‘Don’t Pay’ or ‘Enough is Enough’: The role of workers’ vanguards in the current moment – Lessons to learn from GKN workers in Italy and others

Angry Workers

There are moments when a particular group of workers can become the political focus for the wider working class. They can act as a pole of attraction, they can become a conduit for a wider program and new forms of struggle.

The current wave of strikes in Britain shows that significant sections of the working class feel both the need and ability to defend their own interests. It has come at a point in the deepening crisis where the mainstream political establishment is unable to present meaningful state-driven solutions.

In desperation, the controlling Tory party has ditched Johnson and created several months of vacuum where they don’t even pretend to generate plans to ease hardships. That convulsion in the governing party is not unique to Britain. Unable to respond to crisis and pacify the population, governments elsewhere in Western Europe have also dissolved. In France, Macron’s party have lost control of the National Assembly and, in Italy, Draghi’s coalition government has collapsed.

Meanwhile, the leadership of the British Labour Party has been intent on showing themselves as the next Government to prop up the capitalist status quo in Britain. They are so keen to prove that point that, week in, week out, they have gone to great lengths to distance themselves from struggling workers.

While the absence of a plan is lamented by the reformists, we think it opens up an opportunity to strengthen the chance for workers’ struggles to progress from singular defensive battles to a wider political program for the working class.

Things are churning

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DRB 2023 Planning meeting 12th November 2022 at 4:30 p.m.

Anarchy in the Sticks!

Comrades, we are meeting together with our co-sponsors Dorset IWW on Saturday 12th November at Obsidian Cafe, 14 Sea Road, Boscombe, BH5 1DB which will be open to all interested parties.

We are looking into spreading next year’s event across three adjacent venues in Boscombe so we need at least ten volunteers.

Anyone who wants to be involved will need to either come to this meeting, or if they cannot, please send us an e-mail to say what tasks you would like to take on and any dates you will not be available.

There will not be a Dorset Radical Bookfair in 2023 unless we get enough people to commit to it now, so it’s up to you.

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CWU pickets at BT openreach.

Wobblies from our branch have been supporting these pickets in Dorset and as far afield as Sussex. Here’s a picture from the one in Bognor on Monday.

A FW writes:

BT Open Reach were on strike today and are out at least twice this month. As a smaller part of the CWU they are beginning to feel a bit left out over Royal Mail’s dispute so if FWs could share a bit on Social Media to friends and Comrades it may help to get the message out a bit about their struggle.

 From Allihies to Leadville, Another ‘Trail of Tears’.

The Spirit of Mother Jones Festival

Leadville Miner Memorial, (J Goltz),

Today as one descends into the community from the high Castletownbere road, the beauty of Ballydonegan Bay and Allihies village on the Beara peninsula in West Cork remains stunning to the eye. Alive with tourists, music and life in the summertime, it slumbers gently during the wild winter months. The hills all around are dotted with the remains of mine sites, there is a busy Copper Mine Museum providing a focus point for information, study and relaxation in the linear village. One can walk the Allihies Copper Mine Trail, in the footsteps of the miners. The village’s past is bound up with the local mines and their impact, its future is to tell the miner’s story.

Mining began here in 1812 at Dooneen, established by John Puxley, the local landlord, followed in 1813 by the Mountain Mine and in…

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IWW Statement in Solidarity with Canary Workers’ Co-op

The Canary media workers form Cooperative

The contemporary media industry is well known for puppeting the capitalist and state narratives and for promoting job insecurity, low wages and controls on the freedoms of journalists to speak the truth to power. The dynamic of employer and worker strips good journalists of the ability to provide the public with genuine working class perspectives and reporting on the events that we ought to know about. While this dynamic remains, even under the most progressive of bosses, the voices of the workers remain chained.

The Industrial Workers of the World welcomes the decision by our fellow workers and union members at The Canary publication, to take steps to remove bosses from their workplace, and create equitable and horizontal democratic structures through the founding of the Canary Workers’ Co-operative (CWC).

The workers of the CWC “believe in the need for a radical media that isn’t afraid to speak truth to power, amplify the voices of the oppressed, and envision a world beyond capitalism and the state. Radical media needs to be a microcosm of the world we want to live in. It needs to be worker-run and truly democratic.”

The organising of this Co-operative has taken place over many months and has emerged out of several conflicts that arose because of the behaviour of the Canary’s prior leadership, and the hierarchy and inequality institutionalised within the workplace.

While co-ops still exist under capitalism, we recognise the revolutionary spirit of this initiative that sets a positive example for others to follow; embodying the change you want to see; taking control of your own workplace; using your platform for the benefit of the working class.

The Canary Workers’ Co-op has adopted a horizontal and ‘sociocratic’ structure. This means that there will no longer be bosses and the workers will make all the decisions themselves in decentralised working groups and general meetings. All members are recognised as equals and will have equal democractic control of the CWC.

The CWC is run for the benefit of all the workers and everyone will be paid the same for a day’s work (currently £12 an hour). This is in contrast to the disproportionately high pay received by the bosses in the past, taken from the profits of the workers toil.

Furthermore the CWC is committed to providing education and training to members for the good of the co-op, and for the good of the movement. This whole process is a learning experience for all those involved, including the IWW itself as we support the CWC as it develops and redefines its relationship to the union and the wider class struggle.

We are proud of our fellow workers at the Canary for starting this journey to build a radical alternative to the capitalist structures which alienate the workers from their work and keep the means of production in the hands of a few.

IWW sends our solidarity to the Canary Workers’ Co-operative!

We celebrate this new beginning for you all, and we look forward to supporting you to achieve better working conditions and practices that will inspire others to follow this example.

Dump the bosses off your back!