The Geography of Class Struggle

Scott Marshall Scott at rednet.org
Sun Jul 9 10:19:38 MDT 1995


Leo:

>So Scott wants to dish out the sarcasm, but finds a return dose unpleasant
>medicine. Gus Hall climbed the mountain, received the tablets with the ten
>laws of capitalist development, with Commandment Number Five being "Thou
>shalt not question the primacy of the industrial working class", and here I
>am in the valley worshipping the graven idols. Unfortunately, there are some
>cracks in Gus Hall's tablets, Scott. To spell it out...

Scott: No, Leo I don't find it unpleasant - that is your conciet in regards
to your satiric ablities. Howerer I will strive to remain tolerant of your
religious beliefs as stated above, but hasten to add that even if you were
abused as a child by your religious teachers, there is help and recovery
available.

Leo:
>1. The increased mobility of capital and the internationalization of capital
>is symptomatic of a new stage in the political economy of the advanced
>economies, one in which basic industries have become more and more
>peripheral. No, the industrial workforce does not disappear, any more than
>skilled craft workers disappeared with the rise of industrial capitalism. But
>it clearly will not be as central as it once was. Now that you don't have a
>straw argument to oppose, would you like to tell us how the decline of the
>industrial workforce is a figment of my imagination?

Scott: Yes it is somewhat a figment of your beliefs. Your bald assertions do
not constitute any kind of proof. For example take steel. According to steel
industry figures the US is consuming @ the same tonnage of steel as it did
in 1980. Roughly 80% is made in the US. It is true that due to technology @
half the number of USWA members are invlolved in making that steel today. It
is also true that now mini mills employ a growing number of steelworkers,
not nearly back to 1980 levels, but growing never-the-less. Are these
workers now to be written off? How terribly unscientific. They still play a
key role in the economy and you've given nothing but assertions of faith
that this isn't so. Is steel still vital in construction, infrastructure,
auto, machine tool, etc etc. Yes by any objective standard. And you have yet
to specify what has replaced these workers in your 'new advanced stage'. Is
there some other source of the basic comodities that are nessessary for
human life? Are they now made by techies in labs and on computers. I don't
think so though it *is* true that both labs and computers play an increasing
role in production - thst means the production process has changed, not that
manufactoring workers have disappeared. It also means that some techies etc
are becoming more proletarianized.

>
>2. Industrial unions are _not_ in decline, you tell us. Cite one industrial
>union, just one, which has not suffered drastic declines in membership in the
>last decade. Whether they be as militant as you present them or not, the UAW,
>UMW and IAM have all suffered serious declines. Everyone within 500 miles of
>the organized trade union movement recognizes this development. Sorry to
>break the news to you.

Scott: A drastic decline and no longer important are two different things.
In fact most of the industrial unins are making changes to adopt to the new
situation very dialectically. But if one used your standard of worth, then
clearly the working class of the 1920's was worhless. No industiral
organization and very small percentage in any kind of union at all. Again,
if we can organize the mini mills in steel, then there will be a big
increase in membership. And if can win the argument for a metal federation
type union then the working class will have a very pwoerful organization
indeed, capable of a much greater challenge to capital at it's very bowels.

Leo:
>3. The AFL-CIO would be in considerly worse shape today, as hard as that may
>be to believe, if it were not for the growth of the public sector unions.
>Clearly there is a changing of the guard going on, with the public sector
>unions assuming a new, dominant role in the AFL-CIO. (That is not the only
>thing going on; as I said, it is _one_ aspect of the changes.) No sleight of
>hand, such as declaring that the public sector unions are organizaed on an
>industrial basis, can obscure this development.

Scott: Only a shallow understanding of the history of the US labor movement
can declare the question of public workers being organized in industrial
union type formations a sleight of hand. As to your assertion that the
Public workers are taking over - this misses the point and the dynamic of
what is happening, this has very little to do with the struggle that is
taking place and if you accept it or not the old CIO unions are *the*
critical players, with out them Sweeny would not have even gotten near a try
for the presidency. (Your argument is kind of like arguing Sweeny wears
green shirts so the green shirts are taking over.) Plus, we will see. You
read it here first - I think that Sweeny will be at best a transition
figure, if he gets elected at all. (I think he will, but it's by no means
sewn up.)

Leo
>4. Where, pray tell, are the BLS statistics that show that the industrial
>workforce has not been shrinking, and that the "increase" in employment is
>not concentrated in the low-paying, service sector?


Scott: I never made such a silly assertion. I said that your assertion that
industrial workers have disappeared and that "only" sevice sector jobs are
left - is false.

Leo: I for one would be
>interested in seeing the "proof" that the "Rustbelt" doesn't exist, that the
>steel industry in Gary, Pittsburgh, and Buffalo is thriving, etc., etc., etc.
>I always thought that the effects of this decimation of the industrial
>workforce was the "primitive accumulation" of our day, with working people
>paying the brutal price for economic change and development under capitalism.
>Of course, if we don't want to admit that a rather significant change is
>going on, we can just choose to ignore the effect on working people.
>

Scott: Seeing those changes and understanding them are two different things.
I live in the rustbelt, I and my wife are victims of the rustbelt. We know
first hand and day to day what the effect is on the workers. You obviously
understand it very little if you think that all or even most of
manufactoring has disappeared in Chicago or Gary.

Leo:
>5. The fact that the Tofflers of the world recognize that something is
>changing underneath their feet, but don't have a clue as to what it is,
>hardly constitutes an argument for those who believe that nothing has
>changed.

Scott: The sky is falling the sky is falling. Or is that really the sky?
Well goddamnit something is falling?

>
>I will be out of town for a number of days. Look forwarding to hearing news
>of the resurrection of the CIO when I return.

Why lie. You show little or no interest in seeing the ressurection of the
CIO. It wouldn't fit with your world view once you figure out what that is.

>
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>



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