Monthly Archives: August 2013

Upcoming book from Recomposition and Black Cat Press

Lines of Work: Stories of Jobs and Resistance

Half our waking hours are spent on the job, consuming the lion’s share of our time. Our years are woven with stories of work told around the dinner table, breakroom, and bars. Yet these stories are rarely put into print, investigated, or seen as they should be; as part of workers activity to understand and change their lot under capitalism.

Lines of Work offers a rare look at life and social relationships viewed from the cubicle, cash register, hospital, factory, and job site. Drawn from the writings of Recomposition, an online project of worker radicals, the text brings together organizers from a handful of countries sharing their experiences with the trouble of working and fighting back. Rather than professional writers or activists, the authors are workers reflecting on their experiences, aspirations, and how to improve our situation. Through storytelling, they draw out the lessons of workplace woes, offering new paths and perspectives for social change and a new world.

The book will include stories from anonymous workers, Pablo Barbanegra, Juan Conatz, Madeline Dreyfus, Frank Edgewick, Erik Forman, Phinneas Gage, Nate Hawthorne, Invisible Man, JOMO, Dan Knutson, Liberte Locke, Monica Kostas, Nat Kelly, Scott Nikolas Nappalos, Gayge Operaista, Grace Parker, Lou Rinaldi, Al Tucker, and Abbey Volcano.

Lines of Work is being published by Black Cat Press from Edmonton.

Check out the book’s Facebook page for news, blurbs and a release date for the book.

What kind of leadership? A view from the contemporary CNT of Spain

Today we are reposting an article from Beltran Roca Martinez about the Spanish anarchosyndicalist union the CNT. In the article he explores recent experiences in the CNT and tries to extract some of the difficulties, successes, and potential advances that the CNT have and can make. Drawing from organizing in Seville at the turn of the Millennium, the author shows a rare look at Spanish anarchosyndicalist organizing before the crisis.

Zeroing in on debates in the CNT, he picks out something that resonates beyond Spain; the way conflicts unfold within workplace organizing and how our approach can shape that. Without committing to his interpretation of the conflicts, the idea that different approaches to organizing and organizations produces different leadership and conflicts is extremely useful. The author sees this as dividing into an activist political tendency (anarchist) and an organizing tendency (syndicalist), each with different excesses. The political tendency he sees grouping people around personalities, charisma, and ideology which can devolve into sectarianism, cliques, and fundamentalism. On the otherside the action tendency tends to create bureaucratic leadership, process orientation, and a technical approach which can lead to reformism.

What is the definition of success in organizing workers when we want more than a bump in pay? How should our values and ideas relate to our direct action and grievances? In what sense are we held back by the situation or by our own ideas and methods? These conflicts and their responses can be seen to reflect the challenges of building a revolutionary workplace alternative today.  Continue reading