January 21, 2005

Has the government broken the back of the union?

First, a little background. I have lived in north-central West Virginia for about 30 years. As a student at a local Catholic school I vividly remember learning about the Mine Wars when President Harding ordered National Guard planes to bomb the strikers at Blair Mountain. The unions are a part of my heritage. I have grown up believing that the unions were a positive force for change. Our American unions were brought here by eastern Europeans, who infused the movement with socialist fervor, back around the turn of the last century. Who will revive the fervor? Are strikers still willing to get bombed? The time is now. Workers of the WORLD unite!

If the unions don't like outsourcing, they should go unionize India. Give China's unions some teeth. Introduce Malaysia to the 401k. The insurance industry would love it. The people in Thailand sure deserve employer subsidized health insurance. The American unions have watched their power go down the drain. As manufacturing jobs go, so go the unions' backbones. They're missing their chance if they don't follow.

In short, the global economy will swallow the unions of any individual country. If the unions don't globalize in return they will find themselves without a bargaining chip. Sure, people could get killed. That's why it's called a struggle. In a world full of fanatical extremists, we need to bring back the ongoing quest for economic justice. Economic inequality is the cause of so much violence. Surely this should be the focus of the War On Terror.

In Years of Rice and Salt Kim Stanley Robinson says that Islam is founded on the idea that all people are equal. Maybe some good old fashioned socialist grounded unions would do well...

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