[Marxism] Rethinking "organizing the unorganized"

Jerry Wells jeremy at infowells.com
Sun Nov 20 22:23:50 MST 2005

Rethinking “Organizing the Unorganized”

The traditional organized labor movement has for many years so narrowed
it's focus and methods it has effectively destroyed itself. Organized
labor must break out of several organizational and conceptual “boxes”
that have limited organized labor's chances for growth or relevance.
These “boxes” in fact have become the “coffins” of the labor movement. 

Both the AFL-CIO and CtW have raised the old banner of Joe Hill to
“Don't mourn, organize!” But neither group has expressed any vital new
programs, concepts or directions. Both pledge more money to organizing
using the existing “tried and true” ideas and methods for organizing of
the last 30 years.

But these ideas and methods have generally failed. The existing labor
unions have been happy enough to win a contract, win a pay raise, etc.
Little or nothing has been done to organize the rest of the working
class. Unions have often become “partners” to corporate capitalism.

     1. The U.S. trade union movement must become anti-capitalist to
        remain credible to working people. On every front, the living
        standards of working people in this country are being destroyed.
        Working people, single mothers with kids, seniors, parents with
        kids in public schools, etc. realize that they are losing in the
        race to survive economically. Billions for unending pre-emptive
        war but never enough for essential social institutions. Doesn't
        the labor movement understand why this is happening?  
     2. The labor movement must become explicit and outspoken in it's
        understanding and opposition to capitalism. We must offer up our
        vision of society without war, without homeless people on the
        streets, with universal health-care, in a society committed to
        ending environmental degradation and global warming. We must
        have a society focused on human needs and not maximizing the
        wealth of the few. We need a society where human rights are
        superior to property rights in order for humanity to survive.
     3. US Republican capitalism, under the “Project for the New
        American Century”, has embarked on pre-emptive and unending wars
        to acquire resources needed to maximize profit and power.
        Capitalist “Privatization” is destroying the essential public
        commonwealth social institutions absolutely essential for
        working people to maintain life. Capitalist globalisation and
        privatization are destroying nations and peoples around the
        world. Does the U.S. labor movement comprehend this fact?  
     4. A new national organization for working people must be created.
        Initially funded by the trade union movement, this new
        organization is focused on educating and organizing working
        people who are not now part of the union movement. In fact, they
        may never become union members.
     5. For right now, let's call this new national organization “The
        National Organization of Working People” (NOWP). The first task
        of NOWP is educational. We must create mass media to convey the
        hard information about what is happening to working people.
        Their problems are not “personal” or “individual” but are a
        class problem. A national news network must be created to offer
        daily programs explaining the NOWP perspective. On-line
        materials are made available to educate working people about
        global warming, war, capitalist economics (massive shift of
        wealth to the few), etc.
     6. Membership in NOWP should be promoted to further educate and
        organize. Local meetings and special affairs should promote
        solidarity and break down the “atomization” of the working
        A national NOWP agenda should be developed with which to measure
        politicians performance.
     7. Our agenda becomes a platform for a new national party (National
        Working Peoples Party) and we run our own candidates where other
        candidates are in opposition to working people's interests or
        poorly representative of our goals. What campaign funds develop
        must only be used to promote our agenda not alleged “friends” of
     8. The NOWP may in fact become a “pre-cursor” organization for
        organizing people into traditional unions. It could become a
        “pre-cursor” to forming a new political party that represents
        the interests of the working people.  

More information about the Marxism mailing list