Monday, July 6, 2015
Let's take a page from the glory days of union activism instead
I understand the frustration expressed by this Salon.com article condemning the Democrats on TPP, labor rights in general, as well as income inequality, which of course goes hand in hand with the inequality of outcomes.
Abandoning the Democrats, however, in and of itself, is nowhere near enough. What really needs to happen is a new kind of unionism. An organization of workers not based on a particular industry, or skills commonality, but one where you simply work for a living. And, even more importantly, an organization that isn't focused on narrow workplace issues, or wages, but on the much more fundamental idea that Capitalism itself is no longer viable. Not only because human skill as a commodity is absurd, but because what Capitalism has become is inherently bad for both a healthy Democracy, as well as for healthy people, or a healthy environment.
In this context, the idea of a strike is not to bring a single industry group to the negotiating table, but to make it clear to both the political establishment, as well as the primary holders of capital that the real grit of society will no longer play the money game. That, in point of fact, a completely new economic operating system is required, and nothing short of that will be tolerated.
This will be, of course, organizing on a completely new scale, seeking to stop work across as broad a spectrum of economic life as possible. Something that will cause unprecedented hardship, dislocation and sacrifice. There is just no other way to express it. The only thing that will give this even a remote chance of succeeding is the ability of each and every participant to work with their neighbors to mitigate those various difficulties. Sharing, cooperating and thinking creatively, as well as keeping a balance between what is private property and what ought to be considered in the greater good. Something that has always been a real powder keg in the American psyche.
Talking about it ahead of time. Engaging everyday workers in the dialogue. And trying to work towards a common consensus will be the only way to go. We just have to remember that it can be done. It has been done; every time a big disasters hits, be it tornado's, hurricanes, earth quakes or floods, Americans put property, money and self interest aside and just get down to helping one another get through it. The goal here will be in getting every day Americans to see that where we are now is a disaster of even greater proportions than anything we've ever encountered before. The only difference being that it is happening in a different time frame than usual. If we can do that then there is a chance.