Lunch Lady Land: reflections on a unionization drive from a radical food service worker

By Fnordie


It was sometime in late February, 2011 when we let the cat out of the bag.  I was working the swing shift in the college’s main cafeteria – “The Den” as it was known.  It was starting to get dark, and I had just clocked out for my lunchbreak and stepped outside onto the smoking dock.  No sooner had I sat down on an overturned milkcrate, when my friend and co-worker Emilio came charging around the corner, panting, wide-eyed and grimacing.

Mallory’s telling everybody, fool!” he hissed at me through clenched teeth.

Like me, Emilio was a cook (though we sometimes joked our job description was “lunch lady”).  We were also both on a union organizing committee for our kitchen.  We’d been organizing “underground” for months, building the committee in secret.   We weren’t yet ready to go public.
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Posted on February 18, 2014

Filed Under Labor | 3 Comments

Interview with La Alzada—Acción Feminista Libertaria

“The hallmark of La Alzada, unlike other feminist spaces, it was initially designed as an organization that conceives feminist work from concrete practice”


By Lyudmila

Dec 1, 2013

1. Since its inception a year ago, and its initial public announcement as an organization on International Women’s Day, La Alzada has gone through many collective experiences, changes, and continual redefinition. Can you describe some decisive moments, experiences, and thoughts that have helped define La Alzada during this period?

Since the formation of La Alzada, we have gone through a process of constant growth and maturation, whose origin lies in two concerns: to insert feminism in the public space from a leftist and revolutionary perspective, as well as position issues such as sexism and patriarchy within organizations of a militant character.  At the time in our definition as feminists and anarchists, we set out with the idea of recovering the historical memory of the women’s liberation movement, building our own vision of what we mean by the feminist movement. Also, from a process of self-education, we found ourselves with a theoretical and practical challenge: to provide analytical content to anarcha-feminist practices.

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Posted on February 8, 2014

White Supremacy and the Looting of Detroit

By Mike Kolhoff

The court has ruled, so the legalized looting of Detroit will go ahead as Governor Snyder has planned. The Emergency Manager has ordered the DIA to provide him with a list of the values of the many artworks in the institute. The city water works are also probably going to be sold, as well as city parks and anything else they can get a nickel for. We’ve heard they have even discussed selling all of the animals in the zoo. Read more

Posted on January 29, 2014

The state of the union is …unequal

By Mike Harris

OK, so  the “little person” has been fighting against wage theft, low wages, and harsh working and living conditions for years. Sometimes alone and lonely, sometimes collectively and in a self-managed way. For the past year or so, mainstream labor, through various grass-roots and top-down efforts has tried to coordinate the fight against poverty wages. Through a string of events in the fall of 2013, various campaigns engaged in this theme of subterranean pay rates.

Obama has sometimes countered the demands of nominally left-wing critics with an admonition to “make me do it.” As he prepares to deliver his State of the Union address, advance reports indicate that it will contain elements of mainstream labor’s issues. Perhaps the stagecraft, rather then shop floor organization, has acted as a “make me” moment for Obama.
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Posted on January 28, 2014

Thoughts on SolFed’s anarcho-syndicalism for the 21st century and Especifismo

By Klas Batalo

FARJ's graph on division of labor internal to the revolutionary organization

If you've been following debates in class struggle anarchism the last few years you've most likely encountered the writings of the Solidarity Federation (UK) who've put out excellent pamphlets on anarcho-syndicalist theory and practice with the hope of updating it for the 21st century. The first of these Strategy & Struggle was released by the Brighton local of SolFed in 2009 and created much of a buzz for the organization, especially around the website This is why many anticipated eagerly the release the groups' elaboration and improvement upon many of the ideas in that pamphlet, Fighting for Ourselves, released around this time last year in 2012.

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Posted on September 25, 2013

The Revolutionary Party Is An Oxymoron

By Steven Fake

Kshama Sawant

The campaign of socialist Kshama Sawant for the Seattle City Council continues to attract excitement on the left for her strong showing. A Counterpunch contributor recently called it a "highly significant" development. I wish her well of course. A socialist threat in the city of Microsoft, Amazon, and Starbucks is indeed heart warming. Hopefully the publicity will introduce some new people to socialism. But electoral campaigns are not a promising strategy for systemic change.

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Posted on September 13, 2013

3 Ways Organizing With Friends Can Lead to Failure

By Brandon Feld


Sitting among a group of college aged friends that all dress and talk in the same way is a recurring scene in activism and organizing groups around the world. In large part, organizing takes the form of a few people trying to rally their friends around a cause. These practices are counterproductive to creating welcoming organizing spaces.

I’ve been in all types: organizations that were started from friendships, groups of people that later became friends after working together (which is better), and most recently a group that I have a few friends in but most of the people I work with I just consider comrades. Meaning once in awhile we go out for beers after a meeting or action but socializing doesn’t go much beyond that. The latter of the three works best to promote a healthy organizational culture. This article will examine the reasons as to how leaning on our friends to take a role in our organizations can become problematic.

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Posted on July 27, 2013

Malatesta and Syndicalism

A note from the translator: "This is a never before translated piece by Lopez Arango, one of the main theorists of the pre-1930 FORA, that goes against Malatesta's ideas on the unions. The prose is filled with flourish and it not straight forward at all. I tried to take liberties to make it more readable in English... It has some really interesting elements in it: focus on the method of struggle, rejection of unions in post-rev society, rejection of anarcho-syndicalism as a concept, clarity of the dynamic of struggle between pre-revolutionary periods and ruptures, etc. The FORA was way ahead of their time."

From the weekly supplement of La Protesta, July 13, 1925

By Emilio López Arango

In a translation of “Pensiero e Volonte” from Rome, an article by Malatesta was published about the relation in theory and fact between anarchism and syndicalism. The aforementioned comrade raised a point of contradiction between those two terms, and explains how the role of the labor movement and activity of anarchists outside and inside of the unions, and in a final note subtlety gathered words written in La Protesta. The article of Malatesta generalizes a problem not yet sufficiently discussed and clarified.

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Posted on May 8, 2012