The following is from the "infra-reds" maillist at Simon Fraser
University, Burnaby, B.C. Canada:
While doing my research on forestry unions I came across
the following in a PPWC newsletter from 1989.
Direct Action: 14 ways to improve your job
1. Workers run the world. Everything would stop without our labour.
Withdrawing our labour is our weapon, and the right to run things is
2. At the same time, most work is a bore. As it is organized in our
society, most labour kills the spirit and body of the worker, not to
mention the mind. But to simply call for a four-hour day at eight
hours pay is not enough. Who will benefit from the automation that
could realize such a demand? Who should control technology's
introduction and integration into the economy? Potentially, we can.
3. Collective action is the source of our strength as workers. Many
of the direct actions described below can be done by individuals, but
they are far more effective when done collectively. This should not
be mistaken for unionism. If collective action and union activity
are simultaneous, fine. But collective action is not limited to
unionism. Friendships and common grievances on the shop floor are
enough to carry out most of the actions below.
4. Slow down. Your job is killing you anyway. When your boss tries
to speed things up, drag your feet.
5. Work to rule. Follow every regulation and order down to the last
detail, no matter how stupid they are. If you get absurd
instructions, carry them out to the letter to demonstrate how absurd
6. Ask questions. Pick apart your boss' instructions with questions
about everything, even about the most mundane details. Plead your
ignorance and make your boss show his or hers.
7. Strike through good work. If, as in a service-industry job, your
strike would hurt other people more than your boss, strike by giving
the public better or cheaper service, at your boss' expense
naturally. Bus drivers can give cheap or free fares, restaurant
workers can give heaping servings, hospital nurses and clerks can
refuse to process billings or charge for services, etc.
8. Pass the buck. Ask your boss to make every decision and every
judgement on the job. You can bury your boss under a load of petty
9. Don't forget the power of sit-down strikes and wildcat walk-outs.
Well-timed collective action can win a demand or grievance in
10. Practice deliberate inefficiency (aka sabotage. Caution: This
is dangerous and sometimes illegal). If working conditions are
unsafe or brutal, a single loose bolt or missing part might bring
things quickly to a halt.
11. Report on poor working conditions and fradulent practice.
Whistle-blowers, especially in consumer industries such as
restaurants and hospitals, can be very effective. Call the fire
marshal if there's a fire hazard. Call in the feds on labour
practices, health, and safety issues. Call the IRS (Revenue Canada)
on your boss' shady bookkeeping.
12. Everybody call in sick on the same day or days. The sick-in can
cripple your workplace in a morning.
13. Take what is rightfully yours. If your boss refuses to give you
breaks or longer lunches, get everybody on the job to take them
14. All of this is the day-to-day preparation for more dramatic
forms of action such as a strike in one industry, the general strike
of all workers in the economy, and the creation of organs of power
and workers' self-emancipation (assemblies or councils) to run
society. These forms of direct action, though far more organized,
build from the simple direct actions described above.
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