A motley crew of disaffected workers from various sectors, plus some self-employed and unemployed comrades, gathered in East Bristol last Friday night. Their aim – the formation of a Bristol branch of the IWW, the Industrial Workers of the World, or Wobblies as commonly known.
Some of the comrades are already in a British trade union, and for the time being at least will be dual card members, but others were in no union at all. All see the benefits of being in the one big union for all workers.
The meeting agreed to formerly apply to the IWW for recognition as the Bristol (or possibly East Bristol) branch, and awaits ratification. In the meantime, publicity about the IWW will be gathered and circulated; a large open introductory meeting will be held soon for all interested workers; and the IWW will be present at the forthcoming Bristol anarchist bookfair on 12 September.
With the recession kicking in hard, and all political parties offering years of cutbacks and hardship as we are expected to pay for the present crisis of capitalism, workers need more than ever to get organised and act in solidarity with each other. The present trade unions, with rare exceptions (possibly the CWU, RMT for example), are proving themselves yet again as incapable of acting in the interest of workers. Instead they usually undermine action, cut anti-working class deals with bosses, and act in fear of 30 years of anti-worker legislation. On top of that they are run by self-interested individuals or cliques on large salaries, a bit like the bosses in fact.
So watch this space for more info, and read on below some excerpts about the IWW. Solidarity!
An Introduction to the IWW (excerpts from IWW UK site)
Founded in 1905, the IWW is open to all workers. Don’t let the “industrial” part fool you. Our members include teachers, cleaners, social workers, retail workers, construction workers, bartenders, and computer programmers. Only bosses are not allowed to join. If you are currently unemployed, you can still join. You have a legal right to join a union and your membership is confidential.
We are a volunteer-driven union, and this means we, not union bosses or bureaucrats, run the union. The IWW is not controlled by or affiliated with any political party or political movement. No money goes to politicians. Membership dues are used to maintain the union and assist organising campaigns. As a result, monthly dues are low
Why every worker should be in the One Big Union
Whether your job sucks or is “pretty good” (at least today), we in the IWW believe you should join us for the following reasons. We need to start sticking up for our co-workers in our workplaces and in our industries. Ask around on your next shift. How many co-workers have two or three jobs? How many are one payday away from an eviction? We have a duty to our co-workers and those who will follow in our footsteps to make things better, not only in terms of immediate gains but also as part of a bigger plan to build a radically new worker-run economy for the benefit of all. The only way to do this is to organise together. When we band together around our common experiences and interests, we can improve our jobs and industries. Our labour, not our bosses, is what makes our workplaces tick and we can use that power to improve our jobs and our communities. In a lot of ways, that is what unions are all about.