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The Kraken, released at last?

By Owen Paine on Wednesday June 1, 2011 10:05 PM

"Here in the United States, we are glued to our media to keep up with unionized public workers in Wisconsin and other rust belt states... Two recent polls show deep support for union representation in the workplace. Maybe this will be the beginning of a working-class resurgence; maybe unions will look outward and become the standard bearers for those seeking relief from tyranny in the workplace and in their communities; maybe more sectors and areas of the country will be moved to challenge the right-wing public policy that shifts income upward, removes any barrier to capitalist growth, and leaves a devastated world in its wake..."

I've been seriously remiss as usual. Big things may be mobilizing around us. As many suggest, the Madison conjuncture may well be a turning point in job-site class relations, and not just a final spasm of pub-sec unionism.

Gov Walker, urged on by his corporate backers, threw Thor's hammer at the organized public workforce of Wisconsin, and suddenly something far bigger seemed to move, not only there but everywhere. Perhaps a spellbound once-mighty giant buried under the social loam of America, after prolonged stillness, reacted to the bolt.

If so, if that really was the movement of a giant -- did the giant merely toss in its trance, creepily un-fitful 'til now -- or is this, at long last, the first shakes of an awakening?

To shift figures: might the nation's much-abused worker bees suddenly move en masse into the air, to swarm like it's 1937? Might they suddenly all burst into flight, not just a few hives, mind you, but all the hives, the whole damn Yankee apiary nearly all at once taken up into this collective motion, a miraculous mass motion, a spontaneous unordered unforeseen mission to set about themselves and found a new system of job site life in America?

Comments (4)

Not a chance in hell.

Labor is bound to the legislative shenanigan mongering of the two corporate parties.

Even if the whole of labor's official representation and union membership were to "bolt" to the Greens, it would still be bound to a party easily captured and readily astroturfed by the various corporate factors who are, sadly, far more adept at the game than localist ballot box agitators.

When our fellow proles stop allowing themselves to be represented by assclownshitfaces who read from economists and mouth the platitudes of think tanks, and start instead to dust off their sabots and monkey wrenches, maybe, just maybe, you can mutter about a medium sized giant - one with sclerotic veins, rickets and sciatica - waking from its slumber...

I am somewhat less pessimistic than Jack Crow, but I don't see much hope at present. Things probably have to get a lot worse, and in so many ways the "Left" needs to start from scratch in the US, and of course repudiate all or most establishment democrats.

Additionally, I wonder if unions may have to cross national lines to be effective nowadays, in a way that wasn't necessary in 1937. Is it possible to persuade Americans to join new international unions with Europeans, Mexicans, and Chinese workers, etc?



rowdy yates at the henlist


" Sam Gindin, formerly chief economist for the Canadian Auto Workers union and a sharpthinker about both economics and the labor movement, argues that public employees willonly be able to stop a rout by capital if they push hard and militantly for the provision of public services, allying themselves with those who need such services most and fighting for better and morepublic services. I think many public workers would agree or could be convinced to agree. The nationalleaders of their unions, however, might not be capable of leading such a struggle, at least not the wayit has to be led. Too many political alliances would have to be broken; complete breaks would have to bemade with all the foundations now setting the agenda for public schools; and so forth."

Michael Hureaux:

Rosa used to call it pessimism of the intellect and optimism of the will. I don't think there's any other way to move this thing forward other than people learning through long,difficult, and even brutal experience that the old order is completely hidebound and corrupt. But they're not going to have some spontaneous awakening. It's going to be a long, hard, road, and hopefully we'll be pushing back very soon. But neither we or the world have all the time in the world, do we?

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on Wednesday June 1, 2011 10:05 PM.

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