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Industrial Workers of the World Opposes... Nothing!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

It's funny how you can stumble around the internet and run across some of the most bizarre things. I was on a blog reading a post titled, "You might be a socialist if..." when I saw another post by the author stating he had joined IWW. Ever curious, I clicked on the link and discovered that IWW was an acronym for Industrial Workers of the World. It's an organization who's stated purpose is to "do away with capitalism. The army of production must be organized, not only for everyday struggle with capitalists, but also to carry on production when capitalism shall have been overthrown. By organizing industrially we are forming the structure of the new society within the shell of the old."
I'm going to make a wild guess about the IWW, but I'd say their political leaning is towards socialism. I could be wrong--but I seriously doubt it. On their homepage was a declaratory statement defending the rights of immigrant workers looking for work in the United States. I clicked on it to see what position a labor-union organization would take on the illegal immigration discussion. Below is a copy of their posted declaration

May 1st - Defend the Rights of Immigrant Workers

Whereas: the working class knows no borders or races, but exists wherever workers are exploited for the benefit of capital; and

Whereas: all human beings are entitled to the means of obtaining the necessities of life for themselves and their families, regardless of any artificial barriers created by government; and

Whereas: the nature of capitalist economies is to draw workers from all over to the centers of capitalist investment, while at the same time drawing wealth out of less-developed economies, thereby eliminating opportunities to earn a living within such economies; and

Whereas: the recent rise in immigration to the United States of America is directly attributable to this process, as exemplified by the destructive free-trade treaties forced upon Latin America by the United States government, as well as the insatiable lust of North American employers for a dependent, immigrant work-force that can be compelled to labor under sub-minimum wages and deplorable working conditions and used to undermine the working conditions of all workers; and

Whereas: all workers, wherever economic necessity may force them to seek work, are entitled to organize and take concerted, economic action for the defense and aid of their class, for which purpose the Industrial Workers of the World has sought to unite the workers of the world in One Big Union, regardless of nationality or place of origin; and

Whereas: the struggle of immigrant workers is connected and integral to the struggle of all workers for industrial freedom and economic security, which demands the solidarity of all workers, in every industry throughout the world;

Now, therefore, be it RESOLVED,

That the General Executive Board of the Industrial Workers of the World declares its opposition to efforts to prohibit or criminalize the crossing of national borders by workers, and opposes efforts to prohibit the giving of aid and comfort to immigrant workers; and be it further RESOLVED,

That, in order to advance the solidarity of all workers, and to demonstrate to the employing class that an injury to one worker is an injury to all, the General Executive Board of the Industrial Workers of the World hereby endorses the popular call for a general strike and protest in defense of immigrant workers in the United States, and calls upon all Branches and members of the Organization to participate in such a strike and protest, as local circumstances shall permit, on the first day of May 2006, the International Workers' Holiday.


If I were to summarize this declaration I'd have to say that it's basically pointless. They're declaring that they will stand behind immigrants searching for work who are wanting to be paid a fare wage for their labor. However, the way they've chosen to word their declaration leaves the reader to assume the IWW stands in favor of illegal immigration, but they don't. No where in their declaration is the word 'illegal'. Read it again, if you don't believe me. Like I said... Pointless.
They resolve to be opposed to "efforts to prohibit or criminalize the crossing of national borders by workers" and also "efforts to prohibit the giving of aid and comfort to immigrant workers." Their two positions are not clearly defined. Are they talking about "legal" or "Illegal" migrant workers? Who knows? I know that there are no efforts to impede legal migrant workers from immigrating into this country. Without stating that they are specifically opposed to "illegal immigration", I'm left to assume they are referring to "legal immigration" and therefore must conclude that they are essentially stating their opposition to nothing.


Blogger Mark said...

I've changed my mind about immigration by "illegals". The problem is borders and who controls them. The government thinks it should regulate my movements across borders; all governments think this. So, here in the USA, I can't legally go to, say, Cuba. I can be arrested. The government thinks it should force people to jump through all kinds of hoops before they enter the territory over which the government has a monopoly of force; i.e., the nation or state. Where does the government get the right to control the movements of people? One of the problems is that governments think they are still feudal states and own the territory so, therefore, they can control entry and exit. Doing away with government ownership of land and having all land privately owned would do away with border control and the problem of so-called "illegal immigrants". Just because there are laws controlling movement does not mean they are right. In fact, they are anti-liberty.

10:24 AM  
Blogger latour said...

The most bizarre things, indeed...

7:19 PM  
Blogger Dusty Dog said...

One of the problems with illegal immigration, and a problem that is not being addressed at all, is the economy of the country from which the illegals pour through the US borders. Specifically, Mexico.

Vincente Fox is about as honest and caring an individual as GW Dubya. There are two classes in Mexico - the god awful wealthy and the god awful poor. Nothing in between. And, about five families constitute the wealthy class, of which Fox is a member.

If these two cockroach leaders worked together to even out the economics of Mexico, thereby giving Mexicans a chance of earning a reasonable living in their own country, I'd bet dollars to donuts that they'd opt to stay in Mexico. But, that's not going to happen. I suppose the rhetoric about criminalizing illegal aliens gives these asswipes some sense of superiority, but they are really criminals themselves, stealing from the poor and middle, and giving it all to themselves.

That's what needs to be talked about. Nothing will ever be solved until that basic issue is resolved.

4:43 PM  
Blogger Don Bangert said...

I read an article today on this topic that I liked very much titled What Do You Mean “We”?. It was written by Sheldon Richman and can be read online at The Future of Freedom Foundation's website.

This article touches on many of the points made your comments. My own position on this topic is still unsettled. It seems that every time I read a new article, I find another problem with immigration legislation and enforcement.

For example, from the cited article we see conflict between the individual's choice to freely contract with others and government's burdensome regulations:

there is tension between the ideas that we live in a free society and that government may determine whom we may sell to, rent to, and hire. This is the real heart of the immigration debate. Who should decide such things, free individuals or the state?

He's right. Individuals have the right to contract for work without government's constant intrusion. Why does government feel the need to constantly stick it's nose into private matters. The author then points out that:

In all the blather about immigration, no one has stepped up to explain why, in what Mencken called the land of the theoretically free, individuals are not free to hire and sell and rent to whomever they wish. If I want to rent an apartment to and employ a Mexican, that’s no one’s business but my own, regardless of whether he’s cleared some arbitrary bureaucratic hurdles. The politicians should butt out, which in an earlier time was the essence of Americanism. I don’t think the government school curriculum features that very prominently.

I'm in agreement with him here. Government really does need to butt out. People, regardless of nationality, have the right to engage in trade uninhibited by government regulations. As a matter of fact, if you remove all of government's regulations, most of the arguments against "illegal" immigration disappear.

5:34 PM  
Blogger Martin Wisse said...

I have a hunch that the Wobblies do not believe in illegal immigration; no person is illegal and all that.

7:02 AM  

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