2013 January Archive

Requiem for a Campaign

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by Grace Parker

Oftentimes as workplace organizers, we have a difficult time admitting our mistakes. We are driven and strong-willed, and though these attributes often aid us in the struggle, they can also hold us back from self-reflection and acknowledgment of our flaws. As Wobblies, how do we cope with the realization that our entire campaign was perhaps a mistake from the start? For one, we view the situation as a learning opportunity. There is no such thing as a failed campaign, for although we may pull ourselves out of a workplace without making clear, concrete gains on the shop floor, we also take away many valuable lessons regarding ourselves, our branches, and the IWW as a whole. These lessons must be passed on to fellow organizers in the union in order to facilitate a culture of skill sharing, and hopefully, if done correctly, the union will not make the same mistakes twice. Secondly, ending a campaign is not just a union issue; it is a matter of great personal importance for the organizers involved. We put our blood, sweat and tears into an organizing drive, and if we fail to sort out our feelings as we disengage from a campaign, we are setting ourselves up for failure in our proceeding endeavors. In order to succeed in the struggle long-term, it is just as important for us to face our personal issues as it is to reflect on our organizing. In this piece, I will attempt to address both of these aspects in relation to the recently halted grocery store campaign in the Twin Cities branch.

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Towards A Wobbly Methodology: Establishing Yourself as an Organizer in a New Workplace

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By X370559

This essay is the second in a series articulating a methodological framework for developing Wobbly organizers and identifying key features of workplace committee building at the micro level.

Much of the content of the Industrial Worker, as well as the Organizer Training 101, discuss the nuts and bolts of workplace struggle including how to conduct a successful 1-on-1 and form a workplace committee.  What is often left unspoken is the path by which Wobblies go from the unemployment line to worker-organizers fully engaged in the social fabric of their job site.

As Wobblies, like the rest of the working-class, we must sell our labor-power in order to survive. Depending on the period and place, and the nature of the work and culture of the firm, obtaining certain jobs will require more research, training, skills, and overall effort.  Taking the time to reflect on these challenges is important, and as Wobblies we should think strategically when considering where to seek employment. In the meantime, we can identify some basic components that will place us in a better position to establish ourselves as organizers in a new workplace.

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