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Reich writes: "The rise and fall of the American working class exactly parallels the rise and fall of American labor unions. Here are 5 reasons why Trump's victory could be the death knell for labor unions, and therefore the end of the working class."

Robert Reich. (photo: Steve Russell/Getty)
Robert Reich. (photo: Steve Russell/Getty)


The Rise and Fall of the American Working Class Exactly Parallels the Rise and Fall of Labor Unions

By Robert Reich, Robert Reich's Facebook Page

25 November 16

 

he rise and fall of the American working class exactly parallels the rise and fall of American labor unions. Here are 5 reasons why Trump’s victory could be the death knell for labor unions, and therefore the end of the working class:

1. Since the 2010 elections, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin -- all previously strong union states -- have all effectively eliminated collective bargaining rights for public employees. Under Trump and Republican governors and legislatures, more states will follow.

2. These three states have also subjected private-sector unions to “right-to-work” laws that enable workers to benefit from union contracts and representation without having to pay their union any dues – a back-door way to kill off unions. With Trump as president, and Republicans in charge of more states, expect more such laws.

3. Trump will almost certainly repeal Obama’s Labor Department rules extending eligibility for overtime pay to millions of salaried employees making more than $22,000 a year, and compelling federal contractors to offer paid sick leave to their employees.

4. Ditto for National Labor Relations Board rulings that employers cannot indefinitely delay union representation elections once their employees have petitioned for a vote, and that university graduate students who work as teaching and research assistants are employees who can elect to unionize, will probably be undone.

5. Once a Trump-appointed conservative wins confirmation to the Supreme Court, the Court is likely to do what it was poised to do before Antonin Scalia’s death -- ruling that public employee unions no longer have the right to collect partial dues payments from the nonmembers they represent in disputes with employers and for whom they bargain contracts. This will help destroy public employee unions.

Trump campaigned as the savior of the American working class. He will be its final undoing.

What do you think?

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Comments   

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+17 # librarian1984 2016-11-25 16:13
I think this is fishing for a cause. These problems have been here for decades but now it's a problem?

As we saw in the primaries, union leadership backed Clinton while the members went for Sanders. Perhaps they remembered how Bill Clinton shoved NAFTA through over the objections of its greatest opponents, the unions, and the way it hurt American labor. And all the subsequent free trade agreements.

No candidates but Sanders and Stein stood with unions.
 
 
+29 # Texas Aggie 2016-11-25 22:42
Actually by and large the members went for Drumpf, not Sanders. And this problem may have been here since St. Ronnie, but now it has become even more acute. Just because a disease is chronic doesn't mean that you don't address it. Belittling Dr. Reich's message isn't very mature or thoughtful.
 
 
+23 # lfeuille 2016-11-26 00:47
Not true. The members rebelled against their leadership who endorse Clinton without consulting them and voted for Trump in protest. Real News Network had interviews with representatives from CWA and the Nurses Union which both endorsed Sanders. They are in contact with many workers in other union who were just livid that their unions didn't support Sanders who they saw as the most pro labor candidate since FDR. They just wouldn't vote for Clinton after that.
 
 
-5 # RLF 2016-11-26 08:01
Unions have gotten too large and have assets to protect. There is no way they can do protests that go against a court order...which always favors business. they need to get small and lean again so that they can shut things down in spite of the government doing what it always does...protect big business. We need change in our unions the same way we need change in the democratic party.
 
 
+28 # DogSoldier 2016-11-26 11:03
Quoting RLF:
Unions have gotten too large and have assets to protect. There is no way they can do protests that go against a court order...which always favors business. they need to get small and lean again so that they can shut things down in spite of the government doing what it always does...protect big business. We need change in our unions the same way we need change in the democratic party.


What unions? They have been systematically destroyed since Reagan's Days. They have been attacked as corrupt (some were), controlled by organized crime (some were), for collecting dues amid claims that they were ineffective, state 'right to work' laws which deprived them of a financial base.

Unions have been under attack since they were first brought to America. Capitalists decried them as socialistic, union leaders were murdered, and the military brought in to intimidate strikers.

As much as I hate to admit it, Reich is correct. Without unions Americans have suffered low pay and loss of benefits. As usual Americans are too stupid to recognize propaganda from reality, and succumbed to capital's lies. They ended up cutting off their nose to spite their face.
 
 
+15 # DogSoldier 2016-11-26 11:14
It's quite clear that the 'New Deal' is dead, and the gilded age II is upon us. Wages will continue to stagnate, and the wealth will continue to rise. I even saw that one of orange Mussolini's henchmen is calling for the return of child labor. Why should slaves be educated? Put them to work, and let them learn about hard labor.

American's must be the stupidest, most ignorant fools on earth. They get what they deserve.
 
 
0 # RLF 2016-11-28 07:42
I'm not saying unions are bad...I'm saying the NLRB rules have changed in the last 30 years and have gotten much more hostile to unions and so for them to be effective again they need to be able to defy the courts and the big unions can't. We need stronger unions and if we learned anything from this election...they are too cosy with a Democratic party that has by and large sold them down the river for 40+ years.
 
 
+2 # economagic 2016-11-26 11:53
Quoting RLF:
Unions have gotten too large and have assets to protect. . . . We need change in our unions the same way we need change in the democratic party.

There is some truth in that, and there is a good chance that most progressive organizing will have to fly under the radar in the not-too-distant future.

In 1973 E. F. Schumacher published "Small Is Beautiful: Economics AS IF People Mattered" (emphasis added, because "mainstream" economics literally writes human beings out of the equations, individually and collectively). It has become the cornerstone of the "New Economics." NOT to be confused with the so-called "New Economy" of the 1990s that was a premise of neoliberalism that is neither new nor liberal.

Schumacher was building on the little-known work of his mentor, Leopold Kohr, remembered today (just barely) for his 1957 book, "Breakdown Of Nations," expounding upon the idea that small nations are more resilient and less oriented toward conquest than large ones. The specifics are debatable and the book is so turgid as to be almost unreadable. But there is good reason -- beyond the scope of a 1500-character comment -- to believe that he was onto something big (pun intended).
 
 
0 # librarian1984 2016-11-26 08:53
Actually no, union members went for Sanders first and then, to the surprise of the DP, many went went for Trump. I heard a CSPAN caller say her large family all belonged to various unions and they all (but one) voted for Trump. The caller said they preferred him because it meant less regulation and renegotiating the free trade agreements. Others are convinced he will bring jobs.

The Democrats are watching their base crumble because they no longer support the working class or the poor (of any ethnicity), including unions. What has the party/Obama done to help the unions under attack by the GOP?

Sec. Reich has done a disservice to the party, and progressives, with his weekly parade of lame posts. Now he's moved on to become a party shill. He should be addressing these silly articles to the party, not at US.

Like this is some revelation - the experience of the working class parallels the rise and fall of unions. Well duh. This is a paper thin attempt to stay relevant directed at the wrong people.

We have a president-elect Trump because people like Sec. Reich wouldn't look at election fraud during the primaries. Instead he/they focussed on idiotic issues like this. Two old facts and three guesses is not a substantive contribution to the table. There are no solutions offered, no new fact delivered. This is a pos imo.

So yeah, do forgive me if I leave my maturity and thoughtfulness on hold. It 'parallel's my anger and frustration.
 
 
-1 # economagic 2016-11-26 11:56
"He should be addressing these silly articles to the party, not at US."

Agreed. My reaction to the title was "redundant." We all know that.
 
 
+10 # jdd 2016-11-26 08:23
Does the Democratic Party have a death wish? Reich's argument does not support the article's title. Labor unions, as a percentage of the workforce, have been in decline since 1955, when they and manufacturing represented 35% of the economy, compared with 10% today. While there have been organizing efforts in the government and service sector, it has not been enough to offset the collapse of high-wage manufacturing. Moreover, as many leading Democrats have noted, it is blue collar workers who have been abandoned by the Democratic Party beginning around 1972, substituting identity politics (political correctness) for its concerns. This has been an unabated trend, as even the mass defection to Ronald Reagan failed to sound an alarm. Obama,has been a disaster for blue-collar workers, finding trillions for bank bailouts, but nothing to revive the physical economy. The middle class has continued to shrink, now less than a majority. When Gov. Walker of Wisconsin declared war on the teachers' union, calls for help were ignored as Obama refused to even step foot in that state. While Bernie's popularity soared as he walked the picket line and denounced Wall Street, Clinton gave her secret speeches for hundreds of thousands and demeaned white workers, Never raising economic demands to the fore, she spoke about confronting Russia in Syria, raising not employment or wages but the likelihood of WWIII.
 
 
+24 # DongiC 2016-11-25 20:31
It's just sad that unions cannot counter balance the profit motive. Corporations have come to dominate the Republican Party which always seems to do the bidding of the rich and powerful. Not that the Democratic Party is the champion of labor that it once was. I am afraid the working classes are in for a prolonged period of suffering. Unless some catastrophic event happens like a major depression or world war or massive climate change, labor will proably just eke it out.
 
 
+18 # Texas Aggie 2016-11-25 22:47
Unions can balance the profit motive, but only if the rules are set up allowing them to do so. Since the time of St. Ronald of Alzheimer's, the government at all levels has been doing everything possible to undercut the ability of unions to protect the workers.

It would be nice if only the people who voted for Drumpf were affected by his policies, but unfortunately it doesn't work that way. Now when workers really get shafted, the ones who realized that unions were their only hope of leveling the playing field can point out to their co-workers who voted for Drumpf what it means to have unions.
 
 
+9 # Jaax88 2016-11-25 23:56
It seems the union movement no long has committed, passionate and outspoken leaders.
Maybe it is the nature of things. Labor bosses seem more executive types, who no longer rock boats, in it for the pay and benefits, just keeping what is remaining of their unions a float.
 
 
+8 # lfeuille 2016-11-26 00:49
Yes, by an large the leadership has sold out to the neoliberal elites.
 
 
+4 # librarian1984 2016-11-26 09:10
Corrupt, self-interested union leadership is nothing new. It has been the bane of unions almost since their inception and it continues. It's why the leadership endorsed Clinton and the membership went for Sanders and then Trump.

It's great to be philosophical about it all, but more immediately there has been a concerted effort by GOP governors to break what's left of the unions.

What has Obama done to help them? What has the DP done? All the handwringing doesn't help, and Reich is not offering any solutions.
 
 
+3 # economagic 2016-11-26 12:04
To some extent that old corrupt leadership of gigantic unions has withered with the institutions themselves. Some of the organizing occurring today, even within relatively large unions like SEIU, looks more like that of the 1930s. I wonder why.

For an example of a worldwide union that is still true to its principles and possibly on the move again is the IWW. Read about their Labor History Calendars here:

https://iwwhlf.org/labor-history-calendar/

And order the 2017 edition here: https://joehill100.com/shop/

Professor Reich: Are you listening? (Rhetorical question.)
 
 
-1 # Robbee 2016-11-27 14:53
Quoting librarian1984:
union membership went for Sanders and then Trump

- the tail doesn't wag the dog!

i've followed elections and public policy carefully

ever since raygun and the big bad black male criminal - willie horton scare ads and rhetoric - working class whites have voted for repugs - they are the clear majority of the repug base

bernie's strength was educated youth - during sanders' campaign robbee NOTICED NO straying of working class whites from repugs to bernie - of repugs to re-register as dems for primaries - all rump had to do was ride the wave of working class whites who hate civil rights and prefer repugs

translating what robbee saw to what lib says -

subgroup union members were/are profoundly rump fans - just as all working class whites go profoundly rump - the tail doesn't wag the dog

in other words union membership D I D N O T G O for Sanders and then Trump - bernie was never a way-station of the rump vote - to fail to understand this simple truth that the majority base of repub politics is motivated by apart-hate is to miss what drives elections in amerika - sorry lib - just trying to get what you so often repeat to make sense to me

those folks who tell you they voted bernie on their way to rump? = are they pretty much all young? - pretty much not working class?

working class whites - men and - to a lesser degree - women - who voted overwhelmingly for rump - bernie's message did not reach them! - sorry bernie!
 
 
+4 # GoGreen! 2016-11-26 11:36
We need strong unions, but we also need real representation in our government. Elected officials at all levels of our government make rules to help or hinder unions. The corruption of our elected officials at all levels is due to their need for funds to run for office. They are VERY susceptible to bribes.

We need to have public finance of political campaigns and demand that our 'representative s' listen what the people want. We have to stop voting by political parties. A lot of us just vote for the party of our parents and never express any concern (or have any knowledge) on how they vote. A citizen has more to do than vote every year or so. Look what that has gotten us! The working class is devolving into the serf class who can only say, "Yes sir, boss".
 
 
-12 # James 2016-11-25 23:41
Instead of just commenting on the poor stats of our Unions, why don't you get out of your comfortable university position and do something Mr.Reich and do something about it?

Dr. Richard Burke
jamesburke61@gmail.com
 
 
+8 # MidwestDick 2016-11-26 00:13
Mr. R is a professional commentator. He's doing the most and the best he can.
 
 
+2 # librarian1984 2016-11-26 09:12
Exactly!

And no, Midwest, it might be the best he is WILLING to do, but this is not the best he COULD do.
 
 
+2 # xenonman 2016-11-26 11:02
He did NOTHING for workers when he was in Clinton's Cabinet. Why expect more from him now?
 
 
-1 # Robbee 2016-11-27 21:35
Quoting librarian1984:
Exactly! And no, Midwest, it might be the best he is WILLING to do, but this is not the best he COULD do.

- what the hell do you know? lib? dick? or jamesburke61@gmail.com? - if you know that reich is no more than a cushy? ivy tower elite? how can you know so little about another human being? and criticize him for it?
 
 
+2 # xenonman 2016-11-26 11:01
Like most politicians, Reich has become very brave now that he is no longer in officialdom.
Incidentally, as Clinton's Secretary of Labor, Reich also did virtually nothing for unions and workers!
 
 
+2 # economagic 2016-11-26 12:06
Why is this comment (by Dr. Richard Burke, jamesburke61@gmail.com) getting down-voted, when the majority of the comments say essentially the same?
 
 
0 # Robbee 2016-11-27 21:38
Quoting economagic:
Why is this comment (by Dr. Richard Burke, jamesburke61@gmail.com) getting down-voted, when the majority of the comments say essentially the same?

- thanks for the reminder! - i just voted Dr. Richard Burke down!
 
 
+6 # dyannne 2016-11-26 00:28
Agree with all you said, Professor. the right has undermined union for decades and it's tragic. I've always been for unions. The best job, the highest paying job, I ever had was a union job. I'm hoping Rump, the minority elected president - will never take office. I donated to Jill Stein's cause - a recount of three states that will hopefully find enough votes for Clinton to flip those states back to her.
 
 
-3 # Kiwikid 2016-11-26 01:38
The streets will flow with blood
 
 
-4 # skylinefirepest 2016-11-26 10:23
Small business is the backbone of America and therefore American labor. And small businesses don't have labor unions. To put it bluntly most unions suck. They foster lazy attitudes for maximum pay with no regard to the good of the companies they are working against.
 
 
0 # Cassandra2012 2016-11-26 13:24
Quoting skylinefirepest:
Small business is the backbone of America and therefore American labor. And small businesses don't have labor unions. To put it bluntly most unions suck. They foster lazy attitudes for maximum pay with no regard to the good of the companies they are working against.

Oops gave you an up vote by accident meant it to be a down vote... "Lazy" best describes haughty, unknowledgeable administrators that do nothing but delegate separate little jobs to the
'little' people they enjoy lording it over. They reap high paying jobs with lifelong pensions and medical plans , while making sure the people they 'administrate' get e.g., just 10 years of inferior medical plans so that when those people seriously need those medical plans in old age after they retire, they are forced to go on the public dole of Medicare or Medicaid, while the administrators sit pretty in their little old mansions.
 
 
-6 # gentry cooper 2016-11-26 02:22
After what you and Clinton did, no one is listening to you anymore Reich. Well at least I'mean not. And I didn't listen to your nonsense during the campaign either. We told you so. You sold the working class and unions out. It'seems what all moderate conservative Democrats such as yourself do. And you will do it again in the future. People like you just can'take help it. It'seems your nature. Now you are trying to remain relevant so you can make a buck. But irrelevant you are to us real progessives. Just go slink away already.
 
 
+7 # LionMousePudding 2016-11-26 03:13
So because Reich thought it was important to keep Trump out of office, his understanding of union laws and history must be incorrect?

Is that really logical thinking?
 
 
0 # Caliban 2016-11-26 04:14
Excellent question.
 
 
+2 # gentry cooper 2016-11-26 09:34
I didn't say or imply that. My very point is that he is knowledgeable about union, worker history, and labor law. But he and Clinton sold us out when they were in office or had the power to do something really progressive. Same as Obama,ie. Affordable Care Active instead of Single Payer system for all. A CA by the way is not affordable. Again Reich sold us out by supporting the corrupt Clinton even when knew the Primary was stolen from Sanders and Clinton was clearly not our choice. He is going to do it again. All moderate so called centrist Democrats do so. I have yet to see even ONE who has not. It'seems their nature, their way of life. You can do the same foolish thing again by listening to and taking advice from the same people over and over but I and hopefully the vast majority of Americans won't. All you do by doing so is to empower Reich and his ilk by giving him a platform and legitimacy. This is what he is trying to gain again. I think he is a phoney. Supporting the centrist Clinton was no miscalculation on Reich'so part. It is who he is. You are setting progressives up for betrayal and failure again by following his advice and giving him power and a platform.
 
 
+3 # gentry cooper 2016-11-26 10:33
Yes those two Senators, I believe their names are Staten own and Feinstein. Took me a while for the names to come back. They have yet to see a weapons program they won'the fund or the bombing of some black or brown and now even white (Russia possibly) country they won'the support. Destrogen public education via charter schools, both are for it. Destroy local democracy and forcing poor cities (black) to drink poisoned water they support it. They didn't enact laws, not their jurisdiction, but they supported the legislation. Bailouts of banks and all sorts of tax breaks for corporate and financial interests, they are all for it. But no Bailouts for home owners from either of them. Failure to block Roberts and Ali to two of the most conservative justices in recent history, both of them. I could go on. A note here. Is Feinstein from Michigan or California? I believe Staten own is from Michigan. Could be wrong aboutility Feinstein though. But the other Senators from Michigan is probablyno progressive either when it comes to housing, education, healthcare, financial, banking, business, and killing other people (black, brown, and tan) overseas.
 
 
+6 # gentry cooper 2016-11-26 10:36
This spell check stuff gets on my nerves. Put in place it own words, esp. if you use a conjunction. I meant to say Stabenow.
 
 
+3 # economagic 2016-11-26 12:11
Amen! I refuse to use "auto-correct," and enable only the flag, but even then careful proofreading is necessary. A typo that brought it to my attention occurred when I left out the "u" in "would." "Wold" is a word (meaning a wooded area), so no spell-checker will ever flag it! There are many other examples.
 
 
+3 # economagic 2016-11-26 12:14
What is called "centrist" in this country was called "right" or even "far right" in many European countries as recently as 25 years ago.
 
 
+2 # librarian1984 2016-11-26 09:19
gentry, It is nice to know there are sane realists still around. The number seems to be dwindling precipitously. I agree with every word you wrote. One hoped the left could unite after Trump's victory but apparently that is not what the left does.

Sorry you're getting down votes.
 
 
-4 # Cassandra2012 2016-11-26 13:32
Quoting librarian1984:
gentry, It is nice to know there are sane realists still around. The number seems to be dwindling precipitously. I agree with every word you wrote. One hoped the left could unite after Trump's victory but apparently that is not what the left does.

Sorry you're getting down votes.



Uh you are part of the left that undermines unity though, aren't you, Librarian? ; always harping on the same things, and never giving an inch towards peace.
 
 
+3 # librarian1984 2016-11-26 15:46
You forget I have memory, cassandra. I've watched you and others disrupt and demoralize anyone who disagreed with you.

Unlike those here and elsewhere who seem genuinely to want to unite, you have resorted to insults and name calling all year long and, for quite a while, your efforts were augmented by paid trolls from the candidate herself. (I dearly hope someone in TPTB noticed that was a losing strategy.)

Please don't pretend you have ever been willing to listen, cassandra, or that you were ever interested in interacting peacefully with anyone. It's obvious that the neoliberals and their supporters have no use for unity. The same attitude saturates the movement from top to bottom, from foreign policy to domestic. It's a take-no-prisone rs, abusive strategy that promises divisiveness going forward.

I do not dismiss your criticism against myself. I am human and have undoubtedly made inconsistent and mistaken comments, though not intentionally. But I also find your criticism hypocritical and disingenuous.
 
 
+1 # economagic 2016-11-26 17:17
And yet she seems to be supportive of unions, demonstrating once again that we all understand these matters in our own idiosyncratic ways. It is precisely this inevitable variation that we must accept and overcome if we are to survive a T-Rump presidency, much less install a "real progressive" in his wake.
 
 
0 # Skyelav 2016-11-27 12:50
Why is gentry Cooper being down voted. He too is saying what we all are which is unions aside basically the oligarchy is only interested in profit margins. ONLY interested in the stocks bottom lines. Notice small business wases don't need unions. Why are we fed crap Reisxh says anyway. All he did is remind us what the Democrats have done for working people. Nothing.

I got a call for money from a DEM organization the other day and I said what?? You want me to find you when you haven't had time to figure out what you did wrong yet? Then I laughed
 
 
-4 # Mahatma 2016-11-26 04:46
Robert, Robert, Robert please stop making such a fool of yourself its embarrassing.

Think back to the hallucination days when you were in power and helping Clinton repeal the Glass Steagall act and paving the way to the 2008 crisis and handing vast power to private banks.

Go soothe Hillery and retreat from public life you are the old order corrupt and crippled.
 
 
-4 # savagem13 2016-11-26 06:01
Everything Mahatma said.
 
 
+8 # agronomo 2016-11-26 07:20
I've worked Union and non-union blue-collar jobs. Every aspect of the Union jobs, wages, job safety, accommodations in camps, etc., was far superior to the treatment I endured on non-union jobs. Let's see how working men and women will fare under the beneficent care of the Billionaire Cabal.
 
 
+4 # Michaeljohn 2016-11-26 09:44
Check out the history or worker owned companies. The current model of capitalism must change.
 
 
0 # Skyelav 2016-11-27 12:56
Quoting Michaeljohn:
Check out the history or worker owned companies. The current model of capitalism must change.

My favorite being Southwest. Their union is SWAPA. Once during a stop I saw the four striper cleaning out seat back pockets.
 
 
+2 # desertprogressive 2016-11-26 11:09
Why does it take unions to protect workers against exploitation and abuse? If we had some real federal laws in place with teeth in them, workers would have some real protection and recourse. Even the pensions of union workers are being looted under the guise of 'bad investments'! Why is any of this legal?!

I'm all for unions if that's the only choice, but most of us don't have the choice of joining unions. The "right to work" laws only make things worse and they should be called what they are "right to be harassed and fired at any time".
 
 
+3 # economagic 2016-11-26 12:26
"Right to work" is as bogus as tinkle-on economics in general. It protects no one's right to work, but makes it much more difficult for unions to function.

As long as businesses (corporations, "Big Capital") are allowed to form organizations to advance their interests (trade associations, lobbying groups (ALEC), Chambers of Commerce, WTO, etc.), unions are the only institution that can stand between Big Capital and the individual worker even in principle. Even then, unions work at a tremendous financial handicap, and worse when their members do not actively root out corruption, needless to say. And who can better speak for the interests of workers than workers themselves?

Democratic government could in principle take on that task. We will know when we have democratic government when it does so.

(Damn, I'm beginning to sound like an old-line Socialist, which I most certainly am not. Worker ownership of the means of production is important, but it is only a means to much broader ends. It is not always even necessary to approach those ends, and can sometimes be a pitfall, as WOEs are often under-capitaliz ed (so vulnerable to general downturns), and are still forced to compete in capitalist markets, which are brutal even to capitalist firms.)
 
 
0 # Cassandra2012 2016-11-26 13:35
Quite! "Right to work" at low or slave wages in dangerous conditions or under sharp harassment.
 
 
+1 # AF38 2016-11-26 12:38
I am ashamed of you Robert Reich. You ought to know enough left economy to know that nothing can "end the working class" in a capitalist system, since every capitalist system has to make a division between owners of the means of production and the producers (workers, working class) who lack that kind of power. Trump may dismantle the current means of organization of this class but he can't eliminate the class itself. No mere liberal word play (e.g. we are all middle class, or the idea that there are rich, middle class, and poor) can eliminate this structural distinction.
 
 
+1 # revhen 2016-11-26 13:20
At the risk of seeming to be suffering terminal pessimism and paranoia the destruction of unions is just part of the authoritarian oligarchic plutocracy (look them words up, folks) whereby we have a very small group of very rich controlling all our lives. Unfortunately, the working class can be destroyed. Robotic replacement of unskilled AND skilled workers is taking place. What work there may be is being shifted overseas for $3/hour workers as over against our $20/hour. Money is far more valuable than people. With the long sought destruction of social security, medicare, real retirements, and affordable healthcare the non-working working class will be wiped out. At best the vast majority of our population will become easily disposed of cogs in a great wheel of wealth creation for the few. This all makes one understand the source of the Russian revolution. I certainly am not advocating a Marxist revolution: Karl Marx may have been a good diagnostician but was a lousy clinician. I propose no solutions. But one must come to know the depth and breadth of the problem.
 
 
+2 # Doc Mary 2016-11-26 17:04
Chickens finally came home to roost.

About 125 years ago, when European labor, allied with intellectuals, created labor parties that put social goals into legislation, intellectuals in the US abandoned labor because of the high number of "non-American races" (like Italians and Irish) in the North; in the south, segregation took care of any empathy with sharecroppers.

We had to do it privately, like everything else. Through unions. Who bargained privately for wages and benefits. Better money if you were skilled; better money if you were a white male.

Unions were effectively killed 30 years ago by St. Ronald Reagan, who obliterated the air traffic controllers for bargaining (with one of their goals being to reduce the load carried by controllers, really a safety issue more than a labor issue).

Until labor goals become a REAL part of a political party - with the Democratic Party being the only real choice there, and not a good one - laborers are screwed. And you're surprised?
 
 
0 # dusty 2016-11-26 19:31
I am glad to see folks beginning to understand that when Ronny (runnynose) Reagan set out to bust PATCO that war had been declared anew. There had been a hiatus after ww2 as the ruling class had to fight communism so the working people won some rounds till 1970. Where the hell were the labor people during the Clinton (billie) years? Why didn't they get new and cleaner pro-union election laws instead of going with the repugnants. The class war is not some nice legislative duel but a lives in the balance conflict and working people must make sure that their children, grand children and other workers children are protected. And workers includes Black, Brown, Red, Yellow and White folks -- we must fight as one people against those who screw us all -- the 1% who demand the government work for them and the hell with the rest of us.
 
 
0 # economagic 2016-11-26 20:09
Much of that is a matter of education. Our present educational system does not even provide a coherent presentation of the "liberal arts" curriculum it claims to. (This is NOT an endorsement of charter schools, much less more radical privatization.) Unions used to do their own education, for this very reason. Having never been so fortunate as to be able to join a union, I don't know exactly why they stopped doing so.
 
 
+1 # Ken Halt 2016-11-27 17:59
When I lived in SF I would often go for coffee at a local shop and along the way passed a union office. In the window was a quote from Abraham Lincoln: (I don't put my rendering in quotation marks because it may not be word for word) The strongest bond of human sympathy, outside of the family relation, should be the one uniting the working people of the world, of all nations, tongues, and kindred. - A. Lincoln
He also wrote: “Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. " - ABRAHAM LINCOLN, annual message, December 3, 1861. I think Abe and Bernie are kindred spirits and would have been natural partners if they had lived in the same era.
 
 
-1 # Robbee 2016-11-27 21:43
Quoting Ken Halt:
When I lived in SF I would often go for coffee at a local shop and along the way passed a union office. In the window was a quote from Abraham Lincoln: (I don't put my rendering in quotation marks because it may not be word for word) The strongest bond of human sympathy, outside of the family relation, should be the one uniting the working people of the world, of all nations, tongues, and kindred. - A. Lincoln
He also wrote: “Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.” I think Abe and Bernie are kindred spirits and would have been natural partners if they had lived in the same era.

- sorry! abe is freaking me out! - was that before or after marx wrote das capital?
 
 
+2 # Ken Halt 2016-11-27 22:42
First edition of "Das Kapital" was 1867 and Abe was assassinated in 1865 so I think it's safe to say that Abe didn't get his ideas from Marx's book. Abe was the real deal, a man of the people, one of the truly great US statesmen. With your curiosity as a goad I authenticated the quotes in question: "None are so deeply interested to resist the present rebellion as the working people. Let them beware of prejudice, working division and hostility among themselves. The most notable feature of a disturbance in your city last summer, was the hanging of some working people by other working people. It should never be so. The strongest bond of human sympathy, outside of the family relation, should be one uniting all working people, of all nations, and tongues, and kindreds. Nor should this lead to a war upon property, or the owners of property. Property is the fruit of labor ---property is desirable --- --- is a positive good in the world. That some should be rich, shows that others may become rich, and hence is just encouragement to industry and enterprise. Let not him who is houseless pull down the house of another; but let him labor diligently and build one for himself, thus by example assuring that his own shall be safe from violence when built."
Reply to New York Workingmen's Democratic Republican Association (21 March 1864), Collected Works, Vol. 7, p. 259-260
 
 
0 # Robbee 2016-11-28 16:54
First Annual Message
December 3, 1861 - Abraham Lincoln

... It continues to develop that the insurrection is largely, if not exclusively, a war upon the first principle of popular government--the rights of the people ...
It is not needed nor fitting here that a general argument should be made in favor of popular institutions, but there is one point, with its connections, not so hackneyed as most others, to which I ask a brief attention. It is the effort to place capital on an equal footing with, if not above, labor in the structure of government. It is assumed that labor is available only in connection with capital; that nobody labors unless somebody else, owning capital, somehow by the use of it induces him to labor. This assumed, it is next considered whether it is best that capital shall hire laborers, and thus induce them to work by their own consent, or buy them and drive them to it without their consent. Having proceeded so far, it is naturally concluded that all laborers are either hired laborers or what we call slaves. And further, it is assumed that whoever is once a hired laborer is fixed in that condition for life.
Now there is no such relation between capital and labor as assumed, nor is there any such thing as a free man being fixed for life in the condition of a hired laborer. Both these assumptions are false, and all inferences from them are groundless.
 
 
0 # Robbee 2016-11-28 16:54
Labor is prior to and independent of capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration. Capital has its rights, which are as worthy of protection as any other rights. Nor is it denied that there is, and probably always will be, a relation between labor and capital producing mutual benefits. The error is in assuming that the whole labor of community exists within that relation. A few men own capital, and that few avoid labor themselves, and with their capital hire or buy another few to labor for them. A large majority belong to neither class--neither work for others nor have others working for them. In most of the Southern States a majority of the whole people of all colors are neither slaves nor masters, while in the Northern a large majority are neither hirers nor hired. Men, with their families--wives , sons, and daughters--work for themselves on their farms, in their houses, and in their shops, taking the whole product to themselves, and asking no favors of capital on the one hand nor of hired laborers or slaves on the other. It is not forgotten that a considerable number of persons mingle their own labor with capital; that is, they labor with their own hands and also buy or hire others to labor for them; but this is only a mixed and not a distinct class. No principle stated is disturbed by the existence of this mixed class.
 
 
0 # Robbee 2016-11-28 16:59
Again, as has already been said, there is not of necessity any such thing as the free hired laborer being fixed to that condition for life. Many independent men everywhere in these States a few years back in their lives were hired laborers. The prudent, penniless beginner in the world labors for wages awhile, saves a surplus with which to buy tools or land for himself, then labors on his own account another while, and at length hires another new beginner to help him. This is the just and generous and prosperous system which opens the way to all, gives hope to all, and consequent energy and progress and improvement of condition to all. No men living are more worthy to be trusted than those who toil up from poverty; none less inclined to take or touch aught which they have not honestly earned. Let them beware of surrendering a political power which they already possess, and which if surrendered will surely be used to close the door of advancement against such as they and to fix new disabilities and burdens upon them till all of liberty shall be lost.
... The struggle of to-day is not altogether for to-day; it is for a vast future also. With a reliance on Providence all the more firm and earnest, let us proceed in the great task which events have devolved upon us.
 
 
0 # RadicalLeft 2016-11-29 00:24
The question seems to be: Which boat is not sinking now? Bernie's still anchored on the dem-olition site. Gotta pull him out of that marsh, build up an organization on his raft, and drive it hard, folks.
Good to keep an eye open to what's happening and bark really loud, maybe we manage to wake up a few dummies. No chance to stop the deluge though. Not religious, but Noah's ark was a good idea.
 

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