Wojtek on "Workers' Rights"

Carrol Cox cbcox at rs6000.cmp.ilstu.edu
Thu Jun 18 16:26:16 PDT 1998

Wojtek writes:

> The point I was trying to make was that in this country there is no such a
> thing as wokers rights - most employment grievances must be re-defined as
> civil rights issues to be considered valid. Hnece we have sexual
> harassment laws, but no laws that prevent adverse work conditions in
> general (e.g. for gays, or social outcasts who do not belong to the
> 'endangered species").

I think that this point is important enough to separate it from other issues raised by gender, race, etc. It can be taken in several directions. One which I would like to take up is this: before workers can demand of the capitalists that they grant "workers rights" workers themselves have to achieve unity on the point, and that in turn means that the necessary starting point is an ongoing battle *within* the class against those workers who themselves impinge on the rights of other workers.

Racism (to stick to it for a minute) and the battle against it clearly demand multiple approaches. But *one* of those approaches, and a *necessary* one, is to name accurately what white workers are when they engage in or give support (passive or active) racist acts and words, that is, to brand them as scabs: those who take the capitalist side against fellow workers. A unified working class will be a working class that repudiates racism within its own ranks. Unity does not mean %100 of the class; probably 35% to 50% would do.


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