New Syndicalist was invited to give a presentation at the Freie Arbeiter Union – Free Workers’ Union (FAU) congress in Hannover, Germany on the topic of “activism and growth” within syndicalist unions (we extend our gratitude to FAU for the opportunity and their hospitality during our visit). We took this invitation as an opportunity to reflect on our experiences as organisers and activists within the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) in the UK during a period of rapid membership growth following a rebirth of the union in the mid-2000s. What resulted was a very honest and productive discussion on the key challenges facing base unions, many of which were recognised by the community of organisers and militants in attendance. We discussed a wide range of issues from the best means to collect members dues to the often controversial issue of paid staff and organisers. We present here as a special episode of ‘Talking Shop’ the audio of the main presentation in the hope that it moves forward the debate on sustaining the growth and development of syndicalist unions here as well as material for debates and discussion on how best to move forward on shared challenges everywhere.
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