May I Recommend a Documentary: ‘The Wobblies’

via chycho

If you want to hear some of the coolest stories that you’ve ever heard from some of the funniest elders that you’ve ever seen then “The Wobblies” is for you. There is so much goodness in this documentary that it’ll put a smile on your face.

The subject matter is the IWW, the Industrial Workers of the World, formed in 1905, it’s considered to be one of the most important labor movements in the history of the United States.

The documentary is a testament of sorts from the people that helped to bring us, among many other things, the eight-hour work day. Very relevant for our times considering what our “corporate-state alliances” have been able to achieve in the last few decades.

click to enlarge – source

A much more longer term perspective on the economy, which is that the Labor Department reported that the rate of unionization, the percentage of workers in the economy that are members of union, has fallen to a 97-year low of 11.3 percent. Only 11.3 percent of workers are now in unions.

“Now, this has been a long decline in terms of unionization rates, but the decline was accelerated greatly in 2011 and continuing in 2012… So we know that there is this huge assault on working people, on their rights to organize, their rights to defend themselves, their rights to collectively bargain, is happening while the economy is still stuck in the aftermath of the Wall Street crash.”

The Wobblies

11 Comments on "May I Recommend a Documentary: ‘The Wobblies’"

  1. For some reason the video didn’t embed in the post so here is the link to the full documentary on youtube:

  2. One of my favorite union movies is Matewan. When it mentioned the Wobblies I got curious, I found out the story but this even better. Thanks

  3. They’ll be in no history taught in a US school but they’re an important part of history for the US, they are why you had workers rights. Now you’re losing your rights because you believe the corporate propaganda that unions hate you & management are your friends.

    • Don’t forget about pinkos and reds! It’s all a communist plot! I wonder why they haven’t found a way to make Unions terrorist organizations yet. Oh yeah, Nixon’s dead. I forgot.

      Well why should they pick just one subject out of all of them to stop lying about?

  4. IWW is still around, fighting for worker’s rights. They attempt to unionize Wal-Mart workers, fast food joints and even sex industry workers. They recently organized a strike against Jimmy Johns, a fast food joint, or some such.
    Their goal is to organize an international general strike, of all workers. That’d show the bosses who’s boss!

  5. Anarchy Pony | Feb 12, 2013 at 6:11 pm |

    They aren’t just a union, they’re an anarchist union. GO WOBBLIES!

  6. Wow. Thanks for sharing this link. I just watched it while working here at my desk. An amazing piece of American history.

  7. No Gods! No Managers!

  8. No Gods! No Managers!

  9. I like the link you put on top of “corporate-state alliances”. It goes to a tongue-in-cheek story from some anti-capitalists who were asked to write something for FT:

    Early in 2011, we received a surprising invitation from the Financial Times Lexicon. A reader had suggested that an entry on differential accumulation be added to the Lexicon, and the online content developer asked us if we would be willing to write it.

    Our first thought was that this must have been a mistake. The FT speaks for capital. Like all mainstream financial media, its theoretical-ideological baseline is staunchly neoclassical (plus ‘distortions’ to account for the disobedient facts).

    So how did we get invited?

    Simple. The content editor received a request for an entry on ‘differential accumulation’. Naturally, he didn’t know what the term meant, so he searched it on Google and found The Bichler & Nitzan Archives. At that point, he should have taken the time to read a bit. Had he done so, he would have realized that this was the wrong subject to pursue.

    But slaving for the FT, he had already seen it all. He knew all the tricks of self-promotion, all the ways of making banality look like novelty, all the paths to a reinvented wheel. There was nothing Bichler & Nitzan, whoever they were, could possibly teach him. So instead of reading, he passed the buck and asked us to write the entry.

    The invitation was tempting. This was not some obscure academic journal, or a marginal newspaper. It was the Financial Times Lexicon. Posting a permanent entry there could help us present radical ideas to a very large conservative audience. And the time seemed right. As one FT writer put it, the ongoing crisis has robbed capitalists of their ‘intellectual compass’, and intellectual confusion often opens the door for radical alternatives. Maybe this was our chance?

    We worked on the piece, and the content editor, fulfilling his role in the script, kept sending us encouraging queries. By the end of March, the piece was completed, and we delivered it safely to the FT. The editor replied promptly, promising to examine it ‘as soon as he can’. And then he fell silent. Ten days later, having heard nothing, we wrote to inquire. The editor apologized for not writing. He was ‘busy’ and would reply ‘as soon as he can’. Another two weeks passed, and we sent another email. It was a ‘busy time again’, we learnt, but the editor promised to look at the definition in the ‘next couple of weeks’. Those two weeks came and went, and when the silence persisted, we sent another friendly query. This time, the reply was automatic: the editor was out of the office. We waited patiently for the standard two-week period and wrote again. The editor, forever polite, apologized. He needed more time – but not to worry, he would definitely get back to us ‘within the next two weeks’.

    We were getting ready for yet another two-week period, but then we noticed that there was a footnote to the email. The content editor must have realized we weren’t getting the message, so he decided to be a bit blunter: ‘Please note that some of our FT readers do not speak English as a first language, so definitions must be clear’.

    And then it dawned on us. The problem wasn’t our ideas. It was our words: they were simply too complicated. Power, sabotage, dominant capital, and differential accumulation – these are difficult words. They challenge one’s worldview. They rattle the mind. They can even make you think. And that, the content developer insinuated, is not what we need in our Lexicon.

    What we need are clear words. Conventional words. Words like ‘free competition’, ‘productive investment’, ‘profit maximization’, ‘deregulation’, ‘efficient markets’ and ‘sound finance’. Words that can help us standardize the FT readership. That is what we need.

    And so, we lost our chains and set our article free. You can read it below, with no FT strings attached.

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