Sunday, March 18, 2012

Why Unions

Are the anti-union people like the Chamber of Commerce, the Manufacturing Association and other like-mind organizations doing the right thing for themselves? The conflict between labor and the business owners or “capitals” (as the wealthy business owners were once called) is a natural one that goes back since the beginning of this country.

The proletarian toilers or wage slaves (a term coined by Jack London) have nothing in common with the employing class. The IWW Wobblies understood this and this is the reason they did not want to enter into labor contracts, which, they believed, would take away labor’s best weapon—the strike. Also the IWW did not want to affiliate with any political party. Its party was the wage slaves’ workers.

This is the reason the Wobblies were so feared. They were the first 99%. What would be the recourse of us wage slaves if we lose all unions and the right to form or belong to any organizations to lobby for our rights within law?  What will happen? Well, looking back in history there are some clues, like the Molly Maguires, (or Buckshots as they were once called), the Irish coal miners in the anthracite coal fields of Pennsylvania in the 1800s.  
 
For seven years the union had enabled the mine workers to overcome their craft disputes and ethnic differences and fight together for the workers’ common cause. Having union representation allowed workers to continue to work. This representation ended up discouraging violence as a previous way of settling labor disputes. The collapse of the unions removed the one organization that had protected the mine workers from the dictatorship of the employers in the summer of 1875 when a number of minority Irish workers turned to violence as the sole remaining strategy for winning some sort of small justice in the mines.

The Molly Maguires temporarily filled the place left by the defeat of the unions by the coal mine owners, who sent in brutal coal and iron police and undercover Pinkerton agents. It is not surprising that violence and deaths occurred. So having a union in place would have helped the business owner or management by preventing these acts of violence by the desperate the miners. Today, only the language has changed not the mentality or practices.

The anti-workers and anti-99% will try to force the wage slaves into violence so they can bring in the military militia, Homeland Security and hired thugs and is this what both sides really want? If not, then the oligarchies need to change the way they think and should help get people elected who want good jobs in the USA, and not enact trade deals that are against 99% of the workers.

If the situation in our country does not turn around and if we want to know what will happen next if things don’t change we only have to look at our history—and the rest of the world right now where there are no jobs or workers’ rights to know what will happen here.

It, history or even human behavior, is all there to see if people will just pull their heads out of the dark places and look.

Educate and organize.