Longview struggle shows the way forward

On February 10, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 21 and the Export Grain Terminal (EGT) conglomerate announced that the company had finally agreed to recognize the union’s right to represent workers at the company’s new grain port in Longview, Washington. The announcement followed a concerted struggle by longshore workers in this normally quiet corner of the Pacific Northwest, who were accompanied by mass solidarity pickets organized by the Occupy movement.

The Capitalist Destruction of Detroit

00detroitWell before the current crisis of capitalism shook the entire country, Michigan gave us a glimpse into the future. Michigan was once the seat of the American automotive industry, particularly in Detroit and Flint. Beginning in the late 70s and throughout the 80s, the “Big Three” (GM, Ford, Chrysler) began downsizing their production in Michigan. Seeking lower production costs, they demanded givebacks from auto workers in the form of speed-ups, wage cuts, and layoffs. They also moved production to other countries and to states with low unionization rates.

"Lazy Workers" to Blame for Crisis?

In early November, speaking about falling stock levels, Diane Sawyer gave viewers of World News an answer to their woes: “Blame it on the country of Greece, long-criticized for being undisciplined, and now threatening American retirements.”

This statement is just the latest in bourgeois propaganda that has been circulating the European continent for years and has now made its way to the United States. We are told that somehow it’s the Greek workers who are to blame for the crisis destabilizing Europe and the world. This is nothing new. It is simply yet another attempt to divide the workers of the world, to blame workers for what is fundamentally a crisis of the capitalist system itself.

Usually the finger is pointed at the most oppressed and exploited layers of society: minorities, immigrants, single mothers, the unemployed. But for the representatives of capitalism who are a little more out of touch with reality, the attack is broadened to our entire class.

Union Membership Grows Despite "Right-to-Work"

Recently, the Indiana state legislature and governor made it the first industrial state in the Northeast/Midwest to adopt so-called "right to work" legislation. This law is intended to weaken and destroy the unions. Despite these attacks, millions of workers would like to join unions.

The Labor Movement and Occupy

Wisconsin 2011We all observed dramatic battles by organized labor in 2011. There were the broad militant struggles in Wisconsin by public workers responding to the vicious attacks from right-wing Republican Governor Walker. During the summer, CWA & IBEW members went on strike against Verizon. They battled against the demand for givebacks from the very profitable Verizon company. In Ohio, the labor movement mobilized its forces to repeal anti-labor laws by referendum and won a terrific victory, gaining 61% of the vote.

...The Occupy movement burst on the scene in 2011, influenced by the movements in North Africa and the Middle East. Even though it lacked a sophisticated analysis of society and it is a limited movement in terms of active participation, Occupy completely turned the tables on the capitalist politicians.