We are Liverpool members of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) union. We promote the idea of ‘one big union‘ – that all working class people should be united as a social class, so that capitalism and wage labour can be abolished. We believe in workers controlling their own struggles against their bosses, until they are finally in a position to ‘sack the boss’ and run things in their own interests.
For a while, there have been IWW members (or ‘wobblies’ as we are known for reasons that no-one understands) in Liverpool, walking around thinking that they were the only ones. Then one day at a demo, someone noticed that somebody else was wearing an IWW badge. So the idea of starting a local group was born.
We are aware that not everyone in the local left will welcome the new arrival. Some will be threatened by our emphasis on democratically-determined struggle and combative tactics. So be it. The working class is taking a hammering, and it is way past time to fight back. We can’t allow ourselves to be divided by those who insist on the tried, tested, and failing ways of doing things any longer.
Call yourself an anarchist, communist, socialist or just a trade unionist – it doesn’t matter to us. We will welcome you if you’re looking to organise on a horizontal basis – i.e. no bosses – to defend ourselves against the attacks of the boss class, and even start pushing them back. With our vastly superior numbers, this is very achievable, though the established left never seems to get it right.
But we can. Liverpool and the wider region is crying out for an organisation prepared to give words like ‘solidarity’ and ‘comradeship’ their full meaning, instead of the ritualised, hollow jumbles of letters they have become. We send greetings to our fellow wobblies around the world, but far more than that, to local people working private sector or outsourced public sector, performing ‘unskilled’ labour, doing internships or ‘apprenticeships’ at a ridiculous wage, moving job to job, working two or more zero hour jobs, on workfare, and/or suffering long periods of unemployment.
Those people – including some of us Liverpool wobblies – have been the least likely to organise at work, even though we may have the least to lose. And we are the people who need to most, who can set an example to the rest of the class.
Our time is now.