A Month of Organizing, Victories and Failures
This will be the first of what will hopefully be a continuing monthly summary of my organizing attempts. Thus far those efforts are primarily concentrated at work and online through Anti-Capital, and the piece will likewise be split in two. For background, I work for a large company which employs roughly a thousand workers at the campus where I work. My department has roughly 100 different workers across 7 days and 3 shifts. The workplace itself is remarkably diverse with concentration of whiteness and maleness increasing as you climb the hierarchy. Thus far I’ve managed to get roughly 10 co-workers to have meetings outside of the workplace in order to discuss our grievances and exchange information about various relevant movements at work such as waves of layoffs or firings and so forth. The general feeling is that we can’t affect change very well with only 10 of us, so drawing more people in to our circle is always a topic of discussion. Beyond these more formal meetings which we host bi-monthly, we also have game nights on the alternate bi-months. We treat these game nights as a ‘screening’ for people we may potentially wish to include in our formal group discussions. This previous month we had also agreed to meet-up one weekend to have the first discussion for a book club. As I recall, roughly six of us came to a consensus on a day, time, and place to meet and discuss. When the fated time came, everyone canceled the day before. This was rather disappointing to me personally, but I tried to take it in stride and look forward to our next formal meeting which was shaping up to be the largest yet. We were set to have four new people join us for this meeting, bringing our total numbers up to just over a dozen. I was excited and enthusiastic enough to draft a brief outline of an opening greeting speech to brief everyone on our ‘organizational’ (if you can call us an organization?) perspective. Without reproducing the outline here, the basic emphasis was laid on growing our organization carefully, secretly, and slowly. Everyone in our circle is fairly well aware of the fact that we should keep this on the down low, but we’re mostly all friends and things sometimes get rather lighthearted so I feel it necessary to drive this point home from time to time. Further, I was going to outline explicitly the strategic perspective we have been implicitly pursuing which is identical to the one we at Anti-Capital have laid out, namely an egalitarian approach focused on building working-class unity with an aim to constantly improving our position. Specifically I was going to emphasize elevating the conditions of our most immiserated sections, some of us work 10-12 hour days pretty consistently, and others are paid rather poorly by comparison. Tactically I recognized that our small numbers limit our actions to mutual aid style support rather than militant class struggle. Lastly I reiterated the four demands that we’ve agreed upon. So, with this outline in hand and hopes high for a decent stride forward for our little ‘organization,’ the day approaches and three people cancel on me the day before. No big deal, they’re pretty close to me and they mostly know what I had intended to say anyway. The day itself arrives and three more people cancel early in the day, the rest canceled a few minutes before we were supposed to meet or let me know that they’d be later than expected. My disappointment was immense, to the degree that my closest friend at work could detect it the next time we saw each other at work. I’ll tell you the same thing I told her, my disappointment is completely irrelevant to the task at hand. Whether or not I am disappointed does not change the nature of the task that I am confronted with, namely organizing the working-class as I encounter it in my daily life. My disappointment does serve as a distraction and hindrance to this task, and as such I do my best not to let it impact my work. In opposite fashion, my excitement and hopes serve to enhance my work and I let them flow freely. So I’ll dig my heels in and keep trying. After all, that is one of the immense benefits of organizing where you work, you see these people every day, the opportunity is always there. If chance or circumstance ruins one occasion, another will arise. I’ll keep my outline ready for the next big bi-monthly meeting.
Speaking of hopes and excitement, I was rather pleased with the publication of Anti-Capital #15. At Least If We All Die is probably the best thing I’ve ever written and I’m rather proud of it, it also scored a large amount of views so that’s nice. But this piece is about organizing, so the important article in AC #15 was my desperate call for submissions to Anti-Capital which has thus far resulted in no submissions. Such is life. They wouldn’t call it fishing if you were guaranteed catches, they’d just call it catching. I’ve become mildly more aggressive in soliciting individuals for submissions to Anti-Capital through a socialist discord. So far this hasn’t panned out either, but I’m slightly more hopeful on this front. I’d be remiss if I didn’t end by pointing out that we at Anti-Capital would welcome your submissions summarizing your monthly organizing efforts.