Faux on Cockburn

Scott Marshall scott at rednet.org
Tue Jan 11 06:03:17 PST 2000

Rakesh Bhandari said

<<A notion for labor to have that is quite compatible with the social order is the responsibility of foreign ruling classes for their plight. It seems to me that this was the concept stamped into the minds of sweeney/greenie people about whom Todd Gitlin is so excited: foreign ruling classes with their trade barriers, slave and child labor, and eco deregulation are primarily responsible for forcing our greedy companies to move abroad or act irresponsibly at home as a defensive reaction; the first step to progress must be the legal regulation of foreign states and application of penalties on them>>

This is a real reach. Not at all compatible with what labor was actually saying in Seattle - not to be confused with what the cap press was saying that labor said.

For example at the steelworkers conference in Seattle that week on "Building Global Trade Union Solidarity" the message was consistent and from all participants from all continents: "We have a common enemy and it is the transnational corporations. And they do harm everywhere they operate including in the industrial countries. They try and play workers against each other everywhere." And in fact the line on child labor was and is: "If the greedy corporations can get away with it overseas, then they will find away to reintroduce it here." According to UNITE they already have in some of the bigger US cities.

And the anger sure wasn't aimed at foreign governments it was aimed straight at Washington DC. More than one labor speaker at more than one event said the next stop is Washington to get us the hell out of the WTO. And there is a good deal of talk for doing exactly that in April when the World Bank and IMF will be meeting there.

The exception is China and this will prove to be a problem for building international solidarity - but it can be dealt with and overcome so that the question is solidarity not lingering kneejerk anti-communism.

To dismiss this kind of mass action as a kind of controlling ritual is kind of far out. What would finally constitute legitimate mass action in your mind? Short of revolution has there ever been any mass action that could not be simply dismissed as a letting off steam ritual? Doesn't the ruling class always try and spin mass actions as inconsequential? Doesn't the cap press always play down the numbers and the militancy of mass actions? Why should we help with that kind of wrong interpretation? How does that help build anything?


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