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View Diary: Hell No! Liveblog: Joint press conference AFL-CIO, House Progressive Caucus, Sens. Sanders & Harkins (34 comments)

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  •  We need this Trumka to come back. (19+ / 0-)

    He was President of the UMWA during the Pittston Strike.

    They sat down in the road and were dragged away, in spite of a court injunction which made it a felony to sit down in front of a scab coal truck. Members sat in court and came forward and put their houses up as bond for each other. When I was at Camp Solidarity, a big strong miner broke down crying as he told me about how a union brother he didn't even know put up his house as bond for him.

    They seized a plant and held it for a couple of weeks (maybe a month, don't remember).

    They set up Camp Solidarity and had visitors from all over the country and even from around the world. The woman in the video gives me a lump in my throat, because she is standing in the Camp Solidarity canteen where they fed us 3 meals a day. (It was open 24/7 as I recall.)

    These are the types of action that are needed to win the struggle we are in now.

    Marches, encampments, & sit downs where they have to drag us away to jail.

    I love this series, it's a good start but we need to take it further on into organized sustained action if we want to win.

    WE NEVER FORGET For March: Francis Estep, UMWA Martyr

    by JayRaye on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 11:27:33 AM PDT

    •  I always find myself thinking (14+ / 0-)

      about Zinn, and what he wrote in his book on US history, that the unions back in the early part of the 1900s were far less top-down and not so bureaucratic as unions are today, and that the rank and file would put real teeth into direct action efforts, such as strikes. Later, their energy got completely co-opted into electing union bureaucratic leadership, instead of direct action. Decisions came from the less affected and more dispassionate administrators than from the oppressed workers, and it became a matter of back room negotiations, leaving out, to a greater degree, the workers from the process.

      That seems to be the trouble not only with unions, but also with mainstream electoral politics. The conventional "wisdom" is that only elections will solve anything. thus we're implored to donate time and money into primaries and elections, and eschew direct action as worthless.

      This mindset has rendered us impotent. It was the early union efforts that produced the greatest change.

      "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

      by ZhenRen on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 11:57:49 AM PDT

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      •  So true. Union execs are every bit as comfortable (7+ / 0-)

        with their jobs and perqs as corporate reps.  They are no longer interested in taking risks to fight back.  Of course, all too often, membership is not much different.

        The elevation of appearance over substance, of celebrity over character, of short term gains over lasting achievement displays a poverty of ambition. It distracts you from what's truly important. - Barack Obama

        by helfenburg on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 12:14:53 PM PDT

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      •  We have a lot of guilds in this country. We have (9+ / 0-)

        very few Unions left.

        dEar Ellois: U send Fud down holez, we no eaTz u. That iz deAl. No forget. MooRlockz Haz 2 eats. Stoopid Elloiz.

        by JesseCW on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 12:23:13 PM PDT

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      •  Having studied the issue, I'm not sure I would (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ZhenRen, shaharazade

        agree with Zinn. Gompers was not exactly what I would call a democratic union kind of guy. Neither was John Mitchell.

        The difference then was that workers were so beat down that they had little to loose by striking. They had little to loose by defying their leaders. Local leaders were better fighters in those days, and if they weren't they got the boot.

        The miners lost everything, even their homes, when they went on strike. But the shacks in the company towns weren't much better then tents anyway.

        Bottom line: workers were so impoverished and beat down in those days that they had little to loose by going out on strike.

        Perhaps we will have to get to that place before we are willing to fight back. Both political parties seem bent on taking us to that place.

        WE NEVER FORGET For March: Francis Estep, UMWA Martyr

        by JayRaye on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 04:29:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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