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 Post subject: Re: The Hoax of Business Unionism
PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2016 10:26 pm 
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Broletariat—
Quote:
mhou argues that the union form carries the content of the entire working class struggle, and that the working class is inevitably tainted by capitalist ideology (it couldn't be any other way), but that through the practical lessons of the struggle, the unions are forced to recouncile the fact that a divided working class is one that loses in their struggles. I'm not entirely clear on your position with respect to the question of state power as far as unions are concerned though. Care to elaborate for the rest of us?


Sure. I’m arguing that the processes which originally produced and continue to reproduce the union-form are not solely and exclusively capable of producing the union-form: specifically, that the practice, substance and structure of trade unionism (briefly defined in the preceding response), organized and organizing labor itself, also produce and reproduce organization beyond the union-form—the organs of workers’ control (shop committees, workers’ councils, workplace occupations) and workers’ power (armed workers, defense guards). That workers’ control is the basis for the forms engendered by the practice, substance and structure of trade unionism, manifestations of organized and organizing labor, to reach the most acute phase of the class struggle and produce the raw materials necessary to construct the dictatorship of the proletariat, and that workers’ power is nothing but organized force (class violence) made in relation or reference to worker’s (direct/indirect) control—of private property, the means of production and distribution, the fruits of labor. That the spontaneous class struggle can pose the question of workers’ control/power over society and produce the forms required to inaugurate the proletarian dictatorship (an ‘objectively revolutionary situation’), but cannot maintain control/power absent the intervention of the socialist movement. The role of the socialist movement is to subordinate the acute spontaneous class struggle to communism in its articulation and definition of state power as material gain and in its consolidation and defense of state power as material gain creates the only basis for the conditions to render capital extinct and create the movement to build communism. That examining the union-form reveals the fundamental processes which begin with the origin of the capitalist social relation and elaborate the taxonomy of proletarian dictatorship in light of the experience of the working-class up to this point.

My position on socialist practice is only that we proceed from the real-existing class struggle, how it presents itself and how we are finding it, to craft both framework to understand-interpret past experience and determine how we decide what we do, how to react to events. As for a policy, platform, prescription, I don’t have one.

That this wasn’t made clearer is my fault, by treating what is a supplement as a standalone text for the sake of this discussion—it was inevitable that questions about the full implications be brought out. Those implications are explored in greater depth in the parent text and particularly in the other 2 supplements, which all combined, are about half the length of THOBU.

I hope that brief outline begins to answer this:

Quote:
Can a trade union or unions organize or lead an anti-capitalist struggle by the working class against the bourgeois class as a class, as expressed in the state power, for the overthrow of that state power, and for the creation of organs of workers state power?


SA— I meant it when I wrote ‘Going for the jugular is fair’. My biggest pet peeve is consuming something someone wrote and finding that there is intentionally no means of communication with the author (if they’re alive). All possible scenarios resulting from defending what you’ve written are just part of not simply producing something and expecting 1) people will read it 2) readers will keep their thoughts to themselves and 3) the author has no accountability for what they wrote. As valuable as book-essay-article reviews are they can’t take the place of actual contact, particularly when reviews are ignored by the author under review as though they don’t merit a response.

Damn guys, lighten up. You make it sound like you just took my lunch money.


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 Post subject: Re: The Hoax of Business Unionism
PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2016 11:26 pm 
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SA— I meant it when I wrote ‘Going for the jugular is fair’. My biggest pet peeve is consuming something someone wrote and finding that there is intentionally no means of communication with the author (if they’re alive). All possible scenarios resulting from defending what you’ve written are just part of not simply producing something and expecting 1) people will read it 2) readers will keep their thoughts to themselves and 3) the author has no accountability for what they wrote. As valuable as book-essay-article reviews are they can’t take the place of actual contact, particularly when reviews are ignored by the author under review as though they don’t merit a response.


Wish I knew what that meant.


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 Post subject: Re: The Hoax of Business Unionism
PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2016 11:45 pm 
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No harm no foul?


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 Post subject: Re: The Hoax of Business Unionism
PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2016 12:49 am 
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OK.. Let you know when I've gotten through CBATUF, a second time.


Quote:
Sure. I’m arguing that the processes which originally produced and continue to reproduce the union-form are not solely and exclusively capable of producing the union-form: specifically, that the practice, substance and structure of trade unionism (briefly defined in the preceding response), organized and organizing labor itself, also produce and reproduce organization beyond the union-form—the organs of workers’ control (shop committees, workers’ councils, workplace occupations) and workers’ power (armed workers, defense guards). That workers’ control is the basis for the forms engendered by the practice, substance and structure of trade unionism, manifestations of organized and organizing labor, to reach the most acute phase of the class struggle and produce the raw materials necessary to construct the dictatorship of the proletariat, and that workers’ power is nothing but organized force (class violence) made in relation or reference to worker’s (direct/indirect) control—of private property, the means of production and distribution, the fruits of labor. That the spontaneous class struggle can pose the question of workers’ control/power over society and produce the forms required to inaugurate the proletarian dictatorship (an ‘objectively revolutionary situation’), but cannot maintain control/power absent the intervention of the socialist movement. The role of the socialist movement is to subordinate the acute spontaneous class struggle to communism in its articulation and definition of state power as material gain and in its consolidation and defense of state power as material gain creates the only basis for the conditions to render capital extinct and create the movement to build communism. That examining the union-form reveals the fundamental processes which begin with the origin of the capitalist social relation and elaborate the taxonomy of proletarian dictatorship in light of the experience of the working-class up to this point.

My position on socialist practice is only that we proceed from the real-existing class struggle, how it presents itself and how we are finding it, to craft both framework to understand-interpret past experience and determine how we decide what we do, how to react to events. As for a policy, platform, prescription, I don’t have one.


Now that's much more clear-- and doesn't trigger my argue reflex, until we get to "The role of the socialist movement is...." then the knee starts to jerk. How the subordination occurs, what are the means, the mediations to achieving that subordination, which is essentially not subordination, but a bit of the old transformation, that old uberholen is where the nits meet the grits.

Your position on socialist practice is the only practical position there can be.


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 Post subject: Re: The Hoax of Business Unionism
PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2016 12:48 pm 
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Broletariat-- Agreed, I'm taking a lot from it as well. It's been especially helpful to emphasize for me the limits of writing something in isolation outside of any active back and forth or feedback in real time.

SA-- Despite putting the spurs to Debs, Dobbs and (to a lesser extent so far) WZ Foster, I think the manner in which they were all won to the socialist programme is what is fundamentally sound in terms of socialist practice: that ‘we’, both by winning over fractions of labor’s human architecture produced and reproduced in and by its class struggles and by becoming a part of it through our own direct co-participation in its class struggles, receive the same mandate of legitimacy from our co-workers, fellow workers, the class itself, as that which is given to its organic leaders in the various manifestations of organization (demonstrated most clearly in the trade unions). The relative merit of their thought and actions, their entire trajectory after being won, I think is something else entirely and doesn’t necessarily diminish the process through which they were won in the first place (and the significance of it).

Quote:
How the subordination occurs, what are the means, the mediations to achieving that subordination, which is essentially not subordination, but a bit of the old transformation, that old uberholen is where the nits meet the grits.


These brief thoughts on Debs, Dobbs and Foster I think start to approach what ‘subordination’ looks like, and this directly bled into THOBU in how the relationship of CMIU Local 144-FOTLU-AFL to the Socialist Labor Party was characterized (that history looks to me like the political party simply announcing ‘We are the brains, you are the body, so just do what we tell you because we say so’). To me, the act of articulation and definition of material gains and carrying through the tendency to consolidate and defend these now-defined gains, in the midst of the manifestations of labor’s class struggles begun from practicing resistance to and demands of capital (as it pertains primarily but not only to the unique terms and conditions of labor of particular workplaces, trades, industries, sectors—or, moments when the same resistance/demands are uniform between and among different workplaces, trades, industries, sectors, cities, regions, nations) is how 'we' subordinate the spontaneous class struggle to communism. Where, without the element of socialist practice, this would result in simply a won or lost strike, the formation of a new labor organization (or as an act of renewal of an existing labor organization), a one-time demonstration against a particular law, the production of new organic leaders from among co-workers who may or may not coagulate into the structure of a new or existing organization, with socialist practice ‘we’ apply what makes us a distinct segment of the class (consciousness preceding action) to the concrete situation at hand, which allows ‘us’ to receive the same mandate of legitimacy as those are produced from the same class struggle, based on our actual practice in the circumstances as they are (as we find them).

In rough terms I think that’s how ‘we’ constructively contribute to the class struggle and earn any kind of leadership (the same way as every other organic leader produced by the class did) which is the same thing as subordination to communism, how we develop ourselves and make socialism a social and physical fact on par with labor’s permanent organizations, something around which future class struggles will be compelled to orient themselves.

I've been using 'subordination'/'subordinate' partially to close any gap that could allow for a councilist-type interpretation.

Quote:
Your position on socialist practice is the only practical position there can be.


Madison 2011 is the single episode that convinces me that it isn't


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 Post subject: Re: The Hoax of Business Unionism
PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2016 5:31 pm 
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mhou wrote:
Broletariat-- Agreed, I'm taking a lot from it as well. It's been especially helpful to emphasize for me the limits of writing something in isolation outside of any active back and forth or feedback in real time.


Exactly what I tried to emphasise in this thread.

everyone-just-wants-their-own-little-farm-t1303.html

I'll stop derailing now

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 Post subject: Re: The Hoax of Business Unionism
PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2016 9:55 pm 
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It's really not derailing, it’s relevant to format and presentation, and what discussion and participation should (or could) look like. I should say that in the case here, CBATUF, its supplements and the decision to host them on a blog were all a reaction to the limitations of discussion forums (which prompted an extended break from all political discussion). The responses in the thread you linked to sound very similar to some that I’ve been involved in: how to unify participation, discussion and content production and centralize multiple mediums into something more dynamic than a forum, blog, traditional press, etc. with the ultimate goal of contributing to participation beyond discussion alone.

Your observations on newer social media suggest that these amplify the drawbacks of discussion forums to a ridiculous degree. There should be productive ways to use all available formats/mediums in a way that they're all integrated as part of a whole, but I don’t have any particular ideas on how to do that. I did like the suggestions in that thread of using a single discussion forum as a voluntary, centralized arena for anyone that generates content on the communist archipelago online to engage and be engaged with for the reasons I (albeit poorly) tried to articulate to SA a few responses ago. The main criticism I have of the discussion forum format, when looking at just the format itself in isolation, is that it creates a surrogate for other forms of participation and activity and self-perpetuates multi-lateral, interactive discussion as an end in itself. Not to say the blog format doesn’t have its defects (which you largely covered in that thread: constructing islands that may or may not be interactive in a meaningful way and perpetuating a steady isolated stream of ****-in-the-wind). But without an organization to anchor it all to meaningful political practice, I don’t think there’s an inherently superior format online that can do what the others do but better.

Part of what went into writing CBATUF, in place of political discussion online, was being far more observant of and engaged with the dynamics in my own workplace. Where I work has been a ‘hot shop’ for the last few years and the escalation has been particularly dramatic over this past year, and none of my co-workers have any prior union or related experience (not that there is a perspective of unionization here, only that the situation is presenting like a ‘control group’). That’s of course by no means some new revelation, but it does occur to me that the surrogates online (of whatever format) lose that element that we all have in common: some kind of direct and personal engagement with the class struggle, which seems important given the various factors and forces which act against revolutionary organization. That can be tilted to the other extreme into all the varieties of voluntarism/immediatism/activism, and that’s not what I’m arguing for, but the basic connection between discussion that isn’t abstract and direct, practical experience that isn’t baseless, if that makes sense. I think existing theories of the class struggle and particularly trade unionism inhibit making that kind of connection, but getting to that position (let alone trying to justify it), on an individual level, wasn’t possible for me solely within the discussion forum format.


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 Post subject: Re: The Hoax of Business Unionism
PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2017 1:03 pm 
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From the latest issue of "The Communist Party," from the International Communist Party (publisher of Il Partito Comunista):

Quote:
Build working class resistance – Class unionism

Only the revolutionary movement of the proletarians of all countries, united in the same struggle against the common enemy, the bourgeoisie, will solve the problems of forced migration but also those of the exploitation of man by man, laying the necessary foundations for future Communist society.

Movements like Fight for $15 and OurWalmart have been positive for working class efforts to improve its conditions. But the benefits of these groups have been undercut by the needs of business unions such as SEIU and UFCW. These unions put their efforts into elections and not what workers can accomplish through their own efforts. So the significant efforts of Fight for $15 were diverted – pre-nomination! – to supporting Hillary Clinton, who is hostile to unions and working class organization.
These days, ‘Class Unions’ like the ILWU, UE and IWW are needed – unions that are run by their memberships and which fight hard to the end for their causes. Worker Centers, like Coalition of Immokalee Workers and the Solidarity Network movement are also important movements building an independent working class resistance to immiseration.


http://www.international-communist-part ... .htm#Trump

This is a good example of the power of the hoax of business unionism to obfuscate what is really happening in the class struggle. The PCI's publication is dated March 2017-- so this is a new article. Let's look at the background of a couple of these claims:

In an excellent report, InTheseTimes published, "Fight For 15 Confidential," in 2013:

http://inthesetimes.com/article/15826/f ... nfidential

Fight For 15 was not a spontaneous uprising by fast food workers at its inception: it was a campaign designed and implemented by the upper echelons of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). This is equally the case with OUR Walmart. That organization, from its inception, was fully funded and staffed directly by the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW). In the wake of the nationwide Black Friday 2012 protests, Wal-Mart almost succeeded in having the Department of Labor define OUR Walmart as a ‘Labor Organization’ under Federal labor laws. This resulted in the embarrassing outcome that OUR Walmart has to explicitly provide a disclaimer on its website and certain communications stating:

“[OUR Walmart] has no intent to have Walmart recognize or bargain with OUR Walmart as the representative of its employees.”

In addition, the UFCW stipulated that it would not seek to unionize Wal-Mart workers and both the UFCW and OUR Walmart agreed to refrain from picketing for 60 days after consenting to this disclaimer.

Worker Centers are a form of labor organization unregulated by American labor laws. This means they are not required to submit detailed financial data to the government, they have no legal obligations akin to the ‘Duty of Fair Representation’, their members do not have government-backed “rights” that are enforceable in court, they are not subject to the bans on certain forms of concerted action (like mass picketing), they can’t be the subject of employer-requested ‘Unfair Labor Practices’, etc. To be defined as a labor organization (a trade union) under American labor law, the test for any organization is whether or not it seeks to or in fact does “deal with” employers over grievances, wages, hours and working conditions. So far, the courts have determined that the definitive dealing with test is whether an organization seeks to establish formal collective bargaining machinery in a workplace, where there is a “bilateral mechanism” for employees to submit such grievances and demands and for employers to respond (or submit their grievances and demands). By avoiding the traditional collective bargaining machinery, worker centers remain outside the scope of American labor law.

It’s no surprise then that very large and established trade unions form, fund, partner and coordinate with worker centers. It’s worth noting that SEIU’s Fight For 15 campaign is a very visible and successful example of such a relationship, while UFCW’s is an example of how badly such a relationship can go—I mean, they almost nullified the advantages of the worker center-form and in the end gave up significant strategic advantages when they made their concessions to both Wal-Mart and the US government.

The International Communist Party is saying that the worker centers and worker center-driven campaigns are real examples of “positive working-class efforts to improve its conditions,” but derides the conduct of the SEIU and UFCW in the same breath. And yet, there is no way to separate the two—there would be no Fight For 15 without the SEIU, there would be no OUR Walmart without the UFCW, and in fact, the formers are simply extensions of the latters day to day.

The confusion deepens further when they write, “These days, ‘Class Unions’ like the ILWU, UE and IWW are needed – unions that are run by their memberships and which fight hard to the end for their causes.” What makes this confusing is that the struggle against democracy is a cornerstone of the Italian communist left; particularly, democratic mechanisms in the workers’ movement. But here, they pick 2 unions (leaving aside the IWW) specifically because of their highly developed democratic mechanisms. They are also two organizations that are outside of the AFL-CIO and were formed largely by Communist Party members and fellow travelers in the 1930’s, and so have had a ‘left’ reputation for 80 years. I have my doubts that the ILWU will have such pride of place as a ‘Class Union’ after it re-affiliates to the AFL-CIO. Is there any evidence that either organization, the United Electrical Workers (UE) or the longshoremens’ union (ILWU), are fundamentally, in their day to day affairs or in the content of their members’ struggles, different from their counterparts in the AFL-CIO? No. There is only a story, a narrative, that such organizations represent some kind of alternative labor movement that is qualitatively superior to the one that in fact exists.

The result of all of this is that the PCI is formulating political positions on the basis of facts-not-in-evidence; on nice ideas, not the real-existing class struggle.


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