Solidarity 064, 6 January 2005

100th anniversary of the Wobblies

This year is the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), otherwise known as the Wobblies, in the United States.

The IWW was founded in Chicago in 1905 at a convention of 200 socialists, anarchists and radical trade unionists from all over the US, who were opposed to the policies of the mainstream American Federation of Labour (AFL).

The first IWW leaders included Bill Haywood, Daniel De Leon, Eugene Debs, Mary Harris Jones (commonly known as “Mother Jones”), Vincent Saint John and many others.

Debate and discussion: Are workers innocent, even if they collaborate?

Attacks by the Iraqi resistance have been made on member’s of the IFTU on the railway line between Basra and Nasiriyyah. Reports of the attack on the No Sweat website prompted this exchange. Abridged.

What exactly were the trains carrying, that the resistance would want to attack them? Are workers to be immune from resistance, even when they are complicit in atrocities by supplying or working for US forces? What about the train drivers who carried prisoners to Auschwitz — are they above attack, as well?

Socialist Alliance democrats call for unity conference: 12 March, Birmingham

For the last 15 months, a number of left groups and individual members of the Socialist Alliance (SA) have grouped together under the Socialist Alliance Democracy Platform (SADP). Our main aim has been to maintain the SA as a major focus for left unity as part of the process of building a new workers’ socialist party, organisation or network as an alternative to New Labour.

Christian Parenti: Workers, resistance and the occupation

Christian Parenti is a San Fransisco based activist and the author of The Freedom: Shadows and Hallucinations in Occupied Iraq.

At the end of 2004 he spoke to Solidarity about the nature of the Iraqi resistance

I believe we on the left should be calling for a withdrawal of US troops, regardless of whether or not the resistance meets the left’s criteria of a good movement.

Defend free speech

The Birmingham Repertory Theatre’s shameful decision before Christmas to cancel the play Behzti (Dishonour) was justified in the following way by Executive Director Stuart Rogers: “[Sikh] community leaders have been unable to guarantee to us that there will be no repeat of illegal and violent activities… we cannot guarantee the safety of our audiences… [W]e have decided to end the current run of the play on security grounds.”

Abortion rights under attack

Described by the National Organisation of Women as a “virtual tidal wave of anti-abortion and anti-contraception legislation”, women in the US are facing what is perhaps the greatest threat to their reproductive rights since abortion first became legal.

Bush’s proclamation of “National Sanctity of Human Life Day”, in which he compared abortion to the terrorist attacks of 9/11, was a clear signal to the anti-abortion lobby that they could expect support from the highest levels of government.

Democracy and the Iraqi workers

There will be no working-class socialist presence in Iraq’s elections on 30 January — assuming that they do take place. The Worker-communist Party of Iraq is boycotting the elections.

Argentina: Defend Zanon workers against eviction

Argentina’s movement of occupied factories is an inspiration in the fight against neoliberalism, and an important symbol that another world is possible, necessary and emerging.

One of the jewels of this movement is the worker-controlled ceramic tile factory of Zanon in Neuquen.

Under worker control since 2002, the factory has increased employment 50% in the last year from 300 to 450 workers. The Zanon workers have managed this democratically, with decisions made in open assemblies.

Defend council housing!

In the run-up to the 1997 general election, the British public was presented with a choice of two similar housing policies by the two main parties. The Conservatives promised wholesale privatisation of council housing. Labour wanted councils to ballot their tenants on whether or not they wanted ownership of their estates to be “transferred” to housing associations. The end seemed to be nigh for council housing. One of the best, and most successful, welfare policies of the twentieth century was to be swept aside by the neo-liberal consensus.

This website uses cookies, you can find out more and set your preferences here.
By continuing to use this website, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions.