wall street : hot under a blue collar

If anything, the eviction of the Occupy Wall Street protestors has simply evoked the long-standing fallacy of Joseph Stiglitz’s assertion of the 1% vs. 99% thesis. The police. Those on blue know where the bread is buttered and those in the park are not signing cheques. The cops are like drug mules in a cartel. Low level but necessary to the functioning of the system. Its the war on crime industry that ultimately has no sympathy for those willing to engage the system. Caught between defending property and keeping the peace has been a slam-dunk decision in favor of the big money interests. But this is an old story, first remarked a century ago by the likes of Rosa Luxemburg who saw the complicity between trade unionism and capitalism as integral to the functioning of the system; the cops are bottom feeders supporting a huge bureaucracy of lawyers, judges, researchers, and other arbiters of taste, status and distinction.

Still, challenging the authority of  trade unions over the working class and poor, to reflect in any way the entitled right  of  trade unionism to speak in the name of the lower strata is still a form of political faux-pas. Naive  radicals claim the difficulty of conceiving of any genuine workers’ movement which is not dominated by unionism. When Sam Gompers and company with the connivance of large industry destroyed the IWW, it should have been obvious then, disposing of any idea that a  mass  movement based on the “good” depended upon garnering the trade unions, or at least a substantial  part of them, would be a lost and dismal cause.

Read More:http://chaplin.bfi.org.uk/resources/bfi/filmog/film_large.php?fid=59450&enlargement=bfi-00m-q71.jpg&resource=Stills

The recent scenes of police beating  unarmed civilians for the right of sitting on streets and sidewalks and demanding a fairer, more just world brings home the issue of the struggle to public and protesters alike.The G20 in Toronto was simply a warm-up act. Also,  attacks on peaceful protesters make  law enforcement and politicians look  cowardly and inherently reactionary; tending only to augment public support for civil disobedience.Zuccotti park is beginning to evoke shades of apartheid, the neo-liberal edition sweetened with pop culture. I didn’t see Michael Moore or Susan Sarandon taking one on the chin for the cause. The theory is that cold weather and crackdowns will deplete the protestors. Wall Street is always fond of saying “this time its different.” Well, maybe it is.


North:The trade unions' tendency to suppress the class struggle has found its most intense and developed expression in their attitude toward the socialist movement. There has been no illusion more tragic, especially for socialists, than that which imagined the unions as dependable, let alone inevitable, allies in the struggle against capitalism. The organic development of trade unionism proceeds, not in the direction of socialism, but in opposition to it. Read More:http://wsws.org/exhibits/unions/unions.htm image:http://www.yourbrushwiththelaw.com/heat.htm?cvs.htm

“Banking was conceived in iniquity and was born in sin. The Bankers own the earth. Take it away from them but leave them the power to create deposits, and with the flick of a pen they will create enough deposits to buy it back again. However, take it away from them, and all the great fortunes like mine will disappear, and they ought to disappear, for this would be a happier and better world to live in. But, if you wish to remain the slaves of Bankers and pay the cost of your own slavery, let them continue to create deposits.”

Former President of the Bank of England….

David North:Through much of its history, the socialist movement has ardently pursued the trade unions. Yet, despite much courting and wooing, this romance has been largely unsuccessful. Despite innumerable professions of affection and concern, the socialist suitors have been repeatedly kicked in the teeth and even stabbed in the back by the objects of their desire. Even when the socialists have sought to create trade unions of their own and provide them with an impeccable Marxist education, their offspring have repaid them with the blackest ingratitude. As soon as the opportunity presented itself, they tended to spurn the lofty ideals of their socialist elders and find pleasure in the flesh pots of capitalism. Read More:http://wsws.org/exhibits/unions/unions.htm

Rosa Luxemburg: In other words, the objective conditions of capitalist society transform the two economic functions of the trade unions into a sort of labour of Sisyphus, which is, nevertheless, indispensable. For as a result of the activity of his trade unions, the worker succeeds in obtaining for himself the rate of wages due to him in accordance with the situation of the labour-power market. As a result of trade union activity, the capitalist law of wages is applied and the effect of the depressing tendency of economic development is paralysed, or to be more exact, attenuated.

However, the tran

mation of the trade union into an instrument for the progressive reduction of profit in favour of wages presupposes the following social conditions; first, the cessation of the proletarianisation of the middle strata of our society; secondly, a stoppage of the growth of productivity of labour. We have in both cases a return to pre-capitalist conditions…

Co-operatives and trade unions are totally incapable of transforming the capitalist mode of production. This is really understood by Bernstein, though in a confused manner. For he refers to co-operatives and trade unions as a means of reducing the profit of the capitalists and thus enriching the workers. In this way, he renounces the struggle against the capitalist mode of production and attempts to direct the socialist movement to struggle against “capitalist distribution.” Again and again, Bernstein refers to socialism as an effort towards a “just, juster and still more just” mode of distribution….

---The defense of legality means the suppression of the class struggle, which, in the very nature of things, means that the trade unions ultimately undermine their ability to achieve even the limited aims to which they are officially dedicated. Herein lies the contradiction upon which trade unionism flounders.--- Read More:http://wsws.org/exhibits/unions/unions.htm image:http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film2/dvdreviews42/abbott_costello_complete_universal.htm

…It cannot be denied that the direct cause leading the popular masses into the socialist movement is precisely the “unjust” mode of distribution characteristic of capitalism. When the Social-Democracy struggles for the socialisation of the entire economy, it aspires therewith also to a “just” distribution of the social wealth. …the Social-Democracy does not struggle against distribution in the framework of capitalist production. It struggles instead for the suppression of the capitalist production itself. In a word, the Social-Democracy wants to establish the mode of socialist distribution by suppressing the capitalist mode of production. Bernstein’s method, on the contrary, proposes to combat the capitalist mode of distribution in the hopes of gradually establishing, in this way, the socialist mode of production…. Read More:http://www.marxists.org/archive/luxemburg/1900/reform-revolution/ch07.htm

…The specialisation of professional activity as trade-union leaders, as well as the naturally restricted horizon which is bound up with disconnected economic struggles in a peaceful period, leads only too easily, amongst trade-union officials, to bureaucratism and a certain narrowness of outlook. Both, however, express themselves in a whole series of tendencies which may be fateful in the highest degree for the future of the trade-union movement. There is first of all the overvaluation of the organisation, which from a means has gradually been changed into an end in itself, a precious thing, to which the interests of the struggles should be subordinated. From this also comes that openly admitted need for peace which shrinks from great risks and presumed dangers to the stability of the trade-unions, and further, the overvaluation of the trade-union method of struggle itself, its prospects and its successes….

---Corrupt and abusive judges like Sacramento’s Peter McBrien and Pennsylvania’s infamous duo of Mark Ciavarella and Michael Conahan are directly responsible for much of the government’s terrorism against citizens. They benefit from it directly via more workload and therefore job security plus campaign contributions from attorneys and others who benefit from it. Others, like the Pennsylvania couple, benefit via outright bribes. The mess they have made of the courts is the means to enslaving and pillaging families for their own ends. It ensures job security, lax oversight, and plenty of opportunity to exchange favors between judges and lawyers such as campaign contributions, minor’s counsel appointments, fee awards, and raiding family estates into bankruptcy to reward attorneys who cooperate with abusive and crooked judges.--- Read More:http://angiemedia.com/tag/police-abuse/

…The trade-union leaders, constantly absorbed in the economic guerrilla war whose plausible task it is to make the workers place the highest value on the smallest economic achievement, every increase in wages and shortening of the working day, gradually lose the power of seeing the larger connections and of taking a survey of the whole position. Only in this way can one explain why many trade-union leaders refer with the greatest satisfaction to the achievements of the last fifteen years, instead of, on the contrary, emphasising the other side of the medal; the simultaneous and immense reduction of the proletarian standard of life by land usury, by the whole tax and customs policy, by landlord rapacity which has increased house rents to such an exorbitant extent, in short, by all the objective tendencies of bourgeois policy which have largely neutralised the advantages of the fifteen years of trade-union struggle. Read More:http://www.workersliberty.org/story/2011/11/05/rosa-luxemburg-trade-union-bureaucracy


Blue Labour has no equal society to be nostalgic for, “the history of all society up to now is the history of class struggle”. Blue Labour’s nostalgia is for a working class identity embedded in communities whose economic conditions have long since been lost. Blue Labour is founded on nostalgia for the white, working class male breadwinner in stable industrial work, only the melancholy product of this identity’s decay remain, a desperate holding onto a white working class masculinity and an identity politics founded on it that excludes the new, recomposed (immigrant workers, women, low-paid office workers in precarious jobs) working class. The working class ceases to be, in Ralph Miliband’s, words “wage-earners located in the subordinate levels of the productive process who, with their dependants, constitute the working class of advanced capitalist countries and comprise the largest part by far of their populations” and becomes culturally defined. Blue Labour reveals the inadequacy of the critique of neoliberalism (Cruddas) and globalisation (Godhart) for Socialists. Blue Labour’s misogyny, as Lisa Ansell writes, “it disenfranchises the mothers for whom welfare benefits are the only remaining bridge for the inequality they face…and those whose unpaid caring work allows the rest of our society to function” and its sympathy for racists, “flag, faith, family”, “Blue Labour [is] sympathetic to culturally conservative views – on issues of place, work and welfare – and hostile to mass immigration” (Godhart) is no accident, it stems from its grounding in its apparently leftist critique of neoliberalism (rather than capitalism) in the name of a white working class identity whose conditions of existence have been destroyed by capitalism. Ansell’s conclusion “Labour is another party willing to ensure that the struggling “decent taxpayers” have someone to blame when they get nowhere. Blue Labour is the only way “New” Labour can continue after a global financial crisis. With it Labour can unite a “working middle class”, without addressing any of the party’s failures. It casts those left behind adrift, convenient scapegoats for all society’s ills” grasps precisely how Blue Labour will function in setting forth all the illusory causes and effects that interpret the blackest most terrible strokes of fate and thereby obscuring “the dark powers that hold his life in thrall.”

In obscuring the real (systematic) reasons behind poverty and deprivation, Blue Labour makes addressing it impossible. Simultaneously, its populism, its scapegoating makes things too easy, instead of a politics founded on the critique of capitalism, Blue Labour offers an impossible (yet easy) dream of an organic community secured by the removal of speculative and parasitic elements (Red Toryism claims Cobbett as one of its spiritual godfathers). This strange mixture of the impossibility and ease of founding an organic community, a polis which encourages virtue, further underpins Blue Labour’s conservatism when combined with its miscasting of class. Blue Labour’s (profoundly Aristotelian virtue ethics are underpinned by an understanding of class as an identity and a function (ergon). Blue Labour’s class politics is twofold: first, unlike Red Toryism, it aims to appeal to the working class (as it understands it) as a possible electoral bloc, second, it constructs an image of the good polis as one in which the white working class can express their identity grounded in an Aristotelian understanding of function. Read More:http://labourpartisan.blogspot.com/2011/04/blue-labour-wrong-sort-of-melancholy.html

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