Setup Your Rat-proof Goon-squad

cwa-scabby-the-ratHow the hell do you set up your “grass-roots, organic, from the people, blah-blah” job actions safely and securely? Especially when union leadership is bound by a hostile NLRB to not lead “intermittent strikes?” No need to reinvent the wheel; use the tools that the most up-to-date revolutionaries are using.

Build The Network

For a successful job action, all that is needed is an idea; and a way to securely communicate that idea to like-minded employees who will take action on the idea. Ideally, this communication happens in a fast enough fashion that both takes management by surprise and protects the union from accusations of unlawful intermittent striking.

Maybe call it Hcberkowitz – Own work, CC BY 3.0, Link

Building a structure like the one illustrated is a fairly easy and secure way to build your activist network. Using face-to-face communication and building on personal relationships, like-minded activists are recruited to join groups that have trust built-in thanks to those personal relationships (this is why craft-meetings are important for building unity – we care more about people with whom we intentionally meet). This reduces the chances of “rats” or “moles” appearing within a group. And, if one does, the damage can be limited due to the cellular structure of the network.

Secure The Network

The most secure way to pass messages for job actions is by using Signal. Signal is a free messaging app for iPhone and Android that provides end-to-end encryption for messages and calls. Signal does not collect any metadata regarding who you are messaging: the service only retains your phone number and the last time you accessed the app. Importantly, activists who use Signal can create messages that “self-destruct” from the sender’s and the recipient’s device anywhere from five seconds to one week after opening. It supports chat, SMS, video and voice calls and, most importantly, secure, encrypted group chats. Best of all it’s free.

For Hard-charging Locals

  • Because Signal is linked to a device with a phone number, any Local officer or staff who wants to be a part of the “goon-squad” network should get a a new phone number or SIM card on which to use Signal.
    • Local officers and staff should always be “surprised” by “spontaneous grass-roots organic bottom-up job-actions”
  • Just thinking out loud, but a case of “burners” would outfit an entire executive-board with secure communications that they could then use to build out the Local network – securely – through face-to-face recruiting. This is called “using cutouts” to protect the local from accusations of “unlawful intermittent strikes”
  • Job actions can be started at the press of a button or texting a simple message, like maybe “Blue Flu”, or “Grievance Strike at noon” etc; which then disappears from everyone’s devices five seconds after they read it.
  • It is not against the law or the contract for a local union to teach its members how to conduct secure member-to-member communications for purposes of bargaining!
    • Members should be educated and recruited by their coworkers to join a network
    • Employees not in networks should be invited to job actions face-to-face; if trustworthy and participatory then they should be invited to networks
    • Membership in a network is legal and contractual and may be acknowledged with a button, perhaps..