Anti-Fracking in the Solway Area

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on October 17, 2013 by iwwdumfries

November 8th meeting against Fracking. Venue: The University of Cumbria in Carisle.

extreme enviro

The first main flashpoint is likely to be the village of Cannonbie, which is in the far east of Dumfries and Galloway. According to organisers of the meeting local residents are coming to the Carlisle event.

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Dumfries and Galloway (Solway) IWW Branch Meeting Report: Some Big Changes to Our Small Group

Posted in Uncategorized on October 11, 2013 by iwwdumfries

There has been some debate, carried out in a largely comradely fashion between members of the Dumfries IWW and the elected Officers of the Union. The main areas of difference have been, the decision by the IWW some years ago to become officially recognised by the state (accreditation). This meant paying a considerable accreditation fee and having open accounts, suject to legal review. To keep state approval, an effective bureaucracy is required to keep accurate membership record. The burden is becoming so great that some Officers are pushing to break long-term IWW principles by having paid officials. This move to state-legtimacy also necessitated a very large rise in Union fees, just as the Union should have been effectively dedicated to fighting austerity. The Dumfries group members because of an administratve error were not informed of the vote on approving or rejecting higher fees.

For many in the branch, who joined when the IWW was a more activist orientated group, and willing to have a more fluid membership, the latest moves seem to be repositioning the IWW as just another trade union, with the same fee level, but with fewer resources, albeit with a more democratic (but centralising structure).

It seems likely that Solway group memebrs, rather than dedicating their time to the IWW will be creating a new local radical group, which campaigns against poverty, assists workers in struggle and embraces supportive environmental and communal direct action. Some will remain in the IWW as well. Details of the new group should appear in the New Year. If you wish to be involved or offer advice or support, do contact us (comments below or on iww_dg@yahoo.co.uk).

Here is part of the Minute of the meeting of 5th October, which outlines the issues.

Main Item:
Members of Dumfries GMB were unanimous in their disappointment at the general direction of the IWW. The main criticisms were:
1. The growing centralisation of the IWW

2. Fee increases which:
a. Are putting off new members
b. Driving off old members
c. Giving the impression that the IWW is a ‘service union’
i. But one which does not provide value for money
ii. Is an abandonment of its direct action traditions
d. Dumfries branch did not have the opportunity to vote on despite all members having been in good standing (and fee shares banked by the centre) but were excluded from the referendum

3. That complaints were not satisfactorily dealt with

4. The decline in general radicalism and autonomous initiatives from local branches as bureaucracy and the demands of centralised administration increases

5. Inadequate support to anti-ATOS campaigns and similar initiatives aimed at unemployed FWs.

In addition
6. We note that that none of this is deliberate or the result of malice from any FWs. Even those Officers of the union are undoubtedly motivated by good intentions and are diligent and altruistic activists. Nonetheless, we feel that the current trajectory of the IWW is to ape existing unions, rather than acting as a direct action alternative.

7. This change in trajectory is partly a result of the decision to go legitimate by seeking state accreditation. Whilst the Dumfries group did not oppose this initially, sharing the hope that this might attract new members and give the union a wide hearing; it has instead placed such arduous demands in terms of bureaucratic accountability that it is taking time and other resources away from campaigns. The recent attempt to introduce paid administrators is illustrative of the problem.

8. Accreditation has placed pressures on Officers, which could be reduced by returning to more flexible structures and without the fears of failing to meet state requirements.

9. Whilst finding reliable figures on current membership are not always easy, it is clear that the move to accreditation (and state legitimacy) has either seen a slowing down of growth in membership to less than 2% per annum since accreditation or actually seen a drop The in membership and a corresponding decline in direct activism. Prior to accreditation, the five years before had seen considerable average per annum rises in membership.

10. However the possible solution to the problem has largely not been considered – the ending of accreditation and no longer seeking state legitimacy. Instead the concentration should be on gaining respect and mutual recognition from other workers, rather than meeting state legal requirements.

11. Unless there is a significant change in direction many (though not all) of the Dumfries group will allow their
membership to lapse in February 2014.
a. A local non-aligned group of industrial, community and environmental activists will be formed in its stead.
b. Those choosing to remain in the IWW will seek to transfer their membership to Clydeside or Tyneside IWW . They will continue to campaign for decentralisation and democratic reforms within the IWW.

Dumfries and Galloway (Solway) General Members Branch meeting

Posted in Uncategorized on September 20, 2013 by iwwdumfries

The next branch meeting of the IWW union will be on Saturday 5th October at 1pm. Some of us will meet in the Tam O’Shanter at just before 1pm, beforehand.

Matters include:
Election of Officers
Campaigns (Bedroom Tax, ATOS)
Issues with ERA Executive
Fees – dual cards etc.

For more details contact iww_dg@yahoo.co.uk or leave a message

Sick Bastard Alex Fergusson MSP (Dumfries)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on September 16, 2013 by iwwdumfries

Here’s a lovely picture of Alex Fergusson, smiling in Castle Douglas.

Why the fuss? Well our local representative is delighted to be opening a Food Bank. Rather than being ashamed of being a member of a governing party that brought austerity, and destruction of the welfare state, such that many local people are dependent on charity, instead he sees it as something to smile about. He’s not the only member of the political class who sees destitution as a photo oppotunity.

Picture taken from the slightly dodgy http://wingsoverscotland. com/the-pride-of-britain/ (link deliberately broken)

Report Back from July 28th Meeting: Meet the new – Scottish Education Workers Network

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on August 23, 2013 by iwwdumfries

There was a lively debate and good (though not spectacular) attendance at the Education workers meeting in Edinburgh last month. The outcome has been the setting of an xciting new initiative the Education Workers Network. Involving not just committed IWW members involved in education, but militants in other unions (and nne) and students too. Te aim is to build links of solidarity across the whole education sector and beyond rather than be divided by union membership or job role.

No doubt there’ll be more news soon…

Breaking Ice – Film Show Carlisle

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on August 23, 2013 by iwwdumfries

The original IWW Dumfries and Galloway, has for a few years also extended into Carlsle (and also the Isle of Mann) and for that reason is often referred to as the Solway branch. The IWW was one of the first labour movements to pursue environmental goals. After all, if a radical re-organisation of society is required to create sustinable living, then it needs the active participation of the most affected. That us, – everyday, extraordinary folk.

Cumbrian IWW members are supporting the Film Screening of Chasing Ice

It is at 7pm, Thursday 5 September 2013, with an introduction from Mark Lloyd of Sustainable Carlisle & followed by speaker John Reardon.

This fascinating film, Chasing Ice (PG-13) will be screen at Tullie House Museum & Art Gallery, Castle Street Carlisle in >association with Sustainable Carlisle. Chasing Ice is the story of James Balog’s mission to change the tide of history by gathering> undeniable evidence of climate change. In 2005, the environmental photographer headed to the Arctic to capture images for National Geographic. Using time-lapse cameras, his videos compress years into seconds and capture ancient mountains of ice in>motion as they disappear at a breathtaking rate.

A bar will be open from 6.15pm. The introduction and screening start at 7.00pm. The Q&A session at the end of the film is optional.

Education Workers Organisation Day: Sunday 28th July 2013

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on July 18, 2013 by iwwdumfries

A big “well done” to Edinburgh IWW who are helping to co-ordinate a day to assist workers employed in the education sector, whether as teachers, lecturers, researchers, IT staff, secretaries or maintenance. Whilst the first part of the day (10.30-1pm) is largely for those in, or interested in the IWW. The sessions from 1.30pm is not just for members of the IWW employed (or interesed in) education but for those in other unions or none.

The event will be held in the meeting room in Abbey Mount Meeting Centre, Sunday 28th July between 10.30am and 5pm. It’s at the crossroad on Abbeymount and Regent Terrace, next to the excellent real ale and LGBT-friendly Regent pub and a 15 minute walk from Waverley train station, see the map attached. The address is: 12/4 Abbey Ln, EH8 8EJ.

10.30-11 – Coffee/tea & biscuits
11-1pm: Session 1 – IWW organisation
Brief introductions
Agreeing chair and minute taker
Finalising the EW’s document and discussing its distribution
Finalising dual carder leaflet
Amendment to budget motion for quarterly meeting
Formalising the email list – deciding adminsistrator
Other organisational issues

1-1.30 lunch
1.30 – 3.30pm Session 2 Organising outside IWW
Link to anti-cuts/bureaucracy agitation
How can education workers promote an anti-capitalist agenda

3.30-3.45 pm break

3.45 – 4.45 Discussion topics e.g.
Inclusive education
Challenging authority
The nature of expertise
‘Being out’ as a trade unionist in UCU, EIS, Unison etc
Equality issues in education

4.45 – 5pm
Reflecting on meeting, Network coordnation
Conclusions