To the General Membership of the Industrial Workers of the World:
Knowledge is the real power. Knowledge of the truth, that is.
What’s the best way of distracting people from their freedoms being taken
away and realizing how huge the financial inequities actually are? What will
keep them from pushing for unions, fair pay, and better sources of energy so
that their children and grandchildren will be able to breathe, grow food and
flowers, and live in health?
Deny them access to truthful information.
To understand economic inequities in the US, you must always come back to
corporations and their goal of profit at literally any cost—except to them,
their fortunes, and their power. To make sure they maintain their power,
corporations must maintain their stranglehold on the political system at
every level. They do this with money—and disinformation. Corporations
perpetuate lies and misinterpretations of facts, and in large part they do
this through control of a major portion of all media outlets.
The Industrial Worker is an antidote to disinformation.
There have always been impediments to people’s knowing the truth about their
society, but today the threats are better organized and well funded, and
they have worldwide impacts. Net neutrality is at stake around the globe,
through trade deals like the Trans Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic
Trade and Investment Partnership. Independent websites could virtually
disappear, because websites that pay to be in “fast lanes” will skew
Google’s search results, where popularity is a major criterion for relevance
to a search. New searchers for truth won’t even know that valuable online
periodicals, such as In These Times, Mother Jones, Adbusters, and the
Industrial Worker (among a goodly number of others) ever existed and were
there to inform, educate, anger, and inspire those who knew the status quo
meant death to freedom, equality, and fairness. I want to contribute to the
I have the job skills to become the IW’s editor. I started editing while I
was still an undergraduate working toward a degree in English, as well as
tutoring in English as a Second Language and Symbolic Logic. I used my
skills as I was able, but I discovered I couldn’t maintain a 9-to-5 job. In
my forties, I was finally convinced by people who loved me that I deserved
to apply for and receive Social Security Disability Insurance, because of my
long history of crippling depression. I have still worked all these years,
but my work has been as a writer and editor for individuals and nonprofits.
I’ve done the occasional resume and proposals for funding, but in general I
research, write, and edit for people whose work has value to me.
I pay little attention to what anyone paid by a corporation reports as news.
Yet even the news outlets I use need to be given a critical eye to affirm
their truth. Everyone has an agenda; all agendas are not created equal. I
look for agendas that seek to give everyone in the world an opportunity at
having a healthy, productive, satisfying life. News outlets with these
agendas are more likely to tell the truth.
The not-so-funny thing is that most of the people who have that a humanistic
agenda understand that the main thing impeding freedom, equality, and
fairness from becoming a reality is capitalism. If it weren’t for
capitalism, the “ruling class” wouldn’t have what they need to leverage
their power. Because the rest of us have tacitly, if grudgingly, agreed to
go along with the idea that money actually means something—because we all
need to get paid for our labor so we can buy or rent houses to live in and
purchase the food to sustain us—money and those people who have it hold
power over us.
Without capitalism, people would feel free to participate in mutual
aid—making sure that those who do not have the capacity to feed themselves
or cannot produce something to benefit the commons will be taken care of.
We’re all on this planet together, and no one is less important—or more
important—than anyone else. We’re all different and have different talents,
skills, interests, and proclivities, but none of those differences are
better or worse than anyone else’s talents, skills, interests, and
proclivities. It’s not simply labor that contributes to a healthy society.
Beyond production for use is creation for the benefit of all. I imagine a
society in which those who are inspired to create art, literature, and music
could do so—and still be able to have a home, food, health care, and
clothing—because what they produce gives additional meaning to everyone’s
None of this can happen while those in power, those with unyielding wealth
and influence, continue to dominate.
Since we are still forced to live in a society where to function without
capitalism is simply inconceivable, I want to work with Wobblies
everywhere—from my own GMB in Olympia, Washington, to branches as far-flung
as Taiwan—to provide the invaluable tool of truthful information. In this
current society, we must fight to ensure that payment for our labor is fair
and equitable; that working conditions are conducive to health, safety, and
camaraderie; that our voices are heard when decisions that affect our work
are made; and that the dignity of labor is honored and not taken for
I would like to contribute to these goals as editor of the Industrial Worker.
Roberta McNair, X362775
Dept. of Transportation/Communication & Computer