Monday, June 12, 2006

Don Taylor and Herman Benson on union democracy and Change to Win

Don Taylor is Education Coordinator for SEIU Local 1984 in Concord, NH, and teaches in the Political Science department at the University of New Hampshire. He has been an AUD supporter since 1997. AUD recently published a piece Taylor wrote for the March 2006 issue of Yankee Radical, the newsletter of the Boston chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, along with a reply by Herman Benson.

From Taylor's piece:
"...Think back to the great struggles in the automotive industry in the 1930s. How different would the outcome have been if the General Motors workers in Cleveland, at Detroit's Fisher Plant No. 2, and at Fisher No. 1 in Flint had been split between different unions? The outcome could not have been the same, and the history of the labor movement would be markedly different. Yet, for some reason, many in the labor movement accept today's atomized status quo. Some even applaud it-like the folks at Union Democracy Review, who seem to think workers' ability to change between unions like trading in an old car for a new one is more important than building power."

From Benson's reply:
"...Don Taylor allows his admirable hopes to overwhelm any sense of reality. His disenchantment with Sweeney and the AFL-CIO seems rooted in his feelings about the cold war, rigid anti-communism, business unionism, and other evils of a "nakedly aggressive monopoly capitalism." But it is an illusion to dream that a new labor coalition of the Teamsters under Hoffa, the Carpenters, the Laborers, and the Food Workers will deliver something closer to his heart's desire. He imagines it; they haven't even made the promise. In these times, when there is so little to cheer about, some radicals grasp at straws. The danger is that, in a desperate search for reassuring signs, they are being taken in by a new ideology of super-centralized bureaucratic labor unionism."

Read the pieces here.

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