Matters From The Latest 'Industrial Worker'
The 'Industrial Worker' is the house organ of the IWW (http://www.iww.org , Box 23085, Cincinnati, OH 45223, USA).
The latest issue contains a few interesting matters. The first is an article by Eric Lee entitled 'War, Wobs and the Web'. Lee has a regular column in the IW, and he is also the webmaster for a labour solidarity site that I personally subscribe to. Seems that the IWW website linked to his personal webpage, but that some matters contained there were offensive to other Wobblies. No, it isn't what you think. FW Lee has been a member of the Socialist Party of the USA, a rather decent outfit, and his writings in this article and others make it very plain that he still holds a certain sympathy for their views. The problem was NOT "anarchist purism". The problem was that he also, horror of horrors, has sympathy for the people of Israel and, therefore, is less gung-ho to jump on the so-called "anti-imperialist" bandwagon of the American left in giving unconditional support to whatever is opposed to Israel.
Lee goes on the argue that there are disagreements in the IWW about such matters as Cuba or Iraq. He mentions these as examples of where an "agree to disagree" attitude holds sway because of the more important matter of "a different kind of trade unionism" which is actually what unites the IWW. There was a campaign waged against Lee from within the IWW, though you can bet that it gathered people who were not just non-members of the IWW but who oppose the organization. The campaign ignored Lee's work in raising solidarity funds for unionists in Lebanon because the American left DEMANDS total agreement with its goal of "politically correct" dogma. Lee mentions that he is probably in a minority within the IWW, even though his position is "up for debate" in England where he presently lives, "elsewhere in Europe" and in Australia. He even adds, perhaps as a slight, "perhaps even in the USA". I would express it in much stronger terms. The left in the USA is the most juvenile left in the world outside of a totalitarian regime. It always attempts to impose uniformity of opinion within its ranks with an arsenal of insult terms and with hysterical campaigns and conspiracies against any dissidence whatsoever. To make matters worse, despite its crude ideology of "anti-imperialism" it is always willing to try and impose its views on the left in other countries.
The American left is just as mindlessly convinced of its "righteousness" as the American right. When not cheerleading for restrictions of freedom within their own country or arguing for special privileges that almost always translate as not "uplifting the poor" but rather as schemes for getting money for those who "work product" could be defined as "social control"- if they have any product at all- the American left looks at those of us on the left outside of the USA as either benighted savages who have to be educated in the latest "ism" or, worse, as benighted savages whose abstract situation can be used for the furtherance of their own projects.
Lee ends his column with an argument for tolerance within the IWW of views that differ in matters that are NOT related to the goals of the IWW. I suspect that he is realistic enough to know that this will not end the campaign against him.
Also in the latest IW:
There's a report of an IWW gathering in the American Midwest entitled 'Midwest Wobfest". Besides being an encouraging sign of the revival of the IWW, something that real anarchists can be nothing but pleased by it has the very pleasing (to me) note that the gathering finished off "with a barbecue and more socializing". The reason I find this heartening is that you can bet bottom dollar that the barbecue didn't involve "tofu on a stick". One of the reasons why the IWW is worthwhile is that it attempts to go beyond the cultural ghetto of present day anarchism and engage ordinary people-most of whom yes do eat meat and commit dozens of other daily offenses against the political correctness that is fashionable but which has NOTHING to do with anarchism.
To be gross, you will know that anarchism has "arrived" when a hot dog salesman at an anarchist gathering can call out, "get your fried primmies, get your fried primmies here". At that point the primitivists will come to serve a useful purpose.