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15775Re: [GreenLeft_discussion] Lund, Sheppard and Miah call on workers to leave US AFL-CIO

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  • Doug Lorimer
    Mar 31, 2005
      From the Marxmail list:

      The current leadership of the formerly AFT (AFL-CIO) Puerto Rican Teachers
      Federation (the largest unions in Puerto Rico) just successfuly led the
      desaffiliation of the federation. This is already saving money for the
      Union, and helping the internal democratic structures to flourish.

      In Puerto Rico, Union independence, except in the one case of the Water
      workers Union has meant increased political independence, more internal
      democracy, and in general more effective and militant workers unions. Even
      the small independent union of the only local Brewery has been able to stop
      outsourcing and union breaking efforts on the part of the bosses, something
      other Teamster and UAW (ie AFL-CIO) affiliated unions in the distribution
      side have not been able to do.

      In effect, the AFL-CIO is a corporate monstrousity more interested in
      reaping huge amounts of money from membership fees while providing token
      services and keeping high-paid think tanks for DSA and SD-USA types. Most of
      its leadership consists of bureaucrats with no base, usually even unknown to
      the membership, and the few industrial actions it has engaged in the last
      few years have been in spite, not because of the leadership. Furthermore,
      they behave politically like any other special interest group, giving money
      to both parties, supporting safe candidates and trying to reign in local
      unions that become more overtly political, in particular to the left.

      In a specialy repugnant example, the two major efforts by the left to create
      a third party alternative in the last years in the USA, the deadbirth Labor
      Party and the Green Party, has seen as the Democrat's foot soldiers the
      worse the AFL-CIA bureaucracy has to offer, including paid bureaucrats whose
      job was to use tenous left credentials to disorganize and destroy those
      efforts. That the less laborist Green Party suffered less from AFL-CIO
      intervention than the Labor Party did doesn't diminish the importance of the
      AFL-CIO's bureaucracy in a lot of what has gone wrong with that effort.

      Independent unions, and desafiliations of locals, in order to eventually
      rejoin them into a better thing, is for me the self-evident way to go
      forward. Calling it an "idiocy" is an idiotic statement of itself.


      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "bobgould987" <bobgould987@...>
      To: <GreenLeft_discussion@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Friday, April 01, 2005 1:04 AM
      Subject: [GreenLeft_discussion] Lund, Sheppard and Miah call on workers to
      leave US AFL-CIO

      > Caroline Lund, Malik Miah and Barry Sheppard say US unionists should
      > leave the AFL-CIO and the existing trade unions
      > By Bob Gould
      > In response to a question at a smallish session of the Asia-Pacific
      > Solidarity Conference in Sydney at Easter, 2005, Caroline Lund said US
      > unionists should leave the AFL-CIO and the existing unions and form
      > new ones, and she hoped that idea would resonate in Australia.
      > Lund and Malik Miah have elaborated that point of view in an article
      > in Links, which appeared at the conference. On the front page of
      > Links, the article is called, Towards Independent Unions in USA, and
      > to make the point clear, in the contents page it's listed as:
      > Independent Unions: The Way Forward for US Labor.
      > I start this by underlining that I have a certain respect for Barry
      > Sheppard, Miah and Lund. In the 1980s, as part of an internal struggle
      > in the increasingly authoritarian US SWP, after a long period of their
      > lives as political full-timers, these three comrades were persuaded to
      > "go into industry" and they have stayed there ever since, even after
      > departing from the US SWP. Sheppard has now passed retirement age, but
      > the other two are still in industrial jobs.
      > A person like Lund, who is still working and industrially and
      > politically active in the intense and difficult conditions of a motor
      > car plant, nudging the age of 60, is worthy of considerable respect
      > and serious consideration of her views.
      > Respect, however, for serious socialist militants, involves taking up
      > their ideas sharply when they are wrong, and I consider the views
      > expressed in the Links article by Lund and Miah deeply mistaken,
      > particular given the current political conjuncture, with the attacks
      > on the organised working class taking place in the US and elsewhere,
      > including Australia.
      > In sum, these three musketeers argue that the trade union bureaucracy
      > in the US, and by inference in Australia, is by now so corrupt and its
      > power over the unions so total, that any perspective of reforming
      > existing unions is futile and militant unionists should campaign,
      > whenever it becomes at all possible, to decertify existing unions and
      > form smaller, independent unions.
      > They believe the future lies with small, independent unions that can
      > then co-operate with each other.
      > Full: http://members.optushome.com.au/spainter/LundMiah.html
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