Monthly Archives: January 2012

Annotated IWW Preamble

All of us in the Recomposition editorial group are IWW members. The IWW’s constitution begins with a preamble, which reads

The working class and the employing class have nothing in common. There can be no peace so long as hunger and want are found among millions of the working people and the few, who make up the employing class, have all the good things of life.

Between these two classes a struggle must go on until the workers of the world organize as a class, take possession of the means of production, abolish the wage system, and live in harmony with the Earth.

We find that the centering of the management of industries into fewer and fewer hands makes the trade unions unable to cope with the ever growing power of the employing class. The trade unions foster a state of affairs which allows one set of workers to be pitted against another set of workers in the same industry, thereby helping defeat one another in wage wars. Moreover, the trade unions aid the employing class to mislead the workers into the belief that the working class have interests in common with their employers.

These conditions can be changed and the interest of the working class upheld only by an organization formed in such a way that all its members in any one industry, or in all industries if necessary, cease work whenever a strike or lockout is on in any department thereof, thus making an injury to one an injury to all.

Instead of the conservative motto, “A fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work,” we must inscribe on our banner the revolutionary watchword, “Abolition of the wage system.”

It is the historic mission of the working class to do away with capitalism. The army of production must be organized, not only for everyday struggle with capitalists, but also to carry on production when capitalism shall have been overthrown. By organizing industrially we are forming the structure of the new society within the shell of the old.

We sometimes struggle to express the concepts in the IWW Preamble in our own words. The article below, by IWW member Tim Acott, can help people to do so. Continue reading

Class War on the Work Floor – Audio Recording

We’re pleased to repost this from our comrades at Common Cause.

Rachel speaking flyer


Between October 22 and October 25, Common Cause organized a speaking tour entitled “Class War On The Workfloor” in four Ontario cities (Hamilton, Toronto, Kitchener & London). The speaker was postal worker, anarchist and rank-and-file trouble maker, Rachael Stafford, from Edmonton.

Below is the audio recording from the Hamilton stop of the tour, held on October 22, 2011. The talk outlines a perspective on workplace organizing not dependent on union executives, but rather on empowering workers to fight their own battles. In the audio recording Stafford explains why it’s important to deal with issues as they arise on the floor through direct action, worker education, and participatory decision making in order to build the kind of struggle that can aim for the whole pie — not just a bigger piece. The talk also offers first-hand context to the recent CUPW struggle, which saw postal workers go from being on strike to being locked out and quickly legislated back to work. This bitter experience was a clear example of the bosses’ ongoing campaign to claw back the very rights workers fought for (and won) decades ago. Because postal workers are not alone in facing cutbacks, exploitation, greedy bosses, and the like, they have a lot in common with other workers — and we all stand to learn a lot from one another’s struggles.

Listen to Part One:

Listen to Part Two:

RACHEL STAFFORD:
A postal worker, anarchist, and rank and file trouble maker, Rachel Stafford has been organizing to build worker power within and outside of the post office. Applying skills and perspectives developed as a member of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), she has organized for direct action at her job and supported others as a trainer in the IWW’s Organizer Training program. Rachel writes about and reflects on her experiences as a member of the editorial collective of the Recomposition blog.

Interested people should also check out Rachel’s article “Postal Worker Solidarity Defeats Compulsory Overtime” and other articles about Canadian postal worker struggles here at Recomposition.