[Marxism] ON THE SOCIALIST GROUP SOLIDARITY: LET THE DEAD BURY THE DEAD

pauldanieloak pauldanieloak at aol.com
Fri Jan 10 22:14:08 MST 2014


RE: ON THE SOCIALIST GROUP SOLIDARITY: LET THE DEAD BURY THE DEAD

Joaquin argues that Solidarity  should change the priority  it puts on labor work in an update of its principles of unity. I think that would be a big mistake.

However, the remarks of Mark Lause and David Walters on Joaquin?s essay amount to to pot shots at Solidarity. Mark?s feelings are hurt. Despite the fact that he has published eight books, the Cincinnati branch never asked him to speak for the group. Isn?t is possible, Mark, that the members, especially the two trade unionists you mentioned, didn?t know about your books?

I take the remarks of David Walters personally.  He says the Bay Area branch, my branch, is made up of lovable “old farts” who do not speak “the language of the youths”.   It is true that the average age in our branch is pretty high. That is because a few of our members are in their late nineties. What would you have us do with them, David,  tell them not to come to meetings so we would be better able to attract  youths?  I retired three years ago after working thirty five years as a stationary engineer (IUOE local39)  in the building and hotel industries in San Francisco. As I write these words my wife is hustling off to the hiring hall at Local 2 to pick up a dispatch for a job tonight as a banquet waiter at the Palace Hotel. She looks as trim and strong today as she did forty years ago. We are not dead, David.

As for Solidarity not speaking the language of the youth, you may have a point.  Looking at the current issue of LABOR NOTES  I see  of words  like strike, scab, benefits, shop steward, solidarity, etc. that are not part of the everyday language of modern youth culture.  But LABOR NOTES makes a real effort to translate these words for people new to  the labor movement. (See A TROUBLEMAKER?S HANDBOOK).

David, since you know the language of the youths, don?t you owe it to the readers of this list to put out a pamphlet  “Youth Words and Expressions for Old Fart Socialists”.

Joaquin wants Solidarity to put immigration reform and latin American anti-imperialist efforts ahead of our labor work. I do not agree.

Fifty years ago Louis Proyect and I were both at Bard College studying philosophy.  Some time later Lou joined the SWP  and was ordered to take a blue collar job.  He hated it. He left the party to work in the latin American solidarity movement.  I joined the International Socialists and as part of the ” industrialization”  policy of the time took a job as an apprentice engineer. I loved it. The Eighties and Nineties  were  for me years of endless negotiations,  strikes, union elections, and work I always found interesting.

If I hadn?t lucked into my job I would probably today see the labor focus of Solidarity as one sided. Now it is this focus on labor issues that  keeps me going to meetings. 

Joaquin, I agree with you that Solidarity to think of itself as a broad network, not as a  new socialist party.  Isn?t this what happening around LABOR NOTES?  I remember the the article you wrote several years ago on Leninism.  Lenin wasn?t a Leninist, you said. Why can?t all of our comrades grasp the point of this simple truth?

Paul Mueller
On Jan 7, 2014, at 10:37:0



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