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Labor Against the Establishment: Opposing the Bosses, Corporate and Political


#1

Labor Against the Establishment: Opposing the Bosses, Corporate and Political

Jake Johnson

The decades-long assault on organized labor has delivered tremendous results for capital and the bosses: Broadly, corporate profits have climbed at a steady rate and CEO pay has risen 997 percent since 1978.


#2

The working class is not currently in alignment with the " union class or the middle class ". The teachers union and teamster folks, electricians, plumbers, police, masons and carpenters, et al don't all actively support a living wage for all. In cities that's $18-19 an hour/40 hours a week. Which is often the entry-level for union apprentices. Class warfare's true trenches. And, the Democratic Party has suffered from allowing the right to frame it as chickenshit because it only reluctantly supports human rights, universal healthcare, pro-pot legalization, judicial reform and a host of sensible legislation.The " bedwetting liberals " are running the party, now. Even as the energy is in the very progressive wing, as Sen. Sanders showed. The Democratic Party is not the vessal for 70% of workers in the U.S., currently. That is the now The Greens' turf. Stay Clear, Stay Strong, Stay Clean, Vote Green.


#4

As I read about the struggles of workers I can't help seeing any potential actions to revive labor's strength through the lens of the TPP.
As Chris Hedges has said for years, it deserves a strong and sustained revolt against it and other trade agreements, now and in the streets.
There is no hope of changing anything for the better when this treasonous agreement looms overhead. It cannot get lost in the political theater of the election or any other manufactured crises to take attention from it. We have to do all we can to stop it or the worker's in this country are doomed to wage slavery, much like the workers in Viet Nam where they work for $0.30 an hour.
Sometimes it feels like it can't get any worse, but it can and will unless all workers in this country stand up and make a hell of a display of protest.


#5

Let me get this right, the Capitalist economic model isn't the problem, the problem is allowing land to be owned (private property rights)?
Marx did have something to say about that, "Private property will be abolished only after the means of production have become available in sufficient quantities."
The "means of production" as defined by Marx are the Capitalists who own the factories, machines, tools etc. which Marx wants "the workers" to own.
Doesn't Henry George have the entire process backwards when it comes to wresting control from the "power elite?"


#6

Obama said this morning that he "didn't have to sell the Pacific Rim countries on the benefits of the TPP because they know it's a good deal. But I have yet to hear a good reason from US critics who oppose this deal about why it's a bad deal for the US."

Well Mr. Obama:
A) The countries that will sell their manufactured goods to us pay their laborers less then $1 dollar an hour and force them to live a sub-standard existence.
B) The country's that we will be selling whatever it is that we're selling, can't afford to buy any of it.

There are two "good reasons" Obama.


#7

There are interesting arguments raised in the always well-referenced pieces written by Jake Johnson.

Although Roseann DeMoro is quoted, Mr. Johnson didn't mention that she advised the National Union of Nurses not to endorse Mrs. Clinton.

And also missing from an otherwise sound analysis is the role played by NAFTA and trade treaties that encouraged industries to move to far cheaper labor markets to set up shop.

Apart from any tactical weaknesses on the part of unions or the manner by which their leaders fell into a concessionary mode with corporate overlords, the fact that companies could and often did close shop to pursue greener international pastures has been the chief (and enduring) blow to Organized Labor.


#8

Leadership is most unions has become part of "The Establishment" and no longer represents the interests of the rank-and-file workers.

You see this happen all to often when individuals get into positions of power - the join the status quo interests and forget their roots. This has largely happened to the Black Caucus in Congress - amazing their support for the establishment. That is just one example of a group that has been captured.


#9

If labor are many and bosses are the few, why do bosses win?

Instead of spending most of their time soliciting "contributions", politicians should just hang a sign that reads, REPRESENTATIVE FOR SALE.

Direct Democracy


#11

Throughout this bitter struggle between capital and the working class, many union leaders slowly abandoned the radicalism that made labor such an integral force in the fight for racial and economic justice during the Depression years. Historians often point to the anti-communist purges of the late 1940s and 50s, empowered by the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947, s the most consequential rumblings of the labor bureaucracy's growing wariness toward radical politics.

In other words, the capitalist elite ruling class have the working class exactly where they want them ... under subjection out of fear.

When you read about what the "radicals" (socialists, anarchists ... and, yes, communists) accomplished for labor from the 1880s to the 1930s, you cannot resist being impressed with their dedication and willingness to fight, bleed, go to jail, and even die (Example: Albert Parsons and the Haymarket Affair) for the rights of labor over the rule of the capitalist ruling class and the laws of the state.

I no longer see that level of commitment in the U.S. It exists in Latin America and in parts of Europe ... but not in the U.S.

"Institutionalization severely blunted worker militancy," Post writes. "Strikes were limited to periods after the expiration of contracts and were restricted in tactics (no secondary boycotts, no factory occupations, etc.). During the life of the contract, all workplace struggles were channeled into the grievance procedure, which compelled workers to keep doing unfair or dangerous tasks while the complaint proceeded through the lengthy process of hearings and arbitration."

This documents the level of subjection of the working class to their ruling masters. When the capitalist ruling class, by utilizing the state as their enforcer, can control the conditions of dissent, they can (an do) have complete control over the outcome.

The legends in history who won advancements (the 8-hour work day, increased wages, humane working conditions, etc.) for the working class were not intimidated by the violence of the capitalist ruling class (the Pinkertons as an example) or the laws and the violent enforcement of those laws by the state. I don't believe those legends would cower today.

As corporate America and its partners in government continue their assault on labor, the opposition has become far less combative, in part due to fear of retaliation and job insecurity. This falling militancy is most noticeable when one considers what was once, and still is, one of labor's most powerful tactics: Strikes.

"Between 1990 and 2015," notes Moshe Marvit, "the number of strikes declined by more than 90 percent, from 801 in 1990 to 72 last year." Strikes are also, as Marvit observes, a measure of solidarity; labor's power has splintered over the last several decades, further emboldening the business class.

And once again it is shown and documented that the capitalist ruling class utilizes fear to bring the working class under subjection.

Strikes, while not as effective as they were in the past, continue to be relevant and effective today even thought the capitalists can bring in scabs and cross the picket lines. However, strikes must be accompanied by non-violent, radical "direct action" including sagatage ... especially when sabotage includes:

  • Production processes and or equipment,

  • Finished products in the marketplace, and

  • Completed services in the marketplace.

Sabotage has two objectives:

  1. It produces negative consequences to the "bottom line" of the company by increasing their expenses, and

  2. It injures the company's reputation which affects the company's sales and profitability.

Yes, some "direct actions" are illegal. However, if the working doesn't take co-operative, collective and aggressive action, the results are already determined.

If workers and union leaders don't "do everything in their power to halt the march of neoliberal unionism," Heyman and Tillett-Saks caution, it will "march the labor movement straight into its grave."


#13

Hamilton Nolan's corporate characterization of the Democratic Party is 100% accurate. It is just another billion dollar corporation that needed to field a corporate money magnet candidate at least as good as Bill Clinton and Obama in order to sustain the billion in annual revenue. Nominating Sanders would have resulted in the corpor...er Party losing most of its billion dollar annual corporate "contributions" and no billion dollar corporation has ever voluntarily risked losing most of their revenue.


#14

We disagree on what Marx concluded and how George interprets his language.
George only offers half a loaf when a whole loaf is required to solve the problem.


#15

Re: the 1880-1930 time frame, "When you got nothing, you got nothing to lose."
So the oligarchs gave the middle class something to lose and the bitterness ended.
Then they slowly took it back over the past 40 years.
And now we all have nothing to lose anymore (again).


#16

Do you think I don't know this?


#18

Hi lmhotep. I think you've got some concepts confused. There are good and bad capitalists. Good capitalists hire labor and produce things. Bad capitalists are "rentiers" who somehow came to own stuff everyone needs (like water) and rents it to them. Nothing is produced and few jobs are created so the profits don't benefit society. Likewise, inherited wealth drains the economy for the benefit of a few heirs who get the wealth for nothing. Lots of what is called "privatization" or "intellectual property" is just rentier talk. Excessive banking and Wall Street-type financial gains produce little or nothing for society and are most of what's wrong with the world today. Our world is currently very productive yet most live in misery because a few non-producers are gobbling up vast wealth. I hope I've done Marx justice here; he was fine with good capitalists.


#21

It's neither capitalism that's the ultimate problem nor the absolutely inevitable result of allowing capitalism--the epitome of it in monopoly capitalism. That is, all capitalistic societies eventually end up with power in the hands of a very few or only one person or corporation.

But while that's a serious problem, we'll never solve it until we recognize that the ultimate problem is the psychological condition that causes it. Multi-faceted, both individual and systemic, with many names and encompassing many different explanations, conditions and diagnoses, including Civilizational Autism, addiction, attachment disorder, psychosis, psychopathy, etc.I think the best name is Wetiko Disease. Healing civilizationized humanity of it is a long-term project and we have to solve the more logistical problems of climate catastrophe to even have a long term. But admitting that psychology is the real problem at the root of all the other problems is going to be crucial to solve even the logistical-industrial greenhouse gas problem, because of its political aspects, which are of course, all psychological problems.


#23

Sorry but that's a moronic and ahistorical view of what the problem is. It's also typical of today's conservatism in its inherent misperception of the nature of the universe and humanity in equal measures, and in (seemingly) denying the primacy of psychology. IOW, perfect illustration that the problem is indeed psychological. Clearly you've been lied to about many things, including almost everything you mentioned. Equally clearly, the proximal cause of the problem that's threatening a violent and chaotic end to civilization and the extinction of millions of species (at best) is the system that has capitalism at its core. But behind it is the psychology that causes capitalism and all our other problems.

The Soviet Union is not destitute, although by embracing gangster-style hypercapitalism it's doing everything it can to change that. China is not destitute. Eastern Europe is not. Many parts of the US are, as are its many international victims.

The really destitute countries are those where people of color live, because proto-capitalist colonizers could use color and the diseased projections of Wetiko-infected Whites as an excuse to conquer and destroy societies and rob them nearly back into the stone age. That theft continues now with neo-colonialism, its vulture capitalist agents and other manifestations. The complex PTSD those societies are left with from their encounter with the Wetiko-infected has devastated them and warped and twisted their attempted recovery.

Of course lots of people who disagree with me are perfectly sane; your use of that absurd strawperson argument, with absolutely no relation to anything I've ever said, is despicable. I call insane those people and societies who are insane, and with all seriousness and ultimate respect for the profession, and concern for those I'm talking to, I recommend therapy for those who repeatedly demonstrate their need for it. That includes, for example, those who deny the impending ecological destruction of humanity and millions of other species, and work to delay the solutions to it, just so they can avoid unpleasant feelings and the questioning of their worldview. Since the proximal problem, and the mechanism through which our disease manifests itself, is the vastly unequal capitalist system, those solutions must include people working cooperatively through government, and the dismantling of capitalism. It's not a sufficient solution but it is a necessary part of it.

The thing you said about picking winners and losers, and the friends thing, is right out of the Koch-Exxon-ALEC reactionary anti-science anti-ecology anti-renewables playbook. You should stop reading whatever you got it from; it's poisoning your mind.

So PS, of course you're not a progressive. The fact that you believe the quintessential creed of conservatism wasn't a clue about that? The fact that you may not be a rabid neo-conservative is neither here nor there. You've stated your beliefs, it's silly to try to deny them now. If you're feeling guilty or conflicted about that, maybe you should try therapy. ; )

Trauma and Recovery, Judith Herman (a bit on complex PTSD at the end)
Columbus and Other Cannibals, Jack D. Forbes
Dispelling Wetiko, Paul Levy
Ecopsychology, ed. Theodore Roszak
My Name is Chellis and I'm in Recovery from Western Civilization, Chellis Glendinning


#25

There’s no country in the world without some capitalism mixed in because it’s rapaciously efficient in exploiting humans and the rest of nature, but that was not your question. In fact, you asked no question at all except a snarky, trite and pointless ”Coincidence?" to which my answer is twofold: ”What a dumb question”, and ”of course it is”. Once you understand even a tiny bit of the history I explained (and you should have known) a little of, it becomes clear that it's a mistaken view and a meaningless question. Please stop using dishonest tactics or this conversation is over now.

The USSR, China and Eastern Europe had a several-generation history of what passes for communism among the Wetiko-infected; there was less poverty than in the much wealthier, and natural resourcely-speaking, fabulously endowed capitalist US—a country that contrasts with Europe because of a long history of sustainable use and then a short period of rapidly accelerating degenerative misuse and overexploitation.

The USSR was not starving. China was not starving under communism, and did not force the killing of babies.* Please stop using lies to make your argument seem more tenable than it is. The USSR, with its new embrace of oligarchy and inequality has made tremendous superficial advances for the rich and tremendous losses for the majority. Despite its woefully unhealthy dose of Wetiko passed on for millennia through 3 about equally twisted forms of government, it made far more contributions and managed far more equality when it was communist (actually a form of state capitalism the way they did it). Impossible as it is to contemplate, it’s becoming even more of a sick and destructive society than Czarism and its twisted version of ”communism”.

The more strictly capitalist a country is and the longer that relentlessly harsh and punishing system is forced on the unwilling majority (by either a brutal, or a psychopathic and deviously manipulative government like ours) the more starvation there is, even in the midst of what counts as wealth, or real wealth—physically and emotionally healthy people living within the matrix of a healthy ecosystem.

Over and over I’ve run into people who fasten onto some question they think magically proves some point they believe is the key to everything and there’s no way for the interlocutor to escape, when the question actually means nothing and shows nothing. There’s an award for that—the QQOQQ Award, pronounced ”cock”, originally for creationists but now more generally applied. So yours qqualifies.

The US lacks freedom as much as any obviously repressive government; it’s just not enforced equally or by law but by lack of access to money, land, other resources, education, advantageous contacts, etc. It’s a diabolically clever system because instead of force it uses psychological manipulation to get people to go along with insane projects and precepts (unbalanced conservativism, for example) and then makes them blame themselves for everything that’s wrong with their lives. That of course is bogus, and consciously or not—mostly not—people know it, so they also blame others. Thus capitalism creates and uses racism, sexism, xenophobia, gender intolerance, religious and class prejudice, prejudice against intellectuals. That is, it isolates, marginalizes, ridicules and otherwise mistreats the only ones who can figure out how sick, twisted and destructive it is but can’t be bribed to go along. It’s actually a brilliant system that combines the intertwined techniques of weaponized projection, economic externalization, physical isolation and social marginalization. Like I said, diabolically clever.

Nobody blamed all of humanity’s problems on capitalism, in fact if you go back and actually read my first post you’ll see I did exactly the opposite. But nice try with another strawperson argument.

And it’s not just a man killing, or even men, it’s humans—both sexes. And try reading my second post again for an answer to the nonsensical view of human nature you seem to be unwilling to give up. Of course it’s easier to excuse rapaciousness and rage- and hatred-fueled destruction if we blame it on genetics; that way, with all the smart people successfully marginalized, no one has to go to the trouble of thinking about what’s really causing it. Though most have been wiped out by the Wetiko-infected ones because they don’t spend their lives inventing more horrific weapons and more devious strategies of conquest, there have been lots of societies who killed when they had to for food and protection without straying into the realm of psychosis, psychopathy and dissociated action that causes capitalism. But as long as they face the infection they’re forced into the same Wetiko dilemma—be killed off by more predatory groups or mount a defense by becoming infected by at least as virulent a strain. The cure now is to take power by use of peaceful direct action, dismantle not just capitalism but all the structures of hierarchy, patriarchy and Wetiko, and asap, change health care, education, child raising and other habits over as many generations as it takes.

As far as you accusing me of insults and dishonesty while offering only false factoid after nonsense after straw person fracking fluid after lame attempt at manipulation, strung together with misrepresentation and bad logic and your own insults and snarkiness: right. Good one.


#27

You continue to be wrong and to demonize me for calling you on it. Once more: The USSR was not starving. If you have evidence otherwise please show it. It took care of its citizens better than either Czarist or oligarchic Russia and arguably better than the US, considering the racism etc, here. The US of course, has used the aforementioned projection-system-with-corollaries in an export system, foisting most of its destructive effects on others, especially people of color in poor countries. However, all 3 Russian governments have also been terrible, even though none has had nearly the destructive effect on the world that the US has had. (Note: I keep saying "USSR", you keep saying "Russia". Perhaps that's why you're confused, or perhaps that's an indicator of how confused you are. I can't tell; you tend to use words very imprecisely, if not wildly incorrectly.

China didn't force anyone to kill infants. Some people, infected by patriarchal Wetiko, aborted girl fetuses and some killed infant girls but that was not policy or done by the state--in fact it's always been illegal in China. The state fined people for bearing extra children. It was a horrific policy and is what happens when people mistake problems caused by inequality (an inevitable effect of capitalism) for problems they imagine are caused by "excess" population. Of course the oligarchy is quite happy to allow, encourage, even generate the false "population" meme; it distracts from the fact that the rich are causing virtually all of all our problems, worldwide, using a consciously unconscious system of distribution that distributes almost immeasurable wealth and power to a few and almost nothing to almost everyone else.

Female infanticide happens in many patriarchal societies of all political and economic persuasions.

Your arguments about other communist states are irrelevant and prove my point at least as much as yours. Wetiko infection knows no political or economic boundaries, although it's more welcome in harshly conservative places and wherever it spreads it bends all aspects of the society to its propagation. Both capitalism and communism in Wetiko-infected industrial society have been not much more than excuses and mechanisms for the fear, rage and hatred of the attachment-disordered to destroy the world.

Your point about flawed capitalism is also irrelevant (as well as being false and ridiculous) and proves my point at least as well as yours. Wetiko-infected global society is destroying itself and will take millions of species with it if not prevented by an end to capitalism AND the beginning of a cure to Wetiko, in addition to the logistical solutions like replacing fossil fuels with clean safe renewable energy. Our ruthless, shameless, conscienceless version of capitalism (IOW, the inevitable result of any capitalist system) won't allow that replacement to happen, and if not removed from the decision-making process by a revolution, will end civilization.

If there were any sizable, alleged or USSR-style "communist" societies left I'd say we'd have to end them too, since they were essentially state capitalism and while not as massively destructive or as efficiently rapacious as a good capitalist oligarchy like ours, they certainly left a huge mess behind.

For the last time: I ignored your pointless QQOQQ-ed up question ("Coincidence?" was the only question you asked until your most recent post) first because it was an irrelevant hopelessly transparent and inept attempt at a trap. Then I answered it, hoping you would let it go as the tangential nonsense it was. My whole post is an answer to the skewed and mistaken world view that generated it. At no time until the last post did you ask me to name successful non-capitalist societies. So get off it; the question you really asked really does mean nothing and your harping on it is embarrassing you and not getting you anywhere. Asked and answered. Move on, please, your obsession with it is even more pointless than the original question. I said nothing about it not being "fair"; that's a completely made up disinterpretation of what I said. Please stop doing that if you want to continue discussing this.

Congratulations on your life. You and everyone else would be better off and would help the world more if you lived in a rational economic, political, religious, philosophical, ecological, psychological system that didn't involve hyper-conservative dog-eat-dog harshness and punishment, and rabid consumption of nature as the main operating features. It does however, sound offhand as if you're causing as much damage to the Earth as a village of several hundred Ethiopians or a few dozen average Chinese people and your 17% guilt-reduction doesn't change that. How do you feel about that? And of course my apologies if by some miracle you're not.

Again, the only people and societies I call insane are insane, and their relation to the destruction of the biosphere is only Exhibit A, convincing as it is.

So here is the answer to the new question, just asked in the latest post. Well, actually, more than one successful non-capitalist society:

Guanches
Mayans
Seniinelese
Jarawa
Tiwi
Gabi Gabi
Torres Strait Islanders
Anangu
Bama
Koori
Murrawarri
Murri
Noongar
Yamatji
Nunga
Palawah
Pygmies
San
Hadzabe
Akie
Ogiek
Sengwer
Watta
Yaaku
Maasai
Barabaig
Endorois
Samburu
Turkana
Rendelle
Luo
Anuak
Shiluk
Surmic peoples
Surma
Mursi
Benue-Congo
Ijo
Kwa, Potou-Tano, Ashanti
Senegambians
Fula Serer people
Yeai
Igbo
Yoruba
Koikhoi
Damara
Haillom
Gllana, Glu
Naro
Tsoa
Tuu
Pamiris
Badakhshan
Yaghnobi
Khoid
Mangud
Mainman
Oirats
Sartuul
Tibetans
Uyghurs
Ainu
Hmong
Miao
Yao
Ryukyuans
Taiwanese aborigines
Amis
Orma
Borana
Pokot
Karamojong
Fulani
Mbororo
Bedzan
Aka
Baka
Bongo
Gyele
Kola
Mbuti
Asua
Toubou
Himba
Saami
Copts
Efe
Kanga/Sua
Twa (many subgroups)
Nilo-Saharans
Nilotic people
Dinka-Nuer
Dinka-Jieng
Nuer
Haratin
Nubians
Kadu
Nuba
Katia-Rashad
Talodi-Heiban
Bunun
Kavalan
Atayal
Saisiyat
Seediq
Truku
Yami
Thao
Paiwan
Puyuma
Tsou
Rukai
Oghuz Turks
Salar
Chukotkan
Chukchi

In the Amazon: At least 100 different groups, many with names unknown to the Wetikoans. The one I've studied the most is the Kaiapo, with a fascinating permaculture-like "wild" planting system.

Well that's about half the incomplete list I have plus ones I remember offhand; I'm sure most people will get the idea. Note that this is also only still-existing groups; the list of those exterminated by the Wetiko-infected is enormous--probably many thousands of nations. Many if not most of them existed for far longer than ours has.

The Aboriginal Australians were particularly successful, living essentially the same productive and fulfilling lives in place for 40,000 years without damaging their land while also compiling some astounding wisdom and social institutions to transmit and actualize that wisdom. Many of the other societies did the same but haven't had the chance to do it for that long yet. The others were wiped out by Wetiko-infected capitalist Europeans and USers, who in the space of considerably less than 500 years (150 with more or less our current system in a nascent form, and really just 80 as is) are on the verge of utterly wrecking not only their ancestral lands but all the lands in the world. You think of THAT as successful???? Man, Times, THAT's insane.

Now if you're through straw person misrepresentations of what I say, and OMG even what YOU say, let's continue. Otherwise, never mind.


#29

Your posts continue to be moronic, and be filled with bad intent. That's a bad combination. Or maybe the bad intent makes them moronic. So maybe you showed me to be wrong on one point while I've been showing you wrong on 30 and I'm the troll?

Seriously? That's what you're going with?

I'm not sure the reports are true, but I'll investigate. IF SO, I was wrong on one item and again, I apologize for not researching carefully enough.

You've racked up dozens of falsehoods, blatant lies, bad assumptions, misrepresentations, straw person arguments and bad logic, all of which you again conveniently ignore in your last post. No apologies from you for misrepresenting what I said, or what you misquoted yourself on, or your gross misconceptions not only about every subject we've talked about but even what the discussion is about or what I've been saying--dozens of falsehoods and bad arguments.

(For example, your obsessive anti-communism. First of all, not a conservative? Right. With all the other hallmarks of conservatism you trumpet, I'm baffled not only at how you could say that, how you define yourself as anything else, or how you would expect anyone to believe it, but why you would bother? You keep arguing at me as if I'm a big fan of Soviet communism when I've already said several times that psychological issues were the problem that caused all the other problems, that capitalism AND communism were problems. You apparently saw me criticize capitalism, leaped to the conclusion that I was a Soviet or China-style communist despite the fact that neither one even exists any more... and argued over and over against something I obviously didn't believe. You completely missed the point of the discussion and have said not one word about the main point, but have relentlessly attacked on trivialities (to this discussion anyway) and tangential issues.

Similarly, did you read my post well enough to see that I said the one child policy was a "horrific" policy? And that the whole function was to transform perception of a problem of inequality into an imaginary population problem and absolve the rich for the problem they're actually causing--a dire problem we must solve if we expect to survive? This is all happening not in the world but in the minds of the rich, like you. You apparently continue to believe all the nonsense you came into this discussion with, and have piled on more nonsense about things you think I said but didn't, and things you think I believe but don't

... And you call ME a troll? Wow. I'll accept your apology for the 30 things any time. Otherwise, I guess this has proved beyond a shadow of a doubt to be pointless and so is over.