July 14, 2003
Organized Labor (in the 21st Century)
Had an interesting discussion with Josh On over the weekend. If you haven't checked out his They Rule project yet, run on over. Its one of the best visualizations of the concentration of power in America out there.
Josh happens to be a dedicated socialist party member and a really smart one to boot. Now I'm not very open to Socialism as a concept. How can you reliably implement social change and balance using an institution that will almost certainly be controlled by people opposed to your views at some point in time? But that's a topic for another day.
What was exciting talking to Josh though was his interest in labor unions. Now labor unions get almost no attention in the 21st century, at least here in America. Josh however seems them as a crucial avenue for social change. And I'd have to agree. With all the internet hype its easy to forget that there are tried and true techniques that still work. Organized labor still has the potential to be a vital force in the world. They can present a strong counteracting force to maneuvers of corporations, governments, and other mass groups. Of course an abuse of labor power can potentially be as damaging as an abuse of any other sort of power, but that's a given.
Have more questions than answers at the moment:
Is there a movement to reconstruct labor in a more 21st century form?
How wedded to socialist and marxist ideas are most unions? Is there a way separate unions from their early 20th century governmental fantasies? Or from their pragmatic late 20th century attachment to the Democratic Party (in the US)?
Is the "internet democracy movement" really just a way for the upper middle class to wield power like unions and the true upper class?
How many libertarians support labor unions? The US party supports them, but I suspect many members break from the ideology on that one.
More soon.Posted by Abe at July 14, 2003 10:18 PM