Industrial Union of Psychic Workers/On the industrial organisation as psychic workers
"Sometime we will have to check out these IU numbers. As a cleaner for instance I can imagine that it was just nifty in the old days when a person went to the slave pits for just one employer. Me now - I clean buses so should be in IU 530 (road transport) but then again I clean a tourist venue so that puts me in IU 630 (all workers in playgrounds and places of amusement and recreation). Some weeks more of one some the other. Now we do not want to degenerate back to the old craft union rip-off but sometimes I begin to wonder if cleaning has not become an industry all on its own. And it would not be the only example.
Also I wonder if with the new digital world we could not organise on more than one axis - industry, trade, location, whatever. Not argueing that when push comes to shove that it is not the industrial strength that will see un win or loose - clearly it is. Just that if a person is a gardener (for example) in a county town hospital it is just possible that s/he might like to be in contact with the gardener at the school as well as with the nurses, brain-surgions, et cetera."
miek June 2009
The constitution of the IWW allows workers to self-define their mode of organising, whether that be on the basis of:
It further allows workers to be members of more than one Industrial Union and also join an IU even if they are no longer employed in that industry. As well as starting organisation from scratch in any region, job or industry which they identify themselves as being involved in and being unorganised.
A writer, therefore may choose to organise in the Communications and Computer Workers Industrial Union 560 and/or Printing and Publishing House Workers Industrial Union 450 – or neither - s/he may, depending on the topic of her writing be in ANY Industrial Union. For example, if s/he is writing about Agricultural production, being employed by a firm involved in that industry, then s/he is also part of that industry and can organise with that IU.
This flexibility means that workers can decide on the best method of organisation for their particular situation.
However some industries have still not been defined or unionised actively by the IWW. As noted in "Towards an Industrial Union of Psychic Workers", the Military and also Cultural production are two such industry. What is also noted in that text, is that the nexus of these industries is Psychic Warfare. Something that the bourgeoisie have always seen as the antithesis to one of their most sacred forms of production – Art.
Another thing noted in “"Towards an Industrial Union of Pyschic Workers" is that cultural Workers such as artists are represented in the IWW as "entertainment workers." (as also noted in “What Means this "Art Strike"? (Social Movement and/or "Bad Idea"?)” by Shawn P. Wilbur (c. 1994) http://libertarian-labyrinth.org/culture/Art_Strike.html )
However Art workers noted in their documentation form the 1990-93 strike that:
"Art as a category must be distinguished from music, painting, writing &c. Current usage of the term art treats it as a sub-category of these disciplines, one which differentiates between parts of them on the basis of 'perceived values.' Thus the music of John Cage is considered art, while that of Madonna is not. Therefore, when we use the term art, we're invoking a distinction between different musics, paintings, works of fiction &c., one which ranks the items to be found within these categories into a hierarchy .
Given the diversity of objects, texts, compositions &c., which are said to be art, it seems reasonable to conclude that there is no common denominator among these 'art works' which can be used as a criterion for deciding what should or should not be considered art .
What distinguishes the art object is the particular set of social and institutional relationships which are to be found around it. Put another way, art is whatever those in a position of cultural power say is art. One of the purposes of the Art Strike is to draw attention to the process by which works of art are legitimated. Those artists and administrators who are in the privileged position of deciding what is and is not art constitute a specific faction of the ruling class. They promote art as a superior form of knowledge and simultaneously use it as a means of celebrating the 'objective superiority' of their own way of life on the basis that they are committed to art. Appreciation of art is generally used as a mark of distinction, privilege and taste."
Therefore we are looking at all of these industries/ trades/ jobs as involved in the creation of PSYCHIC SPACE in general. This is in order to look at what is common in cultural production as separate from other forms of production - and that is the production of psychic resources - ideas as well as objects and practices - that give sustenance and growth to human beings. The INDUSTRIAL production of psychic space is something that has emerged since the end of World War 2. The disbanding of MI1-19 except for 5 and 6 - those preceding 7 (MI7 being responsible for censorship, foreign and domestic propaganda, including press releases concerning army matters, and foreign press propaganda) was part of this shift in the consolidation of the military industrial complex. We therefore see it as imperative that we identify and organise in the industrial production of psychic space, whatever field we are working in, be it as cultural producers, as psychics, as necromancers, as gravediggers, as cleaners, as office workers (even bankers, army officers or politicians)...
The fact that the numerical system of the IWW has its current limits at 000 and 700 point to a hexadecimal possibility – but the significance of 007/700 in Runic, Hermetic, Enochian and even Masonic systems is no coincidence. It is the end of the age of divinity. The rise and rule of the Proletariat is at hand. However, we should mention here that the proposal to go beyond the current classifications is not new. The Committee on Industrial Classification's Report to the 2004 General Assembly proposed new IUs 700-900, with 700 as: DEPARTMENT OF TECHNICAL AND COMMERCIAL SERVICES No. 700. The first IU in this section was: Engineering, Technical, and Scientific Workers’ I. U. 710: All workers, not otherwise organized, for enterprises primarily engaged in providing engineering, technical, and scientific services. All workers in architectural offices. All workers in research laboratories not attached to educational institutions. All workers for enterprises primarily engaged in the installation, maintenance, and repair of computers and computer networks.
While psychic workers would have also come under this classification, the proposal put forward in “Towards an Industrial Union of Psychic Workers” is superior, as it comes form the organisational concerns of workers in the midst of a genuine industrial action: that of the Art Strike.
I hope this clarifies some things. Thank you for your comments so far and please do continue correspondence to develop our positions further,
The Committee on Industrial Classification's Report to the 2004 General Assembly http://www.iww.org/cic/proposal/index.html
Towards a Industrial Union of Psychic Workers 007/700 http://strike2012.org/?q=node/13