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  • Writer's pictureIWW Ireland

Transformatine Justice & Complaints Committee (TJCC): Wobbly Potatoes

A small gathering was held at the end of this years scintillating IWW Conference. It was for those interested in the complaints process at IWW. Combining anthropological methods with grievance sharing, we conducted a rapid ‘potato workshop’. The idea being to share problems with organizing as the IWW that fellow workers (FWs) are lugging around. The problems metaphorically manifest as potatoes. Ten FWs in total, we listed out all our problem potatoes and then sorted them into 4 themes: Structure, Accessibility, Support, Interpersonal.

I don’t know how meaningful this felt for FWs, but as the new secretary of the TJCC I found it useful for informing TJCC work. For example, in terms of structure I learnt that the formal complaints process has too high an administrative burden for both complainants and administrators to be expected to be used to address regular interpersonal conflicts between FWs. However, there is still room for structural improvement for when it is used.

In terms of accessibility and support, one big thread was new FWs understanding IWW in theory but not in practice, and a clear proposal for a real-time induction was raised. This and the other major concern about better supporting women’s voices in discussions. While there are officers responsible for both accessibility and supporting women, in the union, FWs perceived that lack of support in these areas were leading to interactions that landed people in, or led them to seek justice via, the formal complaints process.

Bringing what I learnt from a recent training with Kristina Lyons, who does hands-on transitional justice in the Amazonas, I also learnt that the most viscerally emotive theme is also the one no-one can permanently solve, interpersonal difficulties. My learning from the potato workshop was that the TJCC is not here to solve conflicts or help FWs avoid conflict, but to support FWs in bettering their interpersonal conflicts and complaints with each other, making them less difficult to navigate, transformative rather than stuck in a cycle of harm.

As the newly elected TJCC Secretary I intend to build on the work already done by the Committee and structurally improve the formal complaints process, work with the TJCC to educate ourselves in transformative justice and embed it in the culture of IWW. This is going to be difficult, but I believe it can be both a liberatory experience and a ‘laboratory of possibility 1’ at the IWW that others can one day look to.

If you want to better our conflicts, attend trainings, transform justice then the TJCC meet online at 7pm (UK) on the first Thursday of every month. Our next meeting will be on June 6th where we will be discussing a reading on how to give a genuine apology. You can find out more via the Interwob channel or by emailing:


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