Saturday, February 21, 2015

Dockworkers dispute reveals the true class nature of the media.

By Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, retired

I have been commenting on the media war the bosses are waging against the ILWU and the USW. Of course, this is no new tactic, the bosses have the police, the courts, the military and the media at their disposal when it comes to labor disputes.

Take a long slow look at this disgusting cartoon.  Imagine if this was a black person or a Jewish person or someone obviously gay that was portrayed in such a negative way, there would be outrage.  But it’s OK to portray a worker in this way and the heads of organized labor won’t say much about it I’m sure. This is an offense to all workers no matter what our background. They blame the auto workers for the crisis in auto, the steelworkers for problems in that industry or in the refinery dispute, they blame public sector workers and other workers' pensions for destroying the economy. But it is the bankers, speculators and other wasters that are destroying our well being, it is capitalism that is in crisis and they are shifting this crisis on to the backs of workers and youth.

The ILWU is potentially powerful trade union with a militant and rich history. The bosses especially have to demonize these brothers and sisters.  They attack them because they have relatively high pay and good benefits compared to so many workers including unionized workers.  Mouthpieces of the 1% like the woman who drew this cartoon cry crocodile tears for poor and low waged workers especially if they are workers of color because being accused of racism terrifies them. However, they are just as contemptuous of low waged workers as they are those of us on the higher end of the scale.

They want to bring us all down to the lowest pay. The weakness on our side has been that the union leadership has failed all workers not just those of us at the higher end and with better benefits than most. They have accepted the bosses argument that we have to compete which is nothing but a spiral down to the lowest common denominator as workers compete with each other for who can work fastest, cheapest and with the lest obstacles to profit taking. Safety, wages, benefits and eventually unions are all obstacles to the investors, big capitalists bankers and other wasters who profit off the labor of others. We serve our interests best not by attacking immigrants that come here looking for work, but by joining with them in the struggle against their own bosses for better wages, benefits and working conditions.

With some justification, the 95% of the working class that are not organized feel that unions only tend to fight for the immediate welfare of their own members. There is truth to this but in actuality, the present bureaucracy atop organized labor hasn’t fought for gains in decades, even for their own members---damage control is their strategy at best.  In the last set of negotiations I was in we had a demand for jobs on the table, union jobs for the community. The bosses told us we did not have the right to demand jobs, they do the hiring.  We told them to eff off, we demand what we want and for whatever section of the working class we want.  Every strike and labor dispute should put demands on the table that speak to the needs of all workers and the communities in which we live and work and the community should be active participants in the struggle.

This cartoon angers me. It was in today’s San Francisco Chronicle. It show me how right I am to oppose their predatory wars and all the patriotic flag waving when they want to send working class youth to fight for corporate profits abroad, to kill brothers sisters abroad or be killed for the Bush family, Bill Gates, Donald Trump and others. How many dockworkers have fought for this country? How many of their ancestors died doing so no matter what we as individuals might think of the imperialist wars the Pentagon wages, and this is how they portray them in their media. This cartoon from a mouthpiece of the 1% says it all. It is the real way the bosses sees workers. We are applauded when they want cannon fodder.  We are pampered when they want us to buy their worthless products, go to their obscenely expensive sports events and other venues where they can extract some money from our pocket and put it in theirs.

This cartoon is the truth, the real way they view workers. Warren Buffet says that he is fighting a class war and his class is winning. 

They are winning because the leaders of the working class in this country are not fighting back, they are entering the ring with one hand behind their backs, “I’d better not hit him or he might hit me back”., they say to themselves as they leave the dues payers on picket lines for months as they try to negotiate our livelihoods away.  But the bosses hit back no matter what; weakness breeds aggression in wartime. The bosses are serious, they are global, they care nothing about this country except when they make money out of it like any of them anywhere.  Our allies are workers no matter what their nationality, religion, color, you name it.  The Cambodian workers, Bangladeshi workers, those who have lost their lives fighting against the most horrific conditions, these are our friends, our class allies.

I am pleased this cartoon reveals the way the bosses really think.  It also reinforces that healthy class hatred that is needed if we are to turn this situation around.

1 comment:

Joseph Skues said...

Now let's smack the bosses around for everybody's good. The unions are out to lunch. I called to check on a degree in union organizing at the union college. Guess what? Nobody knew anybody there who could list the rights a workers has!!! So when the union does not know what they are fighting for it is time to act to protect ourselves and our posterity. Let's go guys.