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  • Writer's pictureIWW Ireland

A Year in Review: National Secretary Looks Back At 2021

Updated: Jan 11, 2022

Fellow Workers,

It seems like only yesterday I became the Regional Secretary for the IWW, but actually it’s been just a touch over a year and I suppose now is as good a time as any to reflect on my stewardship thus far. While the road has been full of bumps and unplanned diversions (much like the non-metaphorical roads in Liverpool), it has been neither a dull nor unpleasant experience. I was glad to be able to fall upon the kindness and comradely support of various Fellow Workers, of whom there are too many to mention.

Special thanks should go to Calix, Flo and John for their support in almost every matter that arose this year. Our union would be significantly weakened were it not for their willing patience and hard work; I genuinely don’t know a more helpful set of people and, while I call upon your help an unforgivable amount, I have no intention of stopping… Fellow Workers Gemma, Tom and Jade have frequently offered a kind ear when I have been feeling my most isolated. They’ll undoubtedly never know how much their ‘checking in’ messages did for my morale.

Fellow Workers Peter and Keith have retained their Herculean patience while, at the same time, performing their rôles with a vigour, diligence, and warmth I admire in no small measure. And, lastly, Fellow Worker Kelsey – who I was ecstatic to see elected to the GST position in NARA – has done a fantastic job in building solid, functioning, honest and respectful relationships with WISERA in general and, of course, me in particular.

International solidarity, and international revolution, cannot be inward looking and I am grateful for the many conversations I have had with various Fellow Workers in North America. I was especially honoured (or ‘honored’) to speak at the NARA Convention this year and I was heartened to receive positive feedback on my talk on the radical value of kindness. Long may this spirit of collaboration and mutual support continue.

Despite coronavirus, and capitalism’s, best attempts, this year has been a very eventful, and very positive one, for the IWW and next year promises to be no different. You will shortly be receiving a ballot concerning the election of our incoming Regional Officers of various flavours.

Our new officers will bring a much-needed energy and I am certain our cause, which is revolutionary in its nature, will be re-enthused and stronger than ever. I would like to thank those who stepped up and stepped forward to help at this crucial time – we cannot grow, and cannot increase our threat to capitalism, if we are stagnant. We must be restless, unstopping, and unstoppable. Our cause is achievable and necessary, and I am glad to see Fellow Workers join our efforts to ensure this victory over exploitation and misery.

Your Branch Secretaries will also have been told to start having conversations about motions and such for our forthcoming conference. This event will be in May and I am excited to know Fellow Workers will come together to revise and improve our already robust structures. Our union is only as strong as your participation so please do make sure you offer your thoughts in any of the many channels available.

Lastly, while we are a restless movement, this restlessness should not be replicated by individual Fellow Workers. This year has been filled with uncertainty and, for me at least, there has been a somewhat mixed tempo. I’m not sure about the rest of you, but I find this unpredictable variability more difficult to navigate, and more emotionally draining to endure.

I plan on getting some down time over the next week by avoiding folk music, listening to some jazz albums, (re)reading a book or two (Hegel’s Theory of Recognition, and a newly acquired sci-fi book, Bear Head), and hanging out with my cat, Fellini. I hope you all have something equally pleasant to do…

For the One Big Christmassy Union,

William Sharkey

(Regional Secretary for WISE-RA)


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