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)
What are your pronouns?
What branch or local are you affiliated with?
Do you hold a local or national office? If so, what is it?
I’m a delegate in my branch and on the NARA level I’m a member of the Education Department Board .
Why did you join the IWW?
I was a teacher in Wisconsin in 2011, during the “Wisconsin Uprising”, resistance to Governor Walker’s union-busting and cuts to education. I was deeply inspired and transformed by the mass resistance happening, the way that workers took history into their own hands with occupations and sickouts. I saw for the first time in a tangible way the potential people had to fight back against exploitation. I saw how that resistance was demobilized by the business unions and the Democratic Party, and that made me interested in different ways of organizing. That eventually led me to joining the IWW in February of 2012.
Why have you stayed?
I have met a lot of good people doing good work through the IWW. From the IWW’s trainings, campaigns and general conversations I’ve learned a lot on how to be a better organizer, and how to be a better human being.
It’s self care time, how are you treating yourself?
Reading fiction, walking outside, spending a little time each day editing poetry, playing with cats.
Is there a wobbly (current or historical) you most admire?
Brianna, Kansas City IWOC. Incredibly perseverance and dedication.
A lot of people that put in the number of hours she’s done towards building up something have some gatekeeping aspects (often unintentionally) but I’ve never seen that with her.
The revolution is over, the wage system is abolished, we installed whatever post-capitalist system you prefer. What are you doing Saturday?
Spending time with my wife, playing with cats, reading.
What are you working on right now (union-wise)?
Milwaukee IWOC, Education Department, some branch delegate stuff.
What’s the best part about being a wobbly?
The conversations with people.
What part of the union do you think needs the most improvement?
We need to decrease the animosity. To buildup to the scale we need we have to get better at assuming good faith by other fellow workers even when we may strongly disagree strongly on a course of action.
How ya feeling right now?
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
“In terms of”.
What’s your happiest experience while in the union?
Seeing the victories, stuff that people in my campaigns and others I’ve been aware of that won things through their own efforts. No vast bureaucracy, no nonprofit staffers, just themselves. Teachers, communication workers, farm workers, tenants, incarcerated workers. It’s been incredible.
What’s been your greatest learning experience while in the union?
On how long things can take, and how fragile connections are.
Which talent would you most like to have?
Be better at active listening.
Where would you most like to live?
I’m happy where I am.
What do you most value in your Fellow Workers?
The respect people have for each other, the commitment to supporting each other, and the humbleness to learn new things.
Who are your favorite writers?
Ursula K Le Guin, China Mieville, Stephen Baxter, Ken Macleod, Franz Kafka, Vladimir Nabokov, Caitlin Kiernan, Mike Davis, K. A. Applegate, Roberto Bolano, Ian McDonald, Hal Duncan, Philip K. Dick, Jorge Luis Borges, Isabel Allende.
Who is your hero of fiction?
Jack from Hal Duncan’s Vellum/Ink.
What’s your motto?
Living well is the best revenge.
How would you like to die?
Reading a good book. With the world better than when I was born, and better than it is now.