Solidarity -- and a couple of other thoughts

Mike Ballard swillsqueal at
Thu Nov 14 19:56:43 MST 2002

--- Adam Levenstein <cleon42 at> wrote:
> --- Mike Ballard <swillsqueal at> wrote:
> >
> > Self-identification as an anarchist is neither a
> > requirement nor a block to organizing in the
> I.W.W.
> Well, in theory. The fact of the matter is that IWW
> is overwhelmingly
> anarchist, and every modern-day wobbly I've ever met
> has described the
> IWW as an anarchist organization.

That's funny.  I've been in the IWW since 1990 and I
haven't met a Wobbly yet who has said that I'm in an
anarchist organization.  Some workers in the IWW are
unhappy about its lack of ideological purity and many
anarchists who join are soon miffed that the IWW
doesn't meet up to whatever sectarian standards they
have marked out for themselves. Some flavours of
orthodox Marxism react in the same fashion.  They
usually leave.  Other self-described anarchists,
sydicalists, socialists and communists are more
mature, recognizing that the proletarian individuals
will never all have the same views on how or whether
to organize a poltical party.

>A person leaning
> towards Bolshevism
> would be mighty uncomfortable in the IWW. (I
> actually had one guy tell
> me, though I realized later he was full of it, that
> the IWW actively
> kicked out Bolsheviks trying to organize.)

It really depends on what one means by the term
Bolshevism.  I've seen many interpretations on this
list.  To be sure, Wobblies don't want to be told what
to do by politicians of any stripe.  So, if one is
trying to organize the IWW to follow a certain
political party's line, well that would be grounds for
explusion.  However, if a person were leave their
political party organizing for times outside the union
the hall, that would be just fine.  As for certain
levels of Boshevism, yes one might feel uncomfortable.
 Please excuse the paraphrasing but, Wobblies are
more, "the revolution will be the class conscious act
the the workers themselves" than the 1903 Lenin
version of,"by themselves the workers can only come to
a trade-union consciousness".  But then, 1905 came
around and I doubt whether Lenin took his own 1903
words as dogma thereafter.  Some Bolsheviks did and do

> > But then, we've been doing that since we began in
> > 1905, right through the period of our largest
> numbers
> > until today.  The point is that workers will
> always
> > have differing political viewpoints.  That
> shouldn't
> > stop them from organizing as a class to win the
> daily
> > battle, while setting their sights on the prized
> goal
> > of taking, holding, and operating the means of
> > production for themselves.
> It just ain't the same organization, dude. Any way
> you slice, dice, or
> chop it, the IWW of today is NOT the IWW of Big Bill
> Haywood and Joe
> Hill. Hell, it's not even really a union anymore.
> It's just another
> left organization with a newspaper.

That's right.  History is a process of change and what
once was is not exactly the same today.  Sort of like
you can't put your foot in the same river twice, hey

Roll the union on,
Mike B)

"Man first begins to philosophize when the necessitites of life are supplied."  Aristotle

"determinatio est negatio"  Spinoza

"There are no ordinary cats."  Colette

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