Which Party?

CEP iwp.ilo at ix.netcom.com
Mon Feb 19 20:19:29 MST 1996

You(Jon Flanders) wrote:
> Thanks for stepping out of lurkdom, Sally. That's what I mostly do
myself. I
>vacillate between  fascination with the clash of tendencies, which
must be
>unparalleled, and with disgust with all the flaming over things like
>where no-one on-list actually lives.


    In more than one sense you live there.  Peru is no more than the
    mirror image of US and Europe.  Is there, and in Africa and parts
    of Asia and other countries in Latin America where the most morbid
    expressions of advance capitalism are visible. The Communist
    Parties in the West gave advance notice to the FSU's and Eastern
    Europe's regime of what was coming.  Remember Eurocommunism?  It
    is only a question of time.

    The same people who are acting in the cruelest ways in Central
    America promoting "Contra" Wars or bombing Bagdad are the ones
    who control your local election in your favorite neighborhood.

    No doubt you'll see some of the same in your home state once
    they need to apply it.  And those who today defend the criminal
    "left" in Peru will be here, too, with the same program and the
    same strategy.  It is only a question of time. An we better use it.


> It seems to me that there needs to be more reporting on the actual
state of
>the class struggle where each of us live and work. That is the real
value of
>cyberspace to workers.There can be cheap, available access to a
variety of
>experiences in our own countries and around the world without the
>interference of capitalist newspapers, union officials, or even our
>political group.
> Your story of the mayor of St. Paul and labor sums up the current
>very well. Worker's support some politician or other, only find a
>between the shoulder blades not soon after. Do our fearless union
>learn anything from the experience?
> It will be interesting to follow Buchanan's progress. I am sure I
>encounter more heated debates about him at work. He is shaping his
appeal to
>the kind of hard-hat white male worker that predominates in my
situation, and
>the protectionist stance of the labor officialdom has greased the
skids for
>him. Their support for Clinton comes off as wishy-washy liberalism in
the face
>of Buchanan's forth-rightness.
> In my l*st of indicators of the rising temperature of the class
struggle, I
>forgot to mention the track worker's strike on Conrail about a year or
so ago.
>This was something of a sanctioned "wildcat" over safety, following
the deaths
>of two or three maintenance of way employees.
>  The interesting thing about it here was the unscripted, unorganized
>character that it had. The hastily notified picketers didn't even know
>they were officially striking or not. Several of our local officers in
>shop raced off to make phone calls to find out. Our IAM committee-man,
who is
>prone to snap judgements, decided it wasn't a strike and went on in,
only to
>return an hour or so later, feeling rather sheepish.
>  As a line of cars on the access road stretched out for more than a
>mile, we milled about discussing what to do. After it was ascertained
that the
>Brotherhood of Maintainence of Way had indeed officially called an
action, I
>rustled up a magic marker so that one of the strikers could change his
sign to
>actually indicate a strike.
>  Another group of workers came out of the shop who had gone in
>entrance, thinking that the picket was informational. The yard, which
>processes 3 to 4 thousand cars a day, grew quiet. The entire railroad
>down for 13 hours, until an injunction was obtained by the
>  This strike stands out in my mind because it's goal was in a sense
>political. It took up something more important than bread and butter.
It was
>about the right to get thru your work day alive, in one piece,
something that
>no longer can be taken for granted in too many workplaces. Like the GM
>overtime strikes, it contested the corporations right to manage the
work as it
>sees fit. When workers are forced into this situation, then yes, I can
see a
>radicalization coming.
> Best, Jon Flanders
>  E-mail from: Jonathan E. Flanders, 19-Feb-1996
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