Sunday, January 3, 2016

Workers, take heed: Ammon Bundy's gang, the future Pinkertons

A diverse group huh. For folks that hate the govm't they sure love its symbol
By Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, retired

There will no doubt be considerable support from some declassed white workers for the right wing rural petty bourgeois that have occupied a federal building on a wildlife reserve in Oregon.  The group, a self styled militia apparently, is headed by Ammon Bundy, the son of the Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy who was involved in the standoff with the feds over a land/tax dispute.

"We are using the wildlife refuge as a place for individuals across the United States to come and assist in helping the people of Harney County claim back their lands and resources," says Ammon Bundy as he puts out a call for followers to come to Oregon. But the Hammonds, the ranchers they claim they are there to protect, have said that they are not interested in support from the Militia according to the media. The Hammonds may be in the right in their dispute with the feds and if they are, the workers’ movement should support them.  I do not know to be honest.  I have to admit though that it’s a bit of a stretch for Bundy to claim that he is acting on behalf of the people of Harney County to “claim back their lands and resources,".  I don’t think that land was theirs to claim in the first place was it? I am sure Bundy isn’t including the original occupants in his claim is he?  Has he been involved in the struggle of Native Americans to get back the land stolen from them? Hardly---------he has some of it.

They do not occupy factories. They do not come to the aid of workers on strike or the millions of homeowners who were forced out of their homes by the sheriffs on behalf of the bankers. I have been on many picket lines in my time when workers faced the organized employers, their state and its police apparatus in a struggle for a decent life, to avoid poverty. I’ve never seen armed militias at these. I never saw them at the occupation of the Republic Windows factory in Chicago when I was there.  Michigan is full of these right wing reactionaries. What role have they played in helping the autoworkers in their struggle against the auto bosses and global capitalism?  They have sat by passively as working people have been savaged by the corporations and the corporate state. They are defenders of capitalism these people.

There’s not a black face among this group.  Why not?  Because they are not welcome there that’s why; this is a racist movement. That so many comments from white workers can defend these people and not support the struggle of black workers and poor over racism, police brutality and the murder of black people on a scale not unlike the pre civil war days is staggering. The crisis conditions in the working-class black communities is a capitalist crisis and a product of centuries of discrimination and exclusion. It is not simply a black problem; it is a social one. It belongs to all of us. To side with this racist militia is against the white workers’ self- interest as racial division hurts white workers as well, it weakens us in our struggle against the bosses for a decent life and power in the workplace. The reason workers’ organizations are weak or non-existent in the US South and white workers’ wages, indeed all workers wages, are lower than in the North is racial division, or more accurately the black/white divide.

Many workers will get a sense of joy at anyone standing up to the government but we have to look at this a little more clearly. The white group or militia in question, reflect the outlook of the rural, petty bourgeois. Their ideology is individualism, free enterprise and the market. But they feel the weight of the big capitalists, the 1% on their backs. They are racist and identify with the white skinned European American ruling class that oppresses them but despite this will serve as the shock troops for them, the strikebreakers of the future along with the beefed up police forces.. They are the forces that will attack workers on strike and who have shot them, black and white in the past. It is this element, and their criminal degenerate kin who will be the new Pinkertons, the new strikebreakers. This is the main reason they are treated with kid gloves compared to black folks in the urban centers, not because they have white skin. They cannot be trusted from our point of view.

I was talking to a worker some time ago who was championing the NRA. I’m a legal gun owner I told him but I can’t rely on the NRA to defend this right. The NRA is dominated by manufacturing capitalists, the big bourgeois, judges, lawyers other right wing anti-union elements. “But who can defend our right to bear arms?” he asked me. "The organized working class is the force that I look to to defend my right to bear arms.", I replied. But this same force is the force that can defend my right to a home, to leisure time, to a job, to health care, to a productive and secure existence and a healthy planet to sustain it.

These right wing racists in Oregon are not the allies of workers. Think of it, we never see them in our disputes and conflicts with the bosses and the state.  As the crisis of the market intensifies we will see more of them be sure of that. In this situation they will not be opposing the federal Marshalls, they’ll be standing with them. Bundy and his gang are our enemies, those in the Black Lives Matter movement are our class allies, join their struggle, fight for your future.

And remember, class-consciousness is understanding which side of the fence you’re on. Class analysis is figuring out who’s there with you.*

I just watched Ken Loach's movie about Ireland circa 1932. It's called Jimmy's Hall. Another great Ken Loach movie. See it.

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