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Yesterday's palladium, today's pestilence

By Owen Paine on Friday March 13, 2009 11:50 PM

From the next world, old champions mobilize to view the contest ahead: Mr Republican, Bob Taft, and Daddy Wagner himself.

Today the Employee Free Choice Act was introduced once again in the House.

After a swan ride through that body, it occurs to me there might be a mighty comical Senatorial grapple over this too-long-dangling measure.

We might just get treated to the finest of all great American football games. Just imagine -- 100 senators present in the flesh, feeling very imposed-upon about having to show up, een the pheesical sense, in that august chamber.

Here's a recent shot fired from the roof of one of our hallowed halls of personal liberty, the famed Heritage Foundation:

"Unions now want the government to take away workers' right to vote -- after only a card-check campaign. The Employee Free Choice Act would do this and more."
Translation of subtext:

"Hey bub, are not privacy and choice the very Mutt and Jeff of our nation's liberty? We must guaad with our blood and our treasure the sacred individual personal private right to choose. The choice to unite or not to unite is a choice each solitary soul's secret unrevealed conscience must make. The ballot box is a confessional, without the disadvantage of a sacerdote; a registration of faith and hope in individual stand-alone judgement. I the atom of society must choose, alone, unafraid, unaffected, uninfluenced, individually, privately, secretly -- so we the people can be free."

Nonsense -- right?

Well, actually, when we get down to it, this act turns ugly complex prickled and spiteful on us.

I wonder if the corporate mouthpieces can summon the old Mittelstand pandemonium here, to make the scrap look especially noble?

I mean a defense of our individual freedoms led by that Great Satan -- personal privacy. If that happens -- and why wouldn't it -- watch us all drown in that corporate whore lady Liberty's scat.

Imagine a quagmire like the following: Senator Blowhard from Dixie Incorporated intones:

"My fellow senators, I ask you: what exactly is the foundation of this towering paragon of freedom that is our blessed America? Ah say it is nothing less than... the secret ballot!

"Only this can fairly and squarely transcend the bonds of individual contract. If we are to violate the right of any one honest independent soul to assign his labor for a certain period of time and for a certain portion of pay by an act of hiw own free unencumbered will -- then we must be sure it's violated to a higher authority and a higher right.

"Such independent consent can be transcended through one process only: each involved soul must cast one informed carefully considered vote, and these must be cast in secret, until the process establishes a clear and stable majority of those concerned.

"In the last analysis, the crux of the crux is an absolutely positively REQUIRED commitment to that most beloved of our republican institutions, here writ small, perhaps, but indispensable nonetheless....

"We must have the secret ballot or no unions at all!

As John Locke, fairy godfather of us all, once said: 'If we are to be free men there can be no compromising our individual liberty.'"

That's where the bastards will make their Little Big Horn stand: on the toilet stall for depositing personal preference, the utterly sacrosanct, but unsacerdoted, completely private, coyly curtained confessional, the voting booth.

Now add in to this reckless scramble some pwog piecard fancy-boy, hurling the left's hammer of Thor:

"Senator, you are a fool, and a hog slopped at the corporate trough. You wouldn't know democracy from an ice cream soda. The ground for a free and open competition for support between union and company cannot exist under the present conditions inside our job sites.

"Freedom, liberty, the very civil rights of humanity, American style, end completely and absolutely at the entrance to any one of our unorganized places of business.

"O I hear it now -- the song of the equilibrist:

'Given enough time, any open honest free-wheeling campaign to organize, under any possible set of rules and refs will lead to fair and balanced results.'

"But under the realities of job time today, if it culminates in a secret balloting process, after the company wall guards have had the time to lower the boom...."

"'One law' for the lion and the lamb is tyranny!"

Nothing will come about here in one great leap.

This act, when and if it finally reaches senate floor consideration, is headed at best for a crucial set of amendments.

Union piecards: listen to me now, believe me later. Your watchword oughta be "speed" Whatever you squeeze out, make it all happen fast

Secret ballot must stand? Okay. But then a vote must follow the filing in less than a work week, and the contract must follow the vote in less than a month.

On a broader note:

If job force America needs to conduct a self-liberation movement -- and it sure as shootin' does -- what actually is the clincher here among the proposed reforms in this act? Do any amount to anything?

I think so; but then I'm a semi-syndicalist deviant.

At any rate: what minimum collection of reforms would amount to progress toward the goal of employee liberation? What reforms will aid, and what subvert, the collective will of the job-site majority?

The nub here, the line where class divides will surface fast and furious, will be over this poser:

Does group influence need legislative nullification?

Comments (9)


This field is full of landmines. Now that SEIU has shown itself to be actually an enemy of labor, it's hard to know what workplace laws will produce both nominal democracy and meaningful representation for workers.

A better approach might be reform of corporate chartering rules, giving labor (and local communities) something like veto power on managerial decisions.


The first Presidential election I remember was the nominating fight between Eisenhower and Taft. My New Deal Democrat parents were passionately for Ike, and vilified the isolationist Taft as a reactionary.

I see now they were merely early recruits to the way of empire -- liberal interventionist style.

DayAM, Paine, that was some wicked powerful shit, there. Too bad Mel Blanc isn't here to lay down the Dixie Blowhard's part in that great old Foghorn Leghorn voice.

I can still remember being in a really awkward -- if only for a bit -- spot back in '00 when, despite my being so pro-worker that I'm practically a Wobblie, being totally down with the idea that workers' wages shouldn't automatically be hit up by the unions so they can do whatever they want with it without the workers' consent. (I forget the name of the bill they were pissfighting over, "paycheck protection" or something like that) I remember thinking fuck no, man; I would not want my union automatically scraping dues off the top of my paycheck so they can donate it to those goddamn' Donkeycratic Party losers!

As much as I can support EFCA in principle, the fact that SEIU is tub-thumping so loudly for it -- you should see how many goddamn' repeat posts from them we have to scrape off of the DC IMC newswire -- gives it a slight whiff of eau de rodent. Guilt by association, I know, but I can't help it. (I guess the half-dozen posts a day, loaded with huge .jpgs and badly-formatted html, does have something to do with it)

LA Confidential Pantload:

If this passes, I'm gonna send monthly donations to the IWW. If it doesn't pass, who's going to call for a general strike? How many pwoggie-doggies do you think would go for that?

Peter Ward:

David Bacon makes a good case in favor of EFCA --


Speaking of individuals and privacy, why not say that any current employee who files an application to the NLRB can trigger a union election, and that such filings are to be kept anonymous from the employer by the NLRB?

Meanwhile, if the AFLack-CIO decided to spend it lobbying budget for 2010 on educating the public about unions, they wouldn't be stuck in this typical position of praying to pull off a compromise of a compromise.


i think the trigger for an election oughta be a strike
it isn't because of job loss fears

basic ground conditions at inside the job sites
require liberation on multiple fronts

and some highly visible martyrs
ala the lunch counter movement
in the early 60's

jail time firings occupations etc

the drama of the class struggle
and of course ....local victories

unions need to get the stories into the big media like the belt bombers have

the national job liberation movement
needs 'jobikazees '
as my pal
brother herb n sorrel sez

Son of Uncle Sam:

Does group influence need legislative nullification?

A good question indeed. When confronted w/ these sorts I apply thoughts completely unrelated. Try to picture these images:(flash to) A rat eating a rats carcas- Eddie Teller's eye brows from front view to side, note the girth- a pile of manakin limbs
I mix these thoughts on liquify and....

Ans:No, job force America needs to conduct a self-liberation movement w/ out those DC limp dicks. Two words for you Major "Irish Flu" Paine: George Meany


welcome back corporal

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