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?
The soon-to-be-chartered Phoenix GMB and I am the Editor of SOLIDARIDAD
Why did you join the IWW?
The Portland IWW was the shit. What can I say? Still is.
Why have you stayed?
It is part of my self-identification now. Who will I be when I finally get kicked out of the IWW?
It’s self care time, how are you treating yourself?
My wife and I bought a big pool from Walmart last summer so I am treating myself just fine.
Is there a wobbly (current or historical) you most admire?
Wobblies we need to bring into the pantheon: Pedro Coria, Rosendo Dorame, Fernando Palomares, from Mexico and the US and Armando Triviño from Chile — These FWs ned to join the pantheon. T-shirts, murals, you name it.
The revolution is over, the wage system is abolished, we installed whatever post-capitalist system you prefer. What are you doing Saturday?
Next week, I am going to take my grandkids to one of the well-done “Museums of the Capitalist Era”. But right now I am enjoying the Cooperative Commonwealth and just chillin out by the community garden, sippin’ a worker-controlled and produced Corona.
What’s your big plan for your committee? Where would you like to see it go?
SOLIDARIDAD has a magazine, an active website, books, a plethora of readers and writers, a gigantic storehouse of historical materials and articles. It is based in Los Angeles and features a lot of local material from Southern CA. We also have “desks” that focus on certain “beats” and “correspondents” that travel and report back. I’m telling you, it’s going to be awesome.
What’s the best part about your committee?
SOLIDARIDAD is rebuilding the IWW’s lost presence in Latin America and among Spanish-speaking workers.
What part of your committee needs the most improvement?
We need more writers. Tell your friends and family! Any time we have a real life original article in Spanish our traffic on the site jumps up. People want to read about the IWW and what we’re doing in their own language. We just need to get writing!
How ya feeling right now?
I feel great. I’m still wet from the Walmart pool.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
I use “wonderful” a lot. I got “wild” from Adam W. I used to say “far out” a lot — from The Big Lebowski.
What’s your happiest experience while in the union?
I have so many of them! Usually it is a successful event, or a fun picket line, some memories of IWW friends, or something wild that happened in a campaign. Or maybe just a character that I have met along the way. I think if I had to say one thing it would be Work People’s College. Wasn’t that fun? Why don’t we do that again?
What’s been your greatest learning experience while in the union?
When you are responsible for an organizing campaign. You learn a lot in such a short amount of time. Lots of pressure and decisions. You also learn that there is no one set method. You have to develop a lot of different skills in a short amount of time.
Which talent would you most like to have?
I am not sure if it beats all my other personal wishes but at the moment I would like to improve my public speaking skills. I have always wanted to start a Radical Toastmasters. I went to a Toastmasters meeting once and although it was interesting, I found in unbearably apolitical. Also I desperately need to learn how to do graphic design.
Where would you most like to live?
If we’re just dreaming, I am pretty sure I would enjoy living in some exotic, socialistic island country way out in the Pacific.
What do you most value in your Fellow Workers?
Tough question. I love Wobblies so much. I am not sure why but there is something that connects us. I think I would have to say their humor. Many radicals have no sense of humor, but Wobblies really do have a genuine sense of humor and always have.
Who are your favorite writers?
I have to give the obligatory reference to B. Traven (The Cotton Pickers and Death Ship stand out the most to me. Just finished the Bridge in the Jungle and I hated it, though.) But my favorite books to READ have been (off the top of my head) Black Jacobins by CLR James. A Hundred Little Hitlers by Elinor Langer. Barbarous Mexico by John Kenneth Turner. Holding the Line by Barbara Kingsolver and… let’s end with… Forging the Copper Collar by James Byrkit. But maybe my favorite book of all time has to be Grapes of Wrath.
Who is your hero of fiction?
I think his name is “Gales”, the internet says “Gerard Gales”. He is the main character in several B. Traven books and its either him or another guy who is presumably “Der Wobbly” in The Cotton Pickers.
What’s your motto?
“Expectations, Possibilities, and Illusions” It just came to me one day. I haven’t perfected the aphorism but it would go something like this, “Most of the world’s social phenomena can be explained with Expectations, Possibilities, and Illusions”.
How would you like to die?
Very old. I have become quite worried about dying too early. Losing my mother and now having a wife and kids has totally changed my view of the importance of life. When you’re young you think “Hey it’s my life, I can die if I want to.” Now I see how it would affect my family if I were to get it one day (too early). So sad to think about…
Be sure to check out the Solidaridad website or see it in print, as inserted in every copy of Industrial Worker. And if you’re interested in helping out with Solidaridad, send J. Pierce an email!