Saturday, March 19, 2011

Bosses' war on unions frees markets, not workers

By Caleb T. Maupin
Published Mar 19, 2011 10:25 AM

It is easy to understand why the wealthy U.S. ruling class, whose profits grow the less they pay workers, would oppose unions. Unions are the forces that counter their endless drive for profits and seek to fight on behalf of their victims.

However, it is outrageous when anti-union forces like Gov. Scott Walker in Wisconsin and Gov. John Kasich in Ohio do so in the name of “freedom” and “fighting against big government.”

The ultra-right has created a false narrative in which President Barack Obama is a totalitarian bent on destroying the “freedom” of individuals. If this is the case, why then do they oppose unions? In all their talk of “freedom,” do they not realize that unions are nothing more than an expression of the basic “freedom of association"?

Do these “libertarians” really believe that “small government” should be able to prevent working people from joining together to advocate for their own needs and interests?

The Tea Party, with all its rhetoric about “freedom.” seeks to abolish the right to strike for public workers. What sense does that make?

A strike is simply a refusal of workers to work. When workers feel that in exchange for their labor, they are not being given a fair price or decent working conditions, they strike, choosing not to sell their labor until they receive better compensation or their needs are met.

The right to strike is greatly limited by laws like the Taft-Hartley Act and New York’s Taylor Law. However, isn’t the right to sell or not sell one’s labor a tenet of the “free market” and “freedom of exchange"?

Do these forces, with all their rhetoric about “freedom,” really want the government to force workers to sell their labor for whatever price is offered? Do they want workers to be forced by the government to work against their will in an exchange with which they don’t agree?

The talk against unions, whether they’re in the public or private sector, has nothing to do with "freedom." It is about defending the wealthy against those who create that wealth.

Since the dawn of capitalism, there have been many “unions” and “associations” of the capitalists. An early predecessor of the U.S. government was the House of Burgesses in Virginia. This was nothing more than an association of plantation owners, who formed a “union” to make it easier for them to grow rich from the sweat of enslaved peoples and employees in the old South.

In modern times the National Association of Manufacturers, the National Chamber of Commerce and other “associations” of the wealthy and powerful agree on collective action all the time to help keep their profits flowing and prevent workers from organizing and winning justice.

What are the Democrat and Republican parties but “unions” of the rich and powerful, arguing merely about strategy for running the profit-based system and keeping their class in power?

Opposition to workers’ unions -- whether from rightists like Walker and Kasich or liberals like New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo -- is not based on an ideological belief in “freedom” or opposition to “massive spending.” It based on outright class warfare between the super-rich and the working people who create all the world’s wealth.

As the system dives into crisis, the workers are being told their right to unionize must be sacrificed to keep the system intact. Nothing is more important in the face of this assault than for workers to form and strengthen their own “associations” and “unions” and fight in their own interests against the united efforts of the bosses.

When associations of the workers and oppressed replace the “collective rule” of the capitalists and their various “associations” and create a state of their own, that is called socialism. It is easy to understand why not just the Tea Party, but all representatives of the greatly protected union of exploiting capitalists and bankers, hates that word so much.
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