(en) IWW and Sierra Leone coup

Platform (platform@geocities.com)
Fri, 30 May 1997 18:48:11 +0000

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Dear comrades and friends

You will most likely know of recent military coup in Sierra Leone. For those of you unaware there is a report at the end of this bulletin.

What many of you will not know however is that the IWW has a small but growing presence among diamond miners in the country. The union internationally has been trying to supply money and materials (stationery etc) to the unions delegate, Fellow Worker B C, in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

The IWW has found favour with workers in Sierra Leone for specific reasons:

1. Its adherence to industrial unionism, particularly important in the cut-throat diamond mining industry;


2. Its international One Big Union structure, again important given the isolation of Sierra Leone and its recnet troubles.

The union is organising itself to prevent widespread cheating and blatant theft practised by the mine owners. For example workers [often sub-contracted rather than employed labour] are paid by weight but the workers have long held that the employers underweighed the product of their labour and therefore underpaid them. The IWW is establishing an office and providing worker controlled scales to ensure that proper wieghing is undertaken.

Just before the military coup members of the IWW in Britain had decided to mount a fund raisig drive among other unionists. Leaflets are in preparation. The military coup has prompted us to take matters forward a bit earlier than we had anticipated. One of the first casulaties in any coup is freedom and we certainly consider our small organisation in Sierra Leone under some threat.

At this point in time we are limiting our activities to fund raising. If you can make a donation, either individually or through your union please do so. No amount will be considered too small.

Please send money in the form of a cheque or postal order made payable to the IWW to:

Industrial Workers of the World 75 Humberstone Gate Leicester LE1 1WB

A receipt will be issued and an announcement made in due course about the amount of money raised.

Kevin Brandstatter IWW Swindon UK


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