Fellow Workers and Comrades,
Todays attack, in Charlottesville Virginia, on our friends, by White Supremacists, stirs deep emotions of anger and sadness. The Olympia Industrial Workers of the World extend our deepest respect and sympathy to those who were attacked in such a cowardly way and we strongly condemn the actions of those who perpetuated it.
We stand against fascists in all their forms and in all venues. They serve only to attack and divide the working class.
Those who were willing and able to stand up against these White Supremacists today in Charlottesville have our gratitude and support such as it is.
On a personal note, I grew up in Virginia not far from Charlottesville, and while I am sickened to see such hatred and racism occur in my home I am also hearted by the show of love and solidarity that stood against it.
Stay strong brothers and sisters for the struggle continues…
Olympia General Membership Branch
Industrial Workers of the World
Are you interested in joining the Industrial Workers of the World? But not sure how to get involved. Or maybe you want to learn more about it. Interested in learning more about your rights as a worker!?
Maybe you are already a member but want to learn how you can get more involved!
Well then you need to come to the Olympia I.W.W. Orientation this weekend on Saturday the 6th of May at 3pm at the Olympia Center.
We will learn more about the I.W.W. as a whole and also about the local Olympia branch! Plus we will brush up on our meeting process – Rusty’s Rules. And more!!
We will also, of course, answer any questions you have. You can join or pay dues there. There will be light snacks and coffee!
It is only through collective action that we can, not only come together to win our demands on the job, but recognize within ourselves that we have the power to change the world around us for the better.
Have you ever had a job where you were not treated fairly? How about a job where you had ideas about how the work could be done better, but the boss didn’t want to listen? Or you didn’t feel free to talk about them. Or maybe where you have been fired or laid off no good reason?
Maybe you felt upset about it but you wondered what you could do about it. You might have felt that you didn’t have any power to change the situation. Well you do!
When workers act together to better their working conditions that’s a union! And the answer to the question – “But what can we do about it?” — is collective action!
We are not here to lie to you. It is not this easy, as you might have already guessed. It takes time and effort to talk with your fellow workers and organize with them to take action on the job and start to make things better. To start to realize the power that workers have on the job. Then there is the push back and resistance that will inevitably come from the bosses. They will lie to you and do everything they can to intimidate you and your fellow workers in to backing down and staying in your place. This is why you have to talk with your fellow workers and learn about the ways that the boss will try to intimidate you.
But if you stay strong and keep organized then you can take progressive action against the boss to win your immediate demands and to ultimately win your union recognition! There is a saying in the I.W.W. “The workers, with their hands in their pockets, have more power than the bosses. And besides the bosses can’t put their hands there.”
The Olympia branch of the Industrial Workers of the World (I.W.W.) is here to help you with this process. Ultimately it is up to the workers on the job to organize their shop. But the I.W.W. can help you learn the tactics and skills to have your dignify on the job! We are here to help! If you have any questions or want to set up a meeting get in touch. And remember, Solidarity – it’s a weapon, not a word!
On May 18th, 2016 we, the Olympia General Membership Branch of the Industrial Workers of the World, were chartered! We have come along way since then. We appreciate all the hard work that our members have put in, and continue to put in, to organize the branch!
It seems like it has not been a year, but so much has been done to get us here and to prepare us for the struggles ahead. We are here to fight! We are here to organize! We are here to stay!
Don’t forget to come and see us on May 1st, International Workers Day, at Sylvester Park in downtown Olympia from noon to 5pm. We will have speakers, music, food, and fun!!
Come celebrate International Worker’s Day AKA May Day with the Olympia I.W.W. and others!! There will be food, friends, music, literature, and fun!
This event is for all ages. Come and have some fun as we celebrate the Working Class! Learn about the history of May Day and other working class struggles as we talk about the struggles ahead and take refuge in friends and family.
There will be performances by:
The Olympia General Membership Branch will be hosting a Regional Organizing Assembly the weekend of May 27th.
This assembly will bring together organizers from all over our region for a weekend of networking, strategizing, skills sharing, and maybe even some troublemaking. We plan to have workshops, facilitated discussions, social events, and more, all geared towards building regional solidarity and collaboration. Registration is now open!
Please email us with any questions at:
On March 4th, 2017 four people were arrested at a counter-demonstration in response to a Trump rally in Olympia, Washington. The arrested were there to oppose the Trump administration’s attacks on immigrants, Muslims, people of color, LGBTQ people, women, workers, the environment, and much more. They were there to take a principled stand.
Charges against some of the arrested include serious felonies. For the safety of the arrested we are withholding their identity at this time. We are also refraining from going into detail about the circumstances of their arrests until we are able to consult with their legal counsel. However, it is reasonable to say that the arrests were the result of overly aggressive action by the police.
At this time, we know that two of the people arrested are members of the Industrial Workers of the World and our General Defense Committee. The Union supports our fellow worker(s) as well as the other people who were arrested and we are calling on you to support them as well with donations to support their legal defense. Funds raised will be provided equally to support the legal expenses of all four of the arrestees, which may run several thousand dollars.
Any money in excess of what is needed to pay legal expenses of the March 4 arrestees will go to Local 20 General Defense Committee to support future legal expenses of Olympia area activists resulting from involvement in labor struggles, anti-oppression, and environmental defense work.
You can donate to the legal fund of those who were arrested here.
Our organization must be effective. The sense of despair many of us feel is grounded in the reality of an ascendant far right. Right now they face little resistance. The sense of urgency many of us have felt is a recognition of the need to build that resistance. It is time for us to take up that task, to find new comrades ready to fight and to fight. No one is coming to save us- we cannot use the electoral system to fight the right effectively. It is time to stop waiting and defend each other in the streets.
-From No One Is Coming to Save Us: An Anarchist Response to the Election of Donald Trump, itsgoingdown.org/no-one-coming-save-us-anarchist-response-election-donald-trump/, 11 November 2016
We should not fool ourselves. These are not ordinary times. The election of Donald Trump signals a full scale assault by the state on Muslims, immigrants, the LGBTQ community, women, and many other people. The environment and the social safety net are going to come under increased attack. Problems like police violence and imperialism abroad are going to get worse.
What is even more troubling is that the most racist and violent groups in our society are already emboldened by the election to strike out violently at people in our communities. This is not an abstract or hypothetical problem. People are being verbally and physically assaulted in our area right now and it is only likely to get worse. People have been killed by Nazis in our community (in 1993), Nazis have come to Olympia to organize in support of police violence (May 2015), more recently a white supremacist assaulted an interracial couple with a knife (August 2016). We have an active militia movement in the South Sound region. None of this is going to get better under President Trump.
The situation we find ourselves in demands an effective response. We need to come together and we need to be more militant and better organized than in the past. If our response is effective we can count on even more wrath and repression from the state and the far right. We can either choose to be victims or we can develop mechanisms for community self-defense. Fortunately, a model to organize against all of this already exists.
The IWW’s General Defense Committee has existed since 1917, with the purpose of providing defense and relief to people persecuted for fighting the oppression of the working class. More recently, the Twin Cities IWW has refined the GDC concept by drawing on the example of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense to develop a Community Self-Defense based organization within their city that strives to go beyond mere organization for physical self-defense and confrontation to provide tools, institutions, and programs necessary to increase the resilience, autonomy, and fighting spirit of their community. Other IWW branches have also formed GDC locals to follow this example.
The vision brought into fruition by Twin Cities GDC is awe inspiring. They have focused on anti-police violence and Black Lives Matter work. This has been greatly aided by their successfully bringing together people of color from the Twin Cities IWW African People’s Caucus, unaffiliated people of color, and white anarchists into a concerted campaign, with the added benefit of helping counter attempts to “bad jacket” militant direct action by blaming it on “white anarchists” or “outside agitators.”
Twin Cities GDC also has working groups that do legal defense, Copwatch, tech security, picket training, antifa/intel work, harm reduction based drug addiction remediation, sexual assault victim and survivor support, martial arts training, coordination of solidarity with other groups, and long term strategic planning. A core strategy is building capacity for resistance and self-defense across their whole community by offering skills trainings open to anyone who supports their goals.
Working within the IWW gives Twin Cities GDC infrastructure that allows for networking and resilience. The IWW is dues and membership based organization with thousands of members across the world in General Membership Branches in dozens of cities. This provides GDC Locals with logistical, financial, other support, and the ability to effectively network. More importantly, it provides continuity between struggles. An individual crisis may pass, but the IWW has been around for over 100-years. It isn’t going to blow away when things cool down. This allows GDC locals to build capacity for more effective resistance over time.
Any community would benefit from having a GDC local under normal circumstances. The rise Trumpism and the resurgence of white nationalism and the far right makes it clear we have to be more organized and more effective than we have been in the past. We need to build solidarity and capacity across our movements in order to support groups in our community being targeted by bigots and state oppression. Building a GDC local in the Olympia area right now is an excellent way to make that happen.
Our Olympia IWW general membership branch has already taken all the steps necessary to form our own GDC Local. Over the next several weeks we will be beginning our organizing campaign by reaching out humbly to other community based organizations already struggling against oppression in our area in order to find out how they would like us to most effectively support their ongoing efforts. We will also be looking for the best ways to organize to support the sanctuary movement, help empower vulnerable groups to feel safer in our community, fight fascism and white nationalism, build capacity and skills across our movements, and spread anti-oppression analysis among the white working class.
If you are ready to take up the fight let us know. Email OlympiaIWW@riseup.net, message us at https://www.facebook.com/olyiww/, or call 360-362-0112 and leave a message. Together we can create a horizontal organization that will fight for targeted people, the working class, and help build a better world.
The International Convention of the Industrial Workers of the World stands in solidarity with the resistance against the Dakota Access Pipeline. We call on the labor movement and working class to take a stand against enviromental racism and join the fight for a just transition as our collective future is at stake. We recognize that the capitalist system that oppresses the working class has always oppressed indigenous people of the world.
Therefore we feel that settlers and indigenous workers should unite to take direct action against colonial industrial capitalism and do everything in our power to restore justice to indigenous people and Mother Earth. An injury to one is an injury to all.
All IWWs and friends are requested to make the trip to Everett, Washington at 1:30 PM on Saturday, November 5th to commemorate the massacre of our members at that time and date in 1916. “Completing the Voyage” honors the 12 murdered and 27 injured Wobblies aboard the steamer Verona shot down by the sheriff and his drunken goons at 2 PM. Three hundred Fellow Workers were attempting to return to the city in northwest Washinton State to carry on with their free speech fight.
As important as the centennial memorial is, the real goal is to let workers in the Everett area know that IWW is here. Whatcom-Skagit Branch is planning two public “Introduction to the IWW” presentations in Everett later in November; the town is ripe for reestablishing the IWW. We are hoping for cooperation and assistance from Vancouver, Seattle, Olympia, and Portland GMBs.
The rally point is the west end of Hewitt Avenue, only 200 yards from the site of the murders. IWWs will lay wreaths and have a short ceremony, then walk seven blocks to “Speakers Corner” at the corner of Hewitt and Wetmore, where only days before the massacre IWWS were thrown in jail for asserting their right to free speech. We will soapbox about the modern IWW on the busy downtow street corner, and sing, too. The commemoration will end with a caravan 25 miles south to Seattle’s Mount Pleasent Cemetery where we will visit the gravesite of 3 of the 1916 victims, Fellow Workers Felix Baran, James Looney, and Hugo Gerlot.
PLEASE COME! Everett will receive a lot of publicity from IWW prior to our event, and there may be a lot of local media attention. We need every Wob who can to come to Everett. For more information, contact the Whatcom-Skagit IWW branch: firstname.lastname@example.org. Traveling wobs are urged to make wreaths or large bouquets, or ask our branch to make one in your name. GMBs should bring their banners and IWW flags.