Unpacking the basket of deplorables: a reply on Trump voters, myths and myth-making

There’s a lot of reading here, and it would seem only fair to read the original article first. This is a Dorset Wobbly commenting in a personal capacity without a branch mandate, and my reason for doing so is the use of the old IWW graphic showing the ubiquitous white, male manual worker.

The IWW arose in the USA during a period of mass migration, at a time when unions were little more than extensions of the craft guilds of former times. They were segregated along strict trade and ethnic lines. It became obvious that this structure was ill-suited to the class war that raged in the early years of the 20th Century.

It’s worth pointing out that the IWW was the first union to attempt to organise African American, Hispanic and Chinese workers alongside ‘white’ workers. Its members also included Italian, Irish, Scottish, Germanic, Scandinavian and Jewish Diaspora, reflecting the makeup of the exploited class at the time. This had never been done before.

It just about expended its considerable energies and resources opposing the First World War on the simple premise that Fellow Workers shall not kill each other for their bosses. This brought down ferocious state repression, what was left over went down the plughole that is the Communist Party, the fate of the vigorous South African syndicalist movement was similar.

Today the IWW is a painstakingly inclusive organisation, but still rejects liberalism. I’m not sure we’re part of the ‘left’, but we are of the Working Class; since we decline to participate in party politics it seems churlish to devote too much attention to the outcome of elections, but I believe a pile of dog shit could have defeated Hilary Clinton had it achieved a party nomination. The arrogance of the political class in assuming workers were going to vote for a sneering elitist warmonger just because the other candidate is a village idiot beggars belief. But then I don’t vote, and I don’t live in the US. If the office of President were important could it have been filled by the likes of Nixon, Johnson, Gerald Ford (!) – remember him?

The power of the Working Class is expressed at the point of production, when it declines to work, or occupies space and refuses to relinquish it, that has not changed, and never will. I’m a little nostalgic myself, for a time when the Working Class, however constituted, was ready to fight; when scabs needed armed guards to pass armed pickets, when Wobblies from all over flocked to a small town to fill up the jails so a public meeting could take place. If that spirit has been depleted over the last century or so it’s by the political ‘left’ with its shady manoeuvrings and self-defeating power struggles.

Cautiously pessimistic

Contrary to popular belief, not all American workers look like this. Contrary to popular belief, not all American workers actually look like this.

The Workers Solidarity Movement recently published a piece by Andrew Flood analysing the make-up of the Trump vote. The article’s specifically intended as an intervention into a particular debate on the left, one that Flood characterises as being between “the Nostalgic Left” on the other hand, and “the Intersectional Left” on the other, with the idea that “the left needs to reach out, and listen to the concerns of” Trump voters cast as a symptom of people “dreaming of a mostly fictional past when a united (white male) working class was not distracted by what they term ‘identity politics’”.

I’m not convinced that the two poles Flood sets up are the most useful ones to be using here. In an equally polemical move, I would say that an equally useful distinction could be made between a Shouty…

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Over a barrel

scottish unemployed workers' network

universal-credit-claimant-commitment-p1-of-4

The Claimant Commitment is presented as though it were a contract agreed between two freely consenting parties, but that is far from the case. If you don’t sign the Claimant Commitment that the jobcentre has prepared for you then there is no benefit money, so your negotiating position is pretty fatally undermined from the start. There is provision to get a second opinion, but only from another jobcentre worker who can simply back up their colleague – as these two cases demonstrate.

John, from central Scotland, contacted us last week. He was not unnaturally concerned that the document he was being made to sign effectively required him to promise to do anything he was asked by his ‘jobcoach’ or by the Work Programme. He will have to sign this to get his benefits – though he can push for a change in the wording afterwards. This is bad because it…

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The BBC wants your views on the “UK Strike Wave”!

Wessex Solidarity

general_strike

The propaganda arm of the corporate state would like to know what you think of our Class standing up to the bosses for a change – well let ’em have it! E-mail bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk

Strike wave? You ain’t seen nothing yet!

For the revolutionary destruction of capitalist power relations, bourgeois society and the state.

For the abolition of wage labour, private property, all coercive and transactional relationships.

For the permanent dismantling of systems of domination and exploitation based on race, gender, sexuality and other arbitrary distinctions.

For the inception of a free society based on mutual aid, voluntary association and common ownership of the means of production.

For the survival of the planet and its inhabitants.

Bring it on!

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Fighting Heathrow expansion from within

Angry Workers of the World

heathrowInvitation to join a workers’ intervention at Heathrow airport

The UK government recently decided to build another runway at Heathrow airport. This will add another 250,000 flights annually to the existing 470,000, worsen the already disastrous levels of local air pollution in the largely (migrant) working class western fringe around the airport, and destroy at least 800 homes. Heathrow expansion is disputed by various forces: environmental activists, local resident groups, lobby groups of competing airports and various members of the political class, including the former and current Mayor of London. Unsurprisingly, both Heathrow-related business and most trade unions are in favour of building another runway, citing that the £18 billion plus investment will create between 50,000 and 110,000 jobs by 2030.

We, as a small collective around the Workers Wild West newspaper, are against the development of any destructive infrastructure, but we think that a true opposition has to be…

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Deliveroo campaign public meeting, December 13

Cautiously pessimistic

From the IWGB:

Maybe you have heard that Deliveroo management has rejected our request that Deliveroo drivers be recognised as workers. This request was the first step in our plan to end the bogus classification of drivers as ‘self employed’, a definition which undermines Deliveroo drivers access to fair working rights.

This Tuesday the 13th of December there will be another public meeting to update our supporters and work together to plan the strategy for the next stage of the campaign. We are happy to announce that international Union news and campaign website LabourStart (www.labourstart.org) will be co-hosting the meeting!

We want you to come along! This is an important step in the development of our strategy, and we want all of our supporters and members to have a say.

So come along this Tuesday, from 7pm – 9pm and have your say in this landmark campaign…

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An Olympia IWW General Defense Committee: A Response to Extraordinary Times

Olympia Industrial Workers of the World

gdcsabcat

Our organization must be effective. The sense of despair many of us feel is grounded in the reality of an ascendant far right. Right now they face little resistance. The sense of urgency many of us have felt is a recognition of the need to build that resistance. It is time for us to take up that task, to find new comrades ready to fight and to fight. No one is coming to save us- we cannot use the electoral system to fight the right effectively. It is time to stop waiting and defend each other in the streets.

-From No One Is Coming to Save Us: An Anarchist Response to the Election of Donald Trump, itsgoingdown.org/no-one-coming-save-us-anarchist-response-election-donald-trump/, 11 November 2016

We should not fool ourselves. These are not ordinary times. The election of Donald Trump signals a full scale assault by the state on Muslims, immigrants, the LGBTQ community…

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Sacramento Wobbly killed by Turkish state.

Michael Israel.

Michael Israel.

With great sadness we learn that on 29th of November 2016, Fellow Worker Michael Israel, a founder member of Sacramento IWW, and six other people, were killed in a bombing raid by Turkish air force north of Raqqa, Syria. Michael was serving his second tour as a volunteer with the YPG.

In his own words:

“I am back in Rojava again and will be here for the next several months to do my part in defending the revolution.

The Rojava struggle is the most dynamic and ground breaking revolutionary movement of our time. I am determined that it is the job of leftist allies and internationalists to rally behind this movement, to help build it up and learn from it. Things that we may have only dreamed of in theoretical writing are acted upon in Rojava, modified and adapted to their struggle and made real. Rojava is doing this all and reorganizing society despite the chaos and destruction of 5 years of civil war. The gains of the revolution under such austere and harsh conditions is truly remarkable.

Now that I am back in Rojava, I know all my needs will be met. Here I will never be in want of basic necessities for lack of money. I, like all others in Rojava, will never go without food and water, clothing or a place to rest my head at night. The movement takes care of people here.

That is not to say though that Rojava and the rest of Syria do not need help though.

I’m calling on all of my friends and comrades to learn about the Rojava revolution and how they have been leading the charge in the war against ISIS fascists. I’m calling on all of you who are able, to do your part in helping or sending donations so that this revolution may become stronger with the aid of the international community.”

– Michael Israel: via facebook 11th August 2016

We send our respect and condolences to his family, friends and Fellow Workers.