Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
HAVE YOUR DONATION DOUBLED!

If you are able to donate $100 or more for our Annual Fund Drive, your donation will be matched by another generous CounterPuncher! These are tough times. Regardless of the political rhetoric bantered about the airwaves, the recession hasn’t ended for most of us. We know that money is tight for many of you. But we also know that tens of thousands of daily readers of CounterPunch depend on us to slice through the smokescreen and tell it like is. Please, donate if you can!

FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Labor Unions to the Rescue

by

Question: What do the most “successful” countries in the world—i.e., the “happiest,” fairest, most enlightened, most optimistic, and most generous—have in common? Answer: The majority of them have quasi-socialist governments/economies, and their labor forces are highly unionized.

Actually, there’s a third commonality as well. Unlike the U.S., they are unburdened and unravaged by the largest, most bloated and debilitating military budget in the history of Earth—an advantage that permits them to treat medical care as a “right” rather than a “privilege,” and to offer free college tuition to those who wish to attend, working off the premise that an educated electorate is an “investment,” not a “luxury.”

In the 2016 Democratic Primary, when Bernie Sanders advocated free college tuition, people (Hillary Clinton, for one) not only ridiculed him, they practically laughed him off the podium, as if the concept of not punishing a poor person who wants to continue their education were an exercise in unchecked extravagance.

Yet, in regard to “unchecked extravagance,” we didn’t hear so much as a peep from those same people when it came to the F-35 fighter plane. Not only is the F-35 prototype the most expensive weapons system in the history of mankind, which is a mouthful (the fleet’s estimated cost is upwards of $379 billion), but the damned thing doesn’t work. That’s not hyperbole. As of this writing, and after nine years of development, the F-35 has been deemed “not acceptable for combat.”

Just imagine what this country could have done with an extra $379 billion dollars if we’d decided not to develop this airplane. Because we’ve become inured to the word, we’ve forgotten how much a billion dollars is. Consider: If you gave a person a million dollars and told him to spend $1,000 per day, and come back after he spent it all, he’d return in 3 years. If you gave him a billion dollars, and told him to spend $1,000 a day, he’d return in 3,000 years.

Maybe we use that extra $379 billion as a down-payment on single-payer health care? Or for underwriting free college tuition? Or for putting a sizable dent in those much needed repairs of our infrastructure (roads, bridges, dams, aqueducts, canals, ports, power plants, etc.)? In any event, it would have been money well-spent.

Which brings us to labor unions. The only foreseeable way for the vaunted American middle-class to make a comeback is by having the “average American worker” once again earn a livable wage and enjoy decent benefits. And the only way that’s ever going to happen is by workers rising up and insisting on it.

I realize that choice of idiom has the slightly nutty, early 20th century ring of proletarian idealism to it, but it happens to be true. Resistance is the only solution. Resistance is the only way that working people are going to improve their circumstances. It’s obvious that the “free market” won’t do it, the U.S. Congress won’t do it, and the Church and philanthropic organizations won’t do it. It’s the workers themselves who must once again coalesce and assert themselves. What is so “radical” about demanding that we regain our middle-class status?

Fortunately, the apparatus for resistance is already in place. The only thing that people need to do is stand on their hind legs and utilize that apparatus. Unions are legal. Labor laws are on already the books. The NLRB, wimpy as it is, already exists. Everything is in place.

And if you’re looking for proof that Corporate America is scared shitless over the potential rise of organized labor, it is represented by fact that they will do anything in their power to keep unions out. They’re terrified of us.

If Wall Street didn’t regard worker solidarity and collectivism as dangerous, they wouldn’t care. They wouldn’t give a hoot about unions. But they do care. Which is why they spent hundreds of millions of dollars on those toxic “right-to-work” campaigns.

Again: The apparatus is already in place.

More articles by:

David Macaray is a playwright and author. His newest book is How To Win Friends and Avoid Sacred Cows.  He can be reached at dmacaray@gmail.com

Weekend Edition
October 20, 2017
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
Clinton, Assange and the War on Truth
Michael Hudson
Socialism, Land and Banking: 2017 compared to 1917
Jeffrey St. Clair
A Day in the Life of CounterPunch
Paul Street
The Not-So-Radical “Socialist” From Vermont
Jason Hirthler
Censorship in the Digital Age
Jonathan Cook
Harvey Weinstein and the Politics of Hollywood
Andrew Levine
Diagnosing the Donald
Michelle Renee Matisons
Relocated Puerto Rican Families are Florida’s Latest Class War Targets
Richard Moser
Goldman Sachs vs. Goldman Sachs?
David Rosen
Male Sexual Violence: As American as Cherry Pie
Mike Whitney
John Brennan’s Police State USA
Robert Hunziker
Mr. Toxicity Zaps America
Peter Gelderloos
Catalan Independence and the Crisis of Democracy
Robert Fantina
Fatah, Hamas, Israel and the United States
Edward Curtin
Organized Chaos and Confusion as Political Control
Patrick Cockburn
The Transformation of Iraq: Kurds Have Lost 40% of Their Territory
CJ Hopkins
Tomorrow Belongs to the Corporatocracy
Bill Quigley
The Blueprint for the Most Radical City on the Planet
Brian Cloughley
Chinese Dreams and American Deaths in Africa
John Hultgren
Immigration and the American Political Imagination
Thomas Klikauer
Torturing the Poor, German-Style
Gerry Brown
China’s Elderly Statesmen
Pepe Escobar
Kirkuk Redux Was a Bloodless Offensive, Here’s Why
Jill Richardson
The Mundaneness of Sexual Violence
Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin
The Choreography of Human Dignity: Blade Runner 2049 and World War Z
Missy Comley Beattie
Bitch, Get Out!!
Andre Vltchek
The Greatest Indonesian Painter and “Praying to the Pig”
Ralph Nader
Why is Nobelist Economist Richard Thaler so Jovial?
Ricardo Vaz
Venezuela Regional Elections: Chavismo in Triumph, Opposition in Disarray and Media in Denial
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
NAFTA Talks Falter, Time To Increase Pressure
GD Dess
Why We Shouldn’t Let Hillary Haunt Us … And Why Having a Vision Matters
Ron Jacobs
Stop the Idiocy! Stop the Mattis-ness!
Russell Mokhiber
Talley Sergent Aaron Scheinberg Coca Cola Single Payer and the Failure of Democrats in West Virginia
Michael Barker
The Fiction of Kurt Andersen’s “Fantasyland”
Murray Dobbin
Yes, We Need to Tax the Rich
Dave Lindorff
Two Soviet Spies Who Deserve a Posthumous Nobel Peace Prize
Rafael Bernabe – Manuel Rodríguez Banchs
Open Letter to the People of the United States From Puerto Rico, a Month After Hurricane María
Oliver Tickell
#FreeJackLetts
Victor Grossman
From Jamaica to Knees
Michael Welton
Faith and the World: the Baha’i Vision
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Kirkuk the Consolation Prize?
Graham Peebles
Beyond Neo-Liberal Consumerism
Louis Proyect
On Gowans on Syria
Charles R. Larson
Review: Candida R. Moss and Joel S. Baden’s “Bible Nation: the United States of Hobby Lobby”
David Yearsley
Katy Perry’s Gastro-Pop, Gastro-Porn Orgy
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail