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This article is a transcript of a talk by Director Tuttle, entitled “The Libertarian and Radical Labor Disconnect,” on the culture, techniques and ideas of radical labor organizing, originally presented at the Dallas Students for Liberty Regional Conference in October 2012.
“The case that I’d like to build is threefold. I want to say there’s a distinction between radical labor and conservative labor, and radical labor is, can be defined as, solidarity power: decentralized, apolitical — explicitly apolitical — and direct action based. And that they’re organizing in order to displace power, or gain power where there is none. So from this kind of model, we can understand or start to understand how they operate, operating along — how are they thinking of targets and tactics? — and how are they reacting to them? — where does this militancy come from?
“I would like to suggest there are three themes that are formed in radical organizations. One of them is solidarity. Another one is the concept called ‘visceral orientation:’ you feel it in your gut when you look around. And a culture of resistance, which will start to demonstrate why you’re operating this way, and why they ally in some instances with this group and why not in another instance. . . .
“Work as we experience it and recognize it today contains features that undermine or act against radicalism. And that, due to our shared kind of radicalism, that this is a concern not just for labor but for libertarianism. I think we can charitably regard libertarianism as a project that is the opposite of, or in opposition to, authority. . . . Liberty should not be a condition that you clock in and out of. . . If we’re going to be active and political off of work, then why are we clocking in and accepting situations where we can’t actively input? It feels weird to fight for liberty, but only after work.”
F.W. James Tuttle is a left-libertarian anarcho-ostromite living and working in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the Coordinating Director of the Center for a Stateless Society (C4SS), a Co-Editor of the left-libertarian zine ALLiance Journal, and a proud organizer for the Industrial Workers of the World. A video recording of this talk was uploaded to YouTube by the DFW Alliance of the Libertarian Left; the transcript was prepared through the generous assistance of L.B., and edited for the booklet format by Charles Johnson of the Alliance of the Libertarian Left Distro.