A - I n f o s
a multi-lingual news service by, for, and about anarchists **

News in all languages
Last 40 posts (Homepage) Last two weeks' posts

The last 100 posts, according to language
Castellano_ Deutsch_ Nederlands_ English_ Français_ Italiano_ Polski_ Português_ Russkyi_ Suomi_ Svenska_ Türkçe_ The.Supplement
First few lines of all posts of last 24 hours || of past 30 days | of 2002 | of 2003 | of 2004 | of 2005

Syndication Of A-Infos - including RDF | How to Syndicate A-Infos
Subscribe to the a-infos newsgroups
{Info on A-Infos}


Date Sat, 19 Nov 2005 09:38:40 +0200

Dear friends & comrades, Next WEDNESDAY starting at 7 pm at Freedom Bookshop
(In Angel Alley, 84b Whitechapel High Street, London E1 7QX. The alley is next
to the KFC near Aldgate East tube, Whitechapel Art Gallery exit)
there will be an open follow-up discussion on ways we can cooperate and support
each other as workers, unemployed, immigrants, activists and unionists, followed
by a London IWW meeting immediately afterwards.
Free copies of the film “An Injury to One” will also be available.
In Solidarity, London IWW www.iww.org.uk
London Wobblies celebrate and plan
The recently established London IWW group, which seems to have given a new lease
of life to the Wobblies in the British Isles, held on the 5th November an
IWW centenary celebration at the RampART squatted social centre in East
London. It was our first public event where the core group, which was
established a few months ago, had a general presentation of its ideals,
goals and methods.
The high point of the evening was the discussion on building
autonomous workers’ resistance in London. This was largely centred around
trying to draw on previous experiences, such as the lessons of the Gate
Gourmet dispute (1), which has confirmed the importance of militant
rank-and-file unionism as the only promising means for annulling the
present laws against solidarity strikes.
The grassroots democratic model of the Workmates Collective of West
London tube workers (2) was also mentioned.
Partly drawing on the useful perspective of minority/solidarity
unionism (3), the Paris Solidarity Collective (4) and, similarly, the concept
and practice of flying squads/pickets are particularly refreshing, even if
far from being a historically new tactic.(5) In addition to the benefits
propagated by Shantz and Levant, flying squads/pickets could also contribute,
among other things, to the creation of an authentic “community of resistance”
- greater cooperation, coordination and general interaction within “the
broader movement”, linking groups and struggles which have previou
sly been isolated and disconnected, or at least failed to live up to
their true potential. However, there is also a possible danger of
stagnating and inward-turning flying squads slipping into “activist”
roles, followed by progressive disassociation from the workers
Serious and consistent strategising is needed, which
should also involve a greater openness to the labour-community model
of organising. The unfolding “regeneration” (gentrification) of East
London (further legitimised and also accelerated by the 2012 London
Olympics) and the probability of a council tax increase, property
values and rents skyrocketing etc. (thus effectively driving out
working-class people out of the city and to the outskirts – a phenomenon
which has already happened to many Cockneys during the “regeneration”
of the Docklands in the 60s, 70s & 80s) - coupled with tens of thousands
expected new, mostly Eastern European (hyper-exploited) building workers,
relatively militant transport workers and the great bargaining power
of the many service industries closely tied to the Olympics - constitutes
a potentially explosive mix which could offset a general upsurge in
working-class combativity.
One of the prominent issues which where raised in the
discussion (particularly by disenchanted, yet active members of the
business unions) revolved around the benefits of dual membership
(which the IWW allows) and the need for a core group of the most
militant workers & unionists who could more easily develop rank-and-file
factions and networks in and across their unions, simultaneously helping
to provide the IWW with a larger pool of experience, resources and access
to rank-and-file union members (and in turn increasing the chances for
building stronger and new workplace resistance groups).
Obviously, there are many other strategic and tactical
considerations and possibilities, many of which are more typical of the
general IWW approach it is famous for. One thing is certain - there is no
adequate substitute for challenging the labour dry spell, and it is high
time for the British libertarian left to finally start embracing workers’
struggles, agitation & organising again. I believe the IWW could have an
important role to play in these efforts.

Dan Jakopovich, London IWW

(1) See for instance my article Gate Gourmet: ‘not over yet’,
Freedom (Anarchist News and Views), 15 October, 2005 -
http://www.infoshop.org/inews/article.php?story=20051010185322971 .

(2) See http://libcom.org/hosted/sf/nelsf/solidarity/html/03.htm#04
and http://libcom.org/hosted/sf/nelsf/solidarity/html/04.htm#04 .
(3) http://www.iww.org/nl/organize/strategy/solidarity.html .
(4) See for instance Struggles of migrant workers in Paris,
prol-position news #1, 1.3. 2005 - http://www.prol-position.net
and Loren Goldner, Marx & Makhno versus McDonald’s in Paris,
Anarcho-Syndicalist Review #41 - http://www.syndicalist.org
(5)“Flying squads -- rapid response networks of workers that
can be mobilized for strike support, demonstrations, direct action
and working class defense of immigrants, poor people, and unemployed
workers (…) may consist of little more than phone lists and meetings (…).”
The emphasis is on “the emergence and growth of autonomous rank-and-file
networks. The need to build a resistance that includes rank-and-file
unionists, non-organized workers, non-status workers and migrants is
critical.” (Jeff Shantz, Developing Workers Autonomy: An Anarchist
Look At Flying Squads, 1.2. 2004 - http://nefac.net/en/node/915)
“Supporting striking workers, as well as unorganized, unemployed,
and unpaid workers, stopping deportations, challenging abusive
landlords, and mobilizing for mass protests against capitalist
globalization are some of the activities that flying squads in
Canada have engaged in. (…) By developing abilities that normally
atrophy under capitalism, flying squads help overcome the crisis
of working-class self-organization.”(Alex Levant, Flying Squads
and the Crisis of Workers’ Self-Organisation, New Socialist,
Spring 2003- http://www.newsocialist.org/magazine/40.html).

A-infos-en mailing list

A-Infos Information Center