Chuck0 chuck at tao.ca
Fri Mar 17 10:38:45 PST 2000

Apsken at aol.com wrote:
> > Really should ask ChuckO about this--he IS a wobbly, is he not,
> > card-carrying member of the IWW?
> I joined the IWW in 1961, when it was still on the Attorney General's
> List of Subversive Organizations. However, no one who joined after 1930 is
> qualified to speak for the Wobbly tradition that transformed this country.
> That is the province of historians, whether IWW members or not. I learned
> most of the history from my old comrade in Chicago, Fred Thompson. Today's
> Wobblies are mostly nostalgic for a syndicalist past that never existed, and
> many, like ChuckO, represent an anarchist strain that the old IWW
> specifically repudiated (as when it urged the Communist International to

Well, some of this is true, the rest is bollocks. I'm a Wob who happens to be a non-syndicalist anarchist. I represent the Zerowork strain of labor organizing. However, I tend to have my feet planted in both worlds. I have anarchist friends who wouldn't be caught dead in any union, accusing them of coopting the anti-work desires of most workers. The there are my anarcho-syndicalist friends who have problems with my zerowork tendencies.

I support the IWW because there are some great people in the organization and because I'd like to see the situation change for working people as soon as possible. Zerowork is my goal, but I'll settle for the IWW's vision in the short term.

BTW, most of today's Wobblies don't fit Ken's dismissal of them as "mostly nostalgic for a syndicalist past that never existed." That may have been true 5-10 years ago, but the IWW has tripled in size over the past 5 years, with lots of new young members. I get the impression that they have little patience for the labor historian contingent in the IWW. The IWW is undergoing a process right now of overhauling our literature and tactics. For example, there was quite a few Wobs who supported street barricades in Seattle. Other Wobs turned Teamsters and sheet metal workers away from the labor march and into the crux of the street protests. And the IWW was one of the few labor contigents with a banner condemning capitalism.


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