Building Revolutionary Unionism Anywhere Means Building Revolutionary Unionism in the South


This is a recording from the IWW Southern Speaking Tour event which took place in Houston, TX, earlier this summer. The IWW Southern Speaking Tour saw events in 13 different Southern Cities and was probably the largest coordinated IWW activity across the South since the 1930s. We hope that it’s just the prelude to much more.


Many thanks to the comrades and fellow workers at Subversive Skype who recorded and originally posted it online.

Note: The audio link was working when I authored this post but seems to have hit a glitch. In the meantime, the MP3 can be downloaded here.

From the event description:

Subversive Skype #10: IWW Southern Speaking Tour (August 2016)

Hosted by Houston IWW

The Houston Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) and Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC) is hosting Wobs from the African People’s Caucus and from Atlanta Georgia speak on the IWW work for the Southern Speaking Tour! Come join us as Dee from the APC talks about their work in Minneapolis organizing in the Black Lives Matter movement. Brandon from Atlanta will be discussing recent workers struggles in the US. And Houston folks discuss their work doing immigrant rights work and incarcerated workers organizing work.

IWW Wobblies Houston HTX Htown APC African People’s Caucus Minneapolis Atlanta general strike IWOC Black Lives Matter Hands Up Don’t Ship

Revisiting the Five Year Plan – can we do it in four?


  • 10,000 members in North America
  • 100 Branches in North America, with an average size of 100 members
  • 1,000 members and 20 Branches in the US South


  • Fully automated luxury syndicalism
  • Eradicate amateurism
  • Strong metrics on membership recruitment, engagement, and attrition
  • Crush bosses

Complete the five year plan in four years!

A while ago I wrote an article about the importance of planning for the union. (There were two good responses to it, but I never did revisit the topic directly.)  We have to have an idea of where we’re going, to measure how we’re doing. I suggested the three goals above plus some more. I still think we can do it – but now we have to do it in four years.

We are the only organization in North America that has a vision and a plan for a fighting labor movement which escapes from the prison of labor law. We have to come up with a program for applying that vision, and winning. If we show that our program is the best bet for a better life, workers will bust down our doors to join. IWOC is an excellent example – the excitement it creates is contagious.

But inspiring workers to join is not enough. We have to show that it’s worth it to stay in the IWW. To be serious about building revolutionary unions to overturn capitalism, we have to get much better at the day-to-day, hum-drum administration. This means rethinking everything that we’ve assumed is working.



We’ve moved past the technology that the union’s founders had in 1905. We made a big leap around 2005 – it’s time to do that again. We need to minimize manual procedures which are prone to human error, forgetting, disorganization, and duplication. Relying on thousands of emails, having to ask each other for contact information, not knowing who was the last to talk with a potential new member – all of these add unneeded extra work and possible mistakes, and we can move past all of them.

One of the keys will be the database (CiviCRM). CiviCRM isn’t the end of our use of new technologies, it’s the beginning. There are a lot of other tools that we’ll be able to use as well to allow us all to spend more time agitating, educating, and organizing, and less time administrating.

We also have to prioritize scalability. If we’re going to double in size every year, we need our processes to scale much better than they currently do. We need to standardize the best practices from our best branches across the union. We need branch formation to become much simpler. We need to have new member webinars broadcast from GHQ, as a pilot towards similar programs.



Let’s start with the new member webinars, which are already in development. We can build tools to automatically inform new members anywhere in North America about upcoming webinars. We can track how many of them read the email or RSVP. We can track how many members actually attend, from which branches. A year later we can track how many of them have gone to OT101’s, or run for Branch office, or built new Branches, or left the union.

We can also build tools to keep track of potential members, and use marketing automation (or “agitation automation”) tools to keep in touch with them, track how interested they are, and assist organizers in recruiting members. In fact all of this would be the same tool, and all of it could be done with CiviCRM.

Keeping thorough metrics will allow us to do a much better job knowing where to focus on improving, so that we can continually get better at building the OBU and crushing bosses.



Amateurism is a plague on the Left and it affects us too. It’s the attitude that we are constantly dabbling and doing things willy-nilly. As an organization, if we are going to challenge the organizations of the employing class, then we have to hold ourselves to at least as high of standards as they do. A lot of the tools which they use work well, and we should use them ourselves.

For example: on the Southern Speaking Tour we used contact sheets at each event to follow up with people who came. We tried to send them all emails with surveys, and share the contacts with local organizers. We probably missed a few people, or took too long in some cases.

Now imagine that after every public event, we create (or update) contacts in CiviCRM and mark that they went to the event. Our agitation automation tool sends an email to all of the attendees three days later and tracks who opens it or fills out the survey. If there is a follow-up event three months later, our tool emails all contacts in the city, and tracks who comes back. We can then track if they join, or form a branch.

There are many areas of the union where we can “professionalize” our tools, our attitude, and our expectations. However, it isn’t just a light switch that can be flipped – it’s something we need to continually push ourselves on, and find new areas to improve.

We need to stand for One Big Google Drive, and a serious fighting organization of the working class.

Note: This is a slightly edited version of my candidate statement for the 2017 IWW General Executive Board. I am reproducing it here as it touches on several issues which have been raised on this blog. A few points more related to me as an individual have been removed.

“The leftists go into the business unions, but they don’t come out”: books for a renewed American workers movement, part 3: Solidarity for Sale


Fitch, Robert. Solidarity for Sale: How Corruption Destroyed the Labor Movement and Undermined America’s Promise. New York: PublicAffairs Books, 2006. Hardcover, 432 pages, $7.88.

In 1997, a Bureau of Labor Standards reports revealed that New York City, where UNITE [now UNITE HERE] had its headquarters, had the worst sweatshop problem in the nation. About two-thirds of the garment shops in the city were sweatshops, in violation of wage and hour or safety standards. The stunning finding, though, was that three-quarters of the union shops were sweatshops. The results seemed to conflict with the common wisdom that ‘a bad union is better than no union.’ One day during the Christmas season, the union-led activists in a lower Broadway demonstration protested sweatshops in Mexico while dozens of UNITE workers were demonstrating literally across the street against the union’s failure to enforce their contract in a particularly revolting sweatshop at 446 Broadway.” – Solidarity for Sale, pp. 22-23

UNITE HERE, one of the favorite unions of American progressives, a staunch fighter against third-world sweatshop manufacturing, has refused for decades to enforce what remain of its contracts in New York. They’ve been selling non-enforcement to the garment bosses for so long that it would be almost dishonest to switch that up. This is just one example among many that Robert Fitch provides of how corruption has rotted away the American labor movement from within.

For most of us, corruption just means bad officials taking bribes. Fitch takes the view of classical and Enlightenment thinkers that corruption’s menace to the Republic “came not from official chicanery but from citizens giving up their autonomy, trading their rights and duties for the dole or for special status as members of Caesar’s entourage.” Rooting out corruption will take more than just replacing bad officials: “The U.S. labor movement relies on its own internal system for producing corruption. Some fraction of the membership is involved just as much as the leadership. That’s why it has lasted so long,” writes Fitch.

Corruption was built into the very structure of the American Federation of Labor (AFL)—according to Fitch—by fighting for exclusive, territorial control over specific jobs for privileged ethnic groups. The AFL began in 1886 as a split from the Knights of Labor by craft unions opposed to forming a class union, in which powerful skilled workers would lead the fight for all workers. The craft unions had a strong preference for exclusive contracts covering only their members, turning themselves into what William “Big Bill” Haywood called “job trusts.” This is also the origin of the hiring hall system, in which local union officers were able to provide steady work to their supporters, while dissidents, women, and members of racial minorities were left to starve on the benches.

American unions, according to Fitch, have a “fiefdom syndrome—a kind of protection system based on exclusive jurisdictions, exclusive bargaining, and job control. Those who control the jobs become the bosses; those who want the jobs become their clients.” These labor fiefdoms form a political structure closer to feudalism than to democracy – much less the “producer republicanism” of the Knights, or any vision of a cooperative commonwealth. (I believe Fitch was the first to describe American labor as a feudal system, although FW Ben Egerman made a similar point in a 2014 conversation.)

This is different from Europe, where union membership is voluntary and unions negotiate nationwide contracts that cover all workers in an industry. The North American “Neanderthals” of craft unionism somehow beat out the “Homo sapiens” of class unionism, making them much more susceptible to mafia domination than even their Italian counterparts.

I agree with Fitch that dues checkoff and monopoly unionism are how zombie unions keep the artificial life flowing. However, just as Staughton Lynd often does, Fitch praises the union system in Europe, missing that this system has its own ways to maintain union funding independently from the membership. Most European countries hold periodic elections for union representatives on works councils (which Fitch also supports as a model). Governments subsidize unions based on their vote shares—guaranteeing them a steady income and ensuring an independent bureaucracy, albeit perhaps a more “honest” bureaucracy.

The barren marriage of labor to the Democratic Party

In 2016, we witnessed a spectacle where most leaders of “progressive” unions gave massive support to Hillary Clinton—who opposes a $15 minimum wage and single-payer health care—over Bernie Sanders, who supports them. American unions contribute far more to the Democratic Party than European unions do to their socialist parties, with very little result in pulling the Democrats to the left. But maybe that’s the point.

In “Prisoners of the American Dream” (1986), Mike Davis argued that labor had a “barren marriage” to the Democratic Party, never having birthed a social democratic party. Fitch responds that it is barren “only by the standards of modern Western-style marriage. […] It’s more of an old-style patriarchal marriage. Union leaders are like traditional brides who must bring a dowry. […] When it comes to party affairs, the trade union role is in the kitchen.” Both sides know this relationship would be shameful if acknowledged, “making for frequent furtiveness, pretension, and hypocrisy.” In fact, union donations are made to buy influence for the specific union or its leaders, often at the expense of other unions. In many cases, donations act as a “get out of jail free” card, paid for by the membership’s dues.

“How Bottom-Up Reform Hit Bottom”

Is it possible to reform a system of corrupt unions from within? Fitch looks at the two “best” examples of union reform: the Teamsters for a Democratic Union’s (TDU) attempt to reform from below, and former Service Employees International Union (SEIU) President Andy Stern’s reforms from above.

As the 1960s student movement wound down, some campus-based radicals got factory jobs to bring their ideas to workers, eventually forming groups such as TDU. TDU eventually dropped their radical background, but had some success as opposition caucuses in some parts of the Teamsters. Their biggest success was in 1986, when their slate swept Local 138 in New York. When the Teamsters had their first secret-ballot election for president in 1991, TDU had better recognition (and approval) than any of the actual candidates. They backed Ron Carey, who won, and TDU became junior partners in his administration.

Yet, in the early 1990s, Local 138 was raided into oblivion by nearby mob-dominated locals who undercut its wages. Neither Carey nor TDU—which had become completely dependent on his patronage—said or did anything to stop it. Carey was eventually expelled from the Teamsters after financing his reelection campaign by laundering money through the Democratic Party—with TDU defending him the whole time.

As Fitch concludes:

“Call it the Roach Motel syndrome. The leftists go in but they don’t come out. They enter as revolutionaries determined to create a social movement. Those who survive the ordeal of industrialization become plain and simple union reformers. But eventually, if they build a base or move up in the hierarchy, it’s because they’ve adjusted pretty thoroughly to the demands of a corrupt patron-client system.”

The “Dead Souls” of Andy Stern

Nikolai Gogol’s novel “Dead Souls” is a classic satire of 19th century Russian society. Chichikov, the main character, travels the country buying up the titles to serfs who have died since the last census. The landlords will owe less taxes, and Chichikov can mortgage the dead serfs into huge bank loans.

Andy Stern’s strategy for union growth, according to Fitch, is straight out of Gogol. Stern puts the “business” in business unionism, running SEIU like a corporation fighting for market share. To Stern’s credit, he wiped the once-pervasive mafia out of SEIU. A business union doesn’t have room for the mafia, just as it doesn’t have room for democracy.

While most unions shrink, SEIU is considered “the fastest growing union in America” (just Google it). But the “growth” hasn’t come from convincing workers to join a union in order to fight bosses. It’s come from (1) raiding other unions or pressuring them into mergers, and (2) convincing politicians to reclassify welfare recipients as workers so that the union can “represent” them and take that sweet, sweet dues checkoff.

Fitch shows case after case of this. In one example, SEIU Local 880 received a dues-checkoff agreement for 37,000 Illinois home care workers in 1990, but only got bargaining rights in 2003 after contributing $800,000 to elect Rod Blagojevich governor. That means that SEIU forced 37,000 poverty-level workers to pay dues for 13 years before the union ever actually “represented” the workers.

Of course, there are some important differences between Chichikov and Stern: “Stern’s home health care members are alive, not dead. And Stern had to pay a lot more to the politicians than the nominal sum Chichikov gives to the landlords.”


American exceptionalism—the idea that America (or American labor) is unique in important ways—has a long and complicated history. Sometimes it obscures more than it reveals. But Fitch makes a strong case that the corruption of American labor is unique and goes far beyond the vanilla reformism of European unions. He points to some of the very specific structural causes for it in the DNA of American unions, and makes a strong case that those unions can’t be reformed. Instead, he says, we need a whole new labor movement that avoids dues checkoff and monopolistic unionism.

Fitch does lay out a two-prong strategy for reviving the American labor movement. He is doubtful whether any reform can happen within the AFL-CIO, but he suggests some measures that could be fought for in union locals, such as term limits, cutting the number of officials, and making leadership a sacrifice.

He also sketches out a strategy for a new kind of labor movement built by the hundreds of millions of workers outside of the AFL-CIO, because “the point is not to fight for each tiny island, but to harvest the sea.” Some of his proposals align perfectly with the IWW’s vision: abolish exclusive jurisdiction, make union membership and dues voluntary, and throw exclusive bargaining clauses out of union contracts. He goes into more detail on these and other measures. I would strongly encourage IWW members to read and engage with it.

A more comprehensive vision for a revived American workers’ movement lies in Stanley Aronowitz’ “Death and Life of American Labor” (2014). That’s where we’ll conclude this series.

Note: This is the third part of a series called “Books for a Renewed American Worker’s Movement.” The first part of this review series appeared in the July/August 2015 Industrial Worker (“Books For A Renewed American Workers’ Movement: New IW Review Series Explores ‘The Blue Eagle At Work,’” page 6-7). The second part appeared in the Fall 2015 Industrial Worker (“Is Anything Too Good for the Working Class?” [review of “Out of the Jungle: Jimmy Hoffa and the remaking of the American Working Class”], page 16). All parts, including this one, are also on this blog in slightly edited forms.

Remembering a Southern Revolutionary

Don Jennings AKA Randy Lowens AKA Prole Cat

(May 2, 1960 – March 8, 2012)*


There are large parts of the American South in which anyone who questions the Iraq war, or thinks that women should decide what to do with their own body, is considered to be radical, on the extreme edge of any kind of acceptable politics.


Don never accepted these limits, and never pretended that he was anything less than a revolutionary anarchist. Nor did he take the other easy path, to remove himself from this climate, to get sucked into the internet or to move away and pretend he wasn’t a Southerner. His outlook on life was radical without apologies, but it was also rooted in the culture that he grew up in, as ugly as parts of that culture are.


Illustration by Ralls Jennings

I met Don in the summer of 2004. Until then I’d been very interested in anarchism, but was young and inexperienced. Don had been active in Earth First! in Kentucky, where he’d worked with a solitary Trotskyist to try to raise a class-struggle perspective, but I believe that he had never actually come face-to-face with another anarchist until some mutual internet contacts put us in touch when he moved back to North Georgia.


I don’t remember how late I was leaving the sandwich shop where I worked to meet him, but I remember worrying that he’d be angry. He was leaning against the side of his pick-up truck, and with a thick mustache and a thicker southern accent, he just smiled, waved my anxiety away, and reassured me that he was well-acquainted with the difficulties in the life of a wage slave.


This generosity of spirit was something that he always maintained. Don was one of the founders of the Capital Terminus Collective (CTC), a class-struggle anarchist group whose name was a play on Atlanta’s original name of Terminus City, and he never hesitated to make the multi-hour trek for our meetings or to join us in protests. Although all of the members financed the collective, most of us were young and/or broke; Don gave generously, and always made it clear that he wanted to avoid having any extra input because of that.


The small number of radicals in Georgia made it very hard to be sectarian, since protests and public events were so miniscule that active radicals and leftists couldn’t avoid each other. Nevertheless, Don’s attitude was always an example that the rest of us would have done well to follow. He was comfortable discussing, debating, and even working alongside everybody, from Trotskyists and Maoists to Kucinich-type democrats. He gave much more weight to how people acted than on how perfectly their politics squared up with his on paper.


It wasn’t just in his social attitude that he combined firm political convictions with a repulsion for dogmas. I’m not sure if Don ever went to college, but he is without a doubt one of the most intellectually disciplined comrades I’ve ever had. I remember borrowing a history of Platformist anarchism from him, which was stuffed almost to bursting with pages upon pages of notes. At around the same time, he tried to introduce me to topics as diverse as Marxist analyses of American reconstruction or to Trotsky’s explanation for the rise of fascism in Germany. I wish now that I’d taken more of a cue from him to explore these topics back then, rather than letting them collect dust in the back of my mind.


His non-dogmatic attitude also applied to the Southern culture around him. He distinguished the manifestations of bigotry and religious zealotry that have become the stereotype for this culture, from  Southern culture as a whole. During CTC’s first trip to an anti-war protest in Washington – at a time when the entire collective could still fit in his pick-up – he brought out his dulcimer. He loved to go to bluegrass festivals, he said, and he didn’t mind the ubiquitous religious-themed music at all, as long as the music came before the religious theme. What bothered him were those who just saw music as a vehicle for their propaganda. (I imagine that he had the same attitude towards political music.) Strumming a tune, he whined out the refrain of a whimsical but pointed satire: “Let us sing through our noses about Jesus…”


Don always tried to maintain a balance between practical activity and theoretical reflection. One of his most original pieces, and probably his most controversial, was called “Anarchism and Confederate-Flag Culture: One Man’s Journey from Southern Heritage to Libertarian Socialism.” The Southern “rebel” culture is a deep-rooted phenomenon, and most American radicals hesitate between pretending it doesn’t exist or echoing the dominant rejection of everything Southern, without trying to examine the material and cultural causes. There is a palpable feeling in the US that even the Southern accent is somehow reactionary and backwards, and when radicals parrot this stance, it only makes it harder to discuss their ideas in the south. Whether one agrees with everything that Don wrote or not, the discussion that he tried to start is an incredibly important one, and should be continued. At least as important is his attitude as a writer. He was never pedantic, never too abstract or theoretical – it was always clear that he was writing from practical experience, and he worked hard to make his prose crystal clear:


“If you are someone who displays a Confederate flag out of overt racism, this text is not for you. In fact, we will fight you in the streets. If, however, you are someone who insists that he is not racist, but you have at some point in your life displayed a Confederate Flag out of a general sense of rebellion against the government, the boss, parents, pompous Yankee liberals, or just against modern society in general, then this text is addressed to you. […] By painting slavery and racism as a uniquely southern phenomenon, the CEO’s manage to divert attention from the racist legacy that remains. When they falsely imply that racism is uniquely southern, and then correctly add that the racial situation in the south now mirrors that of the rest of the country, they declare the problem solved. Implicitly this has the effect of encouraging such reactionary nonsense as charges of “reverse discrimination.” […] These facts are what the “racism is a southern thing” myth is intended to obscure. Blacks, Latinos, and to a lesser extent, working-class southern whites are all harmed by this myth. It is time to place the responsibility for American racism and poverty squarely where it belongs, at the doorstep of the business class, and at the foot of the American flag (and all other Anglo-nationalist flags) which provide the business class with aid and comfort.”


Don’s lively, conversational style should serve as a model for any of us who want to write for anyone outside of our anarchist clubhouses. It should be no surprise that he also nurtured a passion for creative writing. A blog called “Gnarled Oak, Knotty Pine”, with the characteristic subtitle, “some random lyricism about working class life in Appalachia and the Deep South”, contains a lot of his more recent writing.


Don’s life stands out as a shining example of a worker-intellectual. He never tried to erase his roots, nor was he ever content to stop trying to sharpen his mind and put his radical politics into practice. He was a large-hearted and dedicated friend and comrade, an example which I can only hope will serve as a model for many in the future.


Don Jennings, ¡presente!


*Note: I wrote this obituary for Don shortly after his passing in 2012. It was published in the Industrial Worker and on I am posting it now to help renew his memory. Another good obituary, with plenty of links to his writings, can be found at

“Is anything too good for the working class?” Books for a revived American worker’s movement, part 2: Out of the Jungle

“Is anything too good for the working class?” Books for a revived American worker’s movement, part 2: Out of the Jungle. Thaddeus Russell, 2001.


How much is too much for workers to earn? What standard of life should they expect?

Since the 1960’s new left, there has been a dominant mood among parts of the US Left that, perhaps, some workers have it too good and are part of the problem.

In the 60’s, this usually took the form of talking about workers being “bought off” by imperialism. Now, it’s more fashionable to criticize people for destroying the earth with their SUVs and their McMansions. These workers have so much that they will never struggle against the system.  This attitude echoes the Right, who attack “greedy” government employees, “entitled” autoworkers, or anyone who is getting by on a working-class job.

Instead of blaming workers for having too much, revolutionary unionists should agitate for more. In Hal Draper’s words, we should be a “loyal opposition” in the labor movement:

That means: loyal to the interests of trade-unionism in the same degree that it fights the boss and the bureaucrat, whose power is not in the interests of trade-unionism. It is necessary to proclaim this today – to put it on the banner, so to speak – because the sect radicals have been so successful in discrediting themselves before conscientious trade-unionists, and confusing “radical trade-unionism” with a sect’s commando raids to rip off a plant situation by a display of “militancy” even if the workers’ interests are harmed, or the union work is wrecked, as long as a couple of members are recruited to the sect.

If we’re going to help revive a militant workers’ movement in the US, we have to take a few things seriously: first, it’s almost impossible to exist in this country as a worker without being mired in debt; and second, people will mobilize themselves in huge numbers if they see a possibility for improving their lives. Working class people want nice things, and that’s OK. Any radicals who promise a worse life for the majority of people deserves the scorn they’ll get.

Drop the “union” word to an average worker, and they won’t think of Debs or Gompers or Richard Trumka; they probably won’t think of Norma Rae or Cesar Chavez either. They’ll think of Jimmy Hoffa, and when they think Hoffa, they’ll think “corrupt” and “tough guy.” There’s a reason people know about Hoffa: at one point, he led the largest union in the country, a union which led large and militant strikes. In the 50s and 60s, Hoffa and his union were the US Government’s biggest target in the labor movement, and yet left-wing labor historians almost completely overlook them.

Thaddeus Russell partially makes up for this with “Out of the Jungle: Jimmy Hoffa and the remaking of the American Working Class.” The coverage of Hoffa’s career is really just a prop to re-examine the American working class.

Russell uses the book as an extended argument for an idea that we could call “Jungle Unionism”. Basically, Jungle Unionism is extreme free-market libertarianism, applied to unions. According to Russell, the best situation for workers is when unions and union leaders are in a perfect free market (without laws or any government) and have to compete heavily against each other for the loyalty of workers. In this theory, the actual ideas and positions that a union or union leader represents are irrelevant, at least as far as the workers are concerned.

The AFL-CIO have been united since 1955, but during the 1930s, the AFL and CIO were competing to organize millions of workers. The Auto Workers (CIO) and the Teamsters (AFL) each led city-wide general strikes in 1934. Before the National Labor Relations Act (1935) had stabilized and sterilized the labor movement, there was an opening for labor leaders who could organize strikes that won. Workers would join unions in droves if they saw that those unions could deliver better lives. The leaders of those unions would go from being outcast workers to powerful citizens, with large dues bases.

As with any emerging market, there is a stiff competition. Russell focuses on Detroit, where the UAW and Teamsters both grew very quickly. As cars became more important, so did the workers who produced them, and those who transported them. Russell shows how Hoffa constantly had to fight tooth and nail against employers to prove to workers that the Teamsters could get them a fatter paycheck and more stability than anyone else. With the AFL and the CIO both competing to attract workers by the thousands, neither side could afford to pull any punches during labor struggles. Everything was fair game, from mass strikes and pickets, to blowing up trucks that belonged to stubborn employers. Oftentimes, unions would fight the boss hardest when they were trying to keep another union out. Since workers were still free to leave or switch unions, the only guarantee came from showing that your union could fight the boss better than the other.

This dynamic held true for competition inside the union as well. Hoffa learned how to organize from Farrell Dobbs, who had led and organized the 1934 strikes in Minneapolis. Dobbs and Hoffa worked together in the “Over the road” campaign, which was a bitter struggle to organize interstate trucking in the Midwest. It was successful and brought tens of thousands of new members into the Teamsters. Dobbs and the other Minneapolis Teamster leaders were also members of a socialist organization that was critical of Stalinism. In 1941, when the USA and USSR were becoming allies in World War 2, and the Communist Party became enthusiastic supporters of a nationwide no-strike pledge, Dobbs’ organization still supported labor militancy. Thus, the Minneapolis local was expelled from the Teamsters at the same time that the US Government arrested all of its leaders for subversion. Hoffa and his goons rolled into town with baseball bats, guns, and other tools of recruitment, but workers were still loyal to the local that had gotten them a better life. Russell shows how the gangster tactics alone weren’t enough. In order to crush the old local, Hoffa had to call militant strikes against employers that won significant gains. This was the only way that the workers would actually accept his leadership. According to Russell, this also shows that the anti-war, pro-class struggle socialist ideology of Dobbs and his comrades was unimportant – for workers, everything came down to the paycheck. Russell implies that even here, the competition brought gains to the workers.

Of course, all of this militancy was expensive for the bosses, it was disruptive for the wartime government, and it was dangerous and embarrassing for the union leaders. All three groups had a big interest in reducing the competition. Labor law after 1935 gave a perfect mix of ingredients to remove competition from the field: exclusive representation, dues check off, and mandatory membership. The changes in 1947 and 1959 restricted competition even more. As Russell shows, every time the competition was reduced between unions and union leaders, the result was fewer gains for workers and more power for the bureaucrats.

The question which comes to mind is: is the dynamic that Russell describes the main dynamic driving labor organizing, or is it one among many?
Russell oddly has not one word to say about another inter-union struggle involving the Teamsters. The “Salad Bowl Strike” was a series of militant labor struggles in California agriculture, which the United Farm Workers initiated when the Teamsters attempted to start organizing on their “turf”. In many ways, this struggle could confirm Jungle Unionism – competing with the Teamsters forced the UFW to become more militant. However, by the end, neither union could claim victory. Furthermore, the Teamsters had the support of the white power structure in California; the UFW was targeted by that same power structure. The largely Latino and Filipino agricultural workers paid attention to this, and didn’t act as the purely economic beings that an extreme Jungle Unionist might imagine. Perhaps there is some room for ideals in labor organizing, after all.

I would encourage IWW members and revolutionary unionists to read this book, but keep a critical eye, and read it alongside The Blue Eagle at Work and Reviving the Strike. There are two lessons we can learn. The first, which Russell suggests, is that revolutionaries would do better for workers by being a permanent, organized, militant opposition within unions rather than trying to take them over. I would add that this kind of opposition needs to promote a vision of a labor movement which is democratic as well as militant and able to completely smash US labor law. The working class desperately needs to overturn US labor law in order to be able to fight with both hands free, and we should be the force in the labor movement organizing for that.

This gets into the next point, the importance of winning. Most of us come from an activist background in which strategy is not considered, and there are no decisive struggles which involve winning or losing. This is also a material thing – our class has been losing for thirty years, and most people who are working now have never even seen a real working class victory. But a movement which had the tactics to fight bosses and win economic gains would be able to quickly inspire to organize themselves under its banners by the thousands, and wage militant fights. In the next review, we’ll look at Joe Burns’ recommendations for a labor movement which could do exactly that.

Let’s make sure that the IWW is the spear point of that revived labor movement!

An edited version of this post appeared in the November 2014 Industrial Worker.

Workers Power Against Police Brutality and Racist Terror




The Chicago Teachers Step Up – What does it mean?

The decision of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) to participate in the Black Friday protests against police brutality is an important step forward, advancing both the struggle against the Chicago police department, and allowing the CTU to flex its muscles before the end of its contract. Chicago Teachers voted overwhelmingly to support a strike in their recent strike authorization vote, and if they can win another strike as they did in 2012, it would be an incredibly important victory for the working class around the country. It would show that education workers can fight and win, especially if they have united with the broader working class around issues such as institutional racism.


Chicago Black Friday Protests. November 27, 2015.

The simmering rage against Chicago’s blatantly racist, terrorist, secret prison-operating police department provides an important backdrop. US anti-labor law illegitimately limits what workers can strike over; if the teachers go on strike, and demand the removal of police from school campuses, or defunding of the police force, that would make their strike “illegal” in the eyes of the state. Chicago teachers have an important choice. Even if the teachers go on strike and don’t say a word about the police, the CPD is intimately tied to Rahm Emanuel’s austerity regime, and a teachers’ strike could strengthen and build on the movement against police brutality and terror. However, if the teachers do explicitly include anti-police demands in their strike, and stick by them even when threatened with injunction, they could really inspire the rest of the working class in Chicago to mobilize and support them. A victory in that case would also show that workers can successfully take on the system of anti-labor laws in this country, particularly those which declare certain kinds of strikes “illegal”.

Could teachers and other education workers strike to remove police from schools? Nothing could stop them from putting this into their demands. If a teachers union prioritized “cops off campus”, and waged a strike on the level of Chicago in 2012 or Seattle earlier this year, this would be a massive step forward. This would be particularly powerful to the degree that it spread beyond the teachers to include other education workers. Of course, any industrial action for “cops off campus” would meet bitter resistance from the city administration, at the same time that the national media, the Democratic Party, and – most importantly – the national unions would stop at nothing to sabotage this action, and force or cajole the workers into moderating their demands.

This is why militant education workers would have to prepare for this struggle, beginning by consciously identifying with the victims of police brutality, against the police rather than with them. An initiative to strike for “cops off campus” might need years before education workers actually have the strength and organization to pull it off – but the situation in the US over the last several years has also been very fluid, and things could develop much quicker than we might expect.

“Cops off campus”, a slogan which came out of the struggles at the University of California around 2009, is just one example of an achievable revolutionary demand. The left wing of capitalism can articulate very specific and imaginable goals, such as body cameras or community policing – but these “demands”, even if granted, would only reinforce the legitimacy of the police. Revolutionaries should try to find fault lines in the struggle against the police that accomplish two things – 1) just like with anything else, we want to inspire and unite broader parts of the working class to find common interest and take action together; 2) we should articulate ways that workers can act to directly reduce the power, presence, and legitimacy of police, so that they can imagine winning, and know when they are doing it.

Education workers have a very specific ability to use their power as workers to reduce the power of police in our society, both by removing their ability to assault students, and by reducing their social legitimacy. But they aren’t the only ones.

How else are workers taking job action against police – and how could they?

Red Atlanta has done a good job finding actions that fast food workers have taken against police. Most importantly, many of the people on the ground in the Ferguson rebellion were fast food workers, many of whom had previously been involved in Fight For 15, where they had gotten experience organizing. Also notable is that when FF15 leadership called “strikes” around the country, they deliberately avoided strikes in St Louis or Ferguson in the name of “peace” and “calm”, instead bussing protestors from Ferguson/St Louis to other cities. Beyond this, there have been low-level actions, such as workers writing “pig” on burrito wrappers or otherwise making police know they are unwelcome.

There was also the infamous “hands up, don’t ship” action which was organized by IWW members working at UPS last fall. In this case, workers in the sorting facility researched one of the businesses that shipped through their facility to police departments around the country, and found that a lot of the material being shipped was racist training material. The workers temporarily asserted their power on the shop floor by refusing to ship packages coming from this company.

This shows a path that workers could take even if they don’t directly interact with police at work on a daily basis, as teachers or fast food workers do. For example, workers who build Dodge Chargers (in Windsor, Ontario) could refuse to build any which are destined for police departments. Even a short work stoppage could build on the recent success of workers at Fiat-Chrysler who voted down the first proposed contract, which would have cemented the two-tier contract, and which the union leadership was trying to ram through as quick as possible. Workers know a lot about the commodities they create or handle, and can find creative ways to register their opposition to police through job action.

As Bob Kroll, the white supremacist president of the Minneapolis Fraternal Order of Police, personifies, it is becoming increasingly clear that the struggle against police brutality and the struggle against white supremacist terror are the same. When the cops take off their badges, they put on their hoods – or maybe we should say, when the Klan take off their hoods, they put on their badges. The recent struggles at the University of Missouri show the power that workers have to fight against white supremacy, and the strike by the football players in particular has some very explosive potential. The exploitation of unpaid college athletes has been a situation ripe for organizing for decades, as Kareem Abdul –Jabbar has pointed out, but the unpaid labor of college athletes also has a racial component (which should not come as a surprise, in this country): 40% of unpaid college basketball players and 30% of unpaid college football players are Black, compared to 13% of the country in general. In addition to the football team, the graduate students, who held a short strike when they announced their union drive a few months ago, also held a two-day strike against the University’s support for campus racism.  This joint strike by football players and graduate students is an excellent example of how political strikes can win important gains, especially when workers have organized themselves without workplace contractualism. For contrast, during the many large struggles at the University of California since 2008, the leadership of the unions has almost always fallen back on the no-strike clauses to prevent any industrial action, even after reformers won the leadership of the grad students union in 2011.


Mizzou Graduate Student Rally. August 26, 2015.

This kind of solidarity across different groups of university workers is no doubt part of what forced the removal of the university president and chancellor, but we also have to imagine that the heads of the NCAA, who have an empire built off of the unpaid labor of student athletes, are losing sleep at the possibility of a rebellion and possible union drive among college athletes spreading across the country.

Delegitimize, Disaffiliate, Disband Police Unions

Part of the enduring strength of the police in our society comes from the legitimacy they are given as “regular joes”, “part of the 99%”, or most dangerously, “union brothers and sisters”. This is something that revolutionaries have to struggle against, especially within the labor movement.

The recent resolution that came from the previously-mentioned graduate students union at the University of California, calling for the expulsion of a police union from the AFL-CIO, is a welcome break from decades of support that labor leaders have given police. When Oscar Grant was murdered, and his assassin walked free, the UFCW grocery workers’ local that Oscar was a member of said nothing, nor did the union for BART workers, who later prepared to strike while demanding “increased security”. In fact, aside from the police “union”, the only unions in the Bay Area who said or did anything seem to have been the IWW and the longshore workers. Fast forward a few years, and it’s a different picture, although not necessarily a better one: speaking in Missouri after Mike Brown’s murder, the head of the AFL-CIO said that “our brother killed our sister’s son”, acknowledging Mike’s mother, Lezley McSpadden, as a union sister at the same time that he acknowledged Mike’s killer as a “union brother.”

The inclusion of police as “union brothers and sisters” blurs the lines by simultaneously legitimizing cops, and delegitimizing any industrial action against them. To stick with the example of education workers who might strike for “cops off campus”, there would be very loud voices in the labor bureaucracy arguing that they can’t strike against their “brothers and sisters” in the Fraternal Order of Police. The degree of legitimacy that police unions have directly affects the morale of workers who might try to take industrial action against police – attacking that legitimacy creates more space for industrial action.

For those of us who believe that workers have much more power on their job than in a union hall, there is a real question about whether it’s worthwhile to try to organize for resolutions at union meetings. To take an example, many unions (including the IWW) have passed resolutions in favor of Boycott, Disinvest, Sanctions (BDS) against Israel. These sorts of resolutions, in themselves, do nothing to change the actual balance of power in the workplace or society at large. While BDS is important, and the resolutions might not seem to cause any harm, this kind of resolution can often function as a “left cover” for union bureaucracies that are deathly allergic to any actual class struggle. By creating this “left cover”, the bureaucracy can even incorporate and neutralize left-wing union members, encouraging them to focus their energy on maneuvering in union meetings instead of building shop-floor solidarity. (For example, even prominent activists in Britain’s Labor Party have pointed out that union bureaucrats “push out-of-favour members towards party activity to keep them away from industrial work.”)

But is it always useless or even counter-productive to organize for a union resolution? I think that there are cases where both the process of organizing, and the potential resolution, can play a part in larger processes, especially when it is against a reactionary national consensus that the union bureaucracy plays a part in, and will have a hard time even allowing lip service to. For example, resolutions during the Vietnam war against the AFL-CIO’s official pro-war stance, or resolutions against Jim Crow during the forties and fifties. In these cases, organizing for the resolutions is part of larger class movements, and if they are achieved then it is a marker of victory for those movements, as well as a moral symbol for others that the consensus does not hold, and that they can organize against it. The leaders of the 1970 USPS wildcat strike brought anti-Vietnam War resolutions to their union convention, along with resolutions to force the union leadership to protect and defend strikers against the government. They saw a relationship between their union activity and opposition to the Vietnam War – if they hadn’t seen it before, the relevance of the war was certainly brought home to them when Nixon tried to break the strike with the National Guard. The AFL-CIO leadership had set the Vietnam War as an ultimate taboo, which it was unthinkable to mention except to say that Labor was behind it 100%; by striking over the heads of their union leaders, and then publicly discussing opposition to the war, postal workers made it visible to themselves as well as other union members that union bureaucrats could be outmaneuvered, and that labor opposition to the war existed, and was acceptable. Keep in mind that this was the same year as the “Hard Hat Riot”, when New York union leaders had organized their members (including postal workers) to attack students who were protesting the Kent State murders and the invasion of Cambodia.

Postal workers

Brooklyn Postal Workers Picket Line. March 1970

Returning to the present, the question is whether anti-police resolutions are more like BDS and other resolutions, which are progressive but acceptable to the bureaucracy, and which end up pulling left-wing activists out of the shop floor and into the union hall? Or, like the resolutions against Jim Crow or the Vietnam War, could anti-police resolutions begin to call into question the entire consensus of the employing class, a consensus that keeps the bureaucrats in their offices, comfortably removed from the workplace? In either case, I don’t think that IWWs or revolutionaries in unions should focus mechanically on promoting anti-police resolutions. I hope it’s clear that our focus should be on promoting workplace-based action that strengthens working-class organization at the same time that it weakens the capitalist state, including the police; and that delegitimizing the police and their organizations will be both an enabling cause and a result of that action. In some cases, workers will bring anti-police resolutions to their unions independently of us (as the UC Grad Students did), and in other cases, IWW members who are also in other unions could consider whether bringing anti-police resolutions would support their organizing.

In particular, there are a few unions who have locals of cops and prison guards, alongside other workers. AFSCME, the main union for municipal workers, and SEIU, which is behind Fight for Fifteen, have an increasingly large focus on organizing prison guards, while UE, a supposedly “socialist” union, also represents police (local 222 is the “Connecticut Independent Labor/Police Union”). Members of AFSCME or UE could bring forward resolutions calling for the expulsion or disaffiliation of those locals, while members of any union could bring forward resolutions supporting the one from the UC graduate students, and asserting that police (and prison guards) should not be considered as “union brothers and sisters”, but rather as what they are: our enemies in blue. Any institution which defends and protects them when they commit murder, which obscures their links to organized racist groups, and which organizes them to intimidate any critics or opponents – as police unions do – needs to be delegitimized by our movements, disaffiliated from our organizations, and ultimately disbanded.


Possible next steps for the IWW

The Twin Cities IWW branch was able to have a big impact when things became critical during the 4th precinct occupation in November. I can’t speak for that branch, and encourage local members to write their own analysis. However, two broad trends seem to stand out: they have consistently engaged in anti-racist and anti-police brutality work alongside their workplace organizing in recent years; and they are ambitious – as a group, they have the confidence to believe that they can have a big impact.

TCIWW African Peoples Caucus

Twin Cities IWW African People’s Caucus. November 2015.

These are two factors that we, as an organization, struggle with beyond the level of individual branches. Although a lot of our members are generally anti-cop, very few of our branches have much experience engaging in anti-racist or anti-police brutality work. More critically, we have a crisis of ambition and confidence beyond the branch level – we have a hard time imagining that we, as an organization, can actually have a decisive influence on the course of the class struggle in the US (or internationally).

However, it’s been clear since Ferguson (maybe even since Oscar Grant) that movements against police brutality are taking on a mass character, and will have a growing impact on the class struggle in the US. Eventually, the working class will be ready to really move, and any organization which has ignored the importance of struggles to reduce the power, presence, or legitimacy of police in our society will be left standing in the dust – and rightly so.

Our union recently committed to have deeper discussions of our strategic outlook during future Conventions – specifically mentioning movements against police brutality as an area where we could have a bigger impact. Our Convention is an important part of our member-driven democracy, but it will only be bear fruit if we have serious discussion in our branches during the year. The most important step we can take as a Union to meaningfully engage with anti-police struggles is for branches to engage, discuss the results, and bring their ideas to Convention.

That engagement will take different forms, but here are some ways it might happen:

  1. Participate in a coordinated way, as IWW branches, in local anti-police brutality and anti-racist movements;
  2. Agitate for workplace or industrial action which directly confronts the power, presence, or legitimacy of police – and where possible, organize these actions, like at the Minneapolis UPS hub;
  3. IWW members are also members of other unions might bring resolutions to delegitimize and disaffiliate cop unions;
  4. When we become aware of workers taking action against the police, such as fast-food workers expressing anti-police sentiment, we should publicly support the stand that those workers are taking, and publicly defend their right to take these stands without facing repercussion at work. Besides being worthwhile in itself, this might help us to stand out for fast food workers who are looking for a more militant alternative than the SEIU, who see the connection between police oppression, structural racism, and workplace exploitation.

The rage at police violence against people of color is constantly simmering, sometimes boiling over. This, in itself, is an important marker of a new confrontational attitude in the working class. In limited ways, this confrontational attitude is even expressing itself in the workplace. At the same time, there were more strikes and threats of strikes in 2015 than any year in recent US history. The labor bureaucracy will do everything they can to keep these two trends from merging, as will the official civil rights leaders. Yet workers – fast food workers, education workers, transportation workers, auto workers – will quickly find that any effective strike must break the law and therefore invite police repression, and they might also learn, as Chicago teachers have, that mobilizing against police brutality will inspire members and build important alliances with other parts of the working class.

The IWW is uniquely positioned to agitate and organize for workplace action against police brutality, and to agitate and organize for mass industrial action that rips US anti-labor law completely apart. Serious discussion and ambitious engagement in the class movements around us will bring major results. By acting as a united organization, we can achieve the position that the Twin Cities IWW has, on a national scale. And then we can really start to shake things up!

A shorter version of this piece will appear in the February issue of the Industrial Worker.

So Long, Krazy Bill

[I’m honored to host this obituary for FW Bill Krist, written by J. Pierce, et al. I feel fortunate to have been able to meet Bill shortly before he passed, and agree with J. Pierce that he provides a great example of what it means to be a “Lifelong Wobbly.” A shorter version of this obituary is being printed in the Industrial Worker.]

In June of 2015, the Phoenix IWW and many others mourned the loss and celebrated the life of William Krist, Bill Krist, Krazy Bill, KB.  He was a friend, mentor, and grand-fatherly figure to many of us.

FW Bill Krist at a May 1st IWW Party in 2010 - J. Pierce

FW Bill Krist at a May 1st IWW Party in 2010 – J. Pierce

KB was the old man of the IWW in Arizona.  Having been signed up by Aaron in 2000, KB was the only continuous, paid-up IWW member in Phoenix from 2000 until his death in 2015.  He would pay his dues in January for the whole year, every year, and wore an IWW Centenary button or member pin on his hat every day.  KB was a model member in many ways: unwavering loyalty to the organization and our historic mission, and always a positive influence.

For 15 years, KB would come to Branch meetings and offer what he could to the projects the IWW was working on.  From organizing grocery workers at Gentle Strength co-op, to supporting the Roofers Union’s organizing efforts in the exclusive suburbs; from distributing Worker’s Rights Cards, to supporting immigrant workers against racist attacks by the terrorist leaders of “Dumbfuckistan” – KB was there.  Bill would often thank us personally for the work we did for the union.  Later on as his health deteriorated, he couldn’t march and picket like he wanted, but he would come and sit in his car or drive his electric scooter if he felt up for it.

FWs Elizabeth, representing ETAn, and KB picketing in solidarity with striking Indonesian miners at Freeport-McMoRan HQ in Phoenix - J. Pierce

FWs Elizabeth, representing ETAN, and KB picketing in solidarity with striking Indonesian miners at Freeport-McMoRan HQ in Phoenix – J. Pierce

Krazy Bill felt a visceral connection to Arizona’s centuries old class struggle – the harvest hands, miners, and laundresses vs. the trusts, the bankers, and the sheriffs.  He especially identified with the 2,000 mostly Mexican and immigrant miners who were rounded up at gun point and deported from the Arizona mining towns of Bisbee and Jerome in 1917.  This historic attack on the IWW and the working class was a focal point for KB’s radical education of younger fellow workers, as he took us down to Bisbee to commune with history at FW James Brew’s grave.

KB grew up in Phoenix, a dusty little town as he remembered it in the 50s and 60s.  His parents owned the Krist Café, which he often referenced in his many tall tales of the early days of the Valley. He spent most of his working life in toxic waste water treatment in Phoenix but evidently worked as a factory worker in Cleveland, Ohio when he was younger.  The plant that KB retired from at 52, originally Garrett Turbine Engine Company, is one of half a dozen companies near Sky Harbor airport, including Motorola and Honeywell, responsible for several toxic EPA National Priority List Superfund sites that are decades in the lawsuits and clean up.

Apart from his life as a working stiff, Bill enjoyed camping and hunting in the desert.  At 18, KB went to gold pan in the Superstition Mountains, working a small gold mine by himself.  He later told a few of us, “That’s when I lost all contact with civilization.”  This is from where Bill traced his non-conformity with conventions of cleanliness and tidiness, which as Bill got older, was the source of many problems, not the least of which was livable housing.

KB flouted the expectations of the ‘bourgeois fucks’ and their society in many ways, especially with his “unique, radical, and often politically-incorrect sense of humor” as Charles referred to it.  At the memorial, Dean reminded us of KB’s views on cigarettes: “Smoke ‘em if ya gotta ‘em!  If ya don’t got any, I’ll lend ya some.  If you’re pregnant, better get another one, ‘cause you’re smoking for two.” Bill claimed to own “dozens” of guns, and his neighbor shared a story about how KB enjoyed watering his lawn and his award-winning vegetable garden with a loaded pistol drooping from the pocket of his gym shorts. Evidently he did shoot his foot one of those times and then drove himself to the hospital, likely in one of his huge 1970s hoopties. As for his love of burgers, Stacy remembered KB’s amorous advocacy of eating flesh while often providing vegan treats so as to include everyone.

Although having married 3 or 4 times, KB’s destiny as a ‘ladies man’ never did materialize the way he might have liked. Yet his admiration for women, both as a feminist and as a romantic, was evident to all.  As confidant to lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, man, woman, and everything outside and in-between, KB offered relationship advice when he thought it useful, but mainly his humble reflections.  Looking back on what might have gone wrong with his past loves, he concluded simply, “The only thing they had in common was me.”

One of Bill’s two sons, Josh (the other one being Jesse), reported in the memorial program, Bill “was charged with Conspiracy to Overthrow the U.S. Government by Violent Means in 1976, an experience that made him realize that those who have power often abuse it. He was distressed that his beloved, sleepy hometown had been taken over by remorseless developers and suspect politicians. He spent his retirement as an activist, and was a regular participant and organizer of protests against injustice.”

Factory work gave KB his life-long class struggle intensity and along the way he pledged his fidelity to anarchism.  He insisted that the Phoenix GMB does and always shall run on consensus: “it’s in the charter.” He was one of the anchors of the Phoenix Anarchist Coalition (PAC), which functioned as a beehive for uncompromising political resistance to the growing neo-fascism in Arizona.  The IWW functioned as the “class struggle” pie slice in PAC with Earth First!, Food Not Bombs, Cop Watch, and others who shared mutual members.

Although he was a spirited feminist and an astute economic and scientific thinker, KB didn’t go in for jargon and posturing. His most effective weapon for making the world a better place was his smile. Fara and Jakobe noted KB’s welcoming presence and its effect on all of us, saying, “There was no one who didn’t like KB.  He was involved in so many groups and friends with so many activists, yet he never talked shit… But he did love the latest gossip.”  His friendliness toward everyone – activists, neighbors, restaurant and grocery store workers, passers-by while picketing – and his skill at building unity in the movement is something that the Left could take a lesson from, Fara said.

Bill Krist was one of a kind and will be remembered in many ways.  Elizabeth said she is going to miss lunch dates with KB at his numerous (secret) cheap and delicious restaurants.  Charles reminded us of Joe Hill’s admonition: “Don’t mourn, organize!” and will undoubtedly think of KB every time he blows his nose on the American flag snot rag that KB bequeathed to him.  Aaron, Matt, and I all wrote poems of a sort, separately, in tribute to KB’s “generous heart, keen intellect, libertine spirit, and free-range feet,” as Aaron put it.  And his son Josh noted that one of KB’s “few regrets would be dying before Arpaio was in DOJ custody.”

Although he might laugh, scoff, or curse at the idea of being canonized “Saint KB” or knighted “Sir William Krist” (and surely he’s reading his copy of the Industrial Winged-Atheist, livid that I’m the one who wrote his obituary), we’d all be content if KB found his place in some Anarchist Hall of Fame somewhere.  But I suppose he’ll have to be satisfied with the honorific title: Fellow Worker Bill.