Following the Trump victory speculation has been rampant and has led to various proclamations yet again of the death of labor. Our third piece exploring the potentials for labor under Trump comes from one of our editors S Nicholas Nappalos. He argues that while these dangers are real, they also come with new possibilities for a militant participatory workers movement. Moreover it is not apolitical unions that can address the weaknesses of the labor movement heading into a collision with this government, but an active politicized union movement marking its opposition to both capital and the state.
Continue reading Labor’s death under trump? The potential for a renewed workers movement in an era of dangers
In Libcom’s second installment in our Labor under Trump mini-series, Mark Brenner from Labor Notes explores what union members can do in the face of anticipated threats. At this point most of the debate is speculation, but the labor notes piece is worth discussing because they explore concrete experiences in areas where anti-labor policies have been implemented such as organizing in right-to-work states and solidarity with coworkers independent of their immigration status. Brenner paints a picture of a labor movement at a crossroads, a theme we will return to next week.
Continue reading This Is Not a Drill: Bracing for the Trump Era
The last general strike in the US was in Oakland in 1946. That year there were 6 city-wide general strikes, plus nationwide strikes in steel, coal, and rail transport. More than 5 million workers struck in the biggest strike wave of US history. So what happened? Why haven’t we ever gone out like that again? … When we allowed ourselves to lose our most important weapons 70 years ago, we took the first step towards Trump’s America. We’re stuck in the wrong timeline – if we want to get out, we have to bring the militant labor tactics of 1946 back to the future!
Image: General strike in Oakland at December3, 1946.
Continue reading To Escape Trump’s America, We Need To Bring The Militant Labor Tactics of 1946 Back To The Future
A militant reflects on the struggle against the Socialist Party’s El Khomri law attacking working rights, which brought 1.2 million workers into the streets last year and sparked widespread resistance.
Continue reading #NuitDeBout #France: How union leaders destroyed the movement against El Khomri
“The claim that “syndicalist unions broke off from mainstream federations to form ‘purely revolutionary’ unions, cutting themselves off from the mass of workers” doesn’t hold up, though it does conform to the Leninist orthodoxy of “Left-Wing” Communism: An Infantile Disorder. There were many countries where the syndicalist unions were the majority–such as Portugal, Spain, Argentina, Uruguay, Peru and Brazil. Syndicalist unions in South Africa, such as the Industrial Workers of Africa (modeled on the Industrial Workers of the World), were the only unions that organized native African workers, who were excluded from the white craft unions.
At the time of the mass occupation of the factories in Italy in September 1920, the USI (Italian Syndicalist Union) was claiming 800,000 members, and the factory councils formed throughout Italy in those events were mostly organized by the USI. Moreover, it was the anarcho-syndicalists who initiated a militia movement (“arditti del popolo”) to fight Mussolini’s fascist squads. But the Communists didn’t cooperate, and the Socialist Party capitulated to fascism.
Continue reading Misunderstanding syndicalism