Solidarity -- and a couple of other thoughts

Mike Ballard swillsqueal at
Mon Nov 18 02:18:02 MST 2002

--- Mike Friedman <mikedf at> wrote:
> >wage-labour. We demand wage-labour's abolition.  As
> >far as I know, there aren't any other unions doing
> >this.  We urge others to do same wherever they sell
> The question is, how do you intend to get there?
> Build "one big union"? I
> don't see the wobblies having notable success in
> that regard. Could it be
> that you fail to give due weight to those burning
> issues of oppression that
> lie intertwined with exploitation at the heart of
> capitalist society?

Yes, to number one.  We think that organizing
classwide, in solidarity with all in our class in the
struggles which they have against their oppressors,
most particularly their bosses, is the way to go to
get the power necessary to change social relations.
Tot the degree that we're organized to put forward our
power, to that degree power relations between the
employing class and the working class are changed.

Secondly, no, we don't think that is all there is to
that.  We give as much attention to issues outside the
workplace as anybody.  How else to build the new
society within the womb of the old.

The question of working class resistance to ANY
revolutionary approach has more to do with the way the
system works and how that working has impact on
consciousness.  Marx touched upon this aspect in the
section of CAPITAL volume I, chapter one when he
addresses the question of the "fetishism of
commodities".  Marx's observation about standing Hegel
on his head is mirrored in it's opposite i.e. the
practical project of getting the proletariat to see
the world right-side up.  What Marx tried to do in
CAPITAL was to set things right on this score--to show
that it is working class itself who produces social
wealth.  The capitalist class does little other than
own the tools of production and appropriate the
product of labour for its own use and sale with a view
to profit.  For the most part, workers still do not
see that.  It's not a failure of zeal or propaganda on
the part of the left.  Lordy knows, there's been
enough of that.  It is a psychological barrier brought
about by a very potent force, the force of daily life
as a wage-slave in the capitalist system.

> >Social justice remains an idealist abstraction
> without
> >the class power to enforce it.  Class power stems
> from
> >a subjectivity which knows that it creates the
> world,
> >demands to control its creation and organizes to
> >acheive same.
> So, are we to suppose that struggle (as opposed to
> verbiage: "The IWW
> opposes all oppression of the working class, whether
> it be the bosses
> telling them to go shoot others workers ...") for an
> end to social
> oppression -- at least as far as organizing "one big
> union" is concerned --
> must wait

No.  Nothing must wait.  Organizing should go on at
the same time as educating oneself in dialogue with
other fellow workers goes on at the same time as
agitating for an end to imperialist war plans should
go on.

 until workers "become a powerful
> force"..."organize class
> consciously, when solidarity becomes an active
> principle"..."we can take
> things into our own hands as producers."

The above would be good.  I would endorse that
happening. ;D

You may
> respond, "no, I mean that
> those things won't be consummated until we have that
> power."

Yeah right, if we had ham we'd have ham and eggs, if
we had eggs.....

And I would
> reply, we (our organizations) won't have that power,
> not ever, without
> explicitly championing those things.

You can "champion" whatever liberation issue you want
and still be yourself committed and organized to
abolish wage-slavery and helping to organize the class
power to do same.  My point is that if the "workers of
the world" don't unite as a class, they can forget
about losing their chains or winning a world.

Your "purist"
> organizational focus on
> the economic struggle to the exclusion of anything
> smacking of the
> political (although you would argue that the
> struggle against exploitation
> is at the heart of class politics) weakens you.

Yes, I plead guilty to the charge of identifying the
class struggle as being political and more, that it is
the most important political struggle in the here and
now and will be so as long as capitalism exists.  And,
as I've said before on this forum, neither I nor any
Wobs that I know of, have any problem with joining in
solidarity with those who struggle against sexism,
homophobia, racism, ageism....

The weakness of the left lies in its inability to
unite around its interests as opposed to dividing
along its ideological views.


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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