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.

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