May Day and the Fight Back We Need

Occupy Iowa City held a rally and march as part of Occupy May 1st and the national Day of Action / General Strike. This was given as a speech there by Wild Rose Collective member R. Spourgìtis.

On May 1st, 1886, workers across the US went on strike for the 8 hour day. In Haymarket Square in Chicago, a massacre took place. In the years that followed, May 1st became known as International Workers Day in commemoration of these events, and most nations of the world now celebrate their Labor Day on or around May Day.

Generally in the US on May Day, it is common for unions, pro-labor and workers groups to hold rallies, picnics and similar events. More recently, May Day has been significant for undocumented immigrant organizing, notably in 2006 with the Great American Boycott.

This year we gather for this rally in unity with others around the country to demonstrate in support of workplace and community rights. The past year has seen a tremendous amount of organizing the world over. From the Arab Spring to the pro-union demonstrations in Madison, WI; from European anti-austerity demonstrations to Occupy Wall St and the global Occupy movement, people have been on the move in response to the recession and its budget cuts brought on by capitalism. Continue reading

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Occupy the Class War

It would seem the division is clear. There is the “1%,” and there is the “99%.”

We know what, and a lot of time we even know who this “1%” is, although for some reason no one seems to be talking about it. Instead, we tend to speak to the inverse—the “99%”. It is a created concept really, an imagined unity that says somewhat clearly: “those who have been fucked by the 1%.”

We might do well to call the 1% what they are—the ruling class. Today’s ruling class are capitalists gone wild, heralding capitalism to its logical neo-liberal conclusion. Yes, the 1% has all of the money, they also have all control of the supposedly democratic system which we are all, whether we like it or not, a part.

We might also do well to call the division what it is—a class war. Continue reading

The Work and the Job

“I don’t think I’m cut out to be an employee.”

It was a bitter joke.  My friend had just finished venting about one of her two jobs.  She was typing to me just after getting bossed around on the smallest details of her job at a small nonprofit.  After that, she had an evening as a temp to look forward to, grading middle-school standardized tests.  She had said that working so much was starting to mess with her head.  She hadn’t played music in too long.  Too much of her life went to satisfying somebody else.

I had to laugh at the idea there was something wrong with her.  I typed back, “Yeah, me neither.”  I work at a low-level healthcare job.  In some ways it’s worse than my friend’s jobs, and in some ways it’s better.  She sits at a desk.  I scrub disgusting things off the floor.  Her jobs require a degree.  I dropped out of college.  She gets paid more.  I haven’t always been paid on time.  On the other hand, I get to see positive results of the work I do.  The work itself is more rewarding.  That counts for a lot more than you might think. Continue reading

The Specific Anarchist Group

This document from our new member packet explains the type of group that Wild Rose Collective is, and gives some  background on the ideas.

What is a specific anarchist group?
The term ‘specific anarchist group’ could be defined as a formal anarchist organization that seeks unity in their theory, outlook, tactics and action. It strives to be heavily involved in larger social movements, pushing their militancy and advocating their independence from co-opting forces, such as the state, capital and the authoritarian/reformist left. Continue reading

A History of Wild Rose Rebellion (2007-2009)

by Juan Conatz and R.Spourgítis

Wild Rose Rebellion (WRR) was an anarchist group primarily based in Iowa City, Iowa. Its beginnings can be traced to late 2007, when anarchists involved in a local student antiwar group, infoshop and IWW branch decided they wanted to hold meetings to plan for the 2008 Republican National Convention protests in the Twin Cities.

While WRR was often not a cohesive organization, it brought together those who identified as anarchist or anti-authoritarian for work on various projects, events and campaigns. Although it should be noted there were not always clear boundaries between individual and collective projects.

In its second year WRR began to look at its focus and form. The group began a process to formalize the organization, its membership and decision making processes. This culminated in early 2010, with a new name, a shift in our fundamental focus toward class struggle and the creation of a constitution and mission toward that focus.

This piece is written for the purpose of informing new members of our past, as well as contributing to the unfortunately small recorded history of Iowa and Midwestern radical organizing. In addition to these primary aims, a critical view of what WRR was and our actions is a goal. This is based on the reflections of a couple people. The few dozen others who at one time or another were involved to varying degrees with WRR may see things differently. We welcome them to write replies or their own accounts. Continue reading

Update from WRC

It’s been a while since we’ve updated the site, so here’s a rundown of what we’ve been up to since May.

-Along with other Iowa City individuals that we’ve worked with in the past, trying to start up a ‘solidarity network’ in the model of the Seattle Solidarity Network, that would take on bosses and landlords.

-Participated in the July 31 Day of Action Against Fascism and Racism with members of Four Star Anarchist Organization in Chicago, attempting to bring attention to an incident where a man was strangled to death at a CVS over some toothpaste and crayons.

-Attended the third Class Struggle Anarchist Conference, held in Seattle, which is a conference for pro-formal organization anarchists, holding workshops and discussions for the purpose of determinng our work and learning from others.

-Participated in the October 7th Day of Action for Public Education in Cedar Rapids rally and gubernatorial debate protest with CR’s Socialist Action.

Other than that, we have regular ‘internal education’ sections of our meetings, where a member suggests a article or piece for us to read and discuss. A list (with links) of these can be found on our website under ‘Reading’.  We also plan on writing about more localized issues, because we feel there is a lack of radical analysis in not only Iowa City, but the state of Iowa as well.


Sometimes We Don’t Even Get to the Point of Losing

One of our members wrote this piece about his experiences trying to organize on the job.  It was originally posted here.

Reading The American Worker and old Italian operaismo surveys of auto workers, it occurred to me that it would be worth documenting some of my own experiences in wage labor. We often forget how powerful and important first person accounts of what happens to us are. This will be the first in a series of articles on various places I have worked.

In December of 2004 a warehouse I was working in through a temp agency was taken over by the company whose products were stored there. Everyone had to reapply for their jobs and due to my previous experience and the fact that two ‘leads’ recommended me to the company, I was hired on.

Continue reading