Shirley workers are serious: logistics workers strike on “Cyber Monday”

Cautiously pessimistic

Workers at the Shirley, Solihull branch of “Spectrum for Arcadia”, a logistics depot that’s part of the DHL Logistics Supply Chain and supplies major brands such as Topshop and Burton’s, walked out on strike today as part of a pay dispute. It’s one of the busiest days of the year for online shopping, and presumably orders placed on “Black Friday” will still be working their way through the supply chain as well. Warehouse and other supply chain workers always have a fair amount of disruptive power, but that’s magnified in the shopping rush in the run-up to Christmas, so it’d be worth keeping an eye out for other stories like this, or the judge who ordered striking pilots back to work because their planes carried Amazon packages.

At the very least, I think it’s important to spread this news among Spectrum/Arcadia workers – I’d like to hope that…

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Class Struggle Anarchist Conference 2017.

Wessex Solidarity

In response to an invitation from Wales AFed / FfA Cymru, we attended a preliminary planning meeting for this event, which is expected to take place in the South West U.K. next year. It will be open to delegates of Class Struggle organisations, and individuals who identify as anarchists. Some groups have already pledged funds and we are open to volunteers to help with logistics

Our Class is under siege on all sides, yet the response has been haphazard. Large sections of it are pursuing narrow and contradictory agendas, many have returned to archaic ideas: state socialism, corporatism, nationalism and worse. Others cling forlornly to political structures that are inherently anti-Working Class. Those at the sharp end who understand the situation best are struggling just to survive.

Yet there are opportunities too. For the first time in living memory the bourgeoisie is also divided on how to pursue its common…

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Food for thought: new organising initiative and bulletin for Deliveroo staff

Cautiously pessimistic

The growth of grassroots workers’ organisations at “gig economy” companies like Deliveroo and UberEats has been one of the few bright spots in the last few months, and this seems to be part of an international trend to judge by recent news from Italy. But so far, one major limitation has been the way that organisation and resistance has been localised in London, with little information available about the conditions of workers at the same companies elsewhere.

Now this could be set to change: Bristol Deliveroo workers have started organising through the local IWW branch, and a new bulletin is being produced with the aim of helping Deliveroo workers in the UK and nationally to communicate and organise.

Anyone with an interest in helping spread workers’ self-organisation can help get the Rebel Roo bulletin into the hands of Deliveroo riders near you: you can get copies…

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The chains of history connecting 1910 to 2016 : from Mary MacArthur and Mary Quaile to the Durham Teaching Assistants.

lipstick socialist

Last week,  when  speaking at a West Midlands Unison meeting for women about the life of Mary Quaile,  I was vividly reminded  of the power of women and the power of women in trade unions.  While the problems women face (at this meeting sexual harassment at work was on the agenda,  not surprising given the environment of cuts)  might have changed,  the basic need for women to get together to discuss the particular issues that affect them,  and construct strategies to change them,  has not gone away. Nowadays trade unions are barely  recognisable from the days of Mary Quaile and Mary Macarthur,  but the issues that drove these women – recruiting women into trade unions, achieving  equality at work including equal pay for equal work –  have not gone away.

Mary Quaile was a grassroots person, even though she attained a place on the General Council of the TUC and…

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Dorset IWW statement on the proposed Class Struggle Anarchist Conference to be held in the South West (U.K) in 2017.

Our November meeting voted to support this event, originally proposed by Ffederasiwn Anarchaidd Cymru. Should it go ahead, we pledge £200 from branch funds.

Rationale: effective Class struggle strategies are now vital to our collective survival. The model of revolutionary syndicalism developed within the IWW has proved most effective during the most lively periods of our history, e.g the great unrest, and had a formative influence on the 20th century anarchist and socialist tendencies.

We must hone and refine our industrial praxis for the modern wage-labour economy, taking into account:

  • The shifting balance of manufacturing and agriculture against the more alienated service, logistics, entertainment and affective labour sectors.
  • Precarity of employment – nothing new – in fact harks back to early 20th century practices on the docks and building trades. Along with this goes poverty wages, bad housing, homelessness, ill-health and intra-Class violence. Grassroots solidarity unionism has had some success among precarious trades such as office cleaning, hospitality and partly employed delivery drivers, indicating that it is still relevant.
  • The expansion of the prison-industrial complex and forced labour generally.
  • Increasingly repressive state – again, nothing new – this month is the 100th anniversary of the Everett massacre.
  • Distraction of the class by imperialist adventures, electoral shenanigans, fear of migrant labour – we’ve been here before, as well.
  • Diffusion of effort amongst activists into isolated struggles such as: animal rights, environmentalism, anti-militarism, identity and gender politics, solidarity with individual liberation struggles (Palestine, Kurdistan, Chiapas etc.) and so forth. There is nothing wrong with any of these positions but we must co-ordinate them to be effective.
  • The double-edged sword of technology – either we make it work for us or we’ll end up working for it. Some electronics are as pacifying and destructive to our Class consciousness as were gin and opium in former times.
  • The increasingly urgent threat to the environment.
  • The apparent contradiction to our Class between protecting the environment, animals etc, opposing the arms trade – and the material well-being of workers presently employed on those industries.
  • Dismantlement by the bourgeoisie and their collaborators of collective gains made by our Class during the last century (public health, welfare, housing, education, mass industrial action etc).

We urge other grassroots / solidarity union branches to be involved in this, to promote revolutionary syndicalism, check its relevance and integrate it with the praxis of other Class struggle organisations.

Solidarity against the fear: remember the Ferguson rebels

Cautiously pessimistic

So, as you may have noticed, the USA has a new president. Quite a lot has been said about it, and I don’t really have anything to say about it that hasn’t been saidbetter by othersalready.

I don’t have any answers to how we can build a movement that takes on both the horrors of capitalist business-as-usual and the authoritarian nationalists who offer the promise of change and false solutions to those horrors. But I do know a few things that we can’t afford to let ourselves do. Crucially, I think we can’t afford to let those who are singled out for repression go through the experience alone. No movement – whether it’s to protect the climate, to defend workers’ rights and organisations, or to stand up to racist police terror – will get far if those individuals who the state picks out as targets are left…

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