Fellow Worker Bizhan Khodabandeh designed a local emblem for the Richmond, Virginia General Membership Branch of the Industrial Workers of the World. And in collaboration with the Literature Dept. associated with the International IWW General Head Quarters, we were able to produce a beautiful Union Shop made t-shirt [via Sweet Patches in Cincinatti, OH].
If you are a member of the Industrial Workers of the World or a supporter of revolutionary organized labor, please consider purchasing a t-shirt. Proceeds will go directly towards furthering the work of the Richmond GMB as an organization. You may purchase a t-shirt directly from the Richmond branch by writing firstname.lastname@example.org or you can purchase directly from the IWW Lit Department [ here ].
About The Image: The emblem is based off of the Virginia State seal. We decided to utilize the image of the black cat, also known as the sabocat which is a reference to rank and file led wildcat strikes. In this image, the sabocat is standing on a defeated domesticated cat, which can represent either the employer or union aristocracy (ie. union leadership, or the top down hierarchy of mainstream/trade unions, and their conservative socialist practices and pro-capitalist policies).
The clipboard reads “contract” referring to both to the IWW’s abhoration towards contractual unionism, instead championing the empowering practice of ‘solidarity unionism‘. Contract based unionism can sometimes lend itself to relinquishing power otherwise held by workers to both the union leadership and the employers. Another interpretation of a “contract” could take on the meaning associated with the employee handbooks employers often make us sign when/before we start a job.
The cartoon style of the cats was inspired by 1950’s era cartoonist Walter Kelly, specifically the anthropomorphic and agitational characteristics of Pogo Possum. The characters are designed to be as representative of all workers as is possible, taking on an androgynous disposition for the purpose of creating an image that is not centered around those of European descent, a particular gender, nationality, or industry.