|Trumpka, head of US Trade Unions, boot licking Obama the top political representative of US capitalism.|
By Sean O'Torain.
I would like to thank Sister Riddle very much for her role in raising the Standing Rock struggle in her local union. Sister Riddle is an example to all of us. She is so because not only does she support the Standing rock struggle. This in itself is very very good. But what is even better is that Sister Riddle does not leave it there. She takes the demand for support for this struggle into her Union. A major weakness in the labor movement in the US, especially, as far as the majority of the left in the US is concerned, is that they will take up struggles, but they will not take up these struggles inside their own union locals and workplaces. This hamstrings the movement. I would like to pose the following questions and ideas to all who are supporting the Standing Rock struggle.
Have you raised the need to support this struggle in your union local. Have you done so by moving a resolution to your union local and a resolution with teeth. That is one that calls for industrial and direct action against the banks and companies that are building the pipeline at Standing Rock. Put up a struggle in your union to have your union and union members in general pull the plugs on all the corporations, all the banks etc which are attacking the defenders of Standing Rock. A good strike action which would close these big corporations would help a lot. When there is not power coming out of their electrical outlets, when their computers do not work, when their drivers and other workers cannot or will not work this will get their attention.
Have you moved a resolution along these lines and if not why not? If you have moved such a resolution this is good. But there is also the nature of such a resolution. Did your resolution put the leadership of your local on the spot and given them specific orders to act on the actions spelled out in the resolution. Have you also given them specific orders to call meetings of your own local's membership, to reach out to the rank and file and leaderships of other union locals and bodies and workplaces, to spread the word and get more support. If you have not why not?
Some people on the left excuse themselves from taking such action by saying they are not in a union. Or they do not have a base in their union. This raises a few questions. If you are in a union why do you not have a base in it? Have you not been fighting in it on the issues that affect the members directly as this is the way to get a base. It is a very bad sign if a person who sees themselves as anti capitalist or socialist is in a union but has no base in their union and workplace. It is a sign that such a person is not serious. They are only taking up space. They are only getting left people a bad name. All talk and no action. That is how their workmates see them.
Of course it is not always possible to be in a union workplace. Unionization can take time and mean a hard struggle. But at all times we have to be struggling to unionize our workplaces and to make our union organization a fighting organization. If we are in the position of not being in a union workplace have we recently helped workers in union workplaces in their struggles. If we have not why not? There are always union struggles, workplace struggles going on. If we have been involved in such struggles, either to help the workers there to get better wages and conditions or to organize, inevitably this will build us respect and support for our ideas and work. This will then allow us to go back to these workers and ask for support for the Standing Rock struggle. It will also help these workers to see that all struggles involves them.
To generalize. We must not be like the capitalist politician Bill Clinton whose strategy is to compartmentalize. All our work on all fronts, environmental, wages, conditions, public services and on and on, all that affects our daily lives, all have to be pulled together into a unified struggle. They all have their roots in the capitalist system and the capitalist class being in control, and they all can only be resolved by the united working class organizing to end capitalism.
This approach of course brings up the other and major issue: The trade union leadership. It is either consciously supportive of or goes along with capitalism. It determinedly crushes all opposition to its rule, that means it determinedly crushes any attempt to raise an alternative to capitalist ideas in the unions, and the collaboration with the bosses which goes along with this support for capitalist ideas. Again and again we see it, activists in the movement, either student or workers movement, who profess to be against the bosses, against the bosses offensive, and against capitalism, refuse to take on and confront and oppose and fight the pro capitalist leadership in the unions. You cannot fight capitalism without fighting the pro capitalist trade union leadership.
We need to be clear. The battle against capitalism, against the destruction of the environment like at Standing rock, the battle against the bosses offensive against wages, conditions etc., cannot be won without taking on the trade union leadership. Anybody who thinks it can is profoundly mistaken. There are young inexperienced people who do not understand this. They can be forgiven and helped to come to understand this and to confront the trade union leadership. But there are also many people on the left who profess to be anti capitalist, anti boss, in support of workers struggle, but at the same time refuse to take these struggles up and fight in these struggles inside the union movement and take on the union leadership. These people cannot be forgiven.
Sit down and think about it. If you are in a union are you active in that union. Do you take the issues such as Standing Rock, such as the poisoning of the water supply in Flint into your union. If not why not? If you are not in a union it is impossible that you do not know people, family members, friends etc., who are members of a union. Have you talked to these people about the struggles you are involved in and asked for their help and asked them to get you invited to speak at their local on the issues. If you are not then you are letting down the workers struggles.
The struggle against capitalism is the struggle for the consciousness of the working class. This has to conducted on all fronts and one of the most important of these fronts, if not the most important of these fronts is, against the trade union leadership and their pro capitalist ideas.