Saturday, February 19, 2011

Good rule of thumb:

Anybody who refers to popularly elected union leaders as 'Bosses' is trying to con you.
"Sarah Palin also weighed in on the matter in a Facebook post on Friday, telling union members that they should break away from leaders.

"You don't have to kowtow to the union bosses who are not looking out for you, but instead are using you," wrote Palin.

"Wisconsin union bosses want union members out in the streets demanding that tax payers foot the bill for unsustainable benefits packages."
It's a transparent attempt to obfuscate that the real union bosses are the union members.

Union executives, Presidents, Council members, Business Agents right down to the level of Shop Stewards are elected by their fellow members, enact the policies their members tell them to and can be overthrown in these things called elections  if those members feel they aren't following the will of the membership.  I was a member of one where that happened.

Yes, like any democratic government including that of the United States itself, criminals or incompetents occasionally rise to positions of power.  The strength of the whole system is reflected in how quickly such figures are identified and removed.  I'd put union governance in general against the governance displayed by someone like Governor Walker coming to power.  Any day.

I agree with Robert Creamer, that the radical right over-reached themselves in Wisconsin last week.  They counted on a lightning fast blitzkrieg attack on their political enemies.  Such a fundamental existential attack on the right of collective bargaining becomes far less likely to succeed thanks to Democratic Senators being willing to take the vital step of denying Walker a quorum to ram through his changes.  With public pressure building and both sides exploring recalls against the opposition's state senators the pressure on Walker's caucus will start to have an effect.  A lot of Republicans in the Wisconsin House are getting calls right now from former supporters telling them in no uncertain terms they weren't elected to gut worker's rights.

Best case scenario: This ends in Wisconsin with a fig leaf of some benefit cuts but the most contentious proposals limiting bargaining rights and other union busting poison pills like dues check off withdrawn.  Governors all over the country look at the angry crowds filling the legislature in Madison and decide there's other fights they'd rather spend their time and energy on.

If Walker and the radical right in Wisconsin succeed though, the ongoing class war against workers in North America enters a new and very dangerous stage.  Unions weren't granted the rights they have out of the goodness of the hearts of government and industry, they fought for them in the streets until government and industry decided organized labour was the safer route than an increasingly radicalized population in a world sliding into revolution on every horizon.

The grand compromise of the modern social contract was a peace treaty.  Generally speaking, tearing up a peace treaty means war.
"If you're going to take away bargaining rights, you leave them with what?  You leave them with what they had in the '20s and '30s, you leave them with the streets."

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