Annual Fundraising Appeal

Here’s an important message to CounterPunch readers from
BARBARA EHRENREICH…

BarbaraE

Here at CounterPunch we love Barbara Ehrenreich for many reasons: her courage, her intelligence and her untarnished optimism. Ehrenreich knows what’s important in life; she knows how hard most Americans have to work just to get by, and she knows what it’s going to take to forge radical change in this country. We’re proud to fight along side her in this long struggle.  We hope you agree with Barbara that CounterPunch plays a unique role on the Left. Our future is in your hands. Please donate.

Day9

Yes, these are dire political times. Many who optimistically hoped for real change have spent nearly five years under the cold downpour of political reality. Here at CounterPunch we’ve always aimed to tell it like it is, without illusions or despair. That’s why so many of you have found a refuge at CounterPunch and made us your homepage. You tell us that you love CounterPunch because the quality of the writing you find here in the original articles we offer every day and because we never flinch under fire. We appreciate the support and are prepared for the fierce battles to come.

Unlike other outfits, we don’t hit you up for money every month … or even every quarter. We ask only once a year. But when we ask, we mean it.

CounterPunch’s website is supported almost entirely by subscribers to the print edition of our magazine. We aren’t on the receiving end of six-figure grants from big foundations. George Soros doesn’t have us on retainer. We don’t sell tickets on cruise liners. We don’t clog our site with deceptive corporate ads.

The continued existence of CounterPunch depends solely on the support and dedication of our readers. We know there are a lot of you. We get thousands of emails from you every day. Our website receives millions of hits and nearly 100,000 readers each day. And we don’t charge you a dime.

Please, use our brand new secure shopping cart to make a tax-deductible donation to CounterPunch today or purchase a subscription our monthly magazine and a gift sub for someone or one of our explosive  books, including the ground-breaking Killing Trayvons. Show a little affection for subversion: consider an automated monthly donation. (We accept checks, credit cards, PayPal and cold-hard cash….)
button-store2_19

or use
pp1

To contribute by phone you can call Becky or Deva toll free at: 1-800-840-3683

Thank you for your support,

Jeffrey, Joshua, Becky, Deva, and Nathaniel

CounterPunch
 PO Box 228, Petrolia, CA 95558

When the Public Sides With Management

Labor on the Ropes

by DAVID MACARAY

There are plenty of notable labor events occurring at the moment.  And by “notable,” of course, we mean hideous and horribly depressing.  Clearly, management people all over the world believe the stars are in perfect alignment and that they now have a decided advantage when it comes to negotiating with their workforce.  Naturally, they’re looking to exploit that advantage.

First and foremost, at least from an American perspective, is the Chicago teachers’ strike, with nearly 26,000 teachers having walked off their jobs.  Predictably, the teachers are being portrayed by the mainstream media as greedy (they’re overpaid already), callused (they don’t care about their students), and gullible (they’ve been whipped into a frenzy by their militant union).  It’s positively stunning to see what the media are doing to America’s teachers.  This once noble profession is being treated with outright disdain.

There’s also a strike in South Africa, involving 41,200 miners; Lufthansa flight attendants have hit the bricks; Olive Garden and Longhorn workers have sued their employers for wage violations; American Crystal Sugar workers have been locked out for over a year; a salt mine in Louisiana was shut down for egregious safety violations; and union activists in Bangladesh are under assault (a Bangladeshi union leader was murdered last year).

Clearly, global management feels it’s in the driver’s seat.  And because they have so little to fear, they’re practically daring workers to put up a fight, utterly confident that the moneyed interests will win in the end.

One could argue that the scariest part of all this is the apparent lack of support from the public.  Historically, there have always been four components to a strike:  labor, management, government, and the public.  Each component played a role.  While the government almost always sided with management, there was a time when the citizens sided with the workers.  But that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore.

I saw a Chicago mother on the news, plaintively asking, “What do I tell my daughter about why she has to miss class?”  She was furious.  “What do I tell her??!” she shouted.

It was obvious her anger was directed at the teachers and not at Rahm Emanuel, the smug, bullying, mega-maniacal mayor of Chicago, who, more than anything, needs to have a couple of motivated pilgrims take him out behind the woodshed and beat the crap out of him (Note:  we’re not advocating violence, only indicating that the only thing a bully understands is force).

Of course, the TV news crew was eating up this melodrama.  What a great visual for the six o’clock news—a tax-paying mother worried that her child’s education was being destroyed by arrogant union members.  But if anyone on that mobile crew (presumably union members themselves) had had the moral courage to speak up, they would have set her straight.

They would have advised her to tell her daughter that this is a classic labor-management dispute, that what the teachers are asking for is reasonable, that the arguments being used against them are frivolous, and that the anti-union fervor sweeping the country is being orchestrated by evil men seeking to fill their pockets with gold.  That’s what you tell your daughter.  And, believe me, she couldn’t get a better lesson than that if she spent a whole semester in civics class.

DAVID MACARAY, an LA playwright and author (“It’s Never Been Easy:  Essays on Modern Labor”), was a former union rep.   He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, published by AK Press. Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at dmacaray@earthlink.net