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(en) Canada, The Wobbly Dispatch - General Assembly Report by Sean M. Boomer

Date Tue, 20 Dec 2005 12:01:41 +0200

The IWW has a glorious history both ahead and behind it, as testified by our one hundredth
General Assembly, held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Philadelphia, the city of fraternity
and brotherly love, not to mention the steak and cheese sandwich, played host to a dynamic GA.
Some highlights include:
· The IWW membership income has increased 35 percent over the past fiscal year, as
a result of increased recruiting.
· There has been an increase in serious organizing efforts throughout the Union,
in places as diverse as Chicago, Stockton, New York, and Colorado and in industries as
diverse as freight, courier service, food and beverage, and retail. In the words of
GST Alexis Buss: "Across the union we are organizing. We are organizing shops, but
more importantly we are organizing workers and giving them the tools to act union on
the job. This is the work the IWW was created to do."
· The year 2005 has been a year of celebration
throughout the Union, and recognition
beyond its confines. Exhibits of the Wayne
State and Labadie collections highlight the
IWW's great importance to the labour
movement as a whole, while the
celebrations of countless branches across
North America and around the world testify
that the One Big Union is quite spry after a
century of ceaseless struggle. A new
edition of the IWW Little Red Songbook,
and an official history, "The IWW: Its First
100 Years," will allow further consideration
of our enduring past.
· The Workers' Education Foundation, an
effort spearheaded by Edmonton GMB's
own resident Midas, Des Schell, has cleared
one major hurdle, as the formation
committee for the Foundation has been
approved by the GA.
· The Committee For Industrial Classification
saw its proposal rejected, a large part being
played by absentee ballots sent by
concerned Edmonton GMB. The Committee
will continue for another year under a
different presidency, to present a new
scheme of classification to the 2006 GA.
· The Assembly learned, to the sorrow of
many, that outgoing GST Alexis Buss does
not wish to stand for a seventh term.
Fellow Worker Buss has proven a shrewd
administrator who helped lead the Union
from the brink of bankruptcy to a renewed
solvency, displaying a husbandry which has
provided a firm foundation for our second
century. As of the end of the General
Assembly Mark Damron, Ryan Gaughan, and
Steven Ongerth were nominated for the
post of General Secretary Treasurer.
The Assembly's setting itself was
spectacular. Assembly attendees were able to
enjoy one of the loveliest major cities of the
United States. Displays from the Wayne State exhibit were
displayed throughout the meeting space at the Rotunda,
reminding delegates of their place in the history of the One
Big Union. Musicians Anne Feeney and Utah Phillips both
attended as delegates, with Anne Feeney providing
periodic musical interludes during the occasionally arid GA,
and Utah Phillips playing two Union-related concerts Sunday
and Labour Day Monday. Delegates were taken to tour
Philadelphia's South Street strip Monday afternoon, where
a grassroots campaign to organize a transient retail
workforce has taken shape and scored many victories.
On a less positive note, there was a disturbing lack of
presence from other Canadian branches at the Assembly. It is
hoped that this is not a trend which will continue in the future.
Listening to Fellow Workers, many who had been in acrid
disagreement only moments before, singing "Solidarity Forever"
and dancing arm in arm as the GA officially drew to a close on
Sunday night, one was given renewed hope for the IWW's
second century.

* [Ed. Note: IWW - Industrial Workers of the World is antiauthoritarian
anticapitalist direct action syndicate.]
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