UAW convention

MScoleman at MScoleman at
Thu Jul 9 19:14:11 PDT 1998

Below is Dennis Redmond's full response, but first just a couple of comments.

while i agree that the nature of the bourgeoisie faced by the working class has changed, before the tactics of multi nationals can be tailored to the uses of the working class, the working class needs to organize -- there is a frightening lack of organization at this point.

second, i fully agree that some of the new organizing is taking place well outside us borders. Mexico is an excellent example -- there is, according to sparse reports, tremendous organizing going on amongst the working classes. F'rinstance, some Mexican women are speaking to the American press about forced birth control amongst the ranks of the maquiladoras, factory workers are beginning to blow the whistle on some of the pollution,etc. And I also agree that in Europe and in 'former-soviet' countries, there is a greater move to new types of organization (as well as in the people's republic of china). However, in the belly of the beast, the usa, there remains a vacuum of movement and leadership. I still don't see how to take advantage of some of the recent sparks (UPS, GM, etc.) and begin to move these to a greater union movement. Finally, the most oppressed of the working class in the USA remain completely unorganized: women, service workers, domestics, green card holders, etc. continue to be ignored by unions and ignore whatever small unionizing attempts which are being made. maggie coleman mscoleman at

In a message dated 98-07-09 18:55:53 EDT, dennis redmond writes:

<< My own feeling about this is that the best way of fighting for union

democracy and a revitalization of the American Left more generally is to

study what the multinationals are doing very, very carefully, and to

adopt/absorb/otherwise turn their own weapons against them. The multis

are, as a rule, replacing human networks with technological ones: the old

caste of white male WASPish engineers so dear to GM and Boeing is breaking

down, and being replaced with a complex and differentiated workforce --

both a savagely barbaric and partly civilizing process, as places like

Singapore and South Korea are cosmopolitanized, while Flint and Birmingham

are left to rot.

That is, we need to think not just in terms of new movements (and the

obvious examples of the TDU, IG Metall, and genuine Left parties like the

Greens or the Labor Party) but in terms of a newly global proletariat,

which has barely begun to organize itself and mostly lacks class

consciousness, but which is employed in high-tech cleanrooms, works with

state-of-the-art computers, and is probably one of the most skilled and

educated workforces, in its own way (I include media awareness and

cultural cosmopolitanism here), in world history. So what would an

information socialism look like? I have no idea, but my guess is it'll

have something to do with activist-minded unions and Left parties in

Europe and the US sparking/solidarizing with multinational organizing

drives in Eastern Europe and East Asia, just as much as the US South or

American service-sector industries. The spread of community-based labor

coalitions and cross-border initiatives, like the one currently

being waged with the Han Young workers in Tijuana, or the ones starting to

appear in the European Union itself, are powerful evidence that such

things are at least possible, even in an era of the most ferocious

political and social regression.

-- Dennis

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Date: Thu, 09 Jul 1998 15:52:19 -0700 (PDT)

From: Dennis R Redmond <dredmond at OREGON.UOREGON.EDU>

Subject: Re: UAW convention

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