- AFSCME Local 444 negotiations assesment 1997
- Preparing for Revolution: A discussion document
- The Internal lives of Revolutionary Organizations
- Socialist Alternative members: Questions and Answers
- Sanders: Our Alternative
- The Nature of the New European Left
- Catastrophic Climate Change: Caused by Capitalism
- University of California workers and Unions
- An Invitation to Our Readers
Saturday, February 27, 2016
KKK and Trump. The AFL-CIO tops: Silence is Golden
Afscme Local 444, retired
I was just thinking about the piece I wrote about Rome Aloise, the Teamster leader who was making deals with the bosses and signing what they called "sham" contracts. As I said in my commentary, the entire labor leadership signs "sham" contracts really as they all agree that workers, their members, and the entire working class, must take concessions. Even leaders of small locals not so bureaucratized sign "sham" contracts because they refuse to openly campaign against the policies of the leadership of organized labor in the higher bodies, what we call the bureaucracy. This is basically the management of organized labor. Different from the management at work but similar in their world view.
This management in organized labor has a whole army of staffers that ensure their philosophy and view of how to relate to the bosses is carried out. It is a philosophy that that arises from the labor officials' relationship to the bosses that is based on labor peace and the free market.
Rome Aloise is not an exception but the rule in the ranks of the labor hierarchy. Below him are a number of budding recruits, just like in a tech company, aggressive young upstarts who seek to rise within the ranks of labor's management strata. This view and the policies that flow from it, is a disaster for working people. But it's not just in lower wages, benefits, and "sham" contracts where the damage occurs.
What is also a huge plus for the bosses when union officials are found with their hands in the till or making backdoor deals is that it confirms the bosses' ideological propaganda that our leaders always sell us out. That "power always corrupts" that its human nature to be greedy and selfish.
Of course humans have the capacity to be greedy and selfish. We can be extremely violent depending on the objective conditions. We can degenerate like all animals. But human progress came about through collective struggle and extreme sacrifice on the part of people and individuals. History is written by the victors and writing the history of resistance, of the oppressed in their struggle against the oppressor, is not their task. To occupy a people's homeland, to colonize a people, the support of the oppressors own working class is needed and for that, the colonized have to be demonized. Describing the Irish as "White Chimpanzees" did not spring from the head of an English peasant or coal miner but an English bourgeois, or one of their theoreticians. It is this betrayal on the part of workers' leaders, a betrayal of all workers no matter what race, religion or background, that is the most treasured by the capitalist class. It's a psychological victory.
As the movement against austerity and the ravages of the so-called free market develops, the best of us, the new fighters, within organized labor and without, will be thrown up and rise to the occasion as the old crap is discarded. This is inevitable.
On another note, I remember a co-worker some time ago sharing the uncomfortable feeling he had at a rally being around black nationalists. I can understand that. He wasn't particularly political person but he associated it with being anti-white or against him because he was white. And white workers react differently to this than the white, class privileged middle and upper middle classes.
There's different types of nationalists and I'm not going in to details about nationalism in general but I saw a clip last night of a Trump rally and I saw a person in the front of the audience with a KKK tee shirt on. Trump is appealing to the most anti-worker, racist and sexist elements in society. As Jack pointed out in an earlier commentary, "Trump’s not-so-subtle message that his election will mean it’s open season for racist attacks on blacks." He is far worse than a labor leader who gets busted for making deals. The only reason the bosses' go after them is to strengthen their lies that our leaders always sell us out. Trump, is not a NAZI in the sense that he has an military apparatus behind him or a state, but he is a clearly a racist and xenophobe and things can change.
How can a person with a KKK tee shirt be allowed at a rally of a candidate from the Republican Party? What sort of party is this? It is clear it has a right wing, semi-fascist Christian fundamentalist element to it. It is predominantly Christian Zionists that determine to a great degree, US policy toward Israel. But it's clear that it is white nationalism, the ideology of the ruling class, that has to be combated.
And we have elected representatives endorsing Trump. The latest being Chris Christie, the governor of New Jersey. He is obviously looking for a position in a Trump administration. But where are the voices of influential people, especially labor leaders. There should be a vicious and loud assault against these people calling them what they are, racists and ant-worker.
My response years ago to my co-worker who was a bit put off by the NOI newspaper, a paper of black capitalism, was that he needn't worry, they have never held state power and never will. There is no history that I know of, of roaming mobs of black nationalists including the NOI dragging white people from their homes and lynching them. In fact, if I was in an impoverished black community (I lived in one and was a part of it which is the best community service) when a riot began that took a hostile attitude to all whites I'd head for the nearest mosque. I'd be safe there.
But what must the millions of people in this country that are not white, (not white males as white women have been savaged by Trump), not of European descent, not citizens, are Muslims or Arabic, what must they feel like when they witness these disgusting spectacles? What we are seeing is people in power, people with influence supporting policies that are reminiscent of the NAZI's in pre-war Germany. These are not some backward right wing workers. What must those people in New Jersey, who will be victims of a Trump/Christie administration be feeling?
How can we not expect separatist or nationalist formations arising that would be hostile to unity with white workers? It is inevitable. unless we combat it openly and fiercely. The bosses and their media love Trump in that sense when they see all these backward white workers at his rallies. It helps to undermine class unity. It strengthens the mood for separatism. That's why he gets so much media attention. When I was in Iraq in the 1970's I would tell Iraqi's that I spoke with that the Queen and I drank tea, had white skin and spoke English, albeit it with different accents, but the similarity ended there. My mum was a worker, I rejected Britains role in that part to f the world.
Having said all this, or written it, I cannot see the US ruling class supporting Trump and I don't believe the American people would elect him. Some friends and I have also discussed this and my view is that it is Hilary that they see as their best bet. Those white workers that are supporting Trump would be savaged by his polices but sometimes stupidity and racial prejudice trumps common sense and class consciousness, but most workers are more class conscious I reckon and reject Trumps statement that we're paid too much.
It is important to note that when it comes to foreign policy, and US foreign policy is at the root of the formation of groups like ISIS and others, there are no candidates, Democrat or Republican, that will attack or condemn US foreign policy, including Sanders. The US military industrial war machine is off limits.
Finally, the greatest crime the labor hierarchy commits is its deafening silence in the wake of these developments. They sit atop an apparatus with 12 million members. They have social structure, thousands of local unions, a thousand or so county labor councils and many state federations, including in South Carolina. The LA Central Labor Council alone has some 800,000 members affiliated to it. Where are their voices as their members and the working class as a whole is coming under such an assault from all angles. Where is their condemnation of Hilary, Trump, the dictatorship the two Wall Street parties have over US political life?
All the developments that have been ongoing from the killing and outright assassination of black youth to the destruction of living standards that took 150 years to win, demand an aggressive counter attack yet they say nothing. Their most militant stand has been to not yet endorse Hilary Clinton wary that the few unions that are supporting Sanders might be joined by others and an actual debate open up within organized labor.
As for their criminal abstention from any opposition to US capitalism's foreign policy, it is beyond criminal, it is supporting mass murder.