Climate Charades

from asr 84

As this issue goes to press, diplomats are meeting in Glasgow to make their contribution to the climate crisis: a barrage of hot air. Even as they “pledge” to reduce greenhouse gases at some point in the distant future new coal-burning plants are being built, oil wells drilled, forests cleared, more of the earth buried in concrete.

Climate change is inflicting catastrophe on a daily basis. The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says the world’s governments have stalled on meaningful action for so many decades that it is no longer possible to avoid intense global warming. This summer, blistering heat waves killed hundreds of people in the United States and Canada, floods devastated Germany and China, and wildfires raged out of control in Siberia, Turkey and Greece.  Continue reading

ASR 84 – Winter 2021/2022

Featured

2 Editorial: If Voting Changed Anything, It’d be Illegal
3 Climate Charades by Jon Bekken
4 Wobbles: Pensions attack workers, Union Scabbing…
6 International Shorts: Italy General Strike, Iranian Oil Workers Organize, Danish Nurses Wildcat, South Korea…
8 Articles: Undemocracy in the U.S. by Wayne Price
10 Migrant Workers Protest, Strike Amid Pandemic by John Kalwaic
13 Green Syndicalism and the Iron & Earth Report: Beyond Jobs Versus Environment by Jeff Shantz
15 Keeping Up With the Times: More on Syndicalist Strategy by Gabriel Kuhn
16 The Crisis Facing Swedish Syndicalism by Rasmus Hästbacka
19 Boston Labor Solidarity Committee by Steve Kellerman
20 The Union by Émile Pouget, translation by Iain McKay
27 Juanita Nelson: An Anarchist Life by Louis H. Battalen
29 Economic Disarmament by Juanita Morrow Nelson
31 Reviews: Caste in the USA review by Wayne Price
33 Resisting the Gig Economy review by Jon Bekken
33 Anarchy, Crime & Prisons review by Wayne Price
35 Globalization & Labor review essay by Ridhiman Balaji
39 Correction: Sources on Kronstadt by Malcolm Archibald

Keeping up with the times: More on syndicalist strategy

by Gabriel Kuhn, published in ASR 84

Rasmus Hästbacka has written an interesting article titled “Greetings from Sweden: A dual-track syndicalism?” Rasmus cites a few texts that I have written, some of them together with comrades from Sweden and Germany. I interpret Rasmus’s article as an invitation to continue the debate about the future of the SAC and syndicalist unions that find themselves in a similar position. My response reflects my own thoughts and not necessarily those of the comrades I have collaborated with. Continue reading

Wanted: $20 a gallon gas, and free public transportation

by Mike Long, ASR 51

$150.00 for a barrel of oil and $4.00 for a gallon of gas earlier this year did more in six months to change U.S. life-styles and protect the environment than ten years of research reports and dire warnings about greenhouse gases, carbon footprints, climate change, and a devastated planet. Suddenly, there were fewer cars on the road, and gas-guzzling V8s were as fashionable as the ‘Bush-Cheney 2004’ stickers many still display on their rear ends. Try selling a Hummer these days, let alone the plants that used to make them, or any used pick-up or SUV, for that matter; nobody wants them, not even dealers as trade-ins for new ones. If $4.00 a gallon can achieve all that, think what $20.00 a gallon could do. Continue reading

Organizing Amazon in Bessemer

by Bill Barry, ASR 83 (2021)

No organizing campaign is ever really a failure, and the Amazon campaign in Bessemer, AL, is a perfect example. The campaign was started by the workers who wanted something that so many other Covid campaigns ignored – UNION RECOGNITION; so even though the union “lost” in the distorted structure of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the lives of everyone involved – in the warehouse, in the community and hopefully across the union movement – were changed. This was the most exciting campaigns to come out of Covid, one enormous location for the most powerful boss, where all the numbers about union interest became a workers’ movement, and not just a hopeful statistic. Continue reading

Greetings from Sweden: A dual-track syndicalism?

A slightly condensed version of this article appears in ASR 83 (Summer 2021)

In 2022, the Swedish syndicalist union SAC holds a congress. Some say that SAC is at a crossroads. But what exactly are the choices? In the following essay, Rasmus Hästbacka argues that the choice is between building a popular movement union or a “revolutionary” cadre union. Hästbacka believes in a popular movement that progresses on dual tracks, i.e. a movement that builds both syndicalist sections and cross-union cohesion among workers.

The Swedish labor market has recently been highlighted in Anarcho-Syndicalist Review and on the Counterpunch website. Two articles concern the anti-strike law of 2019 and a new strategy for collective agreements that SAC has developed. Two more general texts on the future of syndicalism have been written by Gabriel Kuhn and Torsten Bewernitz on the Counterpunch website, and by Gabriel and Frederick Batzler in Anarcho-Syndicalist Review (issue #79, 2020). The new collective agreement strategy is being tested (at the time of publication) by warehouse workers at Ingram/Zalando in Stockholm. More such experiments await. Continue reading

Organizing on the job at Zalando

from ASR 83 (Summer 2021)

More than 100 workers at Europe’s leading online store for fashion and shoes, Zalando, have turned to the SAC, the Central Organization of Swedish Workers, to battle the “new Swedish model,” which many workers describe as modern slavery. After workers demanded their own union agreement and safety representatives, management announced plans to fire several SAC members. Continue reading

ASR 83 (Summer 2021)

Obituaries: Arthur J. Miller & Mike Long
Wobbles: Fat Cats Get Fatter, Jobless, Wobblies in Space…
Syndicalist News: Coal Strike, CNT Fights Job Cuts, IWW Strikes, Colombia
Articles: Logistical Syndicalism: Dock Workers’ Strikes in Solidarity with Palestinian Struggle
Organizing Amazon in Bessemer
Sweden: A dual-track syndicalism
The Rank-and-file Organizing Committee
The Legacy of Peter Kropotkin (Centenary)
• Cooperation and socialism by Peter Kropotkin
• Economic Action or Parliamentary Politics by Peter Kropotkin
• How to Fight Against Degeneration by Peter Kropotkin
Reviews: A Zionism opposed to a Jewish state
The Struggle to Break Work
Free Speech and Dissent
Universal Unionization
Letters: Capitol Riot, Kronstadt Rebellion, Amazon

Obituary: Mike Long

from ASR 83 (2021)

ASR editorial collective member Mike Long died in February. A major figure in language acquisition studies, Mike was also an active syndicalist, soccer fan, admirer of the Spanish Revolution, and lifelong foe of conformity. We first met 25 years ago at an IWW convention in Philadelphia, where Mike spoke on the Mondragon cooperatives. He quickly became a contributor to Anarcho-Syndicalist Review, and then joined the editorial collective. He wrote on several topics, including libertarian education, transportation and ecology, the electoral mirage, and, of course, Mondragon – which brought together his interests in cooperatives, language, and the Spanish Revolution. Continue reading

May Day 2021

Several syndicalist unions and other groups, including IWW and FAU branches, the SAC of Sweden, the CGT of Spain, an Indian union representing IT workers, the Garments Workers Trade Union Center of Bangladesh, the Anarchist Union of Afghanistan & Iran, Federação das Organizações Sindicalistas Revolucionárias do Brasil, and others have endorsed a call for international May Day actions against wage slavery and austerity: https://globalmayday.net/gmd2021/

The May Day statement from the International Workers Association: