An ongoing series where we ask IWW members, branches, and campaigns to answer a partially-ridiculous list of questions.
From the editors: we intend this series as a convenient way to get to know the Union which, after all, is your Union, your organizers, campaigns, and branches. Learn about the many individuals who make up the One Big Union and get to know the personalities and actual humans behind the posts and screen names.
How would you like your name printed? (Options include first and last, first and last initial, first, X-number, etc. It’s completely up to you)
AK, or A.Khalid, I forget my X-number ’cause…. I hate being a number.
What are your pronouns?
What branch or local are you affiliated with?
Detroit GMB [General Membership Branch] since 2004, GDC [General Defense Committee] local 26, IWOC [Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee] Supporter-but-no-local
Why did you join the IWW?
To organize my non-union day laborer crew after having our pay constantly stolen from.
Why have you stayed?
Organizing as a day laborer, restaurant worker, with grad students and later lawyers working for legal aid services. In-between, helping others through direct support, solidarity and the hope to see the IWW revolutionary goals brought into more workplaces + communities.
It’s self care time, how are you treating yourself?
Poorly. GEB term is up Dec. 31, 2019, transitioning from there to more full time NLG [National Lawyer’s Guild] Prisoner Comm. support & taking on more criminal appeals. Folks should join the GEB after first figuring out the next year’s game plan, discuss with their family, and be prepared to legitimately sacrifice and serve your union + fellow workers. Otherwise you will, best intentions aside, crash in a pile of burning wreckage/bitterness.
Is there a wobbly (current or historical) you most admire?
James Rehberg, current & historical. You’ve never met a better person, likely never will.
The revolution is over, the wage system is abolished, we installed whatever post-capitalist system you prefer. What are you doing Saturday?
What’s your big plan for your committee? Where would you like to see it go?
Future GEBs need more support between terms, as well as small stipends to cover their enormous coffee expenses while they tackle the work they volunteered + were elected to do. GEB Chairs need more support, likely a larger stipend to cover the 20-30 hours a week they put into the mission of the IWW.
What’s the best part about your committee?
One year terms over two year terms.
What part of your committee needs the most improvement?
Consistency in follow up, communication and taking seriously the role of GEB members in their bridge-relationship to the multitude of branches & general administration committees.
How ya feeling right now?
Great, just helped a lady get out of a jail cell. Life is good.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Fuck, asshole, revvy cosplayer, FW [Fellow Worker].
What’s your happiest experience while in the union?
Helping the back of the house in my former workplace go from 8$/hour to 16$/hours + receive health insurance in a 2008 solidarity union push. Gains last for a few years after without a contract, miracle of miracles. I did end up with the boss sitting outside my house with a gun for nearly a week during the 3am hours…. that was good leverage. Privately owned restaurants have all manner of unique obstacles.
What’s been your greatest learning experience while in the union?
Trust FWs more interested in organizing their workplaces than organizing the union, the latter wants a strong union and the former wants to control an ever smaller political sect.
Which talent would you most like to have?
Ability to relearn Arabic & Spanish.
Where would you most like to live?
Detroit, and if not Detroit, Beirut.
What do you most value in your Fellow Workers?
Honesty & trustworthiness.
Who are your favorite writers?
Marge Piercy, Lui Cixin, Octavia Butler, Robert Jordan, N.K. Jemisin, Brandon Sanderson (even if he paints-by-numbers….), Hegel, & I guess various anarchists-who-all-write-the-same-things-but-it-sounds-good-to-me.
Who is your hero of fiction?
What’s your motto?
“Work harder, sleep less.”
How would you like to die?
I’d prefer not to, let’s just assume the coming global extinction is set aside and transhuman-technology develops to the point we can put death off indefinitely.