2014 IWW Convention

2017 IWW Convention – thoughts on the proposals

2017 IWW Convention – thoughts on the proposals

Note: several members have requested for us to give our thoughts on the proposals that will be discussed at the 2017 IWW Convention. We are summarizing those proposals here, with our thoughts about them. On some proposals we don’t take any position.

Tampa – Wendy’s Boycott in Solidarity with Coalition of Immokalee Workers

We recommend YES. This proposal would encourage the Administration and branches to engage in the CIW-led campaign against Wendy’s. Solidarity with struggling workers should not be controversial. Moreover, the Tampa Bay GMB has been actively supporting this struggle.  

Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC) 1 – Expel Jimi DD

We recommend YES. This proposal expels Jimi DD, who was on the GEB until he was removed earlier this year as the result of a complaint process. The reasons are laid out in the motion language. Jimi engaged in harassment of IWOC and GDC members, abused his executive power, lied on multiple occasions, and attempted to force the GEB to take actions which would have had major negative effects on IWOC.  He also insinuated he would attempt to use the capitalist state to force the IWW to comply with his interpretation of labor law, specifically to bar convicted felons from holding union office. Multiple members, including several women members, have left the union because of his harassment and the lack of accountability that he has been held to. This was all done while holding office in the union’s highest permanent decision-making body. The response to this should be severe, which is why expulsion is appropriate.

IWOC 2 – Dues arrangement with North American Regional Administration (NARA)

We recommend YES. This is an attempt by the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee to arrange a sustainable long-term financial arrangement with the rest of the organization, until IWOC is ready to charter as a self-governing and -supporting Incarcerated Workers Industrial Union. We trust that the IWOC Convention put a lot of thought into this proposal based on their experience in the past three years. We think this is a vast improvement over the temporary dues waivers that had been extended from IWOC’s founding until today.

IWOC 3 – Ex-prisoners travel fund

We recommend YES. This creates a fund for ex-prisoners to travel to union events, based on the Sato fund which assists women, femme, and non-binary members with travel to union events. This will be an important part of guaranteeing the participation of ex-prisoners in the governing of our union.

IWOC 4 – Statement on Prison Abolition

We recommend YES. This would reaffirm that the IWW believes in abolition of the prison system. We are revolutionary unionists – we believe in prison abolition as a part of our revolutionary program.

Atlanta 1 – Resolution on Anti-fascism and Revolutionary Unionism

We recommend YES. This is a reaffirmation that the IWW supports mass working-class action to prevent the spread of fascists. We believe  the IWW, as a revolutionary union, has always been anti-fascist. This is an appropriate clarification as we live through more difficult times, and as some members attempt to claim that we don’t take any stance on fascism, or on the working-class struggle against it.

Atlanta 2 – Emergency interim General Executive Board (GEB)

We recommend YES, with caveats. This proposal removes the entire current GEB, elects a temporary one until the 2018 Board takes office, and encourages people who have been on the Board in the last three years not to run for 2018. It is essentially a “reset” button for the Board that will allow it to get a fresh start. We can understand if some members or branches prefer to abstain, as this may feel like a personal dispute. We agree that the GEB is not functioning, and that it would be worthwhile to allow the GEB to get a “fresh start”. We also like that this motion does not assign blame to any individual GEB member(s).

LA – Reinstate Job Branches

We recommend YES. This returns Job Branches to the IWW Constitution. Job Branches were added to the Constitution in 1924 to keep the organization rooted in workplaces. Job Branches would be permanent, sustainable organizations at work, beyond just organizing committees. They were removed from the Constitution a few years ago, but we think this was a mistake. We should be ambitious and imagine a structure that can create roots in workplaces as we grow.

Baltimore – Prevent discrimination against ex-convicts

We recommend YES. This prevents any discrimination against formerly incarcerated members. This should not be controversial.

Vancouver Island – Non-violence

We recommend NO. This proposal would supposedly “reaffirm” a historic position from 1917, but we do not agree that the union’s position at the time is what Vancouver Island are saying. In any case, we should not limit ourselves to simply reaffirming the supposed positions of 1917. We believe this was a provocation in the discussion about mass anti-fascism, and are hopeful that it will be voted down unanimously.

Gender Equity Committee (GEC) 1 – Conflict Resolution Committee on Matters of Gender

We recommend YES. This would create a standing committee which can address issues related to gender violence, and advocate for survivors of gender violence within the organization. We think this is something that the union has failed horribly on in recent years. We do think that any standing committee to address gender violence should have the authority to hold members, and officers especially, accountable. We think that there is actually a very dangerous culture around this right now, which has to be pulled out by the roots. We would support proposals that give the CRC this authority to hold members, officers, and branches accountable.

Note: On these GEC proposals, and some of the other proposals dealing with significant changes to bylaws and process, such as those from the Twin Cities, we can imagine that there could be useful amendments, and hope that the Convention will refer these proposals to committee to deal with amendments rather than dealing with them from the floor. In any case, we are supportive of the broad idea, whether or not they end up amended.

GEC 2 – Nominations for CRC

We recommend YES. This puts nominations for the CRC on the agenda.

GEC 3 – MPP Language for CRC

We recommend YES. This creates working language for the CRC. However, it should somehow be made clear that this language was mandated by the Convention and can’t be simply changed by the GEB.

GEC 4 – Constitution language related to CRC

We recommend YES. This makes sense if the first GEC proposal passes.

Twin Cities 1 – Education Department

We recommend YES. This is a valuable addition to our union’s infrastructure. There are many kinds of trainings that need to be organized, and pulling them all into one department allows us to actually start finding synergy between them and manage learning. We hope that anyone who supports having an Education Department, but may have some particular differences, will bring amendments. One of the reasons we put proposals out 90 days before Convention is to allow broad discussion around the union. We don’t think the argument that “there hasn’t been enough discussion” is valid in this case.

Twin Cities 2 – Bylaws Amendment (Defense)

We recommend YES. This allows the General Defense Committee to adapt to its explosive growth in the past year, and continue to grow.

Twin Cities 3 – Elect committees by referendum instead of Convention

We recommend YES. This would have all officers elected by referendum. (Currently, some officers are elected at Convention and some by referendum.) Almost every year, these committees are slapped together with whoever in attendance at Convention is interested in serving as well as other Fellow Workers who are contacted the day of.  As a result, many of these committees end up having vacancies later in the year.  This would standardize how we elect committees.

Note: We would also support this proposal if it were amended to have all elections occur at Convention. For us the biggest value is to standardize the process.

Twin Cities 4

We understand the TC branch wants to withdraw this proposal, and will ask Convention to strike this item from the Agenda. We support that.

Twin Cities 5

We understand the TC branch wants to withdraw this proposal, and will ask Convention to strike this item from the Agenda. We support that.

Twin Cities 6 – Restructure proposal for North American Regional Administration

We recommend YES. This proposal creates a gradual, multi-year process whereby the union can begin to become more rank-and-file driven. This restructuring will also create a union which can scale much easier as we grow. We appreciate that this proposal does not attempt to rewrite the structure overnight, but rather allows this change to be gradual and possibly modified based on ongoing discussion within the union after we begin.

See also: Class, Democracy, and the GEB

Twin Cities 7 – Complaints process reform

We recommend YES. This is a long overdue change to a very broken process. It draws a lot on the process outlined in Robert’s Rules of Order, which has been tested by many voluntary organizations over many decades. It also would work very well with the proposed reforms from the GEC.

Twin Cities 8 – Discuss affiliating with new international

We recommend YES, and we support affiliation. We have already participated in two international meetings, which have already led to new organizing (Deliveroo in England, Germany and Spain, to give one example). There have been extensive reports about these meetings in the GOB and over the GEB list, and attempts to start this discussion. Some may say that there has not been enough discussion, but it seems that none of the opponents have attempted to actually engage in any discussion. If we choose to affiliate, we can bring our own priorities and proposals to the founding Congress in May of 2018. In other words, we would not be joining an international “led” by someone else (as others have claimed), we would be an equal partner with equal voice and equal weight in creating something new. (Note, this also means that branches should consider what priorities or proposals we might wish to bring, as if we decide to affiliate, those should be discussed.)

Madison Amendment to Twin Cities 2 (Defense)

No position. It is not clear to us what this amendment is proposing, so we are not making a recommendation on it. We expect that it will be clarified at Convention, at the same time as other amendments may be considered.

3 thoughts on “2017 IWW Convention – thoughts on the proposals

    1. I just checked on the wordpress feed, looks like reblogging is enabled. We didn’t do anything to turn it off.

      1. I believe you have to enable ‘likes’ as well, it’s a bug, re-blogging has to be enabled separately for posts, pages etc. I can’t see either button on this post. OBU.

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