GM strike

Tom Lehman uswa12 at
Thu Jul 2 07:57:38 PDT 1998

Dear Mr. Yates, Is surplus value in the auto industry another way of saying the gross profit margin in the auto industry? A car that costs X amount of dollars to produce, ends up selling for Y amount of dollars in the dealers showroom, is the difference between X and Y the gross profit margin or the surplus value? Estimate X. Estimate Y. Give an example.

Fraternally yours, Tom Lehman

Mike Yates wrote:

> Friends,
> Kim Moody has always seemed awfully critical of union leadership in the U.S, so
> I doubt he would disagree with Doug much. I've never met a worker who did not
> like the labor theory of value and grasp its implications right away. So I'd
> probably start with the class consciousness stuff at the meeting with union
> folks right away. Personally it's when you've been a union member for a long
> time and also have a grasp of labor history and the possibilities which have
> been flushed down the drain over the years that you really do get irritated
> with the labor bureaucracy. I mean, Al Gore is a real piece of shit and will
> never be a friend of labor. If the labor movement was really moving in a good
> direction, why would it be necessary for Sweeney to say Gore is good? Truth
> is, he may well believe it!
> Michael yates
> Doug Henwood wrote:
> > Justin Schwartz wrote:
> >
> > >Well you do. Sound like a Spart, that is. What do you mean by class
> > >struggle unionism? It's a fancy phrase, but what's the content?
> >
> > 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. If you think that way, you are not likely to cut "jointness" deals,
> > or enter into jointness joint ventures with your employer.
> >
> > >You think workers are afraid of the word "class"? No. But the union
> > >militants do carea bout their unions and don't have a lot of patience with
> > >left wing ignoramuses remote from the practical struggle and blind to the
> > >extreme fragibility and difficulty of getting and keeping a union. Your
> > >"labor bosses with fat paychecks" sounds to them like right wing attacks
> > >on unionism at all. It's rather different when the militants or someone
> > >like Kim Moody says it. Maybe you better stick to Wall Street, Doug, or
> > >pay some dues in the labor movement before you weigh in with talk that
> > >can't help and can hurt.
> >
> > Left wing ignoramuses, really? That's really a load of crap, Justin.
> > Everything I said about the UAW, the New York City municipal unions, and
> > the rest is true. Forget your tedious credentialing for the moment and
> > acknowledge that. The UAW has lost one after another for a couple of
> > decades now, as have the NYC municipal workers (though not their unions, of
> > course), the other NYC workers betrayed by the muni unions lack of
> > solidarity, and organized labor in general. The New Voice at the AFL-CIO is
> > about to go silent, because of structural problems larger than any of the
> > personalities inhabiting them.
> >
> > Did you hear John Sweeney talking about what a good guy Al Gore is the
> > other day?
> >
> > >Reallya good deal. Go read Kim Moody's new book and his last one, just
> > >for starters, and get imnvolved in the labor movement so you learn hwo to
> > >talk the talk instead of sounding like a radical chic journalist from the
> > >upper East side.
> >
> > Upper West Side, please. If you're going to fulminate, get your fact
> > straight. Read Moody's first, and I'm now reading his second. Mike Davis'
> > Prisoners of the American dream, too. Those books taught me a lot about why
> > American unions are so fucked, in fact. Unless you think they're in the
> > pink of health, in which case I'd like to get some more reading
> > recommendations from you.
> >
> > Doug

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