Tuesday, May 6, 2008



I just figured out about how to get in here. So now that I am here, I guess I had better think of something intelligent to say.

So, we get so busy talking about how to save the world and going in so many different directions, as we all are, that it is easy to forget about our own real life battles. I just love the meetings and the energy. It has been a whole lot of fun so far, but I am wondering what the Heck I am doing here, and already I am chairing meetings. Whooooa horsseey. I am not so sure yet. First of all, I am the boss and the worker. My wage is being set by the market, which I am not sure about. I am a massage therapist. I am trying to figure out if there is a way for me to utilize this group. The truth is, as I see it, that there is a massage school in town that does massages for CHEAP! So I don't know if there is anything to do about it.

So, I am not sure I have a group to bring together.

I am not so sure if it is in my own best intrest to be putting tons of time and energy into a cause that I am not so sure that I am going to benefit from.

I am not saying I am bailing, but I need to make sure that I get the bills paid, and that I am networking where it will do me some good.

I know that this sounds awfully egocentric, but it is also realistic. After all, How can I save the world if I can't save myself?

I guess that this is part of the new direction and vision. Maybe I am not alone questioning, what the hell I am doing, all of the sudden identifying myself with this eclectic, strange, awesome group of people . Especially,if we don't have a teacher's union, or a electrician's union, or a carpenter's union to protect.
I feel like I am not really ready to jump totally into the fold with all four feet. I need more time to be able to be a part of the group with full integrity.

Like I took years to gather the information I needed to decide whether or not we should go to war with Iraq. I feel like I am mainly there for because I feel like there are a lot of very worldly people who have a lot of first hand information. I feel like a new born baby, just opening my eyes for the first time to a whole new world.

You will have to be patient with me while I decide whether I want to wear Wobblie all over me all of the time, or even some times. I don't like the shirts. Saying I'm a wobblie feels exilerating and very odd at the same time.

Just a reality check.



Ché Bob said...


I guess I would start by asking you what it is you want? What do you want for your own life? Do you want more time or money? Do want more say in the way the society in which you are living operates? Do you want to belong? Feel appreciated? Dignified? Valued? Do you want to realize your full potential? Do you want to be supported by your fellow citizens? Do you want to evolve and grow through education, reflection and subsequent actions?

By attempting an answer to these questions, I think you would know what to do about the Wobblies thing. I don't think it is bad to think of your own self-interest. In fact, if more people spent more time reflecting on their "true" interests, values and concerns, and if they had a better understanding of the forces at work in our society that they would never support the system in which they lived. The problem, of course, is undoing the massive damage that institutional media, government, and schools have done to convolute a more rational and ethical appreciation of the world around us. It's like we have to unlearn at the same time we start learning all the things our history teachers never told us!

Anyway, I'd start by asking what it is you want from this life. What do you expect? You are right to think of your value and making it central to your efforts, but I also think that that will inevitably lead you right back to where you currently are organizing with the IWW. That is because, all of these "worldly people," of whom you speak have also reached this place for the similar reasons. Primarily, there is something rational and ethical about the critique of the IWW. However, these people are still searching for answers. I think you are in good company especially the more eclectic and eccentric the group gets. After all, what is it that our society consists of...diversity or homogeneity?

troutsky said...

Carla is right that an effective program deals both with immediate concerns, the bottom line if you will, and the more distant goals. The insidious aspect of modern capitalism is its ravenous appetite for our "free time", the time beyond the 8 hour day, so that we feel squeezed by taking on additional committments.I imagine organizing massage therapists is like organizing fishing guides, they must adopt entrepreneurial values to compete in the market. Individualism, competetiveness,all these aggressive attitudes in conflict with the union experience and more in line with succeeding in a hierarchy.So we are pulled in two directions.

How we reconcile this contradiction is the challenge of adopting radical politics and the Wobblies help me when feeling alienated. On a practical level they can provide mutual aid or even serve as a co-op( community groups?) if we want to go that route.

Graeme said...

The great thing about the wobblies is we don't demand you adopt any certain vision of society. We simply believe that the dictatorship of industry by the few is wrong and worth fighting against. As far as what would a new society look like, that is up to us to decide. Democratically! imagine that, a real democracy, not this nonsense that gives passed off as democracy by the state and corporate media.

Ché Bob said...


Well said.

Did you hear that I'm taking students to Argentina in November? I have one student who is making a documentary film for his Senior Project on post-capitalist responses to the economic crisis of 2001. We are going to visit worker-recuperated factories; stay in Hotel Bauen (a worker owned and run hotel); visiting collectives (artist, hip-hop, film, etc.); we are visiting Marie Trigona at Lavaca.org (a women's publishing collective); etc.

It will be an amazingly transformative experience for all of us. In a way analogous to your response to Carla, there is no single prescription for how society "must" be organized, but a lot of responses followed by more questions and more discussion. The one prevailing theme is a democratic process of discovery.

There may be room on the trip...want to join us?

Graeme said...

Wow, that sounds very interesting. You should email me with more info.