Jessica Mayrers piece in the Independent highlights exactly why The Wobblies are the only ones with a coherent perspective on today's labor struggles. We want to thank FW Bostrom for putting himself out there in this very public forum and articulating a structural analysis that no one else interviewed came anywhere close to. I also want to critique some of the other points of view as they demonstrate perfectly why industrial unionism is the only way forward for worker power.
Many of us know and like Mark Anderlik and appreciate the efforts he puts into the Central Labor Council ( and his participation at our recent May Day Event) but when the article states that only two members of Unite Here took part in the Wells Fargo demonstration you get a sense of how desperate the decline of private sector organized labor really is.
As I see it the problem lies in their limited politics and set of demands. For far too long all these AFL-CIO unions did was bargain for wages and benefits. They settled contracts. They got theirs and cared little about the plight of the worlds exploited workforce until that workforce began to take the jobs, the good manufacturing jobs, and did them well at low wages. These same unions mocked the IWW for it's criticism of the capitalist system and it's goals of true worker power but of course, just as we predicted, global labor has been set against each other to every ones detriment.
Ex-Congressman Pat Williams, posing as a labor supporter, inadvertently explains why the mainstream approach is flawed when he quotes his business- owning father's philosophy: "I'm trying to protect my profits. But I'm trying to do so in a way that I know there will be a little jingle in the pockets of our workers because they'll spend in our restaurants."
We don't want "A Little Jingle"! while the boss gets the business and the profit. And parasites like Montana Chamber of Commerce Pres. Webb Brown wouldn't be able to say inanities like "I think most folks want to do what's right for employees" if workers actually controlled the means of production. Presenting a sentimental picture of "Mom and Pop shops" is a canard. Ask yourself who was really better; the nice slave owner or the cruel one? The "nice" one was actually more effective at perpetuating an evil system and "mom and pop" worship the same capitalist system as Halliburton.
It is time for Anderlik and Houseman and Williams to understand the historical dynamic driving unionism into decrepitude. Workers are in an ideological battle for real power and they can no longer pretend they can "cooperate" with capitalism. They must drive it out of existence or continue their decline.
The Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies: Opening the Dialogue - Presented at an Open Forum for the Interim Director of the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies. March 11, 2011. Also available as a PDF and as slides...
1 week ago