During today’s ‘Flood Wall Street’ protest, they climbed a phone booth and led some anti-capitalist chants.
They gave a small speech about being a member of the IWW and demanded that the working class organize to take total control over the means of production. Soon after, the NYPD pointed them out to be arrested.
Over 20 officers piled on top of them and brutalized the activist in front of a dozen news camera’s. It was the first official arrest of the day.
The arrest led protesters to chant anti-police slogans and to remove the barricades that surrounded us.
A worker is a worker, whether in prison or not, and a group of workers is a union, whether recognized by the state or not. Incarcerated workers are some of the most exploited in the United States. We are doing everything we can do to support them, and call on all people of conscience in this country to join this movement to end the New Jim Crow and abolish the prison industrial complex
This Day in Wobbly History - February 5, 1924: The IWW fights back against KKK repression in Greenville, Maine
An article was published in the Portland Press Herald (Portland, Maine) detailing the open conflict between the IWW and the Ku Klux Klan in the weeks leading up to it on this day. The article can be found here.
In 1924, the Industrial Workers of the World was organizing the lumber camps along with other workers in and around Greenville, Maine. The IWW was and is a union that boldly and vocally opposes racism and segregation. In one famous instance from the 1910s, the IWW General Secretary announced on the floor of the convention of a Louisianan union that was seeking to affiliate with the IWW that he wouldn’t participate in the event unless the Black and White meetings were integrated, which was illegal in the state. Nevertheless the union agree to integrate the convention.
The IWW attitude was the same in Maine a decade later. All workers, regardless of race had the right to equal membership and representation in a union. And all workers, regardless of race had the right to oppose the authority and the racism of their employers. Because of this, the Ku Klux Klan, in conjunction with the local elite, attempted to scare the IWW out of Greenville, but instead of running, the few members in town sent a call out to the Wobblies working in camps and neighboring towns around the region and soon hundreds of members flooded into Greenville to fight the KKK.
I can’t find anything on how this particular conflict came to a head, but throughout the 1920s and 30s, Wobblies had waged numerous battles against the resurging KKK, and in a few instances, those battles climaxed with weapons and guns in city streets, leaving one side either dead or beat out of town. It was usually the KKK.
There are probably hundreds of things missing from this list. Thousands. The point is that anarchism in not merely Anti-Statism (and is of course not purely an “anti” movement, the vast majority of anarchists unified behind the ideals of libertarian-socialism, solidarity, and direct action).
Anarchism is an evolving ideology. We should always be in search of unjustified hierarchical structures.
Whole Foods workers with the Industrial Workers of the World conducted a work stoppage and picket yesterday in San Francisco. A delegation of 20 cashiers, stockers, and cooks at Whole Foods Market initiated a temporary work stoppage to deliver a petition to Whole Foods management demanding a $5 an hour wage increase for all employees and no retaliation against workers for organizing a union.
Over 50 workers from the 4th Street store signed the petition. In addition to demanding the $5 per hour wage increase, the petition raises issues about paid time off, hours and scheduling, safety and health, and a retirement plan.
Whole Foods workers have demanded a response from Whole Foods by November 14, when their next paychecks are due. If management fails to respond, workers will begin taking job actions.
Whole Foods is a multinational chain with over 400 stores in the US, Canada and Great Britain, with $13 billion in annual sales, and 80,000 employees. Prices are high, which is why Whole Foods is colloquially known as Whole Paycheck.
Beneath Whole Foods’ glossy image of social responsibility, “working conditions at Whole Foods reflect the low industry standards that dominate all food and retail industries,” according to the workers’ website wfmunite.com. Despite the company’s claims to the contrary, “low wages, constant understaffing, [and] inconsistent schedules” are rampant company-wide. Just recently CEO John Mackey announced that the company would be phasing out full-time positions for new hires. Meanwhile, workers say the company has forced them to shoulder more and more of the costs of their limited health benefits.
Whole Foods currently has over 100 stores in development. Case Garver, a buyer in the Prepared Foods department, has seen enough of the doublespeak. “It seems like every 6 months they open up a brand new store,” he stated, “while at the same time my manager turns around and says the company doesn’t have enough money to give us 40 hours a week. We’re tired of doing more with less.”
Azalia Martinez, a cashier at the store, relates that in addition to working full time for Whole Foods, going to school and fulfilling family obligations, she must take additional side jobs to make ends meet. “It’s extremely hard,” she says.
Despite the hardships, workers at the store know that they can win better wages by standing together. “History proves that workers have the power to make change when we come together to fight for our interests. We are re-igniting a workers’ movement where we have power: on the job. […] This is our movement, we are capable of victory, and we are worth it.”