William “Big Bill” Haywood was the chair of the founding convention of the Industrial Workers of the World, which took place in Chicago on June 27-July 8, 1905. Here is the beginning of his opening remarks, still powerful today (despite the use of male gendered pronouns):
In calling this convention to order I do so with a sense of the responsibility that rests upon me and rests upon every delegate that is here assembled. This is the Continental Congress of the working class. We are here to confederate the workers of this country into a working class movement that shall have for its purpose the emancipation of the working class from the slave bondage of capitalism. There is no organization, or there seems to be no labor organization, that has for its purpose the same object as that for which you are called together today. The aims and objects of this organization should be to put the working class in possession of the economic power, the means of life, in control of the machinery of production and distribution, without regard to capitalist masters. The American Federation of Labor, which presumes to be the labor movement of this country, is not a working-class movement. It does not represent the working class. There are organizations that are affiliated, but loosely affiliated with the A.F. of L., which in their constitution and by-laws prohibit the initiation of or conferring the obligation on a colored man; that prohibit the conferring of the obligation on foreigners. What we want to establish at this time is a labor organization that will open wide its doors to every man that earns his livelihood either by his brain or his muscle….There is no man who has an ounce of honesty in his make-up but recognizes the fact that there is a continuous struggle between the two classes, and this organization will be formed, based and founded on the class struggle, having in view no compromise and no surrender, and but one object and one purpose and that is to bring the workers of this country into the possession of the full value of the product of their toil.
Pick a class, assholes. Also, stop worrying about politicians and start organizing workers.
Many people in the labor movement and adjacent to it throw around terms like closed shop, union shop, open shop, union security clause, etc., without always using these terms correctly. There are subtle differences, and a passage from The Industrial Workers of the World: Its First 100 Years provides an example of getting closed shop and union shop wrong:
In November 1940 an 11-day strike at American Stove ended with the trading of a demand for a closed shop for the settlement of an accumulation of grievances. This was what the bargaining committee wanted, for they saw that a closed shop (unless accompanied by hiring through the union) ends up in the company personnel office eventually selecting the membership for the union.
A closed shop is not one where all employees have to become union members after being hired. That is a union shop. A closed shop is one where the employer can only hire employees through the union.
Closed shops have been illegal in the United States since 1947.
Though the above passage is technically wrong on definitions (at least in today’s usage), its implication about the difference between closed shops and union shops is significant: a great shift in the balance of power between unions and employers.
Right to work goes a step further and outlaws union shops.
I’m sorry, but what’s the implication here? That capitalism is good, because people are forced to work because of the threat of starvation? Or that government is good, because people are forced to work against their will by threat of violence?
Tell me please, Bhaskar. Why don’t you trust the working class?
The Black Rose Anarchist Federation / Federación Anarquista Rosa Negra posted a “Fuck Trump Reportback” about protesting Trump in Richmond, VA. I see how this is useful for organizing experience and getting people involved, but I don’t necessarily understand the point or see the strategy of these protests. Trump’s talking. So what? The protests just bring more attention to it and I don’t understand the immediate goal. Get into a fight? Prevent the event? To what end? He’s going to be the Republican nominee, let the asshole talk and his asshole supporters listen to him. We’re not going to prevent politicians from being elected, so why focus on the one we dislike more? If this is not going to be repeated ad nauseam going forward, fine. But it seems like that might be the case.
Let’s not let the presidential election eat up all activity.
The Economic Policy Institute, a progressive economic policy think tank, released a new report today titled “People of color will be a majority of the American working class in 2032.” It’s too bad their definition of working class is complete horseshit: “working people without a college degree.” If you have to modify “working people” with something further, you should realize you’ve gone astray.
Professor Louie can explain more: