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IWW Newswire: 2016-4

Wed, 04/27/2016 - 16:01

Compiled by x344543 - April 27, 2016

The following news items are culled from various other IWW (and other) internet news portals:

May Day: The Soap Box: Other:

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Categories: Unions

Wobbles 2016-5

Wed, 04/27/2016 - 15:29

Compiled by x344543 - April 27, 2016

The following news items may be of interest to revolutionary industrial workers:

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Categories: Unions

The 4th Precinct: a black anarchist’s perspective on struggle in Minneapolis’ Northside streets

Mon, 04/04/2016 - 16:28

By Ikemba Kuti - First of May Anarchist Alliance, March 25, 2016

On November 15th, 2015, police executed Jamar Clark in North Minneapolis, MN. Several witnesses claim that Mr. Clark was handcuffed and on the ground when he was shot in the head. Following the execution, an occupation of the 4th precinct police station took place on Plymouth Avenue.

The call for the encampment and occupation came from Black Lives Matter – Minneapolis. BLM-MPLS, is a part of the nation-wide organization of chapters that is backed by the Democratic Party of the same system that ensures black and brown communities are hyper- policed. BLM-St. Paul is not a part of the nation-wide organization, and has even been condemned for making Black Lives Matter as a whole “look bad” for simply chanting “Pigs in a blanket, fry ‘em like bacon…” while they are not a chartered chapter.

BLM-MPLS’ call for the encampment resulted in BLM organizers heading the movement with little to no democratic process until later in the struggle. The encampment also generated tensions arising from different agendas, ideologies, levels of anger, and an array of different tactics that different organizations and members of the community aimed to use.

The nationally connected Black Lives Matter-Minneapolis did, and does, great work at getting people to come out. Unfortunately, they also do great work channeling that revolutionary energy into their dogmatic nonviolent reformism due to an undeniable affiliation with the Democratic Party (the system), which must be noted by those interested in liberation of the people, and which is quickly revealed through research on those who are heading #CampaignZero (Black Lives Matter flow chart to attain a world with limited police terror).

Take note of campaign zero’s four person “planning team” these are important facts: “In 2014, Brittany helped bring community voice to the Ferguson Commission and President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing as an appointee to each. She’s been named one of TIME Magazine’s 12 New Faces of Black Leadership”1. This individual works directly for the president.

The remaining three are also heavily connected to non-profits such as Teach for America (TFA), which is also historically connected to maintaining the system. For example: TFA was recently given a grant to continue to project their brand through the media. Furthermore, another member of this four-person team was the other recipient; she is the director of St Louis TFA. TFA is, effectively, the leading edge of the neoliberal attempts to gut city schools and further hinder education equity, which in turn systemically hinders black and brown kids educational achievement under the guise of helping those kids.

As an anarchist, of African descent, I argue that we need revolutionary struggle controlled by the grassroots and not by top-down leaders. It was the domination of top-down leadership from BLM-Minneapolis, and their seemingly unconscious commitment to the system, that effectively steered Northside community militants away from 1) the encampment, 2) becoming further politicized, and 3) in playing any role in the organizing of their own communities self-determination. Their voices were effectively hushed; just as the system we function under has done for centuries to oppressed people of color.

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Categories: Unions

The Strike is On! Texas Prisoners Strike for Human Rights, End to Prison Slavery

Mon, 04/04/2016 - 16:17

TEXAS PRISON STRIKERS UPDATES:
UPDATE 1: Robertson Center is currently locked down due to the strike, despite denial by the TDCJ of such retaliatory actions. ‪#EyesOnTexas‬
UPDATE 2: We have recently received news from someone incarcerated in TX that the TDCJ is threatening prisoners with a 20 day lockdown of the entire prison system statewide in an effort discourage the strike. 'If you don't work for free we'll put you on lockdown'. #EyesOnTexas

CONTACT: Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC), an affiliate of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), 816-866-3808, iwoc@riseup.net

Houston, TX. In a historic action, members of the Industrial Workers of the World’s Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC) inside Texas prisons announced rolling prison strikes beginning this morning. As of 9:30 AM we have confirmed that Robertson Unit is on lockdown. Roach and Polunsky Units were on lockdown but have been released now.

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Categories: Unions

IWW Newswire: 2016-3

Tue, 03/29/2016 - 19:17

Compiled by x344543 - March 29, 2016

The following news items are culled from various other IWW (and other) internet news portals:

Lead: Other:

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Categories: Unions

Wobbles 2016-4

Wed, 03/23/2016 - 18:11

Compiled by x344543 - March 23, 2016

The following news items may be of interest to revolutionary industrial workers:

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Categories: Unions

Industrial Worker - Winter 2016

Wed, 02/24/2016 - 18:43

In this issue:

  • Twin Cities IWW’s Sisters Camelot Canvass Union stays strong in a three-year struggle
  • International Women's Day: Remembering the women who perished in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire
  • Remembering a long history of U.S.-led racist oppression
  •  ....and more! 

See attached, or view & share the issue online!

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Categories: Unions

Getting Beyond the Goods: Direct or Indirect Action in the American Union Movement

Sun, 02/21/2016 - 13:02

By Lu Brennan - Hampton Institute, February 15, 2016

It is very possible that in the next few years millions of American workers could win significant wage increases through minimum wage legislation, and do so without militant strikes or building their capacity for shop-floor direct action. For those of us fighting for significant wage increases this is great news, but for those of us fighting for an overthrow of capitalism, this should be very worrisome. Central to this tension is a strategic question, namely, Shall unionists prioritize direct or indirect action? If we aim for revolution, we must choose the former?

Direct action here refers to action on the shop floor using the power of workers in their position as the life-blood of social production. This includes strikes, slow-downs, and various other tactics that directly contest the bosses' power at the site of production. Direct action not only disrupts production, it also questions the legitimacy, and even viability, of the bosses' power. In contrast, indirect action refers to those tactics that exert pressure through the various channels of contestation in broader society, whether that be through legislation, elections, or corporate smear campaigns that fight an institutional tug of war between the companies and the unions. Indirect action stages workers as one interest group among many, vying for influence. Today, within the American union movement, there is a prioritization of indirect action over direct action. When direct action is taken it is only within an overall strategy of indirect action. In this scenario, whether that be strikes included in a corporate campaign or mass worker demonstrations in support of minimum wage legislation, the overall logic of indirect action takes over and explicitly aims to foreclose the more radical possibilities immanent to direct action. The current dominance of indirect action is so entrenched for good reason. That is, because it is the result of decades of careful work developing successful union strategy. However, revolutionaries in the union movement must be committed to a reverse prioritization, not because direct action makes for better union strategy, but because from a revolutionary perspective, direct action is an end in-itself.

To begin, we must establish another distinction, between a purely union framework and a revolutionary one. A purely union framework is aimed exclusively at increasing the bargaining power of workers in their workplace and thus is content in advancing influence with those in power without ever challenging their rule. However, insofar as the union movement is a manifestation of an overall workers movement, it contains more revolutionary possibilities such as those implicit in direct action. The task of revolutionaries working in the union movement is to promote and expand these possibilities. Within this framework a workers movement must not just influence those currently in power to do better by us, but prepare to seize that power and succeed in doing so. Thus, revolutionaries in the union movement must look beyond whether or not something is an effective union tactic, but interrogate how it supports the development of workers' capacity to move from demanding more to taking power. For this, direct action is indispensable. We revolutionaries must be committed to direct action not because it gets the goods, but because it gets beyond them.

What follows has two sections, the first exploring the current dominance of indirect action and establishing why it is so reasonable as a union strategy. The second section argues that direct action is necessary for building a revolutionary workers' movement and that there is an opening in this historical moment for re-establishing direct action within American workers' common experience.

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Categories: Unions

IWW Newswire: 2016-2

Sun, 02/21/2016 - 12:36

Compiled by x344543 - February 20, 2016

The following news items are culled from various other IWW internet news portals:

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Categories: Unions

Wobbles 2016-3

Sun, 02/21/2016 - 12:17

Compiled by x344543 - February 20, 2016

The following news items may be of interest to revolutionary industrial workers:

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Categories: Unions

Free Alabama Movement Spreads to Virginia as Prisoners Take Up IWW Banner

Thu, 02/18/2016 - 15:36

RICHMOND, Virginia - February 15, 2016 - Inmates of the Virginia Department of Corrections have called for an end to abusive conditions in a statement released earlier this week. Calling themselves the "Free Virginia Movement," in solidarity with the Free Alabama Movement, the incarcerated workers within Virginia's prison system have joined the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) in hopes to improve living and working conditions throughout Virginia's prisons and to repeal a series of state laws enacted in 1994 which effectively abolished parole.

The stated goals of the organization include an across the board reinstatement for eligibility of parole, the reinvestment of interests gained from inmates’ funds into rehabilitation, job training, and education programs, and an exemption for those with life sentences from paying 10 percent of their wages into a post-release savings fund.

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Categories: Unions

IWW Newswire: 2016-1

Mon, 02/08/2016 - 22:18

Compiled by x344543 - February 8, 2016

The following news items are culled from various other IWW internet news portals:

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Categories: Unions

Wobbles 2016-2

Mon, 02/08/2016 - 22:00

Compiled by x344543 - February 8, 2016

The following news items may be of interest to revolutionary industrial workers:

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Categories: Unions

Joe Hill 100 Road Show Tour Conducts Concerts in Three Dozen Cities

Tue, 01/26/2016 - 21:58

By Ron Kaminkow - January 25, 2016

On November 19th, 1915 a poor Swedish immigrant was executed by firing squad in Salt Lake City, Utah. And while his legal assassination was protested worldwide and his name was briefly a household word 100 years ago, today most people have never heard the name of this migrant worker, hobo, union organizer, song writer, satirist and agitator. But throughout the course of 2015 – 100 years after his execution – dozens of concerts, plays, sing alongs and other gatherings were conducted across the United Sates in remembrance of this man “who never died” – Joe Hill.

The Joe Hill Road Show 100 Tour was an ambitious effort to bring the words, music and ideas of Joe Hill to the people. In some three dozen performances around the country – starting in Chicago on May 1 (International Workers’ Day) and ending in Salt Lake City the day after his execution – crowds were treated to renditions of Joe’s songs as performed by a series of different musicians. While some of the crowds were small and others large, all shows on the tour were spirited events with lots of audience participation, enthusiasm, and laughter, all infused with the spirit of labor solidarity.

Performers at the various shows included a number of professional travelling musicians, others regionally based, as well as local talent, invited up on stage to join in the fun. Some of the musicians included: Anne Feeney, Mark Ross, Bucky Halker, George Mann, J.P. Wright, Marc Revenson (Lil’ Rev), Tim Gorelanton, Patrick Dodd, David Rovics, Duncan Phillips, Otis Gibbs, Charlie King, Greg Artzner & Terry Leonino of “Magpie,” Jan Hammarlund, and Chris Chandler.  Joining them in at least three cities, the Labor Chorus in each added another dimension, a unique element to these shows, one that encouraged group singing. They performed in union halls, taverns, community centers, concert halls, churches, and even in an old wooden boxcar by the railroad tracks in Northern California. Shows took place in 18 states in the following towns and cities: Chicago and Batavia, IL; Madison, Milwaukee, Sheboygan, Oshkosh and Green Bay, WI; St. Paul, MN; Indianapolis, IN; Washington, DC; Baltimore, MD; Philadelphia, PA; Ithaca, NY; Schenectady, and New York, NY; Barre, VT; Springfield and Cambridge, MA; Louisville and Lexington, KY; Nashville and Knoxville, TN; Atlanta, GA; San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Nevada City and Weed, CA; Reno, NV; Phoenix, Eugene and Portland, OR; Bellingham, WA and Salt Lake City, UT. Additional commemorative events not sponsored by the Joe Hill 100 group were held in numerous other locales including Denver, CO and Oakland, CA.

So why all the fuss over an itinerant immigrant, shot to death 100 years ago? If Joe had been a loner, just another one of millions of isolated and destitute workingmen around the turn of the 20th century, he would have certainly died in obscurity. But Joe Hill (born Joel Emmanuel Haaglund), quickly assimilated to his new environment in the US, refused to be treated unfairly, joined the union that at that time was organizing unskilled transient workers (the Industrial Workers of the World) and found his voice. And what a voice that turned out to be! Joe composed hundreds of songs, never asked a penny for his services, and donated all of his works – songs, poems, cartoons – to the workers of the world to use as they saw fit to fight the class struggle. Workers from “San Diego up to Maine in every mine and mill” were soon singing Joe’s songs at work, on the picket line, on the street corners, on the soap box and in the jails. Yes, wherever workers would “strike and organize” that would be where you would hear the songs of Joe Hill.

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Categories: Unions

Wobs “instrumental” in getting worker’s job back

Tue, 01/26/2016 - 21:49

By 6eoff - Boston IWW, January 25, 2016

Pictured are MISU’s John P (recently reinstated), Evan and John M, as well as Genevieve, Geoff, Max and Jon from the Boston IWW.

IWW members returned to aid our friends and fellow workers in the Museum Independent Security Union on 1/23/16. Despite freezing temperatures, our hearts were warmed by a message from John M of MISU, who conveyed his belief that IWW support was “instrumental” in getting unfairly-fired MISU member John P re-hired with no discipline and with back pay. John P was fired by Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts merely for fulfilling his responsibilities as a parent. The outcry that followed (which Boston wobs are proud have helped with) compelled the museum to take John back. The MFA has been forcing working parents out of their jobs and taking a hard line in contract negotiations with MISU, and the battle is not over yet. Please join the Boston IWW and MISU for pickets at the Museum of Fine Arts, Saturdays from 12-2 pm.

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Categories: Unions

Wobbles 2016-1

Tue, 01/26/2016 - 21:42

Compiled by x344543 - January 26, 2016

The following news items may be of interest to revolutionary industrial workers:

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Categories: Unions

WINE RACK FIRING UNFAIR! - MUST NEGOTIATE WITH THE IWW OR FACE BOYCOTT

Tue, 01/26/2016 - 21:26

By John Hollingsworth - Ottawa-Outaouais IWW, January 23, 2016

OTTAWA—The Industrial Workers of the World are picketing Wine Rack to defend a member unfairly fired on September 6, 2015.

Our member engaged in his legally-protected right to organize and was publicly engaged in a card-signing campaign by another union in efforts to certify a bargaining unit for Wine Rack locations in Ottawa, Ontario.

Wine Rack is owned by parent company Constellation Brands, a US-based multinational corporation with two billion dollars of profit in 2013. Front-line employees of Wine Rack are paid minimum wage and given only conditional yearly increases lower than the rate of inflation, compounding the difficulties posed by a part-time and unpredictable schedule for workers.

According to the Labour Relations Act, all workers have the right to form, select, and administer a union without interference from the employer. In response to our member’s organizing efforts, Wine Rack manufactured a spurious reason to terminate his employment without following their established disciplinary processes.

The IWW will continue to picket Wine Rack to demand fair treatment for our member until our demand for our member’s reinstatement on the job with back pay is met. All employees deserve to be able to organize without reprisal.

The IWW is calling on Ottawans to not cross our picket line and to respect a boycott of Wine Rack locations until management meets with our union to negotiate.

This is yet another instance of arbitrary firings and disrespect for the Labour Relations Act happening here in Ottawa. Workers can win these fights when they unite and take action. The IWW is a member-run union for all workers and is dedicated to organizing on the job.

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Categories: Unions

On Voting

Tue, 01/26/2016 - 21:16

By FW W.H. Glazer - Twin Cities IWW, January 20, 2016

Introduction

Every four years, Americans are subjected to a painfully long election cycle. It is January of a presidential election year, and that means that we can anticipate another ten months of mainstream media coverage that manages to simultaneously overwhelm us with its volume and leave us with no novel or useful information (did you know, for example, that Dr. Ben Carson was a rageful and violent nerd growing up in Detroit? Or that Donald Trump is a shameless blowhard whose racist, classist, and sexist rhetoric appeals to a sizeable group of racists, classists, and sexists?). My boss loves to play CNN in the office as background noise, but my proximity to the television means that I know a lot more about Martin O’Malley and Carly Fiorina than I ever needed to.

Inherent in the decision to enact non-stop coverage is an assumption that all of this election stuff really matters, that who you support and ultimately vote for can have a tangible effect on the lives of millions of people. We are taught from a young age that our right to vote is a tremendously precious one, and further that failure to participate in the election process is a failure of civic duty. We are Americans, god dammit, and it is our responsibility to uphold justice and liberty and democracy through our voting process.

From a pragmatic standpoint, there is actually some truth to this idea. It is, from a purely practical point of view, smart to vote for the lesser of two evils. Hillary Clinton is less likely to impose anti-Muslim immigration reforms than is Donald Trump. Bernie Sanders is considerably less scary and objectionable than are the cackling hyenas who comprise the Republican field.

 

In the IWW, though, we can’t only think in terms of pragmatism and practicality. We are a revolutionary anti-capitalist union, and it can be convincingly argued that active participation in electoral politics is not only counterproductive for our organizational goals, but counter-revolutionary. After all, no major party candidate will ever advocate for the dissolution of our capitalist economy and the establishment of a worker run society. Voting third party in a presidential race may be more morally justifiable, but barring tremendous social and political upheaval, a third party candidate will never take the White House.

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Categories: Unions

Workers Power Against Police Brutality and Racist Terror

Tue, 01/26/2016 - 21:03

By the Life Long Wobbly - January 18, 2016

The Chicago Teachers Step Up – What does it mean?

The decision of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) to participate in the Black Friday protests against police brutality is an important step forward, advancing both the struggle against the Chicago police department, and allowing the CTU to flex its muscles before the end of its contract. Chicago Teachers voted overwhelmingly to support a strike in their recent strike authorization vote, and if they can win another strike as they did in 2012, it would be an incredibly important victory for the working class around the country. It would show that education workers can fight and win, especially if they have united with the broader working class around issues such as institutional racism.

The simmering rage against Chicago’s blatantly racist, terrorist, secret prison-operating police department provides an important backdrop. US anti-labor law illegitimately limits what workers can strike over; if the teachers go on strike, and demand the removal of police from school campuses, or defunding of the police force, that would make their strike “illegal” in the eyes of the state. Chicago teachers have an important choice. Even if the teachers go on strike and don’t say a word about the police, the CPD is intimately tied to Rahm Emanuel’s austerity regime, and a teachers’ strike could strengthen and build on the movement against police brutality and terror. However, if the teachers do explicitly include anti-police demands in their strike, and stick by them even when threatened with injunction, they could really inspire the rest of the working class in Chicago to mobilize and support them. A victory in that case would also show that workers can successfully take on the system of anti-labor laws in this country, particularly those which declare certain kinds of strikes “illegal”.

Could teachers and other education workers strike to remove police from schools? Nothing could stop them from putting this into their demands. If a teachers union prioritized “cops off campus”, and waged a strike on the level of Chicago in 2012 or Seattle earlier this year, this would be a massive step forward. This would be particularly powerful to the degree that it spread beyond the teachers to include other education workers. Of course, any industrial action for “cops off campus” would meet bitter resistance from the city administration, at the same time that the national media, the Democratic Party, and – most importantly – the national unions would stop at nothing to sabotage this action, and force or cajole the workers into moderating their demands.

This is why militant education workers would have to prepare for this struggle, beginning by consciously identifying with the victims of police brutality, against the police rather than with them. An initiative to strike for “cops off campus” might need years before education workers actually have the strength and organization to pull it off – but the situation in the US over the last several years has also been very fluid, and things could develop much quicker than we might expect.

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Categories: Unions

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