Posted on August 12, 2011, filed Under WSA.
Conference for a new national libertarian workers organization
During the past year or so, there has been talk about creating a new organization in the U.S. which would embrace and further anarcho-syndicalist activity. Accordingly, we, members of the Libertarian Workers Group, ideas & action collective and others, are now calling a conference to be held in New York City over the Thanksgiving weekend, Nov. 23-25 .
It is our intention that this will be the founding conference of a new national organization, which we propose to organize as the U.S. section of the International Workers Association.
We support the development of shopfloor forms of unionism, but the organization that we propose is not intended to be a labor union,but an organization of anarcho-syndicalist militants, which would promote the development of anarcho-syndicalist activity, such as direct workers action and self-managed forms of worker struggle.
We want an organization that is oriented towards activism and which is based in struggles in the USA of today and in support of our fellow workers in other lands. We are not oriented in taking over or building up any existing organization (such as the IWW), nor do we envision this new organization as a federation of pre-existing anarchist groups.
We envision an organization based on individual membership, which would include people active in labor struggles, feminism,Latin American and Eastern European solidarity, anti-nuke and anti-militarist activity and other areas. We are hoping that anarcho-syndicalism, as understood and evolved within the framework of the IWA, can serve as a minimum political foundation for our organization, recognizing that each individual or group may vary to some extent from the common basis. It is not our intent to have an organization that would be monolithic or incapable of reaching out to new people.
As an indication of our proposed basis of working together, we are including a draft of a proposed statement of our principles for the new organization. This draft is tentative and is subject to discussion and changes at the conference. [Note: the document adopted became the basis for the WSA’s main “Where We Stand” document.]
In order to ensure that we do not waste time and energy or repeat mistakes of other libertarian organizational efforts of recent times, and to ensure that we create a viable organization that can have an impact, we are asking that people should become activity involved in this organizing process and attend the conference as a voting active member only if they are in substantial agreement with what we are trying to do.
* Historical context: In the period between the 1981 demise of the ACF and the 1984 formation of the WSA, a number of factors lead to what we tried to convey as a position of neutrality. The two main drivers here, was the intense internal IWW factionalism of that period. Reflecting our desire to steer clear of being accused of meddling in the affairs of the IWW we tried to develop a position of neutrality. The second reason was some of our own founding member’s differences with the IWW based on a) either their own recent experiences inside the IWW and b) a principled position that they did not see the IWW as a viable option. However, it should be noted that the WSA was by no means founded in opposition to the IWW or it’s principles and that there have always been WSA members who are also members of the IWW.