Why Unions have Failed and Obama Should Let Them

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wildufauv's picture

AAdifferent perspectie on America's unions...

"Why Unions have Failed and Obama Should Let Them"



Garrett78's picture
The failure to thoroughly

The failure to thoroughly address racism and white privilege is one of the most significant failures of the traditionally liberal institutions.

Colorblind universalism is a farce.

I'd suggest that the racism

I'd suggest that the racism and prejudices endemic in society as a whole were simply transferred over to the unions by its  members just as it was transferred to state/local governments. Remember the march on Selma against racist government?

I once worked for a management recruitment firm.  The best Admin. Secy I ever saw was nearly unemployable, union or not. Wrong color.. That's when the "color barrier" hit me with a sledge hammer. If we're going to get rid of unions, perhaps we should get rid of executive suites as well.

Institutions reflect the greater society around them.Their memberships come out of that society. So just where is the union "problem"?

Even religion gets corrupted to reflect whatever society it finds itself imbedded in..

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"


DRC's picture
There is no question that

There is no question that White Blindness does not end at the Conservative label.  The failure of the liberal class on race, however, is explained more by the furor and passion of the culture warriors and the money behind the ugly Southern Strategy than by White liberal pathology.  White liberal pathology and ineffectiveness is not limited to racism.  It is not as if, doing well in other areas, the liberal/progressive forces ignored Black Folk.  The failure was more endemic and broad.

This goes to the larger point that even anti-war, anti-empire, social justice liberals have to go through the American Century rehab instead of acting as the therapists.  We all have the American Century in our blood, and getting clean involves more than going cold turkey.

Phaedrus76's picture
Uh, this dude ran into this

Uh, this dude ran into this racism in the early 70s. It wasn't as much a unions were racist issue as America was a racist nation. At that time every good job that went to a "colored" was one less that could go to the right guy. Unions generally were way ahead of the rest of the country on this. Baseball only desegregated in 54, the military later, heck when did Wallace run? 1972? But you are so anti union and anti democracy, you will lay all the racism from the early 70s on unions. Don't you think you should also blame them for OPEC, Chernobyl, and Tanya Harding while you are at it?

Garrett78's picture
Phaedrus76 wrote:...America

Phaedrus76 wrote:
...America was a racist nation.

As opposed to the post-racial US of today?

Phaedrus76's picture
How many candidates for POTUS

How many candidates for POTUS in 2012 will use "segregation forever" as their slogan?

The entire article is based

The entire article is based on several logical fallacies.  Here are the most notable which his argument rests upon.

1.  Unions he experienced in the 1970s were racist and ableist thus all unions are racist and ableist and will always be racist and ableist.

2.  Unions are racist and ableist (false conclusion from above), then the absence of unions will also equal the absence of racism and ableism in the work place.  *presses wrong answer button*

While it may be true that the segregated unions of the early century better represented minorities, he over looks several things:

1.  The legislation that garaunteed him a job was part of a larger civil rights and labor movement which was largely driven by unions (and, yes, even the white segregated unions of the first half of the century).  Without it, he would have never even had that job.

2.  The discrimination he would have exeperienced on the job without the union would have been just as bad if not worse had the union been absent.  For example, since unions typically collectively bargain, he is probably paid at the same rate as his peers.  Absent the union, particularly in the 1970s, he could have been making as low as 40% of what his "nondisabled" peers had been earning.

There are several other problems with the argument but these are the two that are foundational to what he is saying.

Garrett78's picture
Phaedrus76 wrote:How many

Phaedrus76 wrote:
How many candidates for POTUS in 2012 will use "segregation forever" as their slogan?

And yet segregation persists, along with an enormous wealth gap between whites and people of color. Along with a disproportionate percentage of the prison population being persons of color (our legalized, tolerated slave system). Because the covert picked up where the overt left off.

I'm not agreeing or disagreeing with the author about unions, by the way. I'm just making the point that one of the numerous ways in which liberal institutions have failed those of us on the left is by not adequately addressing white (over)privilege and racism.

Tim Wise's most recent book, Colorblind, is a must-read.