IWW joins anarcho-syndicalist international

July 2022 Forums General discussion IWW joins anarcho-syndicalist international

  • This topic has 9 replies, 4 voices, and was last updated 7 months ago by ALB.
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  • #224909
    ALB
    Keymaster

    I always thought that the IWW didn’t see itself as an anarchist or syndicalism organisation even though it had much in common with syndicalism. I thought it was non-political rather than anti-political in that it accepted members of political parties as long as they left their politics outside the meeting room. I knew members who were, for instance, in the Green Party

    But now I see they have just joined an explicitly anarcho-syndicalist international.

    I don’t know if this represents a change of policy or not. But if means they now reject any role for political action in the overthrow of capitalism I can’t see how Party members can still be members of it. But maybe it doesn’t mean that. Anybody know ?

    #224910
    Bijou Drains
    Participant

    I have been a member of several trades unions most of which have policies that I would not fully support.

    Surely our policy is to join the union that is best likely to support our working “rights”, support other members of the working class in their on going struggles and which increases our pay.

    If the IWW is likely to do that then we should be members, personally I have found the more traditional unions have been more able to take on that role, but if the IWW could do that more effectively, I would join.

    #224917
    ALB
    Keymaster

    Fair point. The mainstream unions to which members belong also have dubious international — and national — links, so why be more harsh on the IWW than on them? If it’s ok to join them as long as their core activity remains bargaining over wages and working conditions, the same should apply to the IWW. In other words, treat the IWW as just another trade union. Some mainstream unions too say (in their rule book) that they are anti-capitalist.

    #224933
    DJP
    Participant

    Surely our policy is to join the union that is best likely to support our working “rights”, support other members of the working class in their on going struggles and which increases our pay.

    And in some cases (though perhaps Spain is the only country where this could actually be the case) this could involve joining an explicitly anarcho-syndicalist union. I don’t think you have to be a fully committed anarchist to join the CNT or Spanish CGT, they don’t filter membership like that, just a wage worker.

    #224934
    ALB
    Keymaster

    Someone who follows this forum without being signed up has sent this explanation:

    “You may be aware that the international that the IWW has now formally joined is something of a breakaway from the formally historical anarcho-syndicalist IWA associated with the Spanish CNT now split. All part of a drift to a wider international network of ‘base unions’.
    It exercised numerous discussions on libcom including this:

    https://libcom.org/forums/thought/iww-or-iwa

    The UK Solidarity Federation is still part of the IWA though they are themselves a bit flexible on the political leaning of their target audience.”

    I don’t follow developments in the anarchist milieu but what, DJP, is the split in the Spanish CNT? Looks as if the UK IWW will have joined the less dogmatically anarchist faction? But why join either?

    #224935
    DJP
    Participant

    I don’t follow developments in the anarchist milieu but what, DJP, is the split in the Spanish CNT? Looks as if the UK IWW will have joined the less dogmatically anarchist faction? But why join either?

    I know that there has been two CNT’s in Spain for a few years, but hadn’t previously really known the ins and outs of it. (The last major split was around the time of the demise of Francoism and that led to the formation of the Spanish CGT). The present split seems to be about the unilateral reforming of the IWA (or IAT in Spanish). So there’s now a CNT and a CNT-IAT.

    Portada


    https://www.cnt-ait.org/

    I starting reading this interview with a CNT general secretary but haven’t got to the bottom of it yet:
    https://libcom.org/blog/beyond-iwa-interview-cnt%E2%80%99s-international-secretary-04012017

    • This reply was modified 7 months ago by DJP.
    #224937

    In the Caribbean islands many workers unions were influenced by the Chartists, specially in Jamaica and the Virgin Islands and those workers influenced with their ideas in the sugar cane industries, and others workers unions were inflitrated by Maoists carrying what they called party line, they made strikes by slowing down the production without walking out from the factories

    Some workers unions were similar to the Freemason, or society of mutual aid, and they provided certain social benefits to their members, including funeral services, in the Caribbean freemasons do not have the same connotation as described by some conspiracionists, on the contrary, it is the opposite view and they are very well accepted by the peoples. They also had cooperatives

    In Argentina and Cuba like in Spain they were associated to the “anarco sindicalismo” ( Anarchists ) and they had a more political point of view, even more, in Cuba the Anarchists had more incidences within the working class than the Stalinists and Trotskyists

    #224938
    ALB
    Keymaster

    I read that interview and see that, in the circles involved, “reformism” means becoming more like an ordinary trade Union. The ironic thing is that becoming more like an ordinary trade union makes them of more use to workers and so more acceptable from our point of view. Not that we regard the struggle over wages and working conditions, even through the existing unions, as “reformist” but as the defensive aspect of the class struggle.

    I can see why they regard this as “reformist” as they think that unions should be revolutionary in the sense of aiming to overthrow capitalism. But capitalism could never be overthrown by economic action alone. That requires political action but they reject that.

    I note also that some of them are also members of the ordinary unions and that some hold elected office in them at local level. I think the IWW do too (not sure though). Nothing wrong with that. Some of our members do too. Even done it myself.

    #224939

    The Leninist want to turn the workers union into an extension of their party line and when they infiltrate those organizations they turn them into a mess, they are just spontaneous organizations created by the workers to fight for better wages and better working conditions, and the ICC wants to reject all the workers union because they are bourgeoise or reformists organizations, but they support Leninism which is a reformist trend similar to a workers union

    #224942
    ALB
    Keymaster

    Actually it is obvious that when the socialist movement gets off the ground a revolutionary trade union will too (whether from scratch or from transforming the existing unions or splitting from them). But today it is far too early to form one or expect one to emerge because they are so few workers who want the classless, stateless, moneyless, wageless society that socialism will be. In that interview the person interviewed says that his CNT in Spain has about 5,000 members. I can’t imagine that the IWW in Britain has even half that number.

    This motion proposed at a meeting of Party members in 1906 shows a widely held view at the time:

    “Urges its members, while not neglecting their ‘first duty,’ to advocate the formation of an industrial organisation based upon the irreconcilable antagonism between the capitalist class and the working class, and having as its object the taking over and adminstering of the means of wealth production ; such industrial organisation to be affiliated to or working in complete unison with The Socialist Party, thus ensuring that the class struggle shall be waged as effectively as possible on both the industrial and political fields.”

    It would have been premature then (and was accepted by the Party) as it is today, but the logic can’t be challenged, even if makes the anarcho-syndicalist’s hair stand on end. A revolutionary socialist trade union would have to be linked somehow to the socialist political party for the reason stated.

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