[Marxism] Gindin on "Beyond Social Movement Unionism"

Andrew Pollack acpollack2 at gmail.com
Fri Aug 19 09:40:33 MDT 2016

In the current Jacobin issue on labor, Sam Gindin has an article which
correctly details the promise and pitfalls of "social movement unionism."

He astutely points to the organizational superiority in size and
(potentially)in  more democratic functioning of unions compared to
amorphous, smaller and often less democratic (for all the talk of
horizontalism) social movements.

He also correctly stresses the need for unions to expand their scope to
take up the class needs of members and their families and neighbors outside
of work.

He concludes with a section on the need for a socialist party to provide
vanguard elements to push all that.

Still, he's vague and confusing about exactly what kind of party it should

Which in a way is appropriate: For lack of a clear version of what kind of
party was needed, he and his partner in crime Leo Panitch fell back on the
"realist" school of party-building represented so sickeningly by Syriza,
i.e., threaten the ruling class that you'll stand up to them, but be sure
to leave yourself room to climb down when the "realities" of class forces
demand. And save your venom for any genuine leftist who would dare scream

For years I've been telling friends that anything Jeffrey Sachs says about
reducing poverty is not worth listening to given his role as architect of
genocidal austerity in the former workers' states. The parallel here is
that I can never again take seriously any radical propositions put forward
by Gindin after the yeoman's service he performed for the sell-outs in


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