user preferences

New Events

North America / Mexico

no event posted in the last week

The state of the union is …unequal

category north america / mexico | workplace struggles | opinion / analysis author Thursday January 30, 2014 09:14author by Mike Harris - Workers Solidarity Alliance (W.S.A.) Report this post to the editors

Direct action and workplace organization rather than legislation will end inequality

OK, so the “little person” has been fighting against wage theft, low wages, and harsh working and living conditions for years. Sometimes alone and lonely, sometimes collectively and in a self-managed way. For the past year or so, mainstream labor, through various grass-roots and top-down efforts has tried to coordinate the fight against poverty wages. Through a string of events in the fall of 2013, various campaigns engaged in this theme of subterranean pay rates.

Obama has sometimes countered the demands of nominally left-wing critics with an admonition to “make me do it.” As he prepares to deliver his State of the Union address, advance reports indicate that it will contain elements of mainstream labor’s issues. Perhaps the stagecraft, rather then shop floor organization, has acted as a “make me” moment for Obama.

I will not argue that any gains made by poor working class folks are a bad thing. I surely do not subscribe to what, a century ago, was known as the “worse, better” notion: the worse you are, the better the chances are of convincing you to take militant and radical action. A bit more milk for the kids is never a bad thing.

However, I anticipate that with a little Presidential attention, and increasing political action away from the shop floor, a switching of the train tracks will occur, diverting attention from workplace organizing. Not that a lot of effort aimed at building shop floor unionism or shop floor committees has been undertaken to begin with. I predict that even less shop floor-oriented attention and action will occur. The shift towards a different game will be played up by the mainstream. In this new dynamic, institutional players will continue their role, only this time as part of the institutional soft left and trade unions, with a little wind in their sails and some solid public backing on their side.
No one should starve, that’s for sure. But the cycle of militant action channeled into the usual institutionalized relationships, developing as well as old, will still leave millions unorganized or, at best, mis-organized. The fight for a living wage is a fight for working class organization on the shop floor and in the communities. Direct struggle without intermediaries allows for continual betterment and, one hopes, a recognition that class struggle is constant, not open for periodic negotiations. Out of such struggle, an understanding develops that when we build committees in the workplaces that are worker-run, we are more likely to make the gains that we are seeking, rather then those mediated by others.

The issue of class inequality that was brought to the forefront by “Occupy Wall Street” and the hard work by the shop floor workers of the many early and real “alternative labor” movements are more radical and more threading then legislative campaigns. Yet sometimes it’s harder to stick to the basics. We all sometimes want someone else to do things for us. Sometimes we welcome those with resources and connections. Sometimes they deliver the goods …and they will always make you remember that they and not your early militancy and self-organization, brought the goods to the table.

Perhaps by way of legislation they have brought some good things to the table. Yet I suspect that a different vision, coupled with a push to organize on the shop floor and in the community, will win us a whole hell of a lot more than sitting back and just handing the keys to others and allowing them to drive us. The keys and the driver seat are there for the taking.

Related Link:
author by Mike Harris - W.S.A.publication date Sat Feb 08, 2014 06:00Report this post to the editors

Thanks for publishing.

This page can be viewed in
English Italiano Deutsch
Rojava: Mensaje urgente de un compañero anarquista en Afrin

Front page

[Colombia] Perspectivas sobre la primera vuelta de las elecciones presidenciales de Colombia 2018

Call for Solidarity with our Russian Comrades!

8 reasons anarchists are voting Yes to Repeal the hated 8th

Comunicado de CGT sobre la Nakba, 70 años de dolores para el Pueblo Palestino

[ZAD] Les expulsions ont commencé, la zad appelle à se mobiliser

Assassinato Político, Terrorismo de Estado: Marielle Franco, Presente!

La Huelga General del 8 de Marzo, un hito histórico

A intervenção federal no Rio de Janeiro e o xadrez da classe dominante

Halklarla Savaşan Devletler Kaybedecek

Σχετικά με τον εμπρησμό

Ciao, Donato!

[Uruguay] Ante el homicidio de un militante sindical: Marcelo Silvera

[Argentina] Terrorista es el Estado: Comunicado ante el Informe Titulado "RAM"

[Catalunya] Continuisme o ruptura. Sobre les eleccions del 21D

Reconnaissance par Trump de Jérusalem comme capitale d'Israël : de l'huile sur le feu qui brûle la Palestine

Noi comunisti anarchici/libertari nella lotta di classe, nell'Europa del capitale

Luttons contre le harcèlement et toutes les violences patriarcales !

The Old Man and the Coup

Hands off the anarchist movement ! Solidarity with the FAG and the anarchists in Brazil !

URGENTE! Contra A Criminalização, Rodear De Solidariedade Aos Que Lutam!

¡Santiago Maldonado Vive!

Catalunya como oportunidad (para el resto del estado)

La sangre de Llorente, Tumaco: masacre e infamia

Triem Lluitar, El 3 D’octubre Totes I Tots A La Vaga General

© 2005-2018 Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by [ Disclaimer | Privacy ]