LPA & Its Prospects

Ryan at bitstream.mpls.mn.us Ryan at bitstream.mpls.mn.us
Sat Feb 24 06:16:35 MST 1996


Louis G:
>I was intrigued by your post on the Labor Party Advocates.  I joined in
1990,
>when I worked with Rand Wilson and Jobs With Justice (a concomitant outfit

I wish you would of quoted a few lines, I think I missed this post.  I'd be
interested in hearing more about Jobs for Justice though. Wasn't Steve
Rosenthal with that group for awhile?

>  The first has to do with the nature
>of the trade union movement itself, which is in steep and irreversible
>decline, which is, in turn, due to reasons far beyond the control (and,

I agreed with much of what you said in your post and share your concerns
about the future of an organization like LPA.
In June they will hold their founding convention. Up to one thousand trade
unionists will be meeting to discuss the possibilities of a labor party.
We'll have to see, I want to support it and look forward to seeing what comes
out of it.

I live in the midwest, a region with a very strong union tradition. Very
strong, and also cyclical
depending on economic circumstances. We were hit very hard by in the 80's by
a rural
community and industrial labor crisis. But unions have showed their strength
when times are
tough, which is what we are seeing signs of now.

Most of us didn't get excited because one Irish guy in his sixties beat
another Irish guy in his
sixties for head of the AFL-CIO. Now the Teamsters are facing a showdown
between Jimmy
Hoffa Jr. and Ron Carey. However, there has been a resurgence of near dormant
debate about
the failures and misdirection of the labor movement as it has responded to
the restructuring of
capital.

Locally there has been quite a bit of activity. As I told Jon Flanders, the
railroad workers were inspiring in
their battles in the early 90's. Last fall we had a mass transit strike with
the governor threatening to call out the National Guard. A Teamster leader
announced that if he did, nearly 50,000 Teamsters would walk out on a
solidarity strike. The bus drivers settled with a good contract within the
week.

There have been some successes organizing the formerly unorganized in the
sevice sector. In
the building trades, the carpenters are forming a new local for the almost
completely
unorganized residential side, and the electricians are experimenting with
"salting" techniques.

I don't know if you are being too cynical. Cynicism, like paranoia, is a hard
thing me to get a
grasp on these days. Rebuilding the labor movement will be both labor and
capital intensive, with
no quick, easy solutions. The only sure thing is that there is nothing in the
world more powerful
than a united working class.

 Sally Ryan




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