Exclusively in the new print issue of CounterPunch
ANATOMY OF TORTURE — Historian Christopher Dietrich on the 100-year-long history of American torture; Jeffrey St. Clair on the implications of giving impunity to the CIA’s torturers; Chris Floyd on how the US has exported torture to its client states around the world. David Macaray on the Paradoxes of Police Unions; Louis Proyect on Slave Rebellions in the Open Seas; Paul Krassner on the Perils of Political Cartooning; Martha Rosenberg on the dangers of Livestock Shot-up with Antibiotics; and Lee Ballinger on Elvis, Race and the Poor South. Plus: Mike Whitney on Greece and the Eurozone and JoAnn Wypijewski on Media Lies that Killed.
Archives by Tag 'unions'
Mother Jones Deserves Her Own Stamp
DAVID MACARAY
A fiction writer would be hard pressed to invent a character whose life was more tragic and sorrowful, yet more inspiring and socially relevant than that of Mary Harris Jones, better known as “Mother Jones.” Born in 1837, in Cork, Ireland, the teenage Mary Harr...
They Never Intended to Share It
DAVID MACARAY
One of the criticisms you hear about organized labor is that unions are too adversarial in their dealings with management.  They’re too belligerent.  People tell you that instead of seeing themselves as management’s “enemy,” unions would be better served by seei...
A Potent Symbol of Worker Discontent
LAWRENCE S. WITTNER
Many people might be surprised to learn that the May Day celebrations that occurred around the world yesterday were born more than a century ago out of a struggle by American workers for the eight-hour day. The late nineteenth century was a particularly hard and br...
They Are Still Killing Trade Union Leaders
DAVID MACARAY
Make no mistake.  We had some ugly anti-labor mischief of our own during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, where union organizers, political radicals, suspected anarchists and Bolsheviks were blackballed, beaten, imprisoned, deported, murdered...
Kick Some Ass with the Working Class
RON JACOBS
Damn. That’s the word I kept repeating as I read Gregg Shotwell’s recently published book Autow...
Colombia: Obama’s Bloodiest Betrayal?
DANIEL KOVALIK, GIMENA SANCHEZ-GARZOLI & ANTHONY DEST
On November 9, 2011, the family of Juan Carlos Galvis – a prominent union leader with Sinaltrainal and personal friend of ours – was subjected to a violent home invasion by two presumed paramilitaries.  The intruders entered the Galvis home while Juan Carlos and his ...
Why Campaigning for Democrats Cripples Unions
SHAMUS COOKE
As labor leaders across the U.S. shift resources away from defending workers and into Obama’s re-election campaign, millions of organized and non-organized workers remain unemployed and hopeless. Contrary to the “optimistic” government jobs numbers, the job...
Union-Busting Bread?
BEN SCHREINER
If you live here in the Pacific Northwest, chances are that you’ve tried Dave’s Killer Bread, a popula...
Union Pride
DAVID MACARAY
This isn’t intended to be condescending or self-congratulatory, but the one thing that’s always made me proud of my old labor union (AWPPW, Local 672) is something that, oddly enough, was linked to the social dynamics of high school.  To understand it, we need to tak...
The AFL-CIO is in a Deep, Defensive Rut
RALPH NADER
Dear Mr. Trumka, You have come to your leadership position of our country’s labor federation of unions with 13 million members the hard way. Starting by working in the coal mines, then becoming a lawyer, heading the United Mine Workers, then becoming the Secretar...
Labor, the Environment and the Occupy Movement
MICHAEL LEONARDI
For many of us that have been involved with the Occupy movement from its onset, we find it questionable that the UAW is attempting to co-opt the movements language. The leadership of much of organized labor has proven to be almost completely out of touch with the O...
The Unions, the Millionaires Tax, and the Road to Success
ANN ROBERTSON and BILL LEUMER
This winter the California Federation of Teachers (CFT) sent tremors of hope through its ranks by announcing it was going to spearhead an attempt to place an initiative on the California ballot — appropriately called the “Millionaires Tax” — that would raise taxes...
Of Unions, Nuns and Health Care
CARL FINAMORE
“With God on Our Side” is a very catchy book title. It also appears at first glance to be quite...
Saving the Postal Service (and Union Jobs)
JACK A. SMITH
Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe’s plan to reduce mail service to five days a week and shut 3,830 post offices is meeting opposition in Congress, from sectors of the public, and the several major postal unions. Some closings of mail processing plants could begin i...
An Injury to One is an Injury to All?
MICHAEL LEONARDI
There is an attack on workers going on across America. Corporate bosses are turning to the lockout as their first measure of negotiating with workers who strike for legitimate grievances and economic justice. There were 17 lockouts across the country in 2011 with the most...
The War on Labor
JACK RANDOM
“When you are approaching poverty, you make one discovery which outweighs some of the others.  You discover boredom and mean complications and the beginnings of hunger, but you also discover the great redeeming feature of poverty: the fact that it annihilates the futu...
Two Negative Perceptions of Labor
DAVID MACARAY
Included in a front-page Los Angeles Times feature article (February 21, 2012) on AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka was this sobering observation:  According to a 2011 Pew poll, only 45 per cent of Americans view labor unions “favorably.” Disturbing as...
The Lockout Weapon
DAVID MACARAY
If you’re looking for evidence of just how confident, militant, and insufferably arrogant companies have become in recent years, consider the phenomenon of the lockout.  A lockout is where a company closes its doors, refusing to allow its union employees to return to w...
Scapegoating Teachers
MOSHE ADLER
The first to discover that teachers make perfect scapegoats was George W. Bush. When he ran for president for the first time twelve years ago, Bush had a problem. He wanted lower taxes to be his rallying cry, but while taxes in Texas, the state where he was governor, were...
How to Trump the Union-Bashers
DAVID MACARAY
Some years ago the American writer Jack Hitt made a clever, off-beat observation.  He suggested that if African Americans seriously wished to defuse or neutralize the remaining influence of the confederate flag (which not only is still found in the Deep South, but is pro...
Indiana Lets It All Slip Away
DAVID MACARAY
“The subversive thing about labor is not the strike, but the idea of solidarity.” —Thomas Geohegan (Which Side Are You On?) Unless a miracle happens, Indiana (with approximately 11 per cent of its workforce unionized) ...
The Mother of All Union Trusteeships
STEVE EARLY
Three years ago this Friday (Jan. 27), Service Employees International Union (SEIU) President Andy Stern declared war on one-quarter of his California membership. SEIU headquarters in Washington dispatched an army of paid staffers to seize the Oakland office of United Hea...
Hollywood’s Two Biggest Unions Set to Merge
DAVID MACARAY
After lengthy negotiations, Hollywood’s two biggest actors unions have agreed to a merger.  The parties reached a tentative pact on Monday, January 16, after being holed up for nine days at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel.  A vote by SAG (Screen Actors Guild) and AFTR...
Labor and Poverty
JOSEPH GROSSO
What is it about the even barely noticed presence of poverty that sends so much of American politics and culture into attack mode? Harsh treatment of the poor of course has a long history in the work houses, debtors’ prisons, and chimney-sweepers, as any reader of Blake...
The Obama Three at the NLRB
DAVID MACARAY
Just hours after recess-appointing former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, President Obama recess-appointed three people to the NLRB (National Labor Relations Board), giving it a full complement of five members for th...
Robbed in Little Rhodie
HOWARD LISNOFF
This past fall, both my wife and I were beaten up in Rhode Island! We weren’t physically harmed, but part of the pensions we had worked a combined 58 years for were stolen from us by a law passed by the General Assembly. The law had been championed and  proposed by the...
Nordic Whoring
DAVID MACARAY
Sociologists tell us that the reason a happily married man seeks the services of a prostitute is because he believes she will do things his wife would never consent to.  Sordid as that observation may be, this same perception appears to be Sweden’s reason for embracing...
The NLRB Scores a Win
DAVID MACARAY
On December 21, the NLRB (National Labor Relations Board) approved rule changes that will help streamline the union election process.  Historically, one of the biggest hurdles facing membership drives has been management’s use of stalling tactics.  Management knows th...
The AFL-CIO’s Covert Ops in Venezuela
ALBERTO C. RUIZ
In 2002, the AFL-CIO’s international arm known as the “Solidarity Center” was greatly embarrassed when it came to light that it had been supporting actors in Venezuela participated in the short-lived coup against President Hugo Chavez.  As a number of authors and p...
Organized Labor As a Wedge Issue
DAVID MACARAY
You can’t expect everyone to share the sensibilities of Harry Bridges or a Pete Seeger, but you can expect them, at the very least, to be able to follow the trajectory of economic history.  You can expect them to acknowledge that the American worker h...
Adventures in Sexual Harassment
DAVID MACARAY
As union president I dealt with dozens of alleged sexual harassment accusations. Most of these were presented informally.  For example, a woman reports an incident to a shop steward, who tells the chief steward, who tells the standing committee chairman, who (if deemed s...
We Need to Hire George Clooney
DAVID MACARAY
Back in the 1980s the Johns-Manville Corporation got hit with so many asbestos-related lawsuits that—given the company’s culpability and the gravity of the medical problems (asbestosis is incurable, and there were tens of thousands of valid cases)—it was forced to s...
The Decline and Fall of American Labor
STEVEN HIGGS
Peter Seybold might have been born and educated in the Northeast, but the Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis (IUPUI) sociology professor found the Hoosier state’s labor movement intriguing from the dawn of his political awakening back in New Jersey...
How the 99% Won in the Fight for Worker Rights
ANDY KROLL
No headlines announced it. No TV pundits called it. But on the evening of November 8th, Occupy Wall Street, the populist uprising built on economic justice and corruption-free politics that’s spread like a lit match hitting a trail of gasoline, notched its first major p...
Obama and Labor: the Self-Defeating Alliance
ROB URIE
Last week SEIU (Service Employees International Union) echoed the language of the Occupy Wall Street movement to give an early endorsement to Barack Obama in his re-election bid for the presidency in 2012. For both tactical and strategic reasons this endorsement works aga...
From Westminster Abbey to Blair Mountain
CLANCY SIGAL
My first time in Westminister Abbey, London, I was taken inside by a coal miner friend who was down from South Wales for a brief London holiday. Suitably awed, we gawked at Poets’ Corner, the Coronation Throne, the tombs and effigies of prelates, admirals, generals ...
Labor Movement Honors A “Truly Courageous Man”
DAVID MACARAY
On November 16, Napolean Gomez Urrutia, General Secretary of the Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores Mineros, Metalurgicos y Similares de las Republica Mexicana (National Union of Mine, Metal, Steel and Allied Workers of the Mexican Republic), commonly known as “Los Mine...
How The Oligarchy Gets Politicized
ALAN NASSER
The performance of the US economy from the mid-1970s to the present was no match for its relatively robust performance during what  economists call the Golden Age – 1949 to 1973. This was in fact the longest period of sustained growth in US history, when most (whit...
Wait a Minute, Mr. Postman
RON JACOBS
There’s a character in Michael Moorcock’s novel about the 1980s titled  King of the City for whom everything is for sale.  A hippie turned capitalist predator, this character works with national and local British governments in allowing public works...
We Do the Work
DAVID MACARAY
Whenever Labor Day rolls around I get filled with subversive thoughts about the unfairness of it all. While it’s the workers who keep the operation going, it’s management who gets the credit.  It’s management who gets the credit, the glory, the promotions, and, ult...
The Badger State’s Bloody Stalemate
ANDY KROLL
Stephanie Haw needed a good cry. On the night of August 9th, the rowdy crowd inside Hawk’s bar in downtown Madison grew ever quieter as the election results trickled in. Earlier that day, with the nation watching, voters statewide cast their ballots in Wiscon...
Romancing the First Amendment
DAVID MACARAY
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress...