accompanied him for monthly check-ins with ICE. Ricky was inspired by a previous rally activists held for a mother and immigrant from Hudson, NY who was facing deportation. He hoped that similar support from the community would help him in the future. For a while, Ricky was only checking in with ICE once a year until he was told after the election of Trump that he became a priority for deportation and had to check in with ICE monthly.

Ricky moved to the US in the 1990s on a work visa and is still permitted to work in the US. He was targeted in the past by ICE during the Obama administration and was separated from his family by ICE for six months while he was kept in Batavia’s ICE Detention Center, one of countless jails in the US that exist to house immigrants. He will now be sent back to Batavia before his deportation.

Joe Paparone, an organizer with ICE-Free Capital District stated: “We need to start telling the truth. Immigration enforcement has nothing to do with criminality, and it’s regular people like Ricky – people with families, communities, workplaces, neighbors, that are having their lives torn apart, for no reason other than the racist scapegoating of a pathological liar. Those of us who care about our communities are going to keep fighting this racist deportation regime, and keep standing up for vulnerable members of our communities.”

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Categories: IWW Sites

Portland May Day 2017 — Official Response

Industrial Workers of the World - Thu, 2017-05-25 20:05

By the Portland IWW - Portland IWW, May 4, 2017

This was originally sent to KOIN 6 as a response to the events that took place on May Day in Portland.

The Industrial Workers of the World is proud that we were able to celebrate International Workers Day and march in solidarity with so many organizations which are essential and vibrant to the community of Portland and at large. International Workers Day is an important holiday that showcases the struggle of all workers against the wholesale societal systemic oppression brought about by corporations, CEOs, and the mega-rich capitalist class. The fact that there was such a strong contingent of marchers from all walks of life is representative of the American working class.

The Portland Police Bureau’s use of violence against workers and their families – as well as the children who were in the crowd celebrating the holiday with their parents – is a travesty and a violation of both human rights, as well as the right to peaceful assembly. We condemn their efforts in restricting accessibility to fellow workers with disabilities, and their blatant disregard for the health and well-being of the people they have sworn to protect. By direct contrast, they assisted visible white supremacists and white nationalists at the “March for Free Speech 82nd Ave,” specifically a non-permitted march by pro-Trump supporters on April 29th by chartering Tri-Met buses and public transportation to get these people, some of whom were making Nazi salutes during their protest, back to their vehicles.

Our goal is and has always been to support and assist the workers of the world, and we will continue to fight for the needs of all in the face of police and capitalist oppression, and stand by our watchword that an injury to one is an injury to all. As such, the Portland Police Bureau inflicted shameful injury against the workers, their families, and their children during the May Day march; we will stand against that in solidarity with our fellow workers.

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Report Back from DC: Standing in Solidarity with Fellow Worker Julia Flores

Industrial Workers of the World - Thu, 2017-05-25 19:59

By Anonymous Contributor - It's Going Down, May 20, 2017

On April 30th, the DC Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) staged a picket in support of fellow worker Julia Flores, a member of the IWW and the Comité de Apoyo Laboral y Poder Obrero (the Comité), who was wrongfully terminated by Whole Foods in September 2016. After 15 years of service, Whole Foods retaliated against Julia for collectively organizing to win back a fellow worker’s job. Since Julia’s wrongful termination, she has made several appeals to the company’s local and regional leadership only to be dismissed without justice. In December 2016, the manager who terminated Julia, Victor Vazquez,  was fired along with eight other managers, for ‘stealing bonuses’. Our picket was not only in support of Julia’s Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) claim but to demand her reinstatement as well as restitution.  Our message to Whole Foods and the surrounding employers was clear: We, the workers of the District of Columbia, will not tolerate repression of fellow workers, retaliation for organizing our workplaces, or wage theft. An injury to one is an injury to all!

Our coalition was comprised of around sixty comrades including members of Many Languages One Voice (MLOV), the Comité, the IWW and its General Defense Committee (GDC), the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), Socialist Alternative, Future is Feminist, DC Stampede, DC Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), and the Socialist Snack Squad. We assembled at 10:30 am to review our overall strategy, our contingency escalation plan, and individual roles. The fulcrum of the action was a delegation of five comrades that accompanied Julia to Whole Foods to present her demands to the store manager in advance of the picket. Unsurprisingly, Whole Foods refused to negotiate and demanded the delegation leave the store. While we had no illusion that the bosses had any intention of conceding, workers organizing an effective picket should clearly articulate their demands to both the bosses as well as to the wider community.  The delegation relayed the details of their meeting to the picket and then proceeded to canvas nearby businesses to put pressure on Whole Foods. At each stop the delegation explained the circumstances of Julia’s wrongful termination, Whole Food’s history of worker repression, and the delegation’s recent treatment by the store manager.

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AT&T Workers, You Are Not Alone! Strike Flyer Handout

Industrial Workers of the World - Fri, 2017-05-19 17:18

If you are reading this then over 40,000 CWA union members have walked off their jobs as part of a three day strike against AT&T. The strike at the telecommunications giant is just one of the latest in a string of strikes by workers in the industry that have all pushed back against attacks on wages, health care, job outsourcing, and corporate globalization.

Despite tough talk from both major capitalist parties and Trump in particular, since the economic meltdown of 2008, the only thing that has changed is that billions of dollars have moved out of the hands of poor and working-class people and into the hands of the billionaires – who are now running the government.

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Ann Arbor canvassers file for union election with the IWW

Industrial Workers of the World - Tue, 2017-05-16 13:55

With the election of Trump, the demand for nonprofit fundraising is on the rise. Sadly, the people who do this important work are often poorly compensated for their much-needed labor. In Ann Arbor, employees of the progressive-oriented canvassing firm, Grassroots Campaigns Incorporated, are demanding better working conditions and higher wages.

To this end, canvassers and field managers with the Boston-based company's Ann Arbor office have applied for a National Labor Relations Board election for union recognition with the Industrial Workers of the World union. GCI employees submitted paperwork for the election on May 12. An overwhelming majority of workers at the company’s Ann Arbor office have signed union cards.

"We decided to organize, because we felt that the charitable organizations that we fundraise for would be less than thrilled to hear that the people who are doing the fundraising for them are being paid minimum wage with no benefits or any possibility of advancement," says GCI employee Brett Mcfann.

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One Class, One Struggle! Undocumented and Documented Workers Unite on May Day

Industrial Workers of the World - Mon, 2017-05-08 21:30

By Patrick O’Donoghue - The Organizer, May 1, 2017

A Day of Resistance!

Today is May Day, or as we in the labor movement call it, International Worker’s Day- a day of celebration and resistance for working class people. It is a day not only of looking forward to the future, but also remembering the lessons of the past. May Day commemorates the struggle of the Haymarket Martyrs, a group of labor organizers, most of them immigrants, executed in Chicago for their work in the Eight Hour Day movement. The Eight Hour Day was the first time that workers around the world joined together in one campaign, supporting each other’s strikes and protests around a single demand- reduce the work day to eight hours, without a cut in pay. The movement faced violence and arrests from governments, but eventually won in country after country. The eight hour day became the basic work day for workers across the countries where the movement fought, with victories across Europe, North and South America, Australia, Iran, Japan, and elsewhere. Over a century ago, workers realized the power we have when we refuse to be divided by borders, industry, or race.

This May Day is also the Day Without Immigrants. It is the latest in a wave of of day strike by immigrant workers- not only to protest wages and work conditions, but also to protest the Trump’s plans to increase deportations. Under the Trump’s ramping up of the Obama administration’s already record-breaking deportations, ICE has increasingly targeted previously protected DREAMers and other undocumented people not otherwise criminalized by the state. ICE raids are becoming more regular even in “Sanctuary Cities”, and more of our neighbors, coworkers, family, and friends are being captured, torn from their homes, forced through over-crowded detention centers and courts without due process.

In the Twin Cities, many of the actions today are organized by CTUL, the workers center for low wage workers of color, especially immigrant workers. Even more of the walk outs and sick outs are “wildcat” actions organized on the shop floor between undocumented workers, without needing the go-ahead from a union or organizer.

By striking, these undocumented workers are showing how important they are to making the world run. How many restaurants are shut down today because the back end staff didn’t come in? How many landscapers and construction companies who rely on day laborerers are not making money today? How many farm fields aren’t being worked? Every day, undocumented immigrant workers do some of the toughest jobs in America, and the country starts to grind to a halt without immigrant workers. Deportations crackdowns have already left millions of dollars of produce to rot in the fields in Alabama, Georgia, and California as farmers dependent on exploiting undocumented workers can’t find Americans to work for as low as $10,000-$12,000 a year. The four industries with the most undocumented workforce- agriculture, cleaning and maintenance, construction, and food preparation and service- are all expecting labor shortages if Trump’s deportation plan is carried out. American companies and bosses need our immigrant fellow workers- but the administration and parts of the press try to tell workers who are citizens that undocumented workers are hurting American working standards. Nothing could be further from the truth.

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Industrial Worker—Spring 2017 #1779 Vol. 114, No. 2

Industrial Workers of the World - Sat, 2017-04-29 00:25
Organize and Mobilize!

In this issue:

  • May Day mass action—'Strike from Below': Service workers in the U.S. South united in a general strike for the rights of workers, immigrants, Black Lives, Muslims, and all the other targets of the Trump Administration.
  • Look to the past to escape Trump's present: 1946 was the last year of the great general strikes. Trump plans to undo every workers' gain since the 19th century. We need to look back to the lessons from Oakland.
  • Coat-hanger direct action: The best action is direct action. Sometimes keeping things simple works best in a complicated society.
  • Momentum builds for May Day strikes: All around the U.S., workers are responding to assaults on rights—not from the bosses but from the government.

. . . and more!

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Categories: IWW Sites

Industrial Worker—Spring 2017 #1779 Vol. 114, No. 2

Industrial Workers of the World - Sat, 2017-04-29 00:25
Organize and Mobilize!

In this issue:

  • May Day mass action—'Strike from Below': Service workers in the U.S. South united in a general strike for the rights of workers, immigrants, Black Lives, Muslims, and all the other targets of the Trump Administration.
  • Look to the past to escape Trump's present: 1946 was the last year of the great general strikes. Trump plans to undo every workers' gain since the 19th century. We need to look back to the lessons from Oakland.
  • Coat-hanger direct action: The best action is direct action. Sometimes keeping things simple works best in a complicated society.
  • Momentum builds for May Day strikes: All around the U.S., workers are responding to assaults on rights—not from the bosses but from the government.

. . . and more!

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Categories: IWW Sites

Sign Onto Statement of Solidarity With J20 Defendants

Industrial Workers of the World - Sat, 2017-04-29 00:14

By anonymous - It's Going Down, April 26, 2017

The following statement was drafted by supporters of those arrested at Inauguration protests in DC on January 20th, with the intent of providing a public platform for organizations around North America to express their collective opposition to these charges. The list of signees will be posted and continually updated at defendJ20resistance.org and several other sites. To have your group or crew sign on, send an email to J20endorsements@protonmail.com.

Statement of Solidarity with #DisruptJ20 Defendants

On January 20, 2017, tens of thousands of people converged in Washington, D.C. for the #disruptJ20 protests to oppose the inauguration of Donald Trump. A combination of blockades, marches, and festive demonstrations shattered the spectacle of a peaceful transition of power, and made it clear around the world that people do not recognize Trump’s authority. What could have been a day signaling resignation and defeat became a moment of defiance and resistance. As such, the protests on J20 set a tone and precedent for the events that unfolded shortly after, including the notably successful, mass direct actions at airports against Trump’s Muslim ban, as well as ongoing resistance to deportations. While Trump and his alt-right foot soldiers have encountered few meaningful obstacles from liberal politicians in the halls of power, grassroots resistance has continued to prove a substantial force.

Unfortunately, however, with resistance comes repression. In addition to shooting pepper spray and concussion grenades indiscriminately at protesters, including children, the elderly, and people with disabilities, DC police cordoned off an entire block and mass arrested more than 230 people in an attempt to stop an anti-capitalist and anti-fascist march. While mass arrests are not unheard of, in this case arrestees are each being charged with felony riot, a charge that potentially carries ten years in prison.

With these heightened charges the state is trying to set a precedent for harsh crackdowns of disruptive protest in the future, so that Trump can proceed with his agenda unimpeded by anything but symbolic hand-wringing. This strategy corresponds with a broader wave of repression and reaction, from the arrests and grand jury investigations of Indigenous water protectors at #StandingRock to backlash against #BlackLivesMatter and black-led uprisings against police. The arrests at J20 also inform local strategies for repression, including anti-protest laws that have been proposed in 18 different state legislatures, which further criminalize commonly used tactics like highway takeovers and in some cases make it legal for drivers to knowingly hit protesters marching in roadways.

The charges against J20 defendants are an experiment. If the courts are able to successfully prosecute those arrested at J20, this will send a green light to the forces of repression seeking to contain, control, and eliminate social movements around the country. Just as all of our struggles are connected, we understand these arrests to represent a real threat to all efforts towards true freedom, dignity, and autonomy. We call for the immediate dropping of all charges, and express our sincere solidarity with and support for those arrested, and encourage others to do so as well.

Signed,

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Categories: IWW Sites

Sign Onto Statement of Solidarity With J20 Defendants

Industrial Workers of the World - Sat, 2017-04-29 00:14

By anonymous - It's Going Down, April 26, 2017

The following statement was drafted by supporters of those arrested at Inauguration protests in DC on January 20th, with the intent of providing a public platform for organizations around North America to express their collective opposition to these charges. The list of signees will be posted and continually updated at defendJ20resistance.org and several other sites. To have your group or crew sign on, send an email to J20endorsements@protonmail.com.

Statement of Solidarity with #DisruptJ20 Defendants

On January 20, 2017, tens of thousands of people converged in Washington, D.C. for the #disruptJ20 protests to oppose the inauguration of Donald Trump. A combination of blockades, marches, and festive demonstrations shattered the spectacle of a peaceful transition of power, and made it clear around the world that people do not recognize Trump’s authority. What could have been a day signaling resignation and defeat became a moment of defiance and resistance. As such, the protests on J20 set a tone and precedent for the events that unfolded shortly after, including the notably successful, mass direct actions at airports against Trump’s Muslim ban, as well as ongoing resistance to deportations. While Trump and his alt-right foot soldiers have encountered few meaningful obstacles from liberal politicians in the halls of power, grassroots resistance has continued to prove a substantial force.

Unfortunately, however, with resistance comes repression. In addition to shooting pepper spray and concussion grenades indiscriminately at protesters, including children, the elderly, and people with disabilities, DC police cordoned off an entire block and mass arrested more than 230 people in an attempt to stop an anti-capitalist and anti-fascist march. While mass arrests are not unheard of, in this case arrestees are each being charged with felony riot, a charge that potentially carries ten years in prison.

With these heightened charges the state is trying to set a precedent for harsh crackdowns of disruptive protest in the future, so that Trump can proceed with his agenda unimpeded by anything but symbolic hand-wringing. This strategy corresponds with a broader wave of repression and reaction, from the arrests and grand jury investigations of Indigenous water protectors at #StandingRock to backlash against #BlackLivesMatter and black-led uprisings against police. The arrests at J20 also inform local strategies for repression, including anti-protest laws that have been proposed in 18 different state legislatures, which further criminalize commonly used tactics like highway takeovers and in some cases make it legal for drivers to knowingly hit protesters marching in roadways.

The charges against J20 defendants are an experiment. If the courts are able to successfully prosecute those arrested at J20, this will send a green light to the forces of repression seeking to contain, control, and eliminate social movements around the country. Just as all of our struggles are connected, we understand these arrests to represent a real threat to all efforts towards true freedom, dignity, and autonomy. We call for the immediate dropping of all charges, and express our sincere solidarity with and support for those arrested, and encourage others to do so as well.

Signed,

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Categories: IWW Sites

An Open Letter from Environmental & Climate Justice Organizations on May Day

Industrial Workers of the World - Sat, 2017-04-29 00:08

By Climate Workers and Movement Generation Justice & Ecology Project - Originally posted on Climate Workers, April 28, 2017; crossposted from ecology.iww.org.

An Open Letter from Environmental & Climate Justice Organizations on May Day

Worker power, immigrant rights, and racial justice must be at the heart of environmental and climate movements

As environmental and climate justice organizations, we declare our support for protests planned for International Workers Day (“May Day”), May 1st, 2017 and for workers who choose to participate by honoring the general strike.

International Workers’ Day was first established to commemorate the deaths of workers fighting for the 8-hour work day in Chicago in 1886. It has long been a day to uplift the struggles, honor the sacrifices, and celebrate the triumphs of working people across the world. The day has taken special significance in the U.S. since May 1st, 2006 when 1.5 million immigrants and their allies took to the streets to protest racist immigration policies.

Today, workers face unprecedented attacks on wages, benefits, workplace safety, and the right to organize free from fear and retaliation. But we know that we are all stronger when workers in our communities have safe, fair, and dignified employment with which they can support their families without fear of deportation or violence.

The effects of our fossil fuel economy fall first and worst on working class communities, communities of color, immigrants, and indigenous peoples who have not only contributed the least to climate disruption, but have the least resources to shoulder the burden of a transition to a new, climate-friendly economy. It is these frontline communities who are also at the forefront of change and whose solutions and leadership we most need.

As organizations working to transition our economy away from profit-seeking resource extraction toward ecological resilience and economic democracy, we know that worker power has to be at the heart of that transition.

We urgently need the wisdom and skills of millions of workers to transform our food, water, waste, transit, and energy systems in order to live within the finite resources of this planet that we call home. But the Trump agenda only promises jobs building more prison cells, border walls, bombs, and oil pipelines. Workers deserve not only fair wages, but work that makes our ecosystems and communities more resilient, not destroys them.

Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. No significant social change in this country has come without tremendous risk and sacrifice by ordinary people – from workers who walk off the job to water protectors facing down water cannons and attack dogs.

As environmental and climate justice organizations, we support workers who choose to walk off their jobs on May 1st because we know that the fight to protect land, water, air and soil is inseparable from the fight to protect the life and dignity of workers, migrants, and communities of color.

To workers participating in protests on May 1st, we say: “Thank you. You deserve better. And we’ve got your back.”

To that end, we join with unions and worker-led organizations throughout the country in asking that there be NO RETALIATION against any worker – union or non union – who exercises their rights by taking time off from work on May 1. Further, should workers face retaliation, we pledge our strong support for efforts to defend those workers.

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Categories: IWW Sites

An Open Letter from Environmental & Climate Justice Organizations on May Day

Industrial Workers of the World - Sat, 2017-04-29 00:08

By Climate Workers and Movement Generation Justice & Ecology Project - Originally posted on Climate Workers, April 28, 2017; crossposted from ecology.iww.org.

An Open Letter from Environmental & Climate Justice Organizations on May Day

Worker power, immigrant rights, and racial justice must be at the heart of environmental and climate movements

As environmental and climate justice organizations, we declare our support for protests planned for International Workers Day (“May Day”), May 1st, 2017 and for workers who choose to participate by honoring the general strike.

International Workers’ Day was first established to commemorate the deaths of workers fighting for the 8-hour work day in Chicago in 1886. It has long been a day to uplift the struggles, honor the sacrifices, and celebrate the triumphs of working people across the world. The day has taken special significance in the U.S. since May 1st, 2006 when 1.5 million immigrants and their allies took to the streets to protest racist immigration policies.

Today, workers face unprecedented attacks on wages, benefits, workplace safety, and the right to organize free from fear and retaliation. But we know that we are all stronger when workers in our communities have safe, fair, and dignified employment with which they can support their families without fear of deportation or violence.

The effects of our fossil fuel economy fall first and worst on working class communities, communities of color, immigrants, and indigenous peoples who have not only contributed the least to climate disruption, but have the least resources to shoulder the burden of a transition to a new, climate-friendly economy. It is these frontline communities who are also at the forefront of change and whose solutions and leadership we most need.

As organizations working to transition our economy away from profit-seeking resource extraction toward ecological resilience and economic democracy, we know that worker power has to be at the heart of that transition.

We urgently need the wisdom and skills of millions of workers to transform our food, water, waste, transit, and energy systems in order to live within the finite resources of this planet that we call home. But the Trump agenda only promises jobs building more prison cells, border walls, bombs, and oil pipelines. Workers deserve not only fair wages, but work that makes our ecosystems and communities more resilient, not destroys them.

Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. No significant social change in this country has come without tremendous risk and sacrifice by ordinary people – from workers who walk off the job to water protectors facing down water cannons and attack dogs.

As environmental and climate justice organizations, we support workers who choose to walk off their jobs on May 1st because we know that the fight to protect land, water, air and soil is inseparable from the fight to protect the life and dignity of workers, migrants, and communities of color.

To workers participating in protests on May 1st, we say: “Thank you. You deserve better. And we’ve got your back.”

To that end, we join with unions and worker-led organizations throughout the country in asking that there be NO RETALIATION against any worker – union or non union – who exercises their rights by taking time off from work on May 1. Further, should workers face retaliation, we pledge our strong support for efforts to defend those workers.

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Categories: IWW Sites

Militant Tactics in Anti-Fascist Organizing--Interview Transcript

Industrial Workers of the World - Fri, 2017-04-28 18:23

By Matthew N Lyons - Three Way Fight, April 26, 2017

This interview with longtime anti-fascist activist Kieran (who was one of the founders of Three Way Fight thirteen years ago) covers a wide range of topics: from the work of Anti-Racist Action in the 1980s and 90s to the IWW’s General Defense Committee today, from the politics of wearing masks to the dangers of relying on the state for protection, and from engaging organized labor to building community-based self-defense against the far right.

The interview was conducted for KPFA Radio’s Against the Grain by the program’s co-producer Sasha Lilley and was broadcast on February 14, 2017. The audio recording is available for download or online listening here. The following transcription, by Clarissa Rogers, appears with the permission of Against the Grain and the participants.

Kieran was one of the founders of Anti-Racist Action, a youth-based direct action movement that organized against Nazi skinheads, the Ku Klux Klan, and the white power music scene from the 1980s to the 2000s. He’s now chief steward in a local union of telecom workers and is a member of the Industrial Workers of the World’s General Defense Committee, which has taken on anti-fascist work in a number of cities. In late January, a member of the General Defense Committee of the IWW was shot at a Milo Yiannopoulos event in Seattle. Against the Grain, a program of radical ideas originating from KPFA Radio, spoke with him after demonstrators closed down Yiannapoulous’ event at UC Berkeley on February 1st.

ATG: Kieran, many liberals and leftists believe that the right of free speech is paramount. As you know, protestors using militant tactics shut down a Milo Yiannopoulos event at UC Berkeley, which is the home of the Free Speech Movement. Why don’t you think that the right of free speech should be extended to fascists and the far right?

Kieran: There are a couple points to this. I think there’s both a question of strategy and tactics. I think that all of this is with the understanding that what we’re opposing is not the free speech of fascists, or the speeches of fascists. What we’re doing is opposing the organizing of the fascists. So, for instance, in my workplace, I work with workers with a whole range of opinions on all different kinds of questions. And occasionally you’re going to run into people who are influenced by far right politics. In those circumstances it doesn’t make sense for me to start a fight, a physical fight with a coworker since they raised some perspective that comes from that background.

But that’s totally different than a situation where you have an organization or a personality who’s using the framework of a public speech or an event, a forum, in order to advance political goals. And so the way we look at it is the way we would look at any kind of organizing done by that group with those aims.

In the case at UC Berkeley, this outright celebrity and provocateur, Milo Yiannopoulos, very clearly is trying to advance a certain kind of politics and more and more is trying to shape it into a movement. Our understanding is that he was planning to out undocumented students at Berkeley for the sole purpose of putting them under attack by Trump’s immigration forces. And, so, in that circumstance, we can’t let that attack go unchallenged. And I think that when you look at it from that perspective, it makes sense to try and oppose it.

If we just wait until they’ve created the groundswell, or created the base of support for these aggressive actions to take place, it can be too late. And so the way we approach fascist organizing or right wing organizing is not really focused on the question of free speech but is focused on whether or not we’re going to let them organize to implement their program. And our perspective is that we’re not. We’re going to challenge it. We’re going to try to stop it. We’re going to try to stop them.

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Categories: IWW Sites

Militant Tactics in Anti-Fascist Organizing--Interview Transcript

Industrial Workers of the World - Fri, 2017-04-28 18:23

By Matthew N Lyons - Three Way Fight, April 26, 2017

This interview with longtime anti-fascist activist Kieran (who was one of the founders of Three Way Fight thirteen years ago) covers a wide range of topics: from the work of Anti-Racist Action in the 1980s and 90s to the IWW’s General Defense Committee today, from the politics of wearing masks to the dangers of relying on the state for protection, and from engaging organized labor to building community-based self-defense against the far right.

The interview was conducted for KPFA Radio’s Against the Grain by the program’s co-producer Sasha Lilley and was broadcast on February 14, 2017. The audio recording is available for download or online listening here. The following transcription, by Clarissa Rogers, appears with the permission of Against the Grain and the participants.

Kieran was one of the founders of Anti-Racist Action, a youth-based direct action movement that organized against Nazi skinheads, the Ku Klux Klan, and the white power music scene from the 1980s to the 2000s. He’s now chief steward in a local union of telecom workers and is a member of the Industrial Workers of the World’s General Defense Committee, which has taken on anti-fascist work in a number of cities. In late January, a member of the General Defense Committee of the IWW was shot at a Milo Yiannopoulos event in Seattle. Against the Grain, a program of radical ideas originating from KPFA Radio, spoke with him after demonstrators closed down Yiannapoulous’ event at UC Berkeley on February 1st.

ATG: Kieran, many liberals and leftists believe that the right of free speech is paramount. As you know, protestors using militant tactics shut down a Milo Yiannopoulos event at UC Berkeley, which is the home of the Free Speech Movement. Why don’t you think that the right of free speech should be extended to fascists and the far right?

Kieran: There are a couple points to this. I think there’s both a question of strategy and tactics. I think that all of this is with the understanding that what we’re opposing is not the free speech of fascists, or the speeches of fascists. What we’re doing is opposing the organizing of the fascists. So, for instance, in my workplace, I work with workers with a whole range of opinions on all different kinds of questions. And occasionally you’re going to run into people who are influenced by far right politics. In those circumstances it doesn’t make sense for me to start a fight, a physical fight with a coworker since they raised some perspective that comes from that background.

But that’s totally different than a situation where you have an organization or a personality who’s using the framework of a public speech or an event, a forum, in order to advance political goals. And so the way we look at it is the way we would look at any kind of organizing done by that group with those aims.

In the case at UC Berkeley, this outright celebrity and provocateur, Milo Yiannopoulos, very clearly is trying to advance a certain kind of politics and more and more is trying to shape it into a movement. Our understanding is that he was planning to out undocumented students at Berkeley for the sole purpose of putting them under attack by Trump’s immigration forces. And, so, in that circumstance, we can’t let that attack go unchallenged. And I think that when you look at it from that perspective, it makes sense to try and oppose it.

If we just wait until they’ve created the groundswell, or created the base of support for these aggressive actions to take place, it can be too late. And so the way we approach fascist organizing or right wing organizing is not really focused on the question of free speech but is focused on whether or not we’re going to let them organize to implement their program. And our perspective is that we’re not. We’re going to challenge it. We’re going to try to stop it. We’re going to try to stop them.

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Categories: IWW Sites

IWW Members Stand with Fired Ford Union Organizer in Spain—Solidarity is Strength! (en Inglés y Espanol)

Industrial Workers of the World - Fri, 2017-04-28 17:51

By John O’Reilly - The Organizer, April 26, 2017

On Friday, March 24th, Twin Cities IWW members gathered outside the Roseville Ford dealership to stand in solidarity with a fired union organizer from our sister union in Spain. An organizer with the National Confederation of Labor (or CNT, for its name in Spanish) was fired in retaliation for organizing in Valencia, Spain. His court date for reinstatement was set for March 27th.

A dealership manager approached our members and told them they were annoyed that we were picketing their workplace. The manager insisted that the site was union friendly and then sent out the union representative from the service workers to talk with IWW picketers. IWW member BP reports that “after some good conversation with the steward, he said he was on our side and took a large quantity of flyers – much to the dismay of the manager!” Workers from the site soon gathered and mixed with IWW picketers, impressed by the dedication of our members to their coworker in Spain’s cause.

Ford’s restructuring plan, The Way Forward, lays out a strategy of closing down plants in the US and moving them overseas to countries where the wages are lower. That’s why, as IWW member ED points out, “the Twin Cities factory shut down, taking away 2000 well payed union jobs, while production is ramping up in Spain, where labor laws are changing to make firing workers easier.” But the strategy only works as long as wages remain low in those countries. “So, by busting unions in Spain, Ford can keep outsourcing jobs, which busts unions here in the US. An injury to one is very much an injury to all,” ED adds.

The working class in the United States and globally is under attack by the international capitalists and their buddies in government. By moving labor and attacking workers organizations, the bosses try to keep us divided and fighting with each other, instead of working across national boundaries. Outsourcing only works if unions around the world are kept divided and weak. As ED points out: “Global capitalism can only be answered with global labor solidarity!”

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Categories: IWW Sites

IWW Members Stand with Fired Ford Union Organizer in Spain—Solidarity is Strength! (en Inglés y Espanol)

Industrial Workers of the World - Fri, 2017-04-28 17:51

By John O’Reilly - The Organizer, April 26, 2017

On Friday, March 24th, Twin Cities IWW members gathered outside the Roseville Ford dealership to stand in solidarity with a fired union organizer from our sister union in Spain. An organizer with the National Confederation of Labor (or CNT, for its name in Spanish) was fired in retaliation for organizing in Valencia, Spain. His court date for reinstatement was set for March 27th.

A dealership manager approached our members and told them they were annoyed that we were picketing their workplace. The manager insisted that the site was union friendly and then sent out the union representative from the service workers to talk with IWW picketers. IWW member BP reports that “after some good conversation with the steward, he said he was on our side and took a large quantity of flyers – much to the dismay of the manager!” Workers from the site soon gathered and mixed with IWW picketers, impressed by the dedication of our members to their coworker in Spain’s cause.

Ford’s restructuring plan, The Way Forward, lays out a strategy of closing down plants in the US and moving them overseas to countries where the wages are lower. That’s why, as IWW member ED points out, “the Twin Cities factory shut down, taking away 2000 well payed union jobs, while production is ramping up in Spain, where labor laws are changing to make firing workers easier.” But the strategy only works as long as wages remain low in those countries. “So, by busting unions in Spain, Ford can keep outsourcing jobs, which busts unions here in the US. An injury to one is very much an injury to all,” ED adds.

The working class in the United States and globally is under attack by the international capitalists and their buddies in government. By moving labor and attacking workers organizations, the bosses try to keep us divided and fighting with each other, instead of working across national boundaries. Outsourcing only works if unions around the world are kept divided and weak. As ED points out: “Global capitalism can only be answered with global labor solidarity!”

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Categories: IWW Sites

Industrial Worker—Winter 2017 #1778 Vol. 114, No. 1

Industrial Workers of the World - Tue, 2017-04-25 21:58

Solidarity in Adversity

In this issue:  

  • Stardust Family United: End-of-the-year setbacks and successes buoy workers at Ellen's Stardust Diner
  • Solidarity in Adversity: For unions in the Trump era, workers and communities must work together
  • In November We Remembered: Wobblies commemorate the 1916 Everett Massacre, honoring the slain on the land and sea
  • Jewish Faces in the IWW: From lumberjacks to baristas, Jewish Wobblies have organized workers for over 100 years    

. . . and more!

Download a free PDF of this issue here.

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Categories: IWW Sites

Industrial Worker—Winter 2017 #1778 Vol. 114, No. 1

Industrial Workers of the World - Tue, 2017-04-25 21:58

Solidarity in Adversity

In this issue:  

  • Stardust Family United: End-of-the-year setbacks and successes buoy workers at Ellen's Stardust Diner
  • Solidarity in Adversity: For unions in the Trump era, workers and communities must work together
  • In November We Remembered: Wobblies commemorate the 1916 Everett Massacre, honoring the slain on the land and sea
  • Jewish Faces in the IWW: From lumberjacks to baristas, Jewish Wobblies have organized workers for over 100 years    

. . . and more!

Download a free PDF of this issue here.

read more

Categories: IWW Sites
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