A New Indicator interview with IWW member Lola Ruiz Spears
Lola Ruiz Spears is a labor organizer for UAW 2865. Previously, she was an adjunct professor in San Diego, CA, where she served on the Executive board of AFT 1931. Lola has been an active organizer with the Party for Socialism and Liberation for several years.
In January of 2018 the Los Angeles branch of IWW was contacted by a group of staff organizers and clerical staff who work for UAW Local 2865. The local is state-wide and represents graduate student workers at nine University of California campuses. The union staff had decided to organize a union with the intention of securing a contract, and reached out to the IWW branch for assistance and questions about affiliating.
The organizing committee won voluntary recognition quickly. Bargaining sessions commenced between the new IWW job branch and the UAW 2865 executive board soon after that. The new contract between Industrial Workers of the World – General, Legal, Public Interest, and Financial Office Workers Industrial Union 650 and United Automobile, Aerospace, and Agricultural Implement Workers of America Local 2865 – University of California Student-Workers Union was ratified by both parties May 2018. The job branch has elected two “delegates” (shop stewards), one in San Diego for the southern region and one in Berkeley for the northern region. Lola Ruiz Spears is the southern region delegate.
New Indicator asked Lola Ruiz Spears these questions:
What were the conditions which motivated the employees of UAW 2865 to organize?
What was the thinking and conversation behind going with IWW?
What are your hopes for building your shop local?
Networking with other staff unions?
What are your hopes for building the labor movement?
Before organizing, our wages were far below market value, and in fact a violation of UAW 2865’s own bylaws. This was a bit of a sore spot, but it wasn’t the driving factor behind our unionization. I personally was a survivor of both sexual harassment and sexism while on the job from a member of the local I work for. After informing management of this and repeatedly asking for a sexual harassment policy and procedure, they consistently kept putting our request on the back burner, so we decided to take matters into our own hands. Besides, who is more equipped to develop a policy that will directly affect workers other than the workers themselves?
We work for a union (UAW 2865) that prides itself on being militant, member-driven, and democratic. We knew that in order for them to take us seriously and have respect for us, we needed to demonstrate to them that we, too, were radical–perhaps even more radical than they were. We chose to organize as IWW because their long-standing anti-capitalist stance and militant tactics of fighting the bosses, while organizing workers under the most dire of circumstances not only shielded us from criticism from those who might call us “careerists”, but because we too are militant and anti-capitalist, not just in words but in praxis. Our negotiating reflected this in that we stood together as one and would not budge if one worker was offered something better than another, a time honored tactic to divide a shop. Our IWW shop understands that solidarity leads to power.
As for building our shop local, I’m not sure that I have any visions for the future as of right now. We negotiated ourselves a pretty sweet contract! I guess that’s what happens when a bunch of organizers create a staff union! I suppose having more organizers would greatly help. With only three full time field organizers for nine UC campuses, we’re extremely overworked. One thing I’m really proud of that we’ve negotiated in our contract is our closed shop–any new full-time staff must join our union. Also 100% health insurance coverage, which is unheard of this day and age.
We haven’t really networked with other staff unions, partially because we’re really busy between organizing for the union that we work for while also organizing and maintaining our own union, in addition to the organizing in the political organizations that many of us belong to outside of work. Still, I’m curious to hear their stories and learn from them and their struggle. Staff organizers are workers, too!
Since I’ve started labor organizing, I’ve come to the realization that the most meaningful and revolutionary organizing happens in the workplace. Worker power comes from our labor, so focusing on organizing workers is the key to our collective liberation from capitalism. After Janus vs. AFSCME, and along with the anti-working class Trump administration, we might see public sector unions further eroded, but as a Marxist, I look to history as my laboratory for future hypotheses, and history shows us its cyclical nature of the rise and fall of people’s movements. Still, despite wins and losses, we have and continue to push worker’s rights further into the future than they’ve ever been before in the long history of humanity. Two steps forward, one step back is the dance of the struggle. When Janus inevitably takes away the rights we’ve come to take for granted, the rights former workers won with their own blood, the collective spirit of the workers will coalesce again. Things might have to get real bad for us to respond in kind, but respond in kind we will. With the rise of neo-fascism and our present history echoing the 1930s in both Hitler’s Germany and the Great Depression in the U.S., we will have no other choice than to tear the fascists down. Yet this time we will learn from our past mistakes and reject any kind of “new deal” type offers that would quell our rebellion and inevitable victory, allowing a new age organized by working people, for working people, to emerge.
“One really important thing that happened last April was that the UN Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression, David Kaye, issued a report on this very subject, where he talked both about the danger of having governments involved in content moderation, because that will only go wrong, and the dangers of platforms doing it themselves in a way that is haphazard and unclear. And he, too, endorsed a set of voluntary practices that that mirror human rights conditions. So, that [is] where I think we need to go and that’s certainly where we’re putting our efforts into.”
— David Greene, Senior Staff Attorney and the Civil Liberties Director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation
Facebook and Twitter just deleted hundreds of alternative media sites, and gave only vague explanation for it.
The Real News Network published this report about Facebook suppression of sites on October 18, 2018 https://therealnews.com/series/social-media-purge
The Washington Post had this report on the same story, on October 11, 2018
In July 2017, World Socialist Website and Monthly Review reported on Google suppression of sites
Recently, the Indymedia Montreal 2016 Convergence Working Group published “Holding Out for Un-alienated Communication”. It should be more widely discussed on the left and is timely to read now in the wake of the new corporate action by Facebook.
“The report finds that limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require “rapid and far-reaching” transitions in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport, and cities. Global net human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) would need to fall by about 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching ‘net zero’ around 2050. This means that any remaining emissions would need to be balanced by removing CO2 from the air.”
Summary for Policymakers of IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C, approved by governments
Incheon, Republic of Korea, October 8 – Limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society, the IPCC said in a new assessment. With clear benefits to people and natural ecosystems, limiting global warming to 1.5°C compared to 2°C could go hand in hand with ensuring a more sustainable and equitable society, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said on Monday.
The Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C was approved by the IPCC on Saturday in Incheon, Republic of Korea. It will be a key scientific input into the Katowice Climate Change Conference in Poland in December, when governments review the Paris Agreement to tackle climate change.
“With more than 6,000 scientific references cited and the dedicated contribution of thousands of expert and government reviewers worldwide, this important report testifies to the breadth and policy relevance of the IPCC,” said Hoesung Lee, Chair of the IPCC.
Ninety-one authors and review editors from 40 countries prepared the IPCC report in response to an invitation from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) when it adopted the Paris Agreement in 2015.
The report’s full name is Global Warming of 1.5°C, an IPCC special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty.
“One of the key messages that comes out very strongly from this report is that we are already seeing the consequences of 1°C of global warming through more extreme weather, rising sea levels and diminishing Arctic sea ice, among other changes,” said Panmao Zhai, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group I.
The report highlights a number of climate change impacts that could be avoided by limiting global warming to 1.5°C compared to 2°C, or more. For instance, by 2100, global sea level rise would be 10 cm lower with global warming of 1.5°C compared with 2°C. The likelihood of an Arctic Ocean free of sea ice in summer would be once per century with global warming of 1.5°C, compared with at least once per decade with 2°C. Coral reefs would decline by 70-90 percent with global warming of 1.5°C, whereas virtually all (> 99 percent) would be lost with 2°C.
“Every extra bit of warming matters, especially since warming of 1.5°C or higher increases the risk associated with long-lasting or irreversible changes, such as the loss of some ecosystems,” said Hans-Otto Pörtner, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group II.
Limiting global warming would also give people and ecosystems more room to adapt and remain below relevant risk thresholds, added Pörtner. The report also examines pathways available to limit warming to 1.5°C, what it would take to achieve them and what the consequences could be. “The good news is that some of the kinds of actions that would be needed to limit global warming to 1.5°C are already underway around the world, but they would need to accelerate,” said Valerie Masson-Delmotte, Co-Chair of Working Group I.
The report finds that limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require “rapid and far-reaching” transitions in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport, and cities. Global net human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) would need to fall by about 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching ‘net zero’ around 2050. This means that any remaining emissions would need to be balanced by removing CO2 from the air.
“Limiting warming to 1.5°C is possible within the laws of chemistry and physics but doing so would require unprecedented changes,” said Jim Skea, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group III.
Allowing the global temperature to temporarily exceed or ‘overshoot’ 1.5°C would mean a greater reliance on techniques that remove CO2 from the air to return global temperature to below 1.5°C by 2100. The effectiveness of such techniques are unproven at large scale and some may carry significant risks for sustainable development, the report notes.
“Limiting global warming to 1.5°C compared with 2°C would reduce challenging impacts on ecosystems, human health and well-being, making it easier to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals,” said Priyardarshi Shukla, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group III.
The decisions we make today are critical in ensuring a safe and sustainable world for everyone, both now and in the future, said Debra Roberts, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group II.
“This report gives policymakers and practitioners the information they need to make decisions that tackle climate change while considering local context and people’s needs. The next few years are probably the most important in our history,” she said.
The IPCC is the leading world body for assessing the science related to climate change, its impacts and potential future risks, and possible response options.
The report was prepared under the scientific leadership of all three IPCC working groups. Working Group I assesses the physical science basis of climate change; Working Group II addresses impacts, adaptation and vulnerability; and Working Group III deals with the mitigation of climate change.
The Paris Agreement adopted by 195 nations at the 21st Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC in December 2015 included the aim of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change by “holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.”
As part of the decision to adopt the Paris Agreement, the IPCC was invited to produce, in 2018, a Special Report on global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways. The IPCC accepted the invitation, adding that the Special Report would look at these issues in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty.
Global Warming of 1.5°C is the first in a series of Special Reports to be produced in the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Cycle. Next year the IPCC will release the Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate, and Climate Change and Land, which looks at how climate change affects land use.
The Summary for Policymakers (SPM) presents the key findings of the Special Report, based on the assessment of the available scientific, technical and socio-economic literature relevant to global warming of 1.5°C.
Key statistics of the Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C
91 authors from 44 citizenships and 40 countries of residence
– 14 Coordinating Lead Authors (CLAs)
– 60 Lead authors (LAs)
– 17 Review Editors (REs)
133 Contributing authors (CAs)
Over 6,000 cited references
A total of 42,001 expert and government review comments
(First Order Draft 12,895; Second Order Draft 25,476; Final Government Draft: 3,630)
For more information, contact:
IPCC Press Office, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Werani Zabula +41 79 108 3157 or Nina Peeva +41 79 516 7068
Notes for editorsThe Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 °C, known as SR15, is being prepared in response to an invitation from the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in December 2015, when they reached the Paris Agreement, and will inform the Talanoa Dialogue at the 24th Conference of the Parties (COP24). The Talanoa Dialogue will take stock of the collective efforts of Parties in relation to progress towards the long-term goal of the Paris Agreement, and to inform the preparation of nationally determined contributions. Details of the report, including the approved outline, can be found on the report page. The report was prepared under the joint scientific leadership of all three IPCC Working Groups, with support from the Working Group I Technical Support Unit.
What is the IPCC?
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the UN body for assessing the science related to climate change. It was established by the United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in 1988 to provide policymakers with regular scientific assessments concerning climate change, its implications and potential future risks, as well as to put forward adaptation and mitigation strategies. It has 195 member states.
IPCC assessments provide governments, at all levels, with scientific information that they can use to develop climate policies. IPCC assessments are a key input into the international negotiations to tackle climate change. IPCC reports are drafted and reviewed in several stages, thus guaranteeing objectivity and transparency.
The IPCC assesses the thousands of scientific papers published each year to tell policymakers what we know and don’t know about the risks related to climate change. The IPCC identifies where there is agreement in the scientific community, where there are differences of opinion, and where further research is needed. It does not conduct its own research.
To produce its reports, the IPCC mobilizes hundreds of scientists. These scientists and officials are drawn from diverse backgrounds. Only a dozen permanent staff work in the IPCC’s Secretariat.
The IPCC has three working groups: Working Group I, dealing with the physical science basis of climate change; Working Group II, dealing with impacts, adaptation and vulnerability; and Working Group III, dealing with the mitigation of climate change. It also has a Task Force on National Greenhouse Gas Inventories that develops methodologies for measuring emissions and removals.
IPCC Assessment Reports consist of contributions from each of the three working groups and a Synthesis Report. Special Reports undertake an assessment of cross-disciplinary issues that span more than one working group and are shorter and more focused than the main assessments.
Sixth Assessment Cycle
At its 41st Session in February 2015, the IPCC decided to produce a Sixth Assessment Report (AR6). At its 42nd Session in October 2015 it elected a new Bureau that would oversee the work on this report and Special Reports to be produced in the assessment cycle. At its 43rd Session in April 2016, it decided to produce three Special Reports, a Methodology Report and AR6.
The Methodology Report to refine the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories will be delivered in 2019. Besides Global Warming of 1.5°C, the IPCC will finalize two further special reports in 2019: the Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate and Climate Change and Land: an IPCC special report on climate change, desertification, land degradation, sustainable land management, food security, and greenhouse gas fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems. The AR6 Synthesis Report will be finalized in the first half of 2022, following the three working group contributions to AR6 in 2021.
For more information, including links to the IPCC reports, go to: www.ipcc.ch