Sunday, December 1, 2013

On being eaten by the young

Like all organizations, the IWW has its problems to contend with. One of the ones that I've been observing recently that I think we continually cycle back towards is the problem of "being eaten by the young." Despite its name, its a problem that has nothing to do with age (I've seen people in their 20s be eaten by the young and I've seen retired people eat the old).

I can think of probably a dozen examples of members being getting eaten by the young, but they all follow the same general pattern. A member has been around for at least four years (sometimes many more), has done some organizing, and has been active in some way in the international union, either through Convention, an international committee or an officer position. During this time they've weighed in on various controversies as part of their position or just as an active member with a sharp mind. They've taken controversial stands, or pushed new and challenging ideas. Their name is known around the organization because of their activities, people may even use their name as a shorthand for a specific idea or tendency. In short, they are popular.

But suddenly, and its impossible to tell exactly when, they cross a threshold and start finding that people, especially new members, talk behind their backs. Their actions become imbued with bad motives (of any sort: reactionary, reformist, careerist, out of touch, academic, impossibilist, etc). The positions that they have taken in the past come back to haunt them in the present. The amount of knowledge they have, whether it be the number of people they know, the workings of the internal union rules, or their capacity to advance ideas in the organization, becomes suspect. And so newer members, who don't have personal relationships with them, see them as a gate-keeper and an old guard. Someone who is holding the organization back. The member's reputation is slowly stained and so in response they find themselves tightening up, becoming suspicious, finding enemies, real or imagined, and further confirming new member's beliefs about their stodgy nature, their "old beard"-yness. Before long, the member quits in frustration, provokes open conflict, or disappears into the wider world, retaining their membership just out of longtime loyalty. They've been eaten by the young.

I've been the young, eating the old. I've rolled my eyes, felt not taken seriously, condescended to, and have whispered, caucused, schemed. Now, about to celebrate my 6th year in the organization and coming off a two year officer term where I've taken controversial positions, I wonder if I'm next. I worry about when my experience will become a liability. When will I be eaten?

How do we stop having the young eat the old? Not I think with the usual prescription, which is encapsulated by the statement "Yeah he's a problem but he's done so much stuff, just ignore it." Yeah-he's-a-probleming things just means we ignore disruptive behavior because of someone's experience, which is foolish and just encourages other young people to eat him. Yeah-he's-a-probleming is the primary response to this problem today and it's use exists in perfect harmony with being eaten by the young, each supporting the other's use.

I don't have any firm thoughts about how to deal with this but want to sketch out a couple of possible directions to think through.

1. Talking more openly and clearly about mentorship and what it means. It should be an expectation that more experienced members mentor newer members, but it should also be clear to new members that everyone in the organization has learned from someone before them. There will always be more experienced people to learn from and there will always be people who are new and need to learn. We should be clear with up-and-coming organizers that they have a lot to learn, even if what they're doing is new and interesting. I feel like nobody ever really told me "Stop, listen to this person, it's important." For Wobs who came up in my "cohort" as it were, I feel like the message was, "You're great, go forth!" I don't really know how to do this, but I do think that talking more about how we learn organizing and political skills would be a good idea.

2. Save history from the historians. None of us was the first person in this organization, we're all indebted to those before us. Yet many people like myself start nodding off when someone starts talking about 1915 like it was yesterday. The fact that so many of us have come up in the organization fighting against the "Joe Hill Memorial Society" culture means that we often think of history as a kind of opponent, something against we are constantly measuring ourselves to see if we're worthy of its mantle. We fear and avoid history.

We need to talk more and louder about our recent history. An experienced member just seems like a boring person with lots of opinions to a new member who doesn't know where those opinions came from and what forged them. We need to produce more written accounts of our struggles, contemporary and historic, and have them available and accessible as part of a Wobbly's first year in the organization. If I would have known more about some members who I have taken part in eating at the time, I would have eased back.

3. Smash the gates. This ties in with both previous points, but experienced members need to do a way better job of avoiding both the appearance and the reality of gatekeeping. This is way harder than it sounds. The more time and energy you've spent on the union, the more you start using shorthands and jargon. You have more relationships with individuals who you've deemed worth your time and you sometimes ignore people you don't know, especially in an organization where turnover amongst new members is astronomical. You don't want to waste time arguing with someone with stupid ideas who you know won't be around 5 months from now.

There's a million reasons why gatekeeping is easier for experienced members, and that means we need a million ways to fight it. I don't know what they all are, but I'd be open to suggestions.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Socialism in Minneapolis: Thinking about Elections

Having just survived an election season in Minneapolis's 9th Ward, the various arguments about Socialist Alternative's candidate for City Council are fresh in my mind. Here I'm going to weave (or more accurately, stick together) together two separate pieces of thinking about what this stuff represents. The first is more an analysis of what's going on in Minneapolis right now on the left, posing some questions to think about going forward. The second, more wandering bit is about why I think electoralism in America is a false problem radicals to worry about.

The “MK Dialectics” of Ty Moore for City Council              
I’ve spent the past few months sitting on the sidelines of the emergent campaign for Ty Moore, a candidate from the Trotskyist political party Socialist Alternative (SA), for City Council of Minneapolis. Socialist Alternative, which has a reasonable base of mostly students and a minority of worker militants, has a good track record of participating in various social struggles in the Twin Cities, moving from their work in the youth anti-war movement of the early 2000s to a variety of causes including school closures, GLBT activism, and most recently, a serious orientation towards working inside Occupy Homes Minnesota (OHMN). I’ve always had good relationships with members of SA and they have supported the IWW in various struggles we have been involved with and we have in turn attempted to turn out to their events. While there are obvious political differences between the two groups, SA has, up to this point, not emphasized electoral politics as part of their practice, outside of “getting out the vote” for Greens or Nader-types come election time. Socialist Alterative is also notable locally for being a party that identifies with the Trotskyist tradition formally, but downplays their revolutionary socialist politics in their publicity, unlike other Trotskyist groups. Since their Seattle section ran an unsuccessful but exciting campaign for a candidate for Washington State Senate, turning out 14,000 votes, SA has around the country started to look more towards electoral possibilities, and this has culminated locally with Moore’s candidate for City Council.

We have a comrade who goes by the name MK. He’s a smart and savvy organizer, and at some point identified a way of analyzing situations that have since been colloquially and partially-jokingly termed “MK dialectics.” MK dialectics consider the political situation by noting that there are often three layers of reality, each a level deeper than the last. Or, to put it differently, each level of analysis sees a more obscure reality hidden behind it, and uncovers it by interrogating the relevant information about the level that is currently visible. It’s also just an amusing way of simplifying political analysis into a pithy refrain. In MK dialectics we ask the questions “what’s going on?” then “what’s really going on?” and then finish with “what’s really, really going on?"

Having tried to keep in touch with what’s happening locally with the Moore campaign, and in discussion with some comrades, I’d like to offer what I think is a way of looking at what’s happened with this campaign, using the framing of MK’s dialectics to understand the situation.

What’s going on: Socialist Alternative ran a campaign for City Council, pushing demands like $15 an hour minimum wage and an end to foreclosures as educational demands that it hopes will inspire people to both vote for Moore and come around the politics of SA.

What’s really going on: A group of “militant reformist” organizations, led by Occupy Homes, came together to support Moore’s campaign. SA has played an important role within Occupy Homes and in supporting these other organizations and there are strong links between SA and the militant reformists.

What’s really, really going on: The left-wing of the NGO-labor-community organization scene in Minneapolis, having struggled with the DFL establishment in the past few years, are attempting to consolidate their organizing successes and political power in a figure in City Hall, using SA as a front group with broad and vague enough politics to fulfill this desire.
I think this analysis effectively flips the appearance of what’s going on its head and I’m fairly confident that I’m correct in what I’m saying here. I don’t say it to be a jerk or to put people down, but I think it’s important to analyze what’s going on in my city, even if I know and have worked with many of the people involved. I think the entire Moore campaign is actually the result of the success of organizations, most clearly Occupy Homes, but also SEIU and the Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en la Lucha (CTUL), which is SEIU and (I believe) non-profit-funded, and the post-ACORN organization Neighborhoods Organizing for Change (NOC) becoming a New Left, primarily centered around staff organizers within these and allied organizations. SA serves as a useful vehicle for the campaign because they’re excited about running electoral campaigns, excited about what it could do for their party, and have a public face that can accommodate both reformist and revolutionary supporters. But it’s also important to analyze the material forces that represent the biggest backers and most powerful players in this situation. What’s really, really happening is this campaign is the manifestation on a formal political level of the work that the left wing of the non-profit/labor complex has been able to accomplish with Occupy and beyond it.

I do think it’s important to be cogent about what’s happening below the surface because of what it means going forward. I attended part of a post-election wrap-up of the campaign where multiple shot-callers pushed people towards working together on social movement projects and the short term, and returning to run candidates in the long term. In what ways would a representative of the “militant reformists” in the Twin Cities sitting on the Minneapolis City Council mean for the way that struggles, both reformist and revolutionary, move forward? What are the limits that taking political power (even if that power is only one seat and a seat replacing a liberal Democrat) puts these organizations vis-à-vis the repressive apparatus of the state and what openings does it create? Will the organizations which constitute this base push for radical demands or will they be content with merely calling for them for educational purposes? How will radicals who see themselves as outside the electoral arena relate to a formally-constituted Left which finds itself for the first time with political representation by both moderates (SEIU-backed candidates all around the state) and radicals and how will these two different forces relate internally? These are questions for us to return to going forward, assuming this current wave of electoralism continues.

Electoralism: A False Dilemma

Just a few days before the City Council election in Minneapolis, a group of comrades from the 1st of May Anarchist Organization put out a statement condemning electoralism and attempting to identify the weaknesses of an approach to politics that includes running candidates for office. A good statement, it sums up the general anarchist approach to the electoral issue. The one place where it is weak is when it tries to show the specific political problems raised in SA's campaign:

“First, movements across the city were already raising the issues of low-paid service work, the foreclosure crisis, and immigrant rights… It will not be City Council resolutions that prevent foreclosures or raise minimum wages, but a mobilized community willing to physically block sheriff’s evictions, and organized workers willing to strike.”

Later M1 says:

“What we notice is that at the core of this coalition are organizations influenced and funded by SEIU leadership, and sharing their top-down, staff driven, reformism with a militant veneer. It seems that SEIU leadership recognizes in Ty’s campaign a similar approach and made the calculation that a break with the DFL here would help solidify the hegemony of this kind of politics over community, labor and social activists in Minneapolis.”

As my analysis above lays out, the people identified in the first paragraph are the same people maligned in the second. It's not that there are malicious reformists attempting to subvert radical movements from above through electioneering, it's that most of the movements in the city in the current moment are reformist movements interested in electioneering and the veneer of militancy that they wear brings radicals to believe they're something that they're not. The specifics of the polemic aside, the critique is shared all around the far left by comrades who see electoral campaigns as distractions from the real work, what M1 calls the "main lesson" of the SA campaign being "[h]ow to participate in this unjust system."

I think though that this traditional anarchist and ultraleft position on elections has the bad fortune of being simultaneously right and wrong. That is to say, the position is correct analytically but incorrect strategically. Yes, running elections is a distraction from radical organizing amongst the working class and teaches people that politicians can save them from their problems. That's true. The first part of the critique has maybe more to it, but arguing that the idea of left electoralism will teach people to be dependent on left politicians serves no purpose.

In a country where we have never had an electoral socialist movement which came anywhere near the reigns of the state, and in which the rules of electioneering have been set by two major capitalist parties for its entire existence, the "threat" that electoralism poses is a false one. There's simply no way, under the current system of gerrymandering, machine politics, and campaign finance rules, for socialists to constitute a serious threat to the capitalist political parties on a wide scale. Ward 9 in Minneapolis is probably the most left ward in the city and certainly the one with the highest density of left activists and organizers per capita. The whole country, indeed the whole city, is not Ward 9. And even there, the campaign lost.

We're living in a fantastically interesting moment of capitalist political power in this country, where the Republican Party, besieged by demographic changes, is rewriting laws in states and in Washington to make sure that they hold their grip on power after they have become truly unrepresentative of the people they claim to govern. The Democratic Party, ascendent demographically if not politically, has its opponent on the ropes but cannot figure out how to land the knockout blow. In this moment, with the capitalist political parties figuring out how to continue their game in a situation that is rapidly changing, there is definitely going to be a left flank that opens on the Democrats side and which allows for people, some socialists and others "progressives" to exist and even to win elections. Indeed SA's campaign in Seattle is achieving a lot of press because of their success in a city-wide race.

But this attention remains, on the long term, insignificant. The realignment of the capitalist political class and its current internal crises, will not lead to a reconfiguring of how electoral politics works at a fundamental level because these dynamics are centuries-old juridical frameworks of U.S. politics. The only thing that could possibly open up electoralism as a viable, widely-spread avenue for the far left in the U.S. would be a revolution of some mixed-class type. 300 years of capitalist legal control with no widespread electoral opposition have solidified a system under which left electoralism cannot win. The only thing that has terrified the capitalist class and their lackies in government in this country's history has been mass, widespread uprisings of working people, and before them, slaves. Left electoralism has never challenged U.S. capitalism in a meaningful way even when millions of people self-consciously saw themselves as anti-capitalist radicals, why would it suddenly do so now, over a hundred years since socialism's highest electoral turn out of 6% for Eugene Debs in 1912's presidential election? (And one hundred years through which the two major parties have used even more sophisticated maneuvers to disenfranchise working people.)

Urging people to fear and oppose the specter of an electoral turn of the left in this country is simply not worth one's time. Furthermore, it invites reformist forces to marginalize and dismiss anti-electoral radicals as out of touch with reality. Of course, it is those self-same reformist forces who delude themselves by thinking that despite the international failure of the Second International, Eurocommunism, and more recently Bolivarianism (in its varied forms) to bring about anything resembling a cooperative commonwealth of labor, they will somehow do things differently. The far left should heed the lessons of the Socialist Party, forerunners of SA and various political party's sojourns into electoralism. The party never again regained the strength it had after it forced the IWW and other syndicalist and direct actionist forces out of the party and lost much of its electoral strength as a result. The lesson for radicals should be clear: the choice between electoralist utopianism and actionist puritanism is a false one and obscures more than it clarifies. In a moment where some of the most militant forces are the most conservative and bureaucratic on the left, the idea that who our allies and opponents are can be seen clearly through which field of action they mythologize most is difficult to maintain. The question should be what tactics, strategies, and organizational methods move our class closer to a communist future and how can we work towards those ends? It's not that electoralism is wrong, though it is, it's that its unimportant.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Winning or Losing

These are some comments I wrote up to hopefully work with a comrade on some kind of presentation or pamphlet, in the theme of "learning from the Teamsters/fighting to win." I'm sure that I've gotten way off the original theme of the discussion but figured I'd post these comments here for discussion.

Why do we fight? Fighting is important because it gives emotional experiences of struggle, which can be really powerful and change the way that people feel about their lives. Struggle brings people into the movement, from the periphery of our shops and our communities. Fighting the boss, taking action that puts people out there and scares us a little bit, can ultimately be incredibly transformative regardless of the result. The IWW wins an awful lot right now by losing: by that I mean that our success rate for campaigns is rather low but the number of people who come into our union as a result of those campaigns is increasing. And what’s more, many of those people become some of our strongest and most dedicated members. So regardless of the outcome of our fights, it’s really important for the organization to take on fights. Action is oxygen, as an organizer I know puts it, and it gives campaigns that crucial combustible element needed to ignite.

But as the organization continues to grow and evolve, we also need to be more circumspect about what kind of fighting we are doing and what kinds of results we expect from these fights. Membership growth and development can come from any kind of fight: if we are organizing at a shop and the campaign falls flat due to repression, it’s likely that we will pick up at least one or two new good people from the shopfloor who were excited by the campaign and engaged with the union’s ideas and continue to stick with the union beyond the struggle. But what of the majority of our coworkers who were scared away from the union due to the repression? Is it really a smart plan for growth for the IWW to invest months and months of people’s lives salting, hundreds or thousands of dollars in the media and solidarity campaign, and a huge number of hours mobilizing outside support, if the result is that we pick up one or two people? Surely we’re obliged to support campaigns that go off the rails and pick fights that aren’t successful because we need to do whatever we can to support our fellow workers, but wouldn’t it be better if we found ways of encouraging higher rates of success when taking action?

It seems like IWW campaigns, like airplanes, crash for two major reasons; they crash while getting off the ground or in the air. Like planes, most campaigns crash while taking off: bad social mapping, inability to bring important social leaders on board, lack of enthusiasm, inexperience doing 1on1s, and most often just the feelings of frustration and inefficacy associated with the long slog of organizing. When campaigns crash while they are in the air, they have the same kind of spectacular nature as their airplane counterparts, big explosions and a lot of investigators at the crash site, poring over the details, sifting through the wreckage, trying to figure out just what the hell happened up there. What we need to be able to examine in more detail is this second kind of campaign’s failure. My suspicion is that most of the time our campaigns, having gone public, had fights with the boss, and having “taken flight” fall apart because they misunderstand exactly how to apply an action plan that leads to success. We win or lose based on how ready we are to deal with the real power of the boss and how able we are to develop our own action plan that fights that power.

So here are several suggestions about practices that IWW campaigns should adopt in order to better prepare ourselves for this second type of failure, the failure of fighting:

1. One of the first things that campaigns should commit themselves to, soon after they’ve assembled their initial organizing committee, is to figure out a plan to deal with repression, specifically in the form of firings. This is most important for industries with low union density, where repression is likely to be particularly acute, but is generally important for all organizing campaigns. In numerous recent IWW campaigns, organizers have been surprised by firings, either in direct retaliation for organizing or indirectly, by trumping up some other workplace policy violations to fire an organizer. Chicago-Lake Liquors in Minneapolis and Star Tickets in Grand Rapids are recent examples of the first type, which tend to get more union buzz, but there are probably even more of the second type out there that most members never hear about.

If we are unable or unwilling to fight firings, we illustrate to our coworkers that the union cannot actually protect them and we open a hole underneath the basic assumption of organizing: that together we are stronger. Bosses know this and its part of the reason why more sophisticated ones fire organizers (less sophisticated ones just fire people because they don’t like their workers talking back or asking for things.) It’s imperative that organizing campaigns fight with all their abilities against firings that happen to their organizing committees, even if that would endanger longer-term plans of the committee. We need to be prepared to throw everything against the employers when one of our people is fired, to both seriously fight for their job back and to illustrate to our coworkers that we will not be pushed around.

That said, it’s very difficult to actually get someone’s job back after they have been fired. That difficulty rises exponentially with time. The easiest time to fight a firing is just as it is happening, either by having committee members present in or around the actual firing, or by activating a plan to oppose the firing as soon as the fired committee member leaves the meeting with management. In most cases it is impossible to stop a firing from happening, but vigilance and preparation are our strongest assets here. Regardless of when we hear about a firing, organizers need to be prepared to pull out all the stops to oppose a firing. After two weeks of escalating actions, what would an employer say to 50 people occupying a small fast food store and refusing to disperse? Calling the riot cops in is about their only recourse. While there’s no doubt that this kind of escalation would be extremely weird and probably terrifying to coworkers in the short run, given proper 1on1s it could also serve to demonstrate exactly how seriously the IWW takes our people and how far we will go to defend them.

It’s my suspicion that if we look at cases of unionists who get their jobs back through direct action, we would see that the short-term losses their campaigns take in the form of weirding-out coworkers would be overcome by the long-term benefits of demonstrating that the union is a power which can take on the boss. The fact is that it’s extremely difficult to reorganize a shopfloor after mass firings have taken place. The process could take even longer than the initial organizing drive because not only is the fear of repression hypothetical for coworkers, it is a proven fact. We need to be willing to change up our organizing strategy to deal with firings because they completely change the game as far as shopfloor conversations go.

At some point, if escalation is not working, it’s okay to step back and say “Alright, we did what we could, anything else will look to coworkers like sour grapes,” assuming the campaign still has a strong presence on the shopfloor. If all or most of your committee has been fired though, we have nothing to lose and should fight as hard as we can to destroy the capitalists’ business. We cannot let it become the bosses’ common sense that the easiest way to disrupt an IWW campaign is to fire a lot of people. We need to show them that there are real consequences to firing our people.

2. Far too often in organizing campaigns we get narrowly focused on carrying out our tasks, bringing members into the fold and agitating and educating our coworkers and lose track of the basics that the Organizer Training 101 teaches. The most frequently forgotten task in our campaigns is a serious dedication to a complete contact list. Outside of campaigns with less than 10 workers in the shop, I have seen very few examples of IWW campaigns actually committing to and achieving even 75% of phone numbers of their coworkers and almost no attempts to actually get home addresses of coworkers.

It’s baffling that this most basic step of organizing is so consistently skipped by our campaigns. Perhaps it’s that this piece of organizing is something perfected by business unions and sometimes IWW organizers feel like it’s not something that we should work on because as workplace militants we often an easier time getting ahold of coworkers’ contact information at quick notice. This mindset is an error. Getting complete contact information is not only the easiest task to assign new members to work on but it also has tremendous implications for campaigns after they go public (even more so after retaliatory firings). While no victory or loss is ever reducible to a single factor, I can personally attest that the lack of a complete address list and a reliance on the employer’s doctored and incorrect Excelsior list in the 2010 Jimmy John’s election in Minneapolis held us back from having conversations that could have put the union up the two votes that were ultimately decisive in the election loss.

Further, contact information is a necessary element in any campaign that expects to have support from IWW organizers who do not work at the firm after going public. Outside organizers cannot simply ask for someone’s contact information while at work. Having a complete contact and a plan about how and to whom that information is available is a critical piece of building an escalation strategy that relies on organizers beyond just those on the shopfloor.

3. Our organizing campaigns do not exist in a political vacuum and if we ever seek to actually organize the whole working class, we will need to eventually leverage our power beyond organizing one shop at a time. At least two salts in a shop, organizing away for at least a year, may eventually lead to a campaign. If that’s our only model for growth, the IWW is doomed to remain a tiny presence within the labor movement.

Much of the reason why we are unable to break outside of the “one shop at a time” model is that often do not engage with the political dimensions within which our workplaces operate. Going public with a campaign is an exciting time, because it allows workers to fight directly against their immediate bosses. But in the intensity of that moment, we miss the opened doors to consider how the immediate employer operates within a larger context of the capitalist economy, how that context can be used to mobilize against the specific capitalist and conversely how the specific struggle can lead to broader struggles throughout the working class.

Other IWWs have written about the need to operate not just as a labor union but as a class union. When we think about being a class union, we see the ways in which classes, workers and bosses, are involved in our struggles through their connections. What is the context of a given struggle? Are there bosses in different firms within the same field who have something against our boss and can we use that hostility to our advantage? Who are the players beyond the specific capitalist and how can we use them to put pressure on our boss? Politicians, other organizations, non-profits, and many more players may both benefit from a relationship with our boss or be opposed to them. Mobilizing, or demobilizing, various forces within the economy and the locality can be a way of putting more pressure on the boss or depriving them of key allies. Here also we should consider what role our “community allies,” meaning various progressive non-profits, rank-and-file unionists or radical staffers, student groups, etc, actually play. Do we need them just to mobilize and show up for demonstrations or are there pieces of the work that their involvement can help us with? Organizers should see the workplace as one piece of the capitalist economy and think about how the other pieces fit together.

We also need to consider what a class union means for our side of the class struggle. How does the struggle at one work site effect conditions within the industry? When a higher profile struggle breaks out, it’s important for organizers within the union to create conversations about the struggle in other shops. When Jimmy John’s workers organized with the IWW and went public in 2010, fast food workers around the city were heard talking about the campaign. We need to think about how to mobilize support from other workers into concrete actions to help the union at the specific work site while also considering how to broaden the terrain of the struggle at places where we don’t currently have a presence.

Finally, we need to consider the political dynamics of our struggle. The capitalist’s hold on the workplace is only enforceable through the hard and soft power of the state. Taking on the state can be a practicality (the aforementioned example of occupying a fast food store and refusing to leave may leave the police with too high of a political cost and they may try to find another way to defuse the situation outside of straight brutal force, especially in a liberal municipality) but it can also serve as an important political lesson. All too often I think IWW organizers forget how the state functions as the armed wing of capitalism on a practical level and demonstrating that fact to working people has an useful illustrative function. This needs to be considered as just one piece of a campaign obviously; it would be foolish to try to pick a fight with the police, the judicial system and local politicians over a campaign that we are already having trouble with. But if there are ways to bring the state into the fight, organizers should consider it and the role it plays in the economy, both broadly and specifically at the firm we’re targeting.

I don’t know if these three pieces are particularly special, I am sure there are other elements of organizing campaigns that I am not thinking of, but they are three things that I have seen recent IWW campaigns where we have had trouble keeping our organizing in the air after it has taken off. More consideration on what these three things mean and why we continue to miss them would be important, and of course it’s quite possible that comrades will disagree with my assessment of these shortcomings here. Further debate would be great and could help clarify how we can turn things like these from small discussions between close comrades into wider conversations within the union, focused on creating programmatic and educational changes that could steer us away from making the same mistakes.