Do not be a fool coping with bad ideas

John O'Reilly - Thoughts on the Struggle, published on 20 July 2011 (special thanks to A. Vargas for the ideas and suggestions, Nate Hawthorne and the writing group of Wobs)

In an ideal world, any ideas about organization would be appropriate, but it's not the case. Sometimes people with good intentions, do things that make them waste their time or worse, squarely harm the organization and that they are trying to build. We have everyone done an assessment and said: « Wow I can't believe I put all this time into a project that was clearly destined to fail ". Often, this afterthought is accompanied by a " Wow, this or that comrade of experience should have notified me ». Sadly, sometimes the Wobblies comrades of experience allow these failures in two ways, as widespread as dysfunctional, indeed act as an asshole and doubt are two mistakes that we commit wrongly!

Often, the organizers of experience do not want to impose themselves on new members by telling them what to do with their time. The result is often that the organizers find themselves passively observe comrades engage in initiatives that make no sense and are doomed to fail. This reluctance to meddle causes lost hours of work for individuals and groups, while other, far more effective options were offered to comrades. This hesitation is a spontaneous response to many of us. We prefer to see the person or group divest itself from an inefficient and often negative direction rather than investing in a demanding process of critical reflection. Overcoming this reluctance is an important task that we must get used to.

that being said, we sometimes fall into the opposite trend o? ù the organizers critics condescendingly. Certainly, experience and knowledge allow us to sometimes anticipate a resounding failure, which increases the temptation to act condescendingly, but unfortunately, this is not an adequate strategy to deal with the problems. Faced with this attitude, some will persist (« Doe says this is a bad idea, but I don't care, we're doin' it! ») and others will simply lose confidence (« doe said it is a bad idea, I must not be a good unionist.»). The condescension and paternalism sometimes make it possible to quickly evacuate bad plans, but the unfortunate consequences of these behaviors do not contribute to the union's construction. Rather, we must imagine new ways to overcome the bad plans.

Sometimes, we need to let people try things and let them fail to promote learning. However, it remains possible to ensure a critical presence, but still encouraging. If members want a debate on the ideas of Daniel DeLeon's on recruitment of workers, we can offer our help for towing. It wastes a bit of our time, but in the long term, it allows us to build relationships with these members, avoids us discussions questioning our involvement and allows us to introduce new promising projects. It's also sometimes necessary to attract the attention of comrades to better projects. for example, if some members pushing the union to discuss at length the need for class struggle to make himself clothes and food recovery in the trash (which are not necessarily bad things, but they do not have a direct link with the class struggle). It would be possible to intervene by asking members in question : why do they want this to be discussed at the general meeting? It would be appropriate to suggest to discuss these subjects outside the general meeting and take the opportunity to talk about more relevant ideas. When comrades suggest bad ideas, it is best to approach this group and criticize from within rather than from the outside.

When the organizers act like fools facing bad ideas, they discourage people to get involved in important aspects of our union. Now, imagine another scenario. Think about enthusiastic members whose idea is to tow near a factory of 500 workers with a red and black flag. Their answer curtly that this is not a good idea and it does qu'éloigner these people the SITT-IWW is more likely to ensure that these comrades persist and get stuck in this bad idea and do not change their perspective when new opportunities. Bad ideas will not disappear by magic, so we need to build an organizational culture that recognizes the evil plans made in the past and we mainly learn to anticipate. Let us remember that acting stupidly facing bad ideas is often more damaging to the organization than trying to implement these ideas.

Our approach with bad projects should help build our organizational role. As such, we're used to-identify campaign leaders and try to use this direction to develop the skills of workers in their midst. Inside the union, we must use these same dynamics. for example, determine who inspires a member and leverage this relationship to bring forth constructive ideas, strengthen ties among members rather than shine the one-es against other. At the heart of this issue, the ability of organizers to be aware that if their critics are not taken seriously, they are not helping. Being right is not enough, people need to be right and go in the right direction.


John O'Reilly

NOTICE: The views expressed here are not the official positions of the SITT-IWW and are the sole responsibility of the author.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *