Tuesday, January 25, 2005

No more NUP

The NUP has voted to dissolve. Obviously the group abandoned all hope of winning a majority within the AFL-CIO and saw no future in splitting away from it. The NUP sponsors take credit for 1) having opened a discussion of labor’s future, and 2) apparently having won a consensus that internationals will receive a partial rebate of their per capita tax payments to the AFL-CIO.

It seems like a grand anticlimax. John Sweeney started the discussion nine years ago. The NUP’s big point was that discussion was not enough. They wanted action. Now they are happy to have had a discussion. The difference between their discussion and Sweeney’s is that his inspired enthusiasm and new public support. Theirs seems to have fallen flat. They began calling for a crusade to reorganize the world of labor. Now they take consolation in a tax cut.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Old article: The New Unity Partnership, Sweeney Critics would bureaucratize to organize.

The NUP is formally history, but its spirit goes marching on. See this longer version of a piece originally published in Union Democracy Review. See also the comment by Paul Buhle and Benson's response.

(posted by Matt Noyes)

Thursday, January 13, 2005

New article -- Focusing the debate in the AFL-CIO: bureaucracy vs democracy

From Herman Benson's latest article, available on the AUD website: focusing the debate.

What to do? The discussion escalates. Website and internet exchanges, joint declarations, public debates, long essays in periodicals, and personal manifestos bring a rich flurry of proposals and counter-proposals. Many are reasonably familiar; some contradict others: beef up political action, encourage the initiative of central labor councils, put them under international control, united union action around selected key organizing targets, more money and manpower to organize the unorganized, strike funds, global unionism, count on the power of big union leaders on top, encourage the locals and the rank and file down below, preserve the right of workers to unions of their choice, eliminate small unions and force workers into a few big unions.

The discussion becomes heated, edgy, bitter. There's even talk of a possible split in the AFL-CIO. The Carpenters, still in the NUP, actually secede from the AFL-CIO. What's going on here? The source of the mounting hostility is not in the question posed by the NUP but in the basic quality of its proposed answer, in the dominant bureaucratic strain that runs through its proposals.