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

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
June 23, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Democrats in the Dead Zone
Gary Leupp
Trump, Qatar and the Danger of Total Confusion
Andrew Levine
The “Democracies” We Deserve
Jeffrey St. Clair - Joshua Frank
The FBI’s “Operation Backfire” and the Case of Briana Waters
Rob Urie
Cannibal Corpse
Joseph G. Ramsey
Savage Calculations: On the Exoneration of Philando Castille’s Killer
John Wight
Trump’s Attack on Cuba
Dave Lindorff
We Need a Mass Movement to Demand Radical Progressive Change
Brian Cloughley
Moving Closer to Doom
David Rosen
The Sex Offender: the 21st Century Witch
John Feffer
All Signs Point to Trump’s Coming War With Iran
Jennifer L. Lieberman
What’s Really New About the Gig Economy?
Pete Dolack
Analyzing the Failures of Syriza
Vijay Prashad
The Russian Nexus
Mike Whitney
Putin Tries to Avoid a Wider War With the US
Gregory Barrett
“Realpolitik” in Berlin: Merkel Fawns Over Kissinger
Louis Yako
The Road to Understanding Syria Goes Through Iraq
Graham Peebles
Grenfell Tower: A Disaster Waiting to Happen
Ezra Rosser
The Poverty State of Mind and the State’s Obligations to the Poor
Ron Jacobs
Andrew Jackson and the American Psyche
Pepe Escobar
Fear and Loathing on the Afghan Silk Road
Andre Vltchek
Why I Reject Western Courts and Justice
Lawrence Davidson
On Hidden Cultural Corruptors
Christopher Brauchli
The Routinization of Mass Shootings in America
Missy Comley Beattie
The Poor Need Not Apply
Martin Billheimer
White Man’s Country and the Iron Room
Joseph Natoli
What to Wonder Now
Tom Clifford
Hong Kong: the Chinese Meant Business
Thomas Knapp
The Castile Doctrine: Cops Without Consequences
Nyla Ali Khan
Borders Versus Memory
Binoy Kampmark
Death on the Road: Memory in Tim Winton’s Shrine
Tony McKenna
The Oily Politics of Unity: Owen Smith as Northern Ireland Shadow Secretary
Nizar Visram
If North Korea Didn’t Exist US Would Create It
John Carroll Md
At St. Catherine’s Hospital, Cite Soleil, Haiti
Kenneth Surin
Brief Impressions of the Singaporean Conjucture
Paul C. Bermanzohn
Trump: the Birth of the Hero
Jill Richardson
Trump on Cuba: If Obama Did It, It’s Bad
Olivia Alperstein
Our President’s Word Wars
REZA FIYOUZAT
Useless Idiots or Useful Collaborators?
Clark T. Scott
Parallel in Significance
Louis Proyect
Hitler and the Lone Wolf Assassin
Julian Vigo
Theresa May Can’t Win for Losing
Richard Klin
Prog Rock: Pomp and Circumstance
Charles R. Larson
Review: Malin Persson Giolito’s “Quicksand”
David Yearsley
RIP: Pomp and Circumstance
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail