Archive for Michigan Union Busting

Is Class Warfare Real?

Posted in Playthell on politics with tags , , on December 11, 2012 by playthell
Enraged Unionists in Ohio

 You bet yo Ass it’s Real!

President Obama spoke out strongly and decisively against the union busting efforts of the Republican controlled legislature and Governor to turn Michigan into a so-called “Right-to Work” state.  President Obama told a group of auto-workers, who are the main target of the scurrilous legislation, what they really mean is “the right to work for less!”  However as I write their efforts have become a fait accompli, because the legislation has passed both houses of the state legislature and the Governor promptly signed it into law.

Governor Snyder’s declaration of his intention to sign this bill prompted a scathing editorial in the Detroit Free Press.  Titled “A Failure of Leadership,” it  exposed the governor as a liar and a fraud and accused him of betraying the voters of Michigan.  Reporters who have looked closely at the matter were puzzled, because just a few weeks ago, before the presidential election, he said that right-to-work laws are divisive and it wouldn’t be good for Michigan.

Labor leaders in Michigan says that the held several meetings with him and he had always promised that he wouldn’t support any such initiatives.  They are accusing him of shameless duplicity.  Upon further investigation we find the usual suspects financing and directing this assault on organized labor.  Bankrolle by anti-labor plutocrats like the Koch brothers, and directed by right-wing think Tanks such as ALEC, which generates policy options for the elected officials whose campaigns they finance.

It is warfare when the richest people in our society invests hundreds of millions of dollars promoting policies that will reduce the low share of income taxes they presently pay while reducing the meager, life sustaining, entitlements provided by the federal government! And it is warfare when they pass laws ending government regulation of their business activities while destroying the right to collective bargaining which is the source of union power.

The high-handed way in which this is legislation was passed in Michigan leaves no doubt as to their intentions.   There were no public hearings on this landmark legislation that will change the relations between capital and labor in that highly unionized state, and drastically reduce the life’s chances of the working and middle class…a distinction that increasingly has no real difference in the Darwinian struggle for bread in America – especially for public sector workers.

However the diminishing of worker’s power to bargain is only part of the reason why the plutocrats and their shills in the Republican Party want the destruction of unions.  The broader objective is to destroy the major sources of Democratic Party support.  With the Supreme Court ruling in the Citizens United Decision the Republicans have a source of unlimited financial support, and while the unions cannot match the financial largess of the Plutocrats, they can deploy legions of organizers and foot soldiers to work for their candidates of choice.  And this proved decisive.

Hence it is not just the rights and bargaining power of union members that is at stake if the Republicans are allowed to bust up the great unions; the democratic process itself is at stake. The choice is between democracy or plutocracy; whether we shall be a nation governed by the super-rich minority or the broad majority of Americans.

Viewed from this perspective, the anti-union movement is fundamentally anti-democratic; its ultimate purpose is to make the right to vote meaningless for millions of working class Americans.  When coupled with the loss of collective bargaining rights, which has been the engine that drove the unprecedented levels of wages and benefits the US working class achieved in the twentieth century, the destruction of unions is in every meaningful respect a war against the working class by the corporate plutocracy.  Hence the passage of “Right-to Work” laws, which will dissolve the power of unions is a vicious assault on workers.

It doesn’t matter that they are not using guns to achieve their objectives – although the possibility of force remains an ever present possibility once these right-wing reactionaries are elected to office and gain control of the police powers of the state.  As Mao Tse Tung, one of history’s greatest  military theorist, observed: “War is politics with bloodshed; politics is war without bloodshed!”

Workers are in the Streets

 Workers proteat

” Power yields nothing without demand!”
(Double Click on link to see documentary on Koch Brothers)
Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem, New York
December 11. 2012