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In March of 2016, the Worker’s Solidarity Alliance (WSA) introduced the Anarcho-Syndicalist Initiative (ASI), a project to develop a network of anarcho-syndicalist organizations across North America. The purpose of the initiative is to consolidate our strength as syndicalist oriented revolutionaries and to build our capacity to combat the capitalist system.
Over the last month, WSA has reached out to sympathetic organizations and individuals across the country and is, acting as the driving force of the new initiative. Our goal is to build the necessary Organizing Committee needed to undertake the brick-and-mortar effort of launching a substantial anarcho-syndicalist union movement. In that time we’ve received a positive response, and a few operational questions:
While members of WSA may have initiated this project, we do not seek a privileged or commanding role in any subsequent organizing committee for this new revolutionary union movement. We hope for a variety of working-class organizations, from solidarity networks to independent unions and tenants organizations, to eventually join in the ASI project. We envision our role as ideally one organization among many ‘moving the work along’. Specifically, WSA sees itself as an anarcho-syndicalist organization aimed at building local groups of militants who initiate, engage, and act in solidarity with rank-and-file controlled movements in all the various terrains of the class struggle.
Individuals who wish to participate in the ASI project are encouraged to join the WSA to work toward these shared goals.. We will help comrades in their efforts to build anarcho-syndicalist oriented initiatives (solnets, workplace organizations, community unions, etc) in their area. Existing mass working-class organizations and groups of radical workers can affiliate directly to the project as member organizations of the Anarcho-Syndicalist Initiative, whose first task is to organically determine its structure at a founding conference.
For past announcements please see our webzine, Ideas and Action: (http://ideasandaction.info/)
If you are interested in joining the Workers Solidarity Alliance, participating in the ASI, or are curious about things happening near you, please email our Corresponding Secretary:
Posted on April 18, 2016
The ASI is a project to build the organizing committee for an anarcho-syndicalist union movement. This movement will be part of a larger revolutionary union movement in North America. This movement will include unions based both in the workplace and in the community, wherever people require fighting formations to advance and defend their interests.
We seek to build a working class movement of the employed, the unemployed, the self-employed, students, home workers, the disabled, retirees; all of the members of the working class.
We see a movement capable of winning demands on the shop floor and in the streets, wherever the fight for an egalitarian society requires.
We see an organized movement for the central purpose of defeating the capitalist system and creating libertarian socialism.
The first step is to build strong and active local groups of anarcho-syndicalists. The groups will be able to work with community organizations, distribute ASI information, and engage in organizing activity.
The ASI is a project of Workers Solidarity Alliance. Dues are $28 per year and include membership in WSA and participation in the ASI project. Membership information is available at www.workersolidarity.org
Posted on March 29, 2016
The increasingly precarious conditions facing the North American working class, along with a rising tide of distrust and disgust with both our political and economic systems, demands that revolutionary organizations such as Workers Solidarity Alliance take immediate action to address these issues.
To this end, WSA has committed to launching the Anarcho-Syndicalist Initiative to Create a Revolutionary Union Movement (ASI for short), a project which seeks to unite North American anarcho-syndicalists and focus our strength and resources toward building a working class movement capable of defeating the capitalists and establishing libertarian socialism in North America.
We seek to organize groups of anarcho-syndicalists who are, or will become, active in community and workplace struggles. Organizing activity will include building and/or participating in solidarity networks, grassroots workers centers, rank and file groups within business unions, industrial networks, independent unions and workplace committees capable of forming the basis for union-type organizations.
The essential unit of the ASI project will be the Local Group, which will then be organized into Regional Federations, and finally united in an overall Federation of North American Anarcho-Syndicalists.
Local groups will engage in activity both in the community and in the workplace, addressing issues of housing, anti-racism and the environmental disasters created by rapacious neo-liberalism.
The Anarcho-Syndicalist Initiative is an effort that is long overdue. Building a revolutionary union movement will take time and commitment, but we cannot delay our efforts. We must move forward with energy and resolve. Each day that we delay can be measured in environmental destruction and the destroyed lives of working people.
The first step in this process will be building the local and regional groups. If you feel you are ready to commit to this historic effort, email your name and information (where you live, what you do, etc) to:
Dues are $28 a year and agreement with the basic principles of Workers Solidarity Alliance is required for membership. The Anarcho-Syndicalist Initiative is a project of Workers Solidarity Alliance. WSA information at: http://workersolidarity.org/
Our time is NOW.
Posted on March 12, 2016
Posted on February 18, 2016
What is Class Oppression? Who is the Working Class?
By Tom Wetzel
Occupy Wall Street highlighted class inequality in the USA through its talk about the concentration of income and wealth in the hands of "the 1 percent." This does put a bullseye on the ruling class in our society. But much of the talk about class in recent times has focused on income inequality. The idea is that "the 1 percent" are at the top because they have the highest incomes. But this fails to get to the heart of the matter. The existence of different income levels doesn’t explain why there are classes at all. After all, what explains why there are such huge differences in income?
When American union leaders talk about a worker struggle as a “defense of middle class jobs”, you'd think they must lead an organization of lawyers and doctors. Again, this is about income. In the past, unions in some industries were able to use their leverage to secure wage gains that would enable some workers to “lead a middle class lifestyle.”
That way of looking at things is a product of the years of the so-called “class truce” after World War 2. By the ‘40s workers had gained major concessions from the capitalist elite in North America and Western Europe.
Continue reading "What is Class Oppression? Who is the Working Class?"
Modern Slavery and the Triumph of Capitalism, (Part One)
By Mike Kolhoff
“The ideological push for the “science” of free trade has unleashed enormously destructive forces for social and cultural change that have wreaked havoc on the populations of developing countries. Rapid urbanization and restructuring of agricultural activities, upon which people have depended for centuries, has spelled disaster. In rural areas, the loss of common land, combined with the switch to the production of cash crops from subsistence farming, has in effect destroyed people’s livelihoods.”
From: The Economic Foundations of Contemporary Slavery, By Justin Guay , Topical Research Digest, 2014
The extractive power of capitalism has always existed. The ability to extract profit from people, production and resources is necessary for capitalism to function. There was a time when this was accompanied by a sort of creative power of capitalism. Capitalism once built things, even as it extracted profit from people and things. It built electrical power plants, built libraries, built universities and paved roads. These activities were in no way altruistic, they were adjustments, investments made to improve extraction of profit and to prove the superiority of capitalism over any competing system, but they still benefited non-capitalists just the same.
Any creative power capitalism may have once had began to decline in the last half of the 20th century, well after capitalism had faced its greatest crisis: the crisis of over-production and under-consumption that brought on the Great Depression. This crisis continues today, despite World War 2 and despite the invention of consumer capitalism (a wasteful system based on the production and sale of mostly useless things) and the conversion of the wartime propaganda machinery to the peacetime sales machinery. An economy based on selling people things they don’t want, and people buying things they neither want or need, on credit, is an economy treading water.
Continue reading "Modern Slavery and the Triumph of Capitalism, (Part One)"
By Mike Kolhoff
Part of a series commemorating 30 years of WSA
One of my fondest memories of my early days in the WSA was eagerly waiting for the next Discussion Bulletin to arrive in the mail. The DB had reports from comrades around the country on what they were doing, introducing new members, local actions and important news, international reports and letters from the IWA secretariat and other sections. Many phone calls were generated by the DB with questions and congratulations and offers of aid. Really the DB and the phone were the communication system that kept us in touch with the organization.
I miss that, a lot. Our current electronic instantaneous communications seem less substantial sometimes. The immediacy has, for me at least, degraded both the content and tone of our interactions. We have sacrificed thoughtfulness for speed, which isn’t a fair trade.
Continue reading "WSA Memories"
Part of a series commemorating 30 years of WSA
I joined the WSA in 2009 after participating in an anarchist reading group set up by two other WSAers. I was excited by what seemed like a density of good, smart people in the organization and because I was attracted to anarcho-syndicalist politics. While I learned the organization was not as clear-cut anarcho-syndicalist as I'd thought, with regard to the people I was not disappointed. I stuck around as an active member for about three years, even I'd become burned out on political organizations, primarily out of a strong sense of loyalty to the good comrades I'd gotten to know.
Continue reading "Recalling WSA"
Why Consensus Decision-making Won’t Work for Grassroots Unionism
By Tom Wetzel
Syndicalists have always supported a form of direct democracy based on majority rule. Like most American unions, the Industrial Workers of the World officially endorses Robert’s Rules of Order — although some of their smaller branches use a stripped down version called Rusty’s Rules. The point to taking a vote is that it enables an organized group to come to a decision that expresses the collective will, even when there is some disagreement.
This doesn’t mean that all decisions are made by voting. In grassroots organizations based on majority decision-making, it often happens that most decisions are made without taking any vote — especially in smaller meetings. That’s because people are often able to come to agreement just by discussing the issue or proposal.
Continue reading "Why Consensus Decision-making Won’t Work for Grassroots Unionism"