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.

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