A union of ‘organisers’

OBUBy joining the IWW ,the Wobblies, an individual worker is making a statement. They are saying I identify with a revolutionary union, in the syndicalist, bottom-up tradition. Many who join have busy lives, partly dictated by work, which may involve more than one ‘part-time’ job, young families or care for relatives and friends. Therefore, participation in the workings of a local General member branch (GMB) of the IWW may be occasional & restricted.

However, many who are joining, especially online, have little contact with active branches, whether local, or ‘industrial union’ networks. It is a world of social media: facebook, google+, twitter, many avoid email & face-to-face contact with ‘strangers’. By joining the IWW you become a ‘fellow worker’, one strengthened by a community of solidarity, at least in theory. All theory has to be put into practice, if it is to avoid becoming abstract & detached from social reality.

Scotland wide, and in city based branches, the Union needs to offer more in the way of explanation how we operate. There is no “top down” leadership. Our union depends on a level of participation and understanding. Induction meetings, perhaps extending to some ‘mentoring’ for new members (if they wish) will be organised in the near future. ‘101 Training’ is another means to boost the confidence & expertise of new members, equipping them with skills to organise in the workplace.

In Scotland we have an annual Assembly, usually in November, we have email lists, this wordpress page, facebook pages. Funds can be devolved, such as to members in the Highlands to promote local activity. A network (SEWN) in education has been established, and others – Health & Care;  Call-centre; Bar & Restaurant, other ‘precarious’ worker networks are possible, with greater participation & understanding of IWW objectives.

We need a more social and supportive side to our union, and in so doing instill the Wobbly ethos, ‘we are all organisers': reducing passivity and uncertainty about how new members can contribute.

Keith | westscotland@iww.org.uk

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Mutual aid & resistance against austerity attacks

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In Edinburgh claimants and lowpaid workers are organising through Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty to support each other and take action to resist workfare, benefit cuts and austerity attacks.

Occupations and blockades have hit companies and charities exploiting claimants through the governments compulsory “work-for-your-dole” schemes. Recent actions targetting Learndirect, provider for the new workfare scheme, Community Work Placements, included a disruptive hour-long occupation of their offices at shiny Conference House, on 12th June. Demonstrators have invaded Leith Job Centre protesting against benefits sanctions.

Protestors have besieged ATOS, responsible for the notorious Work Capability Assessments which deny many ill people their rightful sickness benefits. Now ECAP members have initiated the Disability Solidarity Network, to take forward the fight .
ECAP
Weekly drop-in solidarity sessions at the Autonomous Centre of Edinburgh are the basis for every day mutual aid to support individuals facing a punitive benefits system, debt, housing issues and other poverty-related problems. “Never face them alone” say ECAP, as activists accompany claimants to the dole, ATOS, fraud interviews, council housing appointments and the like – and, vitally, encourage people to attend such appointments with their own friends.

If “official channels” don’t get the desired result the ECAP Solidarity Network phone tree can launch action. Late last year a claimant was sent on Mandatory Work Activity at the Salvation Army charity shop on Leith Walk. By “co-incidence” his reporting for (unpaid) duty co-incided with the shop’s invasion by a dozen anti workfare demonstrators, parading placards and banners down the aisles of second-hand clothes!

ECAP is keen to make links, recent solidarity visits ranging from Dundee to Milan! ECAP activity is not a single issue, but part of the wider fight to assert human need over profit, and to challenge and ultimately overthrow capitalism. As our banner cries: “It’s our world – let’s claim it back!”.

Mike (ECAP)

www.edinburghagainstpoverty.org.ukecap@lists.riseup.net  | ECAP are also on facebook and twitterwww.boycottworkfare.org  

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Strike Back! #2 (August-September 2014)

Strike Back frontpage

Download Strike Back! #2

 

 

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Upcoming SEWN meeting: 24th June

agitate_educate_organise1Fellow education workers!

The next meeting of the Scottish Education Workers Network will be on Tuesday, 24 June, at 7 pm at the Electron Club space of CCA in Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow.

I hope you will be able to attend this meeting.  And please invite other education sector workers and supporters to come along.

More information on the Scottish Education Workers Network can be found here and here.

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Writers wanted for Strike Back #2

writingThe first issue of the IWW Scottish news-sheet was distributed mostly around May Day events. It was good to get something out, articulating some of the activities IWW branches & members are up to. However it could be improved, and cover more workplace issues and portray (by interviews or short experiences of job situations) the appeal of the Wobblies today.

I meant to get this notice out a bit earlier, though branches should have circulated various deadlines. The next issue needs to be printed by about July 10th, using our sympathetic printers in Glasgow.

So if you could put a short piece together could you let me know within the next 7-10 days (by 23rd) and have the final copy to me in 14-16 days.30th is FINAL date. A short deadline but sometimes best to focus thinking. In addition if you have notes about an issue but don’t feel confident about writing it in a news-sheet friendly format, send them to me and I’ll try and draft something in harmony with your intentions.

Cheers,

Keith Millar westscotland@iww.org.uk or hereandnowscot@gmail.com

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Book launch & talk: Wednesday 18th June

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Keep May Day alive all year long…

 …Join the Industrial Workers of the World.

MayDay

Whether you’re unemployed, studying, a lonely radical in your workplace or even already have a union, the IWW is for you.

The IWW, also known as the Wobblies, are an industrial union, founded in 1905, that provides an alternative to the centralised, hierarchical trade union model. We link our actions to a broad range of immediate and long-germ needs and rights of the international working class.

The Industrial Workers of the World believe that the working class can:

  • unite according to the principle ‘an injury to one is an injury to all’
  • reclaim our towns and cities, and move beyond the welfare state
  • challenge the status quo while working toward the new kind of world that is ours to create

We have general membership and industrial branches in Africa, Australia, England, Scotland, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, the United States, and Wales. We welcome all new members who want to try their hand at horizontal union agitation, along with radical campaigning and solidarity actions industrial sectors and all those categories that are used to divide us.

Our programme is based on cooperation

It is central to the history and purpose of the IWW to act in solidarity with others in the anti-authoritarian revolutionary left. Without such efforts, we will fail to free ourselves from the thinking and structures of capitalism. This process depends on us taking the time, finding the space, and acquiring the tools for envisioning, creating, and practicing alternatives.

Right now, IWW Scotland members are working with the Scottish Peace Network and other community organisations on a project that combines our IWW principles and practices: planning World War I centenary events and actions that oppose rather than glorify militarism and imperialism. Before, during, and since the First World War, our union has maintained that the only war the working class have any interest in fighting is the class war.

Contact us…

 

 

 

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