Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Magnificent movement for lower wages

by Sean O'Torrain. *

Last I read there are close to 200 million workers organized in trade unions world wide. Last I heard half the world's factory workers are women. Last I saw when I go out, tens and tens of millions of workers work in huge chains, punching the same keyboards or cash machines, driving the same trucks and trains and planes, and wearing the same uniforms. Never before has there been such an integrated working class world wide. This is demonstrated by today's international movement to increase wages. This is extremely inspiring and positive.

But I have just one question. Where are the trade union leaders? Today's movement was not sparked off by them. It was sparked off by a myriad of groups of all backgrounds who support increasing the minimum wage.  The union leaders not only did not lead this movement, but they have no interest in increasing the minimum wage as they have wages of their own which are enormously higher than the ordinary worker. They are looking at today's movement not from the point of view of how to help it but from the point of view of getting it controlled and put back in "its place" again. They are terrified of this movement. They are terrified that workers who are on poverty wages and paying union dues will start looking at the union leaders wages. So what is to be done.

As well as the magnificent action that is being taken today, union members and non union members action must be taken to force the union leaders to stop blocking the movement. The first thing that should be done is for all union members to go to their branches and if necessary invade these. To hell with Robert's Rules of Order. For Workers' Rules of Order. Then put on the table whether this is against the rules or not----- the issue of the union leaders and their pay. Proposals should be immediately made to reduce all union leaders pay to the average wage of the members of the union and for this to take affect immediately. At the same time for these leaders to have the same benefits as the average benefits of the average member. And extremely important, immediately initiate an across the board clean sweep of the union leadership. This means every full time official in the union movement must immediately be forced to run for election and any union member is eligible to run for the full time position. There must be a clean sweep of these union officials who boot lick the bosses in the Team Concept and who hand over a fortune of the members money to the big business Democratic party.

While doing this the burning issue of racism and police repression must be taken up. US capitalism cannot afford its military invasions and occupations and close to 200 bases abroad. It has been moving to deal with this by cutting living standards of the US working class. As it does so it has put its cops on full body armor and equipped them with military vehicles and told them to go out and shoot at will, especially young African American men. This is to create an atmosphere of fear to let them push through their reduction of living standards for all workers and to achieve this to increase racism to divide the working class and try and keep the white workers on their side. This must be understood and opposed. The racist attacks by the state are not just or even primarily to beat down the African American working class and especially the youth, they are also to indoctrinate further the white working class in racism. Divide and rule is the idea.

* On reflection I believe that how I posed the issues here was not helpful and have posted an update here


Sean said...

Small business and raising the minimum wage.

To the person who says raising the minimum wage would wipe out small business. Small business has many expenses as well as wages. Utilities, insurance, taxes, cost of products. The small business owners should support the workers struggle for better wages and ask the workers to help them to reduce their other costs, utilities, insurance, taxes, costs of products.

Sean said...

Sean Throne Sean Throne I am the author of this article on the minimum wage movement. I am writing a new article on this topic which I will put up on our blog today. On reflection I believe that the title I used on yesterdays article, (it is on the right above) was not helpful. I believe it was correct to point out that the trade union leadership nationally and internationally did not lead this movement, not only that but they will rein in this movement before it reaches its potential, and not only that but this leadership supports capitalism which causes low wages: but having said all that I believe my heading on yesterday's article was insufficiently scientific and affected too much by my anger at the refusal of this leadership to lead. It should have had as priority pointing out that the problem was the offensive of the capitalist class and the major corporations and only then gone on to take up the refusal to fight of majority of the union leadership and the hesitancy of the wing of the union leadership who are involved in this campaign. Sean O'Torrain. .