Friday, March 5, 2010

Two Views of the United Auto Workers

from Gathering Forces:

In early November, Ford workers voted down by a large margin a concessions package that would have accelerated two tier hiring and given away the right to strike for 6 years.

Here are two views on the meaning of the Ford workers vote and on the role of the UAW in the offensive against autoworkers and whether it should be by-passed altogether or it can be reformed.

from comments:

"The initial subject of this discussion is an emerging potential for working class resistance to a prolonged experience of class accommodations that uniformly have turned out to be defeats.

One strand, thankfully it appears to be a minority, suggests that this should be channeled into union reform where unions currently exist and implies support for parallel approaches to organizing where they don’t. But that approach rests on little more than the very partial and limited truth that activated workers, “…will first look to the union.” It ignores that there have been hundreds of such union reform and revitalization efforts over many decades just in this country without any example – specifically including the
TDU experience – that might reasonably be called a strategic success. While some leftists may be unaware of this reality, it will hardly be news for autoworkers.

These union reform politics fit comfortably within a social democratic perspective preoccupied with incremental “successes”. Unfortunately, they also have a foothold among radicals and revolutionaries. For a case in point, read the last paragraph in Shawn Hattingh’s otherwise excellent description of the current wildcat mine occupations in S. Africa. (ZNet, 2/3/10).

For a very good treatment of the underlying political issues from an anarcho-syndicalist perspective, I’d recommend the 2009 paper, “Strategy & Struggle” by the Brighton Solidarity Federation."

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