Friday, July 12, 2013

Union hierarchy: silent on Snowden, silent on Manning, won't lead a fight for their own members.

by Sean O'Torrain

The union leaders discussed in the various links on this list  and the left forces who are supportive of them will not change the class balance of forces in this country. They will not halt and throw back the capitalist offensive and open up a new workers offensive similar to what happened in 1934.

Take one event and think about it. It does not even involve directly the even greater issue of wages and conditions and jobs.  I am talking about the revelations by Snowden. What has the union leadership at the highest levels said about this?  I know of nothing. This is one of the greatest scandals and attacks on the working class. Yet these cowardly pro capitalist elements say nothing. Incredible. The union leaders like Trumka, the head of the AFL-CIO stand in a supporting role beside the drone man Obama. Their  role is one of  betrayal. They take no action never mind say anything while Snowden is stranded in Moscow airport,  Assange is stranded in an embassy in London, and Manning is being tortured in solitary confinement in an American jail. What a bunch.

Not only that, the massive spying on the US people and all people, is part of the capitalist offensive where every US city and state has recently been arming its cops and state forces with full body armor. Remember the scenes at the Occupy events. The war against women is being carried out viciously. Racism is being used to further confuse the working class and keep down minorities, see the Zimmerman trial and the repression in the minority areas. Public education is under attack, wages jobs and conditions are under assault. All that has been won in the 1930's and 1960's is to be taken back if capitalism has its way. And not only do the union leadership refuse to fight on these issues but they also refuse to stand up for Snowden, Assange and Manning. The degree of this betrayal and what it is part of has to be pointed out. It is nauseating to see the bumpkin Trumka standing beside Obama to support him and his policies. Meanwhile the rich and the corporations are making profits never before seen.

The union leaders and their left supporters will not change the situation in this country.  It will be changed by explosive events in the streets and workplaces. This will take the form initially of united front type movements such as the Occupy movements, the Direct Action Network, the movements in support of strikes such as at Decatur and the Chicago Teachers. But change will not come through protest movements. The movements that will stop the capitalist offensive will have to take the form of mass direct action both in the form of general strikes and occupying the workplaces and refusing to leave them and taking over the streets and refusing to clear them and taking over the homes under threat and refusing to vacate them. Walking up and down with picket signs will not do it.

Mass direct action to stop what is going on, no more business as usual, this is what has to be carried out.  The task of the left activist and left forces is to encourage and develop these type of united front struggles but on a mass direct action united front bsis, taking on and stopping the capitalist offensive not making concessions to it as all wings of the labor leadership are doing, both in the industrial and political arena, both with the team concept and support for the Democrats.  

At the same time the left has to help build within this movement a revolutionary socialist current which works to end capitalism and replace it with a democratic socialist society. This means that left commentators and activists must speak out openly and directly on the role of the union leaders and assist workers in their struggle against their policies as any union member or genuine fighting rank and file opposition force within organized labor that is serious about fighting the bosses will come in to conflict with the union bureaucracy; this cannot be avoided. The left must, in order to clear the slate and learn from the pas, talso discuss their own role in which on many occasions they have covered for the role of these union leaders or their left liberal wing instead of standing up for the workers against the betrayal of these union leaders. 

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