GM strike

Doug Henwood dhenwood at
Wed Jul 1 09:33:39 PDT 1998

William S. Lear wrote:

>On Wed, July 1, 1998 at 01:31:57 (-0400) Justin Schwartz writes:
>>> ...
>>> You know, like unions represent the organized interest of the working
>>> class, which is in a rather long-term battle with something called capital,
>>> and that the bosses' and stockholders' profits come from the workers'
>>> labor.
>>So you want the unions to come out and adopt Marxism as a their political
>>economy? So would I, but it's not likely.
>Just curious, but why do we need such a Manichean view of things? To
>put it in stark terms, yes, the choice is between wage slavery and
>freedom, but why does the road to freedom necessarily wind through
>Marx? Is economic democracy not what we really want?

Maybe I'm a hopeless old dinosaur, but I think you can't improve on Marx's analysis of capitalism. He's not responsible for the Manichean view of things; it's how the society is organized. The bourgeoisie understands this very well. The "Manichean" model does a very good job of explaining why GM is doing what it's doing and of why the UAW has suffered one defeat after another. The UAW thinks GM is its friend and partner, while GM and its stockholders know otherwise.

I'm all for economic democracy, but that's not the world we live in now. It's the one where a Merrill Lynch fathead can say "I want to be able to sleep at night knowing that G.M. can downsize without having a strike."


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