Skip to main content

View Diary: Anti-Capitalist Meetup: Elizabeth Gurley Flynn and the Paterson Silk Strike (62 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  What is outsourcing but another scab system? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JayRaye, diomedes77, RiveroftheWest

    Who says things have changed?

    Frankly, I'd rather take down Exxon or Goldman Sachs, the way we're taking down RushBeckistan, than elect another "better" Democrat who's going to wind up singing for the bankster choir.

    by Words In Action on Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 03:03:20 AM PDT

    •  No, Words in Action (4+ / 0-)

      Poor workers in other countries are not scabs, they are our fellow workers.

      Only when they actually cross a picket line are they scabs. And when the strike is over, they stop being scabs and we need to get back to trying to organize them.

      Some of the strikers who were slaughtered at Ludlow in 1913, had been scabs in the 1903 strike. The Labor Hero and Martyr, Louie Tikas, for one.

      Scab is the #1 worst thing one we can call a fellow worker, and we need to be very careful how we use it.

      WE NEVER FORGET For March: Francis Estep, UMWA Martyr

      by JayRaye on Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 04:39:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thank you JayRaye for saying this!! (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JayRaye, bluesheep, RiveroftheWest

        They are our fellow workers, exploited by capitalists in both multinational corporations and in domestically owned businesses. They are not crossing picket lines and we never can fall into divide and rule arguments advanced by those whose interests are served when we are divided by colour, by gender, by ability, by sexual preference, by country of birth. United we fight, divided we crawl!

        Our enemies are not our fellow workers that are being exploited, our enemies are the ones that are destroying our  incomes, endangering our lives through the elimination of health and safety legislation, those that insist that "we" cannot compete against workers who are being grossly exploited due to low wages and bad working conditions. It is not workers overseas that are responsible for the destruction of jobs with good incomes and benefits. That is those who are in power both economically and those that serve their interests politically and mainstream economists who sole role is to provide the justifications for the destruction of the social welfare state and workers conditions of work and income standards. Do not fall for divide and rule!

        "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

        by NY brit expat on Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 04:58:08 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  PS WiA (3+ / 0-)

        Please don't feel that we are attacking you.
        I know that your heart is with the working people.

        Many people unfamiliar with how bad an insult the word "scab" is, misuse the word.

        It is the worst thing that can be said about a fellow worker, akin to "traitor."

        It does not mean non-union worker.
        It only refers to a worker who willingly and knowingly crosses a picket line where workers are on strike. (It is OK to cross an informational picket line, after you have gone over and talked with the picketers.)

        Here is how Jack London described scabs in a poem written in 1913:

        Ode To A Scab

        After God had finished the rattlesnake, the toad, and the vampire, He had some awful substance left with which He made a scab. A scab is a two-legged animal with a corkscrew soul, a waterlogged brain, and a combination backbone made of jelly and glue. Where others have hearts, he carries a tumor of rotten principles.

        When a scab comes down the street, men turn their backs and angels weep in heaven, and the devil shuts the gates of hell to keep him out. No man has a right to scab as long as there is a pool of water deep enough to drown his body in, or a rope long enough to hang his carcass with. Judas Iscariot was a gentleman compared with a scab. For betraying his Master, he had character enough to hang himself. A scab hasn't.

        Esau sold his birthright for a mess of pottage. Judas Iscariot sold his savior for thirty pieces of silver. Benedict Arnold sold his country for a promise of a commission in the British Army. The modern strikebreaker sells his birthright, his country, his wife, his children, and his fellow men for an unfulfilled promise from his employer, trust, or corporation.

        Now Joe Hill would disagree with London about the devil closing the gates of hell to the scabs:

        WE NEVER FORGET For March: Francis Estep, UMWA Martyr

        by JayRaye on Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 07:32:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  not true at all (4+ / 0-)

      One of the reasons why the US labor movement collapsed was because the American workers decided that they were "partners" with the American corporations, and the "foreign workers" were their enemy.  As a result, the company "negotiated" one give-back after another, stuffed it all into their pockets--then moved all the factories anyway.

      The American unions should have remembered what the word "solidarity" means.  Or at least they should have remembered what the word "whipsawing" means.

      There is only one way to prevent whipsawing, and that is to organize the workers EVERYWHERE. The entire idea of a nation-based labor movement is now outmoded, ineffective and obsolete. In a corporate world, we must instead become company-based rather than geographically-based. In a world made up of multi-national companies who owe loyalty to no government and have no nation, there simply is no such thing anymore as an “American worker” or a “Chinese worker” or a “Somali worker”. There are only “Ford workers” or “Honda workers” or “British Petroleum workers”—and they all do the same work for the same employer and have the same interests, whether their factory happens to be located in Tennessee, Tibet or Timbuktu. And if a Ford worker in Detroit gets X dollars an hour to do a job, then a Ford worker in China or Thailand had better be getting the same X dollars an hour for doing the same job—because if he's not, then guess where the factory will be going?

      It’s an elementary lesson that the American unions ignored. Instead of organizing all Ford or US Steel workers across the world to face their common employer, the unions have ignored foreign employees completely or even treated them as enemies; instead of raising the foreign wages to match ours, the AFL-CIO preferred to work with its corporate “partners” to pass protectionist laws to keep them away. So the American labor movement bears a large part of the blame for its current situation. By fighting for “American workers” and allowing workers in other countries to be reduced to virtual slavery, the AFL-CIO guaranteed that every boss in the US would move his factories overseas to the cheap labor.

      What the labor movement must do instead is to follow the companies wherever they go, to any country, and organize all the workers there. One company, one union, one contract, one wage scale—no matter where you are. That cannot happen until American workers give up their attachment to outdated nationalism. The only way the corporate bosses can be beaten is if all their workers stick together, organize together, and fight together, no matter what country they happen to be located in. That is what “solidarity” means.

      It used to be that “workers of the world, unite!” was just an idealistic political slogan.  Today, it is our only survival strategy.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site