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