Labor Rising?

I tend to be pretty skeptical of the business unions leadership, although some of them are nice folks. But as organizations they are top-heavy, top-down, conveyor-belt for the ruling class, safety-valve against revolt, jingoist war profiteers, democratic patsies, historically racist and sexist, textbook example of recuperation, those “Don’t Bite The War That Feeds You Buttons,etc. blah blah blah. I had to get that out of my system, since the unraveling of capitalism may be forcing them to change their ways.

Big Labor tends to unconditionally support the democrats both morally and financially, and has gotten little in return, since Reagan was president. The recent corporate reparations and the success of the Republic Window occupation in Chicago may have reminded organized labor how they were originally able to force the capitalists into giving union members lower-middle class lifestyles, in the first place. I want to believe the that anarchists who work as organizers and bureaucrats played a role, and that their brutally hard work has not been in vain. I mean that sincerely.

The diffuse nature of consumer capitalism means that more workers than just those in Michigan will be affected by the collapse of the US auto industry and more unions than just the UAW will be losing members. The US senate voting against granting reparations to the US automakers has backed the unions, already weakened by years of ‘right to work’, so called “free-trade”, and the transition from an industrial to a consumer economy, into a corner. They appear to be ready to fight for their very existence when United Steelworkers International president, Leo Gerard, on a conference call for labor PAC, Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) says,

If we have Republicans who oppose us, we are going to take to the streets, we are going to occupy places. We are not going to allow any more of our members’ lives to be destroyed.

Then he shouts down a market-fundamentalist pundit who questions the USW solidarity with Colombian workers, saying

We should not do deals with countries that allow the shooting of people who represent the workers!

Not only do Leo Gerard and the Kaiser Chiefs predict a riot.  Gerald Celente, relatively accurate trend predictor, sees food riots, revolutions, and squatter uprisings in the US by 2012.  He also addressed our capacity for denial.

America’s going to go through a transition the likes of which no one is prepared for,” said Celente, noting that people’s refusal to acknowledge that America was even in a recession highlights how big a problem denial is in being ready for the true scale of the crisis.

South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint, said, while referring to the auto bailout,

We’re going to have riots. There are already people rioting because they’re losing their jobs when everybody else is being bailed out. The fairness of it becomes more and more evident as we go along. The auto companies may be hurting,” he said, but “there are very few companies that aren’t hurting and they’re going to hurt. We don’t have enough money to bail everyone out.

Too bad that wasn’t a campaign promise.

Glad to see the unions are trying to tap into the old fighting spirit. Hopefully we’ll see them on the barricades. Gerard’s a big dude.

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9 Comments

  1. that gerad article is fascinating.

    one overlooked aspect to the whole gun sales up after obama election thing might be that people are preparing for serious economic downturn, regardless of who’s president. it does seem like revolution is more possible now than it has been in a while.

    this is another heartstring-tearing decision for me. on the one hand i want to have long term vision… let’s get this party started, right? on the other hand, i’m much more likely to survive such an event as a collapse/revolution than a lot of the poor people who are hoping obama might pull off helping them put food on the table. total collapse of the u.s. economy wouldn’t be a great thing (at least at first) for a lot of people here and abroad. it’s tempting to say that long-term it would benefit them, but not if a lot of them die first, right?

    is the answer to the question “when to revolt?” ALWAYS “right now!”?

    that’s not a rhetorical question, i’m seriously curious as to your opinion.

  2. oops… “gerald celente article”

  3. I can’t believe I’ve never heard of him.
    The Third Wave, by Alvin Toeffler(sp?) was amazing. It was written in the late 70’s and he accurately predicted so much about the way we live today.
    I was coincidentally buying a new gun the day after the election. It was ordered two weeks before, and that was just the day it came it. I waited a half-hour for my “instant” background check to be finished, which is normally instant. Liberals fear and loathe guns, (remember how much fun that was?)and the bigots who were in there made no secret that they feared a gun grab or criminalization..
    The only recent example we have to look at were the NYC power outages from a few years ago, and by all accounts that was paradise.
    We’re loving, clever apes and we will make it. I’m enough of an intelligent designer to believe that.if there’s no one to save us, we’ll save ourselves.
    Whatever kind of relief the fed would provide will likely be some crappy public/private arrangement where private outfits would bid to provide essential services. Altria food banks and Coca Cola water stations.
    There are many forms of attack, so yes right now for some of them and others must wait. That’s for the attackers to decide.
    I advocate temporary organizations for specific purposes, otherwise they’re just parties without candidates, but I really think people should seriously start looking into ways to feed, clean, heal, defend themselves and others, because by all accounts, it’s unraveling.

  4. “I advocate temporary organizations for specific purposes, otherwise they’re just parties without candidates, but I really think people should seriously start looking into ways to feed, clean, heal, defend themselves and others, because by all accounts, it’s unraveling.”

    amen to that! self-sustainability and community -building is a must and is always my primary goal (after familial survival).

    for the record, i’ve never been for gun bans. 100 million+ metal objects aren’t going to disappear because of some law.

    “There are many forms of attack, so yes right now for some of them and others must wait. That’s for the attackers to decide.”

    i agree with that. your list of which is which is another thing that can wait for dinner.

    • Formal structures run a high risk of becoming recuperated institutions when State and Capital are still firing on all cylinders. The organizations that define themselves in terms of the existing order are somewhat invested in objective conditions and would cease to exist without them. Unions are a good example of this. Survival of the institution, like all good bureaucracies, must be the first priority. That’s why Big Labor became more concerned with working with capitalism than quashing it, since there would be no need for unions if greed and inequality were eradicated. The pleas for bailouts, where the UAW president referred to GM as “their partners” is telling.
      Car-worship has also been a disaster, any way you look at it, and fewer cars and paving would be a wonderful thing, but there would be many lost jobs. There are few easy answers.

      It tough for us to plan these dinner things, between the both of us, but something can be figured out somehow.

  5. […] The diffuse nature of consumer capitalism means that more workers than just those in Michigan will be affected by the collapse of the US auto industry and more unions than just the UAW will be losing members. The US senate voting …[Continue Reading] […]

  6. maybe we’ll just come steal you some night in our vanagon (with maybe a pre phone call!)

  7. oops, that last comment was actually from james. but it could happen.

    • It’s not so much a transportation as issue so much as a “half of my right hand won’t work” thing which never gives me a pre-phone call. We’ll figure it out.


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