Reply to: Re: US Rail Contracts

Jon Flanders 72763.2240 at
Wed May 15 22:30:05 MDT 1996

 >> I remember a while back you said that a local which had been more into
unofficial action than others also had a lot of support for the LPA.

 I suppose I just find it very hard to get my head around active support
 for a Labor Party going alongside unnofficial organisation. But are the
 LPA activists semi dissident officials, with passive support from rank +
 file activists ( like the SLP + RMT ) , or is it more rank + file driven
 than I would expect ?

 Is there actually such a thing as left wing bureaucrats in the British sense
in the UTU ( or US unions in general ) ? <<Adam Rose

 Jon Flanders:

  The "local" you refer to is the Brotherhood of Maintanence of Way, the
railroad track workers. Actually, their International is one of the five
supporting the LPA initiative. I said that if any union rebels against the
current contract that is going down, it will be the BMWE. I still think that,
and the situation is further advanced now, with the agreement voted down by
the UTU membership being imposed by binding arbitration.

  Here's a locker room quote on the rail negotiations. "I am leaning to one
side now because I only have two wheels left on my car. Now they expect me to
give up the other two?" Joe from N. Dakota wrote something about the minimum
wage needing to be $15 per hour. He is quite right, more and more of my
co-workers are not making it on that.

  Are there "left wing bureaucrats" in the US. Certainly. I don't know if they
correspond to someone like Arthur Scargill, but I suppose a few might. Most
are some form of Social Democrat.

  I don't want to get into specifics of meetings on the Internet, but lets
just say that locally, we already have evidence of conflict between "left" and
"right" officials who are in the LPA here. The AFL-CIO is putting on a full
court press to re-elect Clinton and regain control of Congress for the
Democrats. In this context, the pressure on anyone supporting the LPA may get
pretty intense inside the officialdom.

  This will lead, I suspect, to serious resistance to the idea of running
candidates anytime soon. In the case of Scargill, it seems quite different. He
is out there runnning against the BLP already.

  I don't think it is more rank and file driven than you would suspect. It is
certainly partly driven by the abject failure of Clinton and the Democrats to
do anything for labor when they had control of the House and the Senate. Here
in the US, there is a history of "booms" in politics. In their own way, Bernie
Sanders and Ross Perot are examples of the phenomenon. The question is, will
this happen around the labor party idea?

  As I have said before, only time and the class struggle will tell where all
this is headed.

 Best, Jon Flanders

  E-mail from: Jonathan E. Flanders, 16-May-1996

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