by FWs Gordon and Sean
The purpose of the IWW is to carry on the struggle for the emancipation of the working class and to build through its industrial organization an administrative structure for the continuation of production after the abolition of capitalism. We’re carrying on the struggle for emancipation because we’re workers exploited by bosses who we have nothing in common with. The capitalists, the bosses, the employers – they seek profits at the expense of human dignity and Mother Earth, while we seek bread and roses. We have nothing in common as they seek to drain every ounce of efficiency from us at the workplace, while we seek freedom.
But it is workers who’ve built this country and who make it run and so in our hands lies the greatest power under the sun. We must harness our labor power by educating and organizing ourselves to undertake direct actions that undermine the economic power of the employing class.
An example of direct action undermining the power of capitalists at the workplace is the strike. Indeed, the strike is the best instrument of direct action because it is an attack on the monopoly at the place of employment. If we stop working, the profits stop. There is the power we possess. Think of the fear that must create in those vampires only thinking of profits.
One way we could exercise this power is to organize key industries in the United States. How well would the titans of industry function if every teacher went on strike until education was free and universal? Would the U.S. government be able to carry on endless wars, if the docks, trains, trucks, ships, and planes of this country stopped? How about healthcare workers walking off the job until we’ve all got healthcare? Our power is limitless.
In order to go on strike for healthcare, the working class of U.S. industries will need to be organized. The unionization rate of the U.S. workforce is less than 10 percent and declining. To organize the unorganized, we IWWs need to go forth and agitate and educate with people we normally wouldn’t agitate with. We must engage in millions of difficult one on ones to educate and inoculate. It’s an incredibly daunting task, to emancipate ourselves.
We know we must systematically organize the working class to strike at the monopoly power of the capitalist class. We’ll need to organize cooperatives and other forms of mutual aid to break the material barriers that are keeping us apart. We will need to organize in our workplaces and in our homes. All workers will have to meet in community and share trauma and break down those mental barriers that keep us apart. Both breakthroughs will require talking with people we wouldn’t normally talk to.
We can draw solace on victories past and present. We must keep walking, talking, marching onto emancipation. We must resolve ourselves to let no boss, no cops, no oppressor, turn us around. It will be a mighty struggle and we might even be targeted by violence, and that is scary. But there is safety in numbers. We know organizing won us the eight-hour day and ended segregation. Recently, the CGT in France organized millions of workers to take to the streets in protest of capitalist austerity policies. In Los Angeles, 65,000 education workers engaged in a three-day strike over low wages, short-staffing, and the rising cost of living. And in Spain, workers took to the streets on International Women’s day for more pensions, more pay, and less discrimination and harassment. We can do anything with direct action: they won a 30% raise in LA after only three days on strike. It’s time to dive into the hard work of organizing to turn our decline around, so that future generations can strike for dignity.
Happy May Day. Fellow Workers, may you soon discover the power within you, you are loved in Solidarity, and you are not alone.