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The hinge of fate

By Owen Paine on Sunday February 20, 2011 06:08 PM

The Repugs sure can come on strong, eh? Looks like they hope to criminalize public unionism in our time, with one big state-by-state wave of prohibitive legislation.

Musical question: can the 7 and 7 gang push back hard enough?

What's that, you say? The 7 and 7 gang, Citizen Paine?

You know: the public sector unions, and their long-in-the-wilting private sector brothers and sisters, now roughly of similar size at 7 million souls each under dues-paying organization.

Unfortunately, the movement today may finally be small enough to drown, and I say that even after digesting all the lovely splashing and thrashing around we see now in Wisconsin.

One thinks of the Egyptian flu; but seems maybe this is more like it -- the last gasp of Brit blue-collar fribbulating, "the winter of discontent" in 78-79.

Unions took a horrible beating at the polls that spring. Seems the public majority -- like here in 1946 -- was revulsed, not inspired, by the fantail of the class struggle.

Soooo... can some sort of global Zeitgeist, out and about the planet now, quite contrary to '79, draw Clio's class power needle to the left this time round? I mean right here in River City, so we don't get an American Maggie T. in '12?

My longtime pal and labor gadfly, Herb N Sorrel III remains sanguine:

"Paine, you puggy doom pimp, this ain't the 70's all over again. This time we got the horsepower to make the climb. This time we'll swing the innocent public behind us. Mark my words!"

Damn, I hope he's right.

Comments (32)

They should be called Onions not Unions because the closer you look at them, the more layers of corruption you see. Guess the mob money laundering and management buddy-buddy business is okay as long as there's "organization," huh?

(that's a rhetorical jab, not a personal one)

Collective bargaining / rights advocacy, GOOD.

Mob money laundering, BAD.

Mgt buddy-buddy, BAD.

So if a union "revolt" isn't actually advancing the mob's or the mgt's interests, that's perfect. However....


Kind of a badly-timed observation, CFO, if I may say so. At the moment, the folks in question are fighting the good fight, no?

Right now, regional distinctions matter. In Boston, on the Big Dig, the unions were mobbed up like nobody's business. An hour north, they're so withered and shrunken the Democrats don't even have to pay them lip service.

It's in places where large scale whole town industries and nineteenth century state infrastructure still persist that they maintain a foothold as honest worker associations - because they're still fighting rearguards against governments which don't have the tax base or population numbers to update to the seaboard model.

As the states start to shrivel under relentless budget and capital assaults, and the big regional urban enclaves (Chicago, San Diego-Los Angeles, Dallas-Houston corridor, Atlanta, Las Vegas, Boston-New York-Philadelphia, etc) come to dominate the next century, unions will have an opportunity to re-organize for a new fight against a more nakedly aggressive, less meliorist, milice-protected adversary.

But, they will (I think) have to abandon both their business friendly hierarchies and their trade bound narrowness of focus. The fight against capital has to take into account the frightening transformation of rent - and take on not only the more recognizable adversaries in transnational conglomerates, but also land, housing, food, health and distribution organization.

Or something like that...

Fr Smith,

It seemed to me our esteemed Pope has been voicing caution regarding the various uprisings around the ME. I wondered how similar cautious notes would sit with The Papal One. Your response above would easily be applicable to Egypt in response to the Pope's dim view of things there, wouldn't it?

What I'm doing most of all is being skeptical, which is not out of the ordinary for me. I've never had much use for unions, my encounters with them have been negative. They always seem to be doing something other than what they appear. Your mileage may vary.


"on the Big Dig, the unions were mobbed up like nobody's business"

sources please

the prevailing wage fed
artisan construction trades are a sphere unto themselves

the truckers and big rig operators

the two nations over lay strikes me as
of no obvious relevance
just a reworking of old hick ville
main street and farm house prejudice
agin the big fast oily immigrant and catholic city crowds

however if one looks at the area of liberty land
attacked first by
the GOPers its the venerable rust belt states
of the mid west
wisconsin ohio indiana

a regional battle ground worth the fuss
traditionally as union as dixie is yellow leg


"voicing caution "?

hardly sir ..hardly

"The kings of Europe would dare challenge us? We throw them the head of a king!"

"Pour les vaincre, messieurs, il nous faut de l'audace, encore de l'audace, et toujours de l'audace et la Patrie sera sauvée!"

why i pray for audacity

recent events in Benghazi fill
my TINY pea pickin heart
with joy to the world


I cannot translate most of your haiku into regular language, but for even one recent example of Big Dig mobbing, here:


I dated a girl in the early nineties whose whole family was mobbed (including her cop and prison guard brother) - and we routinely visited the Italian American clubs in Saugus, etc - where her father and his brother ran a construction company that secured contracts (union, yes - all of them) with the help of mobbed up pols. They siphoned perhaps millions of dollars through the unions.

They made money hand over fist using the unions not only as a bargaining chip, but as sometimes completely owned subsidiaries of the mob.

And if you seriously want to argue that Boston unions (right up to and including the fire and patrolmens' associations - these guys all had cousins who were cops and there were always cops at dinner) weren't mobbed up, you perhaps have only theoretical experience of Boston's mob and union environments.

"sources please"

That's a request I'd make of every single assertion by The Pope, especially those written in cryptomeme.

We don't even know where The Pope lives or what he does, other than post cryptograms here.

On the other hand, a reader of Jack's blog will gather facts about his location and past.

On which background I find doubting his word on a Boston MA project a bit ...well... haughty.

...not unlike doubting Oxtrot's word on the world of insurance, on alpine skiing, or on mountain bike riding.


uh... it's been mentioned many times that op lives in Boston

Which is to say: you may feel free to doubt Oxtrot's word on ANYthing, but in those three realms, you definitely do so to your own disadvantage.

I remain unconvinced that The Pope has any expertise in anything but cryptographic haiku and condescension, which makes me think he is a PhD in English Lit teaching at Mt Holyoke or the like.

Or is Al Cocky, he of the burning penis and mistaken perspective.


The only thing that's really unfortunate about this is that the battle is centered on public unions. I guess that when you're on the defensive you don't really get to choose where you fight... but still.

FB, your writing is no more clear than that of the Pope, and your tendency to think everything is microeconomic is just as useless to me.




if public sector unions champion a new transfer system, does anyone survive the ensuing paranoia epidemic? charlton heston might come back from the dead to star in the movie version....

Let's make a list of things that Oxflop finds useless to his marvelous self, shall we?

Karl Marx
Noam Chomsky

Ron Paul -- not! http://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=28495039&postID=7097653006097846306

That hand has been tipped...

Meanwhile, one wonders how the AFL-ackers imagine they can continue to sell booty to the DP and avoid getting a Thatcher in 2012.

I have no use for the Pauls, but giving them a favorable hearing doesn't mean one is a reactionary.


It's been a long, long time since Farm-Labor had any clout. And even then, it sacrificed its revolutionary appeal for normalization within the political system.


FWIW: a haiku is a Japanese poetic form of 17 syllables in three lines. OP doesn't write haikus, but something like Joycean prose in a free verse format. Indirection, ambiguity, and punning are a big part of OP's style, totally suitable for the post modern subject matter we address here, the interaction of flawed reason with ungraspable, irrational history.

Gee, Crow, it's pretty funny to see you kow-towing to save your comrade in moronitude.

What, other than your own personal effort to save your own bacon, makes you argue that Ron Paul isn't a reactionary? Like everything you've ever said here, it's unexplained and unexplainable. Oxflop is a moron punk ubertroll.

Meanwhile, what you're trying to say about the fate of a political party that was based on the job-id of "farmer" is even more mysterious than that.


I know what actual haiku is.


I guess I must repeat, with emphasis this time:

"I have no use for the Pauls, **but giving them a favorable hearing doesn't mean one is a reactionary.**"

This makes no comment about the Pauls themselves. It means that people who give one of the Pauls a favorable hearing aren't necessarily reactionaries.

As for "saving bacon," I've no clue what you're sniping about. Good luck with that.

Crow, one might think you're nearing a breakthrough, given that you're not trying to change the subject or accuse me of misquoting you.

In any event, you're saying that "giving a favorable hearing to" Ron Paul is NOT reactionary.

Fair enough.

Meanwhile, do you concur with Oxflop's moronic conventional and reactionary aspersions on the very idea of world government? Do tell, Revolutionary.

Phil Anders:

Michael Dawson
you're revolutionary like a pimple is
why do you attack attack attack?
because you're a lonely fool?

Christ, Dawson - you are one hell of a piece of work.


haiku, schmaiku. I'm still trying to figure out who "ringo" is, from smith's valentine's day item? It's that sort of reference that makes OP's stuff such a challenge.


undercover FBI agent a $10,000 bribe to secure a $6 million contract for the Big Dig

that's a joke

the mob nibbled at the edges thru their role in "construction"
mob control

and the corruption involved in the hard hat outfits is secondary and probably efficacious once you get past the white collar phobia

the word corruption doesn't make me exercise the nuclear option

but your lace curtain bull shit does crow bait

dated ??
poor mobsterette
they sound like honest contractors to me

as usual
your anecdotes are hyped up
the confession of a tv watcher
beneath discussion


i only rose to a response because the heckle
of heckle and jeckle
displayed the enormous ignorance
of the usual petty bourgeois
dainty fingered morality
tea time bit players

ringo is the "popularly elected"
iranian hero of mjs


trying to discussion the union movement
with these two old aunties is useless

real anarchists love the mob
like all outlaws thieves and armed defiants


Big Dig probably could have used a few more mobsters. Whole lot better than getting squeezed by these thugs- http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-06-30/bankers-who-broke-big-dig-financing-with-swaps-gone-awry-get-paid-for-fix.html

Sadly, your working-man/made-made axis has been pretty well crushed. Even the above-referenced Cheeseman (and you'll be hard-pressed to find other documented examples) was just looking to sell some loam that fell off a truck- no union pretensions whatsoever.

PA, I think you're mis-perceiving the identity of the attackers around here. Keep your eye on Oxflop McPaul. Even here in this very thread, it's on display. Every time OP says something, Ox and Crow have at him, almost never for on-topic reasons.

Phil Anders:

regular reader and you're not fooling me

Real anarchists love the mob?

Brian M:

I'm hoping to ride with Humungous' gang, myself. The mob are pikers.


Allow for nesting

Md I welcome crow and ox with open arms and mind
I'll gladly wait the day they or either of them
Present an interesting

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