Women Workers’ Day 1921

At 18:45 on 7th March 1921, the government batteries at Sestroretsk and Lissy Noss fired the first shots against the Rebel City of Kronstadt. It was the eve of the Women Workers’ Day and the fourth anniversary of the start of the Russian Revolution (February Revolution, old calendar).

Radio Kronstadt broadcast this message from the free Soviet:

Today is a universal holiday — Women Workers’ Day. We of Kronstadt send, amid the thunder of cannon, our fraternal greetings to workingwomen of the world. May you soon accomplish your liberation from every form of violence and oppression. Long live the free revolutionary workingwomen! Long live the Social Revolution throughout the world!

Ben Fletcher, Wobbly Organiser

Industrial Workers of the World (IWW)

In the early twentieth century, the majority of US unions excluded Black and Asian workers. The IWW welcomed Black and Asian workers warmly with an emphasis on class solidarity with their motto “An injury to one is an injury to all”. Ben Fletcher is of one of the greatest working class heroes in American history.

Local 8 dock workers

Ben was an amazing organiser who was well loved by his comrades. Fletcher helped found and lead Local 8 of the IWW Marines Transport Workers Industrial Union. The Local 8 organised the city’s longshoremen in Philadelphia and was the largest and most powerful IWW branch in the mid-Atlantic. This branch was without doubt the most powerful interracial union of its era: members took a stand against all forms of xenophobia and exclusion.

"Notice! Seamen and longshoremen" poster

Ben played a pivotal role in the decade long campaign in Philadelphia’s waterfront. The majority of his writing and speeches came in this period. He was an important figure within the union as he was a part of a racially diverse leadership. Ben was a wobbly through and through – he was unapologetic and a radical who envisioned a postcapitalist revolutionary society. However his vision did not stop him from engaging in the reform struggle. The wobblies’ antiracist component of their radical vision was central to the day to day union that Fletcher advanced.

“I have been identified with the Labor Movement—twenty years, and I am at a safe distance from forty yet. Nineteen of those years have been spent in the ranks of the IWW and this long ago I have come to know that, the Industrial Unionism as proposed and practiced  by the IWW is all sufficient for the teeming millions who must labor for others in order to stay on this planet, and more, it is the economic vehicle that will enable the Negro Workers to burst every bond of Racial Prejudice, Industrial and political inequalities  and social ostracism.” –Ben Fletcher

This article is part of a series of posts on Black History Month.

 

Cable street celebration 2016.

On the 09/10/2016 I went to London for the 80th anniversary of the battle of Cable street and was very pleased to see no signs of fascists as well as a very discreet police presence. Antifa were as always a very visible and noisy affair, letting off thunder flashes and smoke, marching through the streets of London to Cable street whilst chanting so as far as PR goes did themselves proud.

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I did not stay around for the rally as I had little interest in listening to the political class ranting so instead myself and a London Postal Comrade took the opportunity to go to the freedom bookshop and I would recommend anyone who has never been to try to go.

In Solidarity Les

See you at Tolpuddle! 15th to 17th July 2016.

tolpDorset GMB will be on the IWW stall at the Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival this coming weekend, why not stop by for a chat? We will also be supporting the Radical Workers’ Bloc on Sunday’s march. Check out FW Les’ Wob Kitchen next to the RWB tent on the campsite, free/donations, first come first served.

An open letter to John Harris, photographer, from a participant in the Radical Workers’ Bloc at Tolpuddle.

Dorset IWW supports the Radical Workers’ Bloc.

Wessex Solidarity

We would like to point out that these comments are in no way related to John Harris Photography of Norfolk.

Stick with horses head handleBackground:

Those who were at last year’s Tolpuddle Martyrs’ Festival may recall an attack on the Radical Workers’ Bloc stall. The RWB is an annual celebration of class struggle anarchism focussing on Sunday’s march. For the past two years a collective of libertarian groups has manned a stall acting as a meeting point and a distro for literature and other items for which we will accept donations in the hope of covering our costs. We don’t actually sell anything ourselves although we’ve carried stock for our comrades of Freedom Books, Hunt Saboteurs Association, Anti Fascist Network and Solidarity Federation, the proceeds from which went directly to those bodies.

Insofar as any transaction takes place, it is between the bloc’s supporters and South West TUC who provide us with…

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