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.
My other best memory is the national conferences held each year. This was where we were able to meet the people we’d been corresponding with and maybe clarify what needed clarification, and maybe achieve agreement, or not. Anyway, it was always good to see the comrades. My favorites were the conference in Knoxville and the conference in New York. Knoxville was great because they had an active community of supporters to we also met, and just the chance to meet the Knoxville comrades was a pleasure. New York was also a high point, with Pepe Jiminez the IWA secretary attending. I got to wander around Mike Harris’s neighborhood in Bloomfield, New Jersey which was pretty cool. Even ordered a pepper and egg sandwich at some Italian bar. Nice, right? I went out for a beer run while the group of us ate at an Indian restaurant in Manhattan and ended up drunk and lost for a half hour (all of the blocks looked kind of the same, until I found the one with nothing but Indian Restaurants and could see New York Steve through the window.
The conferences were fun, but we also got shit done. When we left we felt like we’d accomplished something, or at least I did. We had a plan for moving forward, and that is always what you need.