Tuesday, October 27, 2009

State of Our World: Open_Notes 12

labor was weak in America until the 1930s - the collapse [social, government] led to mass labor, unemployed defiance - labor won legal rights for the first time [representation, protection for unions, income protection programs] - a "new compact" but with conditions vs. labor strategies [legal contracts; labor relation boards; employers collected the dues making labor responsible to business as well as their members] - much of the old repertoires of labor made illegal [boycotts, sympathy strikes, sit-down strikes (commandeering the plant, holding hostage the capital equipment of the plant)]; limitations on the power of workers, by law, government, has increased until now -- yet today lean production has actually increased the power of labor; capital is dependent on labor - an ideological campaign is being waged against this understanding, a "no interference" policy [neo-laissez faire] - union-busting has been a regular policy of corporations since the 1970s [back to the pre-1930s Pinkerton union-busting army], bowing to growing competitive pressures [two-tier contracts introduced vs. solidarity; productivity partnerships (vertical relationships)] - heightened exit threats, contracting out/in, welfare state cut-backs [UI, welfare, food-stamps, medicaid] threat; corporate advantage in maneuvering now exists - people are crippled by the old repertoires, the rules accepted by the internal oligarchies.

small-scale, new repertoires are now emerging, new strategies, solidarity reconstruction; extended chains of production increase worker control, coordinating strikes across plants, nations -- preparations for strikes (community relations), increasing minority participation, regional strikes, are building solidarity [worker-community alliances], wide-spread public apathy targeted [ie., WTO protests], democratic accountability, and the lack of the same, brought to the forefront -- formal organizational ties between unions in different countries being cultivated; new conditions being forged; the future is partly shaped by the unpredictable; domination has to be challenged !! -- [Notes 11,12] [NPR, Alternative Radio, "Labor in a Globalized Economy", author-professor Francis Fox Piven, Sep.02.00]

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