[lbo-talk] Boots Riley on Occupy the Hood

Joseph Catron jncatron at gmail.com
Sun Dec 18 05:08:55 PST 2011

On Sun, Dec 18, 2011 at 1:15 AM, SA <s11131978 at gmail.com> wrote:

A union is a group of workers with a common employer who agree to withhold
> their labor unless the employer meets certain terms. A union ideally should
> be much more than that, but it can't be any less and still be called a
> union.

I'd agree on the practicalities while phrasing my conclusion differently: It can't be any more and still be called a union. Employer-by-employer organizing has probably reached the limits of its usefulness. If I'm wrong about this, it can't be by far. However hypothetical, successful working-class organizations of the future may look, it won't be much like today's unions.

omitted to mention that these type of organizations pre-date OWS. There
> are labor-aligned non-profits that actively seek to circumvent the
> restrictions on unions by organizing actions by union members outside the
> formal hierarchy of the unions they belong to.

Most of the time those community-partnership groups don't organize
> workplaces -- much less in ways that break the law. But even when they do,
> the most important thing is that in the past they haven't had enough people
> involved.

I worked for one of these. I don't regret it, but it was objectively a sweatshop outsourcing system that enabled the union to get cheaper labor than it could ever justify hiring in-house. I understand that most comparable organizations serve the same purpose. When I hear someone praising the virtues of unions contracting out their core responsibilities, like organizing, I reach for my gun.

-- "Hige sceal þe heardra, heorte þe cenre, mod sceal þe mare, þe ure mægen lytlað."

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