foucault at eden.rutgers.edu
Fri Apr 21 17:03:44 MDT 1995
In response to Mr. Schwartz,
I'd just like to say that the "union-linked mass labor party"
approach has not been tried and found wanting in the U.S.. Everyone on this
group certainly will know of the A.F of L. - C. I. O "compromise" that led to
the death of Socialistically conscious unionism (that among other things) in
the U.S.. I cannot speak directly to the European Labor Party model, except
to say that perhaps cultures with a defined cultural definition of class and
what might be called pre-capitalist class divisions, are not fertile ground
for a movement which must define itself economically first.
Instead of defining proletarianism, American trade-based
unionism defined a neo-proletarian middle class - whose collars were
simply blue instead of white, but whose values were painfully similar.
Any socialist would decry such a movement as doomed, and it was.
Mr. Schwartz rightly points out the drop in union membershi
nationwide. However, there are unions such as the Amalgamated Textile
and Garment Workers (now U. N. I. T. E., after their merger with the
ILGWU) that have seen a rise in membership for the first time in
decades. Furthermore, there is a movement called LAMAP, in Los
Angeles, which is rediscovering the combination of social and union
activism. There have also been increasing calls for a third, Labor.
party as unions find that there are no political candidates that they
can support. And lastly union buyouts such as United Airlines are
real moves towards worker control. The workers themselves may not
recognize it, but we must.
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