||Issue No. 136||17 May 2002|
Interview: Licking the Wounds
Industrial: The Accidental Tourist
Unions: Stars And Stripes
International: The Un-Promised Land
History: Mate Against Mate
Politics: Reith's Gong
Poetry: You've Got a Friend
Review: War on Terror: Now Showing
Satire: Burmese Regime Makes Genuine Commitment To Pretence Of Change
The Locker Room
Week in Review
More May Day Hate Mail
What Women Want
Chucking a Wobbly
Is Caustic Costello the Despot of Despair?
East Timor: Independent Or Mendicant?
Letters to the Editor
Chucking a Wobbly
Regarding Chinese Wobblies: I couldn't access the web site in your story for some reason. But I do read Han Dong Fan's site China Labour Bulletin for up to the minute news on labor in China. I remember there were three stories on labour start about bosses who were killed by workers in China a few months back. Well it happened here in NYC just last month. an immigrant construction worker buried a pick axe in his bosses head over unpaid wages, reportedly $700.00.
Poor sap missed his plane back to Latvia when he fell asleep at JFK airport or he would have gotten away. we have a terrible problem of unpaid wages here in the construction and garment and food industries especially. no word on who the boss was yet, a sub-contractor on a job so it's not clear if he was really to blame or the general contractor could have been late paying. anyway, if a few more of these stories hit the news maybe the problem of unpaid wages might clear up a bit.
Please don't take this as a personal criticism, but I must protest in the strongest possible terms about the 'story' (and I use the word loosely as it fails to qualify as journalism) written by Andrew Casey in the latest issue of Workers Online (#135) about woblies with chinese characters.
As far as I can tell, what has happened is a contributor to workers online has written a story about chinese workers using direct action tactics, and underground wobbly-style organising against the state-run shonky unions and corrupt party officials and local bosses. The story is fine to that degree, the problem is;
1. Workers Online uses our Sydney IWW Branch t-shirt logo without our permission or contacting us first,
2. Insinuate in the story that these chinese organisers are using wobbly tactics and methods, including the use or promotion of violence, murder and beatings against bosses, with the assumption being that these are traditional
3. Insinuate and actually say that the wobblies are supporting and assisting in this struggle in China. Obviously the IWW has never been involved in China, is not currently involved, and would not support the use of violence,
4. IWW endorsed methods and tactics over the last 100 years of continual organising has never sanctioned the use of violence. The IWW relies on solidarity and non-violent direct action to achieve our goals. Despite the years of extreme state repression in the US and Australia, particularly during the WW1 conscription battles in Australia and the 'red scares' and 'Palmer raids' in the US in the 1920s, the IWW never resorted to violence as a tactic. Any cursory reading of our extensive literature, including the main ideological document, the 'One Big Union' pamphlet, explicitly makes clear our disdain for
so-called 'revolutionaries' who rely on sezing power by force. Old-style wobbly leaflets used to warn, 'watch the man who advocates violence' as experience taught the IWW that such people were usually company or police stooges, or
individuals who were a little bit fried in the brain. Such tactics only create burdens for the organisation,
4. The FBI, CIA, ASIO etc would love bullshit like this to accuse us of being terrorists etc in the current Orwellian post s-11 situation.
It is great if people want to write about the IWW but as we are a real, ongoing organisation, if people want to write about us, use our artwork and make out that they are tapped into what we are doing, they should contact us first. This is made worse by the fact that the article is not sourced, speculative, defamatory and innacurate.
We have numerous 'real' organising stories from around the world which we would love to share with readers of Workers Online.
Might I request a retraction and apology from Workers Online in the next issue, and the opportunity for the IWW to submit a story about some real activities we are currently involved in?
This would assist in setting the record straight.
Yours in solidarity,
IWW - Sydney
Ed's Reply No offence intended and, yes, Workers Online shuld get its head around the Wobblies. As for the use of the IWW graphic, our photo editor takes the Marxist view that 'all property is theft'. On this occasion he is suitably contrite.
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