[Marxism] Lund, Sheppard and Miah call on workers to leave AFL-CIO

Ozleft ozleft at optushome.com.au
Thu Mar 31 08:09:01 MST 2005

Caroline Lund, Malik Miah and Barry Sheppard say US unionists should 
leave the AFL-CIO and the existing trade unions

By Bob Gould

In response to a question at a smallish session of the Asia-Pacific 
Solidarity Conference in Sydney at Easter, 2005, Caroline Lund said US 
unionists should leave the AFL-CIO and the existing unions and form new 
ones, and she hoped that idea would resonate in Australia.

Lund and Malik Miah have elaborated that point of view in an article in 
Links, which appeared at the conference. On the front page of Links, the 
article is called, Towards Independent Unions in USA, and to make the 
point clear, in the contents page it’s listed as: Independent Unions: 
The Way Forward for US Labor.

I start this by underlining that I have a certain respect for Barry 
Sheppard, Miah and Lund. In the 1980s, as part of an internal struggle 
in the increasingly authoritarian US SWP, after a long period of their 
lives as political full-timers, these three comrades were persuaded to 
"go into industry" and they have stayed there ever since, even after 
departing from the US SWP. Sheppard has now passed retirement age, but 
the other two are still in industrial jobs.

A person like Lund, who is still working and industrially and 
politically active in the intense and difficult conditions of a motor 
car plant, nudging the age of 60, is worthy of considerable respect and 
serious consideration of her views.

Respect, however, for serious socialist militants, involves taking up 
their ideas sharply when they are wrong, and I consider the views 
expressed in the Links article by Lund and Miah deeply mistaken, 
particular given the current political conjuncture, with the attacks on 
the organised working class taking place in the US and elsewhere, 
including Australia.

In sum, these three musketeers argue that the trade union bureaucracy in 
the US, and by inference in Australia, is by now so corrupt and its 
power over the unions so total, that any perspective of reforming 
existing unions is futile and militant unionists should campaign, 
whenever it becomes at all possible, to decertify existing unions and 
form smaller, independent unions.

They believe the future lies with small, independent unions that can 
then co-operate with each other.

Full: http://members.optushome.com.au/spainter/LundMiah.html

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