GM strike

Doug Henwood dhenwood at
Tue Jun 30 20:50:25 PDT 1998

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.


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