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

Carlos A. Rivera cerejota at optonline.net
Thu Mar 31 11:07:18 MST 2005

The current leadership of the formerly AFT (AFL-CIO) Puerto Rican Teachers 
Federation (the largest unions in Puerto Rico) just successfuly led the 
desaffiliation of the federation. This is already saving money for the 
Union, and helping the internal democratic structures to flourish.

In Puerto Rico, Union independence, except in the one case of the Water 
workers Union has meant increased political independence, more internal 
democracy, and in general more effective and militant workers unions. Even 
the small independent union of the only local Brewery has been able to stop 
outsourcing and union breaking efforts on the part of the bosses, something 
other Teamster and UAW (ie AFL-CIO) affiliated unions in the distribution 
side have not been able to do.

In effect, the AFL-CIO is a corporate monstrousity more interested in 
reaping huge amounts of money from membership fees while providing token 
services and keeping high-paid think tanks for DSA and SD-USA types. Most of 
its leadership consists of bureaucrats with no base, usually even unknown to 
the membership, and the few industrial actions it has engaged in the last 
few years have been in spite, not because of the leadership. Furthermore, 
they behave politically like any other special interest group, giving money 
to both parties, supporting safe candidates and trying to reign in local 
unions that become more overtly political, in particular to the left.

In a specialy repugnant example, the two major efforts by the left to create 
a third party alternative in the last years in the USA, the deadbirth Labor 
Party and the Green Party, has seen as the Democrat's foot soldiers the 
worse the AFL-CIA bureaucracy has to offer, including paid bureaucrats whose 
job was to use tenous left credentials to disorganize and destroy those 
efforts. That the less laborist Green Party suffered less from AFL-CIO 
intervention than the Labor Party did doesn't diminish the importance of the 
AFL-CIO's bureaucracy in a lot of what has gone wrong with that effort.

Independent unions, and desafiliations of locals, in order to eventually 
rejoin them into a better thing, is for me the self-evident way to go 
forward. Calling it an "idiocy" is an idiotic statement of itself.


 ----- Original Message ----- 
From: <acpollack2 at juno.com>
To: <marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu>
Sent: Thursday, March 31, 2005 11:33 AM
Subject: RE: [Marxism] Lund, Sheppard and Miah call on workers to leave 

> I'd like to hear more from Mark about how the SWP's sectoralism might have 
> influenced Lund et al. in this case. Intriguing suggestion.
> As for his mention of Cannon's opposition to dual unionism -- which is 
> correct -- Cannon was also a critic of Foster's "AFL fetishism," believing 
> it overlooked situations when an independent union was the only viable 
> option, even if only as a temporary measure.
> On balance he certainly would not have supported the broad-brush 
> independent approach Lund et al. are supposedly advocating. I say 
> supposedly because we need to see the Links article; if they're really 
> saying what OzLeft claims this is very significant, given not only its 
> idiocy but the fact that it comes from people prominent in a socialist 
> group which devotes so much attention to reforming existing unions.
> Full ozleft article:
> http://members.optushome.com.au/spainter/LundMiah.html
> Cannon archive:
> http://www.marxists.org/archive/cannon/works/index.htm
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