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View Diary: Anti-Capitalist Meetup: General Strike FAQs (193 comments)

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  •  Agree completely Richard, I honestly do not (10+ / 0-)

    think that people realise that what is being taken away is being taken away permanently if those that are doing the removal have their way; the other thing is that it is far easier to keep things than to win them in the first place. Many of the rights that we have were won due to concentrated effort and struggle which forced those in power to accede to demands. As these rights become progressively eroded, it becomes harder and harder to win them back.

    There will not be a sudden golden period of rights without a struggle to force those in power to accommodate those rights.

    In any case, we are in for a long war ahead with many battles; however, if this battle is lost in WI, this attempt to destroy the state/public sector and the unions representing workers in that sector will only gain speed in the rest of the US. WI has an history of trade unionism; what happens in other states where unions are weaker and there is little or nothing to stop them?

    History always repeats itself, the first time as tragedy, and the second time as farce. Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

    by NY brit expat on Sun Mar 13, 2011 at 03:41:01 PM PDT

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    •  It's also been a case of the slowly boiling frog (13+ / 0-)

      up until now the corporate class has been careful to keep their social-ideological advance out ahead of their political belt-notches.  I gather they assumed they'd sufficiently poisoned the well against public workers to make this current drive succeed, but I believe they may have overplayed their hand.  That's what this contest that's growing right now, in WI and elsewhere will reveal, probably in short order.  

      "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will." ~Frederick Douglass

      by ActivistGuy on Sun Mar 13, 2011 at 03:46:04 PM PDT

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    •  The people who were fighting (7+ / 0-)

      for labor rights in the 19th and early 20th C lived in a world that had never had such rights. Their ancestors had been peasants. People fell for the fantasy that once they were gained by blood sweat and tears they could never be taken away.

       

      •  Or that they were in a just world... (6+ / 0-)

        and the fight need not continue.

        Be wary of progressives on here who are happy when their housing values, 401ks and their own social security is secure.

      •  I am not certain about this Richard (6+ / 0-)

        those that came to the US at the end of the 19th and early 20th century are the group that brought communism to the US and created the communist and other marxist parties in the US. They were under no illusion that reforms could be stripped away from people; in fact the argument concerning reform vs revolution was a discussion that originated in the split in the 2nd international.

        Agree that the CPUSA changed from revolutionary to reformist, but that happened quite a few decades down the line and under rather specific circumstances rather than the abandonment by people in the organisation of the idea of revolution.

        Every reform is subject to being repealed; that has always been the danger. From the moment the reforms were forced down the throats of the  capitalists and US government due to the threat of the system's collapse, they have been trying to limit their extent and overturn as many as possible.

        They think that because unions are weak, the left is in disarray and the "take what we can get" mentality has been sold to members of the democratic party that they could destroy the social welfare state, undermine the state sector (or sell off what is possibly profitable) and destroy the last of the unionised sectors of the economy, but they are doing this all at the same time so that the fact that this is class war cannot be hidden or pretended to simply be temporary. This is so obvious, so greedy, that not even someone that believes in the benevolence of the upper classes for our bread and water can be fooled.

        History always repeats itself, the first time as tragedy, and the second time as farce. Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

        by NY brit expat on Sun Mar 13, 2011 at 04:20:38 PM PDT

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        •  One point that deserves to be made over and over.. (6+ / 0-)

          are those you've been making in your diaries about neo-Malthusianism, Bentham and the attacks on the safety net.

          The end game where this is headed is quite ugly, and people need to be made aware of that.

        •  Most of the people who built the labor (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Nulwee, goinsouth, NY brit expat, JesseCW

          movement in the US never were communists. McCarthyism came along and got rid of those who were. The labor activists became Regan Democrats. They were all seduced by post war consumerism. By the time that neoliberalism began chiseling the manufacturing base out from under them they had no idea of how to fight. The union leadership focused on bargaining an older generation of workers into a comfortable retirement.

           

          •  One other thing. (4+ / 0-)

            They were also seduced by the idea that the hard and dangerous work of organizing and striking could be bypassed through political influence via the Democratic Party.

            Except, of course, when the Democratic Party ran an antiwar candidate.

          •  Actually that is not true, many of the unions (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            goinsouth, slatsg, NoMoreLies

            of the CIO were led by communists; these were non-craft unions and many were racially integrated by the CP. There were a number of unions that were communist unions, UE, district 65 for example. What happened during McCarthyism was that being an open communist and a trade union organiser was made illegal; communist unions were busted or more reformist unions were created as competition (IBEW for UE).

            Read Labor's Untold Story which is an excellent history of the US Labor movement.

            Moreover, the shift in the nature of trade unionism began with the unity of the AFL-CIO and the Wagner Act and then things were completely made totally reformist with the passage of Taft-Hartley.

            I agree completely that the destruction of the industrial/manufacturing base in the advanced capitalist world was part of an attempt to destroy the power of trade unions by destroying their base and that this was clearly an aim of neoliberalism and what we are seeing now is the culmination of the attempts to destroy trade unionism (even at its most reformist) in the advanced capitalist world.

            However, to argue that those that came over at the end of the 19th and early 20th century had no understanding of the differences between reform and revolution does them an injustice and to argue that the communists were not actively forming trade unions is wrong.

            History always repeats itself, the first time as tragedy, and the second time as farce. Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

            by NY brit expat on Sun Mar 13, 2011 at 04:41:15 PM PDT

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            •  The AFL going back to Gompers (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              NY brit expat

              was always conservative. THere certainly were CIO unions that were heavily communist but I don't think that they ever constituted a majority of the labor movement. The focus was on workers with less leverage such as agriculture than the skilled manufacturing.

              I never said that communist were not forming trade unions. I said that most of the people who made up the US labor movement were not communist. I thin that statement stands up.

              I think that the post war experience fully supports the notion that the mainstream of the US labor movement lost sight of the reality that gains could be lost. The people who understood the difference and would have fought for it had been systematically eliminated.

            •  The UAW, in its early days, had a couple of wings. (4+ / 0-)

              There were the CP folks, the Socialists like the Reuthers and people who could have fit well within the AFL.

              In the days of most effective organizing, the CP-ers and the Socialists were doing the work for the  most part.

              By 1937, the reaction against the movement was growing and the Red-baiting was beginning in earnest.  Reuther stood with the CP people initially, but felt they betrayed him in a battle with the conservatives in the union.  He cut them loose at that point.

              •  The CPUSA always made it policy to try to (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                goinsouth, NoMoreLies

                take credit for the work of the entire Left, from Socialist to Anarcho-Syndicalist.

                They actually accomplished almost nothing, but the writing of a false narrative.

                Will the revolution be easier if we HR each other a lot?

                by JesseCW on Sun Mar 13, 2011 at 06:26:18 PM PDT

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                •  True enough. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  NY brit expat

                  But there was a major change in policy coming out of Moscow in the mid-30s.  That's part of what caused the blow-up with Reuther, because while he was backing the CP-ers, they were cutting his throat, making a deal with the conservatives because of the Popular Front.

                  Similar situation in Spain.  Orwell attributes it to Stalin's need to be pals with the western Capitalist democracies as potential allies against Hitler.

                •  that is simply fallacious ... this are many (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Richard Lyon

                  things to criticise them for; but to deny their contributions in the union movement is simply a re-writing of history. Integration of the trade union movement (go back to the brotherhood of sleeping car porters) was initiated by the CP, many unions of the time refused to allow blacks into unions, the organisation of industrial workers into permanent unions was accomplished by the CP into the CIO. They were not tagging along for the ride which is what you imply; they were a vibrant force at the time.

                  History always repeats itself, the first time as tragedy, and the second time as farce. Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

                  by NY brit expat on Sun Mar 13, 2011 at 07:01:36 PM PDT

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                  •  This would actually make (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    NY brit expat

                    very interesting material for one or more diaries. I have a history of the CIO that I've never gotten around to reading. That might might get me off the dime.

                    •  really an excellent book on the history (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      goinsouth

                      of the american labour movement is UE's "Labor's Untold Story." It is one of my favourites, there is always Foner's series on the history of the labour movement.  There is so much information about american labour history that seems to have been lost (or deliberately displaced) in the fog of history.  

                      History always repeats itself, the first time as tragedy, and the second time as farce. Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

                      by NY brit expat on Sun Mar 13, 2011 at 07:26:54 PM PDT

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                      •  It was deliberately written (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        NY brit expat

                        by the revisionists. I have read some very doctoral dish's that were done on California labor history in the past 25 years or so.

                         

                        •  consider writing about this or perhaps give me a (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Richard Lyon

                          link, I always love to learn different perspectives :)

                          History always repeats itself, the first time as tragedy, and the second time as farce. Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

                          by NY brit expat on Sun Mar 13, 2011 at 09:17:14 PM PDT

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