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(en) WORKERS SOLIDARITY Volume 1 Issue 1 (New Series) February - April 2004 - Editorial: What America Needs: A New Labor Movement

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Thu, 26 Feb 2004 07:57:00 +0100 (CET)

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From: Miller Memorials-A-aol.com
Why? Not just because the organized labor movement today is full of
self-serving bureaucrats who are out to enrich their pockets or their
prestige at our expense. After all, there are many hard-working, sincere
people in the ranks of union officials. But no matter how well-meaning
they are, there are some fundamental flaws in the way the unions are
structured today that makes them at best limited in what they can achieve.
The problem with the unions today starts with the way they
function, with so much of the power in the hands of paid officials and
not with the workers themselves. We say the alternative to this is
direct democracy, with all decision-making flowing from the workplaces
and local organizations, with elected delegates acting under direct
mandates from those they represent, subject to immediate recall when
they fail to carry out their mandates. Take away the concentrations of
power and privilege and the careerists in the labor movement will have
to find some other way to earn a living.
Another problem we see is the reliance on politicians and the
electoral system that typifies so many unions today. Yet most union
members know that the politicians in the end only serve the interests of
the rich and powerful and that the electoral system in this country is a
stacked deck. Real political power lies in our ability to control the
system of production of goods and services, in building a movement for
social change in our communities, and in fighting against all forms of
oppression and domination, be it racial, sexual or whatever.
It is also not nearly enough to talk about things like raising the
minimum wage, getting better health care, or equal opportunity. Not that
there is anything wrong with those things, but why should workers settle
for a little bit bigger slice of the economic pie when we should be
fighting to control the whole bakery? In the meantime, the labor
movement could be addressing issues like shortening the work week as an
alternative to unemployment and downsizing, more control by workers of
the workplace itself, and challenging many of those areas of
decision-making that have been conceded to the bosses.
To accomplish this, we need more militant and innovative tactics.
It's nice that some union leaders are now talking about things like
civil disobedience and are willing to employ some more tactics of
confrontation than before. But we will need to go much, much further,
particularly if we are at all serious about bringing new sectors of
unorganized workers into the labor movement. We need to consider new
forms of on-the-job action, including occupations and sit-ins, and to
begin ignoring the labor laws that were put in place to control workers
in the first place.
In the final analysis, the labor movement needs a new vision, one
that doesn't accept the current inequality and class divisions in
society as inevitable. We need to look toward building a society without
power, profit and privilege, in which working people in their workplaces
and their communities make the decisions about how our work is done and
what we want from it. We need a movement that fights for real gains
within the context of this society while using its own organizations as
the basis for a new one.
We call this vision anarchist unionism or anarcho-syndicalism. What
matters most however, is not what you call it, but the types of hopes
and aspirations for working people we believe it embodies. We of the
Workers Solidarity Alliance are men and women, like other working
people, from different backgrounds, but united in a single vision. It is
a vision we hope you will get to know more about.

Workers Solidarity is published by the Workers Solidarity Alliance (WSA).

Submissions of articles, cartoons and graphics are welcomed. Submissions
should be either mailed or emailed to the addresses below. All signed
articles do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the
Workers Solidarity Alliance.

Subscription rate: $10.00 (USD) per year.

Donations gladly accepted.

339 Lafayette Street-Room 202
New York, NY 10012
Tel: 212-9798353 or email: wsany-A-hotmail.com

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