Discussion: Labor and Worker's Rights

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Lily Adler, May 1, 2020.

  1. Lily Adler Politically Delicious (P) (she/her/hers)

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    I don't see what's wrong with giving your workers an extra $2 an hour.
     
  2. Marvolo Registered

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    I'd be lying if I said that wasnt potentially dangerous. Can they guarantee there weren't any medical equipment, supplies, pharmaceuticals, or other time sensitive or vital degradable products coming through the port on June 18? Cause if there was and they stopped that stuff getting where it needed to go they should be charged with criminal malfeasance at the very least.
     
  3. Axl Van Sixx Comrade

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    They shut down the ports for 8 hours. If you're already running out of life-saving medical equipment, pharmaceuticals, etc. or time-sensitive products after 8 hours, I think that indicates a larger problem with supply chains. But I haven't heard of any harmful effects like the kind you're indicating. And rest assured, if anti-labor forces could successfully use that argument they would.

    People can make these kinds of arguments to criticize any kind of labor action. In the specific case of the port shutdowns, there is no evidence that this 8-hour job action led to any of the negative effects you describe. On the other hand, we know that U.S. police kill an average of 1,000 people each year, and that their victims are disproportionately black. Those are real deaths that more than ever are happening right in front of our eyes. What are we going to do about that?

    Collective action by the working class has a faster effect on changing policy than anything else. Politicians right now are either promising toothless reform measures, encouraging violent crackdowns on protesters, or both. The 8-hour shutdown of West Coast ports is still largely a symbolic action. But it points the way forward.
     
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  4. Lily Adler Politically Delicious (P) (she/her/hers)

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  5. Axl Van Sixx Comrade

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    "This Is Only the Beginning!" CHOP and the Juneteenth Longshore Strike

     
  6. InCali I got a pUpgrade!

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    There's nothing wrong with it, it just isn't the solution. Remember when I said I was solidly to the left of my "idol" Krystal?

    Well, basically, here's my take. If we're ever really going to have economic justice (from whence all justice flows), we need to dramatically reorganize how we provide basic services in this country. Health care is currently the hot topic, but the logical extension of this is to take essentially the same approach with energy, water, transportation (including infrastructure) and agriculture. To me, these are reasonable measures, but will clearly have far reaching effects on other parts of the economy. My biggest concern, and one I don't think we've ever really successfully navigated, is the political problem. How do we figure out how to run these enormous departments to the benefit of people and keep the leeches at bay?
     
  7. Lily Adler Politically Delicious (P) (she/her/hers)

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    "I've been too critical of Republicans, lately". When?
     
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  8. InCali I got a pUpgrade!

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    THANK YOU!!! I love you again....
     
  9. Axl Van Sixx Comrade

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  10. The Overlord Registered

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    I think I have gone from Social Democrat to Market Socialist/Democratic Socialist.

    Democratic socialism - Wikipedia.

    Market socialism - Wikipedia.

    I think replacing corporations with worker CO-OPs would good, as well as expanding the welfare state and reducing the military budget.

    I prefer worker CO-OPs to state nationalization because it would just contrate power in one area, the state, but CO-OPs would grant workers far more control over their places of work.
     
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  11. InCali I got a pUpgrade!

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    This is the political superstructure issue. We’ve never gotten this right and it’s the key to any real progress. The waters are dangerous no matter where you go and as my mentor once said, an informed electorate is the only solution
     
  12. Axl Van Sixx Comrade

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    The problem with workers' co-ops is that you can't create an island of socialism in a sea of capitalism.

    If you have a small business run by the workers on democratic lines, like a small coffee shop, they still have to compete in the capitalist market and turn a profit. If they don't, then they will have to start laying people off, forcing workers to take a pay cut, etc.

    When I was first getting into socialism, Marxism, etc., I did have a stage where I thought "market socialism" might be the best option. After all, it seemed to bring together "the best of both worlds", capitalism and socialism. But it only took reading one book about market socialism, written in the 1980s (when free-market capitalism was experiencing a new boom in popularity) for me to conclude this wasn't a good option at all. There was a chapter on health care where the authors were talking about vouchers. It sounded incredibly convoluted to me compared to a basic public health care system like the kind in Canada and Western Europe, and similar to arguments I'd heard from Republicans like John McCain.

    The concern that many have of state nationalization, I think, is based on the fear of a lack of democracy similar to the old Stalinist regimes. That's why I think the best way forward is a government based on workers' control and management, based on workers' councils (fun fact for those unaware: the word soviet is just the Russian word for council). Essentially, these are democratically elected bodies similar to extended strike committees. Here's a good article that explains the concept in more detail:

    Why we fight for workers' control and management
     
  13. InCali I got a pUpgrade!

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    This is an interesting subject and I would like to hear more from you about a fundamental question regarding socialist and capitalist economic systems.

    Post Soviet revolution, why did the USSR ultimately collapse? What was needed in order for it to succeed and why? Do you think there were measures, beyond an international economic transformation, that would have allowed for its ultimate success?
     
  14. KRYPTON INC. Incorporated Kryptonian

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  15. The Overlord Registered

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    Except the DSA would still support a massive welfare state, the DSA supports nationalized health care.

    Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) - Working towards a better future for all.

    The DSA is the largest socialist organization in the US and likely the closest thing to my current politics.

    The idea of Market Socialism is you replace all private corporations with worker co-ops, not just have 1 or 2 and the massive welfare state would support all basic needs, anything necessary for life would be provided by the state. There would be autonomy for co-ops, but not necessarily the freedom to do as they please. There wouldn't be an economy based on endless growth on a planet with limited resources.

    Anything that is necessary for life is provided by the government, like health care, shelter, etc. Other things that are not necessary for living, like say video games, can be created by CO-OPs. I think the government's resources are best used to solve important problems like climate change. The problem with something like the video game industry is crunch time, I do not think that would an issue with a co-op:

    Grueling, 100-hour work weeks and 'crunch culture' are pushing the video game industry to a breaking point. Here's what's going on.

    A democratic CO-OP would not have that issue IMO.

    I do not think there will be a revolution that overthrows the government any time soon, the fact that 35% of the American public supports an authoritarian ideology means you have a counter-insurgency built-in right away. Most of the online leftists I follow do not think there will be a revolution any time soon.

    Also, the type of CO-OP I am proposing would be more radical than ones we have now and would promote workplace democracy and would be run by a rotating council of workers, there wouldn't be a boss anymore.

    I would favor a combination of electorialism and direct action. I also think logistically what the DSA is proposing likely has the best chance of success. I think direct action and promoting more like Bernie Sanders and AOC is a good way of moving forward.
     
    #16 The Overlord, Jul 12, 2020
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2020
  16. Axl Van Sixx Comrade

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    The short answer is that the USSR ultimately collapsed due to a lack of workers' democracy. The Soviet system became centralized very early on with the growth of the Stalinist bureaucracy, which quickly became a fetter on the economy. In the early decades of the USSR, this didn't matter as much, because the focus was on heavy industry. But as the economy grew ever more modern and complex in the postwar decades, the bureaucracy went from a relative to an absolute fetter on production.

    Basically, it's impossible for a centralized government agency in Moscow to plan everything needed in a vast country like the USSR. What was needed was workers' control and management, based on a system of workers' councils like the form that existed from about 1917-23. In that way, you can get democratic input from below on what is needed where and when. In the absence of democratic input by workers, you get a rigid top-down state bureaucracy and the growth of a large black market to meet the needs of people that the central plan can't satisfy.

    EDIT: The definitive text to read on the bureaucratic degeneration of the USSR is The Revolution Betrayed by Leon Trotsky.

    The thing is, the kind of system you're describing is not possible without a revolution.

    You want to replace all private corporations with workers' co-ops. But the bosses will never allow that kind of transformation to take place because it would eliminate their vast wealth. They will use any means at their disposal to prevent any such transformation from taking place, including sabotage and arming right-wing thugs to intimidate and destroy the workers' movement through violence.

    That's why what is ultimately needed is a workers' state, based on democratically elected workers' councils. Until you take state power, a broad social transformation of the kind you describe is impossible.

    There are a lot of honest class fighters in the DSA, but the strategy of trying to transform the Democratic Party is doomed to failure. The Democrats are a big business party that will always resist any challenge to capitalism, as we saw this year with their efforts to destroy Bernie Sanders. Workers need their own party, and the DSA could play a major role in doing so if they have the courage to break from the Democrats and reach out to the trade unions.
     
  17. The Overlord Registered

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    Most of the leftists I follow seem to think a revolution is unlikely to occur soon and do I have to do something workers now, whether a revolution is right behind the corner or a long way off.

    Also, how are we supposed to have a successful revolution if 35% of the US population are right-wing authoritarians who think CNN is too left-wing or something like that:

    Trump’s Base: They Are Authoritarians

    I think racism is more of a motivating factor for this authoritarian GOP base than people will like to admit and think this 35% will be a bigger hindrance than you think unless you can do something to remove their authoritarian ideology, it which will tricky, since many of them do not trust any source of information that is not far-right.

    The DSA membership is 70,000 people, which I have heard claims would make it the biggest leftist organization in the US. I also think the DSA does reach out to labor groups and I do think there is nothing wrong with having a variety of tactics, including electorialism and direct action, its simply not putting all the eggs in one basket. I also think the DSA has done some good work making this stuff more palatable to the masses.

    I think saying electorialism doesn't matter may miss certain issues facing certain communities. Why? Because in the US, there is more to electorialism than who is President, a big cause of the mass incarnation movement is ''tough on crime'' DAs and DAs are elected. If you promote DAs who do not buy into the ''law and order' agenda', you have relived pressure upon the groups who are victims of this agenda, does that solve all the problems of the system? No, but it does promote less harm to people in that community and I think that is a good thing for that community:

    Criminal Justice Reformers Seek to Use the Power of District Attorney’s Office to Tackle Mass Incarceration - Defending Rights & Dissent.

    Larry Krasner is happy driving his opponents ‘crazy’ as he seeks reelection

    I do think reducing harm where you can is not a bad thing, even if it will not solve all the systemic issues.

    That doesn't mean you give up on direct action, you can still promote unionization and strikes until the workers get more control over their workplaces, but there is nothing wrong with varying tactics.

    I also heard the phrase if voting mattered they would stop you from doing so, the GOP is stopping people from voting, through gerrymandering and voter suppression:

    What is racial gerrymandering?

    If a party devoted to white supremacy is trying to take away the freedom of black and brown communities by taking away their voting rights, I do not think we should let such a thing go unchallenged, even if electorialism is a not a silver bullet that will affect the change we want to see.
     
    #18 The Overlord, Jul 13, 2020
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2020
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  18. Axl Van Sixx Comrade

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    @The Overlord, you've seen how just in this year there's been a mass uprising across the United States. I think a revolution is perfectly probable. The issue is that there's no revolutionary leadership. The movement as it exists today is effectively leaderless, which is both a strength and a weakness.

    The fact that there is a large group of reactionaries in the U.S. is a problem, but not one that is insurmountable. The best way to shrink that 1/3 of Americans who support Trump is to show them the very real material benefits they would experience through a socialist revolution that provides everyone with health care, affordable housing, free education, etc.

    I'm definitely not saying electoralism doesn't matter. Elections are a very useful gauge of the current level of class consciousness. But I think workers need their own party. We've seen how people like Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, Bernie Sanders, with the best of intentions, become subsumed within the structure of the party. Sanders is now endorsing Joe Biden. AOC describes the millionaire Nancy Pelosi as "Mama Bear". This is why people call the Democratic Party "the graveyard of social movements".
     
  19. The Overlord Registered

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    But you don't know that far off that actually is. We have seen mass uprising, we saw some in the 30s, the 60s, the Occupy Wall Street, etc and they did not produce a revolution, you cannot just assume a revolution is around the corner and I think mitigating harm now where you can is a good thing. Could there be a revolution soon? Sure, but we shouldn't just assume that.

    I also think the Trump base is not very logical, these are people who didn't believe in a real pandemic that was going on and think CNN is controlled by Marxists or some other stupid thing. Swaying them with logic will be far harder than you would think. People with cognitive biases are not easily swayed by logical arguments. I think a lot of them believe in a hierarchy, where they can get any benefits they want while denying them to anyone they do not like.

    Its why they think some rich racist like Tucker Carlson is ''anti-elitist'' to these people, a lot of fascists take legitimate economic concerns and marry them to bizarre racist ideology.



    And frankly, his viewers have allowed him to do that, at a certain point, it is up to these people to stop listening to far-right propaganda and they are kinda are a lost cause until they make that choice.

    What I suggesting is there is an actual benefit to minority communities that comes from electorialism, besides who is President. I do not like Biden, but I do not think that is good reason to let the GOP stripe black and brown communities of their voting rights and not challenge them for it.

    I think the problem with the US is it has a skewed political system, it has a center-right party and a far-right white supremacist fascist party, now that is a screwed up Overton window, but the fact that one party is a proactively white supremacist makes them a constant threat to black, brown and LGTB communities. That being said, I do think you need stronger people then Biden to challenge them (him talking about his stories of working with segregationists in the past doesn't inspire me), but I think having people like Sanders or AOC is useful to challenge their ideology of white supremacy, and that is better than just letting the GOP promote white supremacy in the halls of power and not challenging them there, ensures that they will bring harm to racial and sexual minorities.

    I also think Bernie Sanders running, helped move the Overton window so people who used to think socialized medicine was unthinkable, now think the idea has merit, I think he has promoted certain good ideas, even if he didn't win.
     
    #20 The Overlord, Jul 13, 2020
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2020
  20. Axl Van Sixx Comrade

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    If you want a strong opposition to the GOP and white nationalists, the last thing we need is to support a capitalist party (the Democrats) that is constantly trying to kowtow and make accommodations with these people.
     
  21. The Overlord Registered

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    I am saying you have to fight them on different fronts, there is a direct action front and a legislative front.

    I think having more real left-wingers as DAs, in statehouses, in Congress, in the Senate, etc, is better than just having a bunch of Joe Crowleys remain there, who have no stomach for such fight. if you want to argue Sanders or AOC gave in to Biden too quickly, that's fair, but I think having them there is better not, because sometimes you need people in positions of power who are sympathetic to your goals, even if they are limited by the system because otherwise, you are allowing the white supremacists to pass laws to harm minorities and not challenging them in that area. I not arguing for supporting corporate Democrats, I arguing with getting more left-wingers elected so it is harder for the state to violate our rights, even by a little bit.

    But again, I never advocated not engaging in direct action, I think direct action is important, but I think it is a tactic, one can have many tactics to deal with problems.

    I don't think the protests should end if Biden wins.

    I do think fewer racist lunatic DAs like this one would help:

    Doug Evans sued for using race in jury selection | In the Dark | APM Reports
     
  22. The Overlord Registered

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    Anyway, @Axl Van Sixx, if you think there is a revolution around the corner, that's great. But I do think we can do things to help people now, before a revolution.

    I also think a revolution before we have rebuild the labor movement, which was gutted by Reagan, is putting the cart before the horse. I think we have organize workers at Amazon before we can take on billionaires like Bezos. We would need the type of labour movement we have not seen in a long while, the type that had to engage is some desperate actions to protect their rights.

    I do not think we have a union action as desperate as the mine wars in a long time:

    West Virginia coal wars - Wikipedia

    Whether something that drastic is needed now is debatable, I think we certainly need something more proactive in terms of labour action then we have done in decades.

    I do think agree with Noam Chomsky about the Republican party:

    Noam Chomsky on why the Republican Party is the most 'dangerous organisation in human history'

    I think the Democrats are a pressure valve for a dysfunctional system, I think the GOP is a far right insurgency pretending to be a political party.

    You know where left-wing legislators will be needed, fighting "right to work" laws, those laws will always keep unions weak as long as they are on the books. We need more actual left-wing legislators to fight these laws, as long as these laws are around, they will hobble union organization. Sometimes you have to promote change from both within and from without the system, just saying left-wing legislators don't matter is letting laws remain in place that will undermine your ability to organize.

    I am not saying you are wrong, I am just saying there are several different tactics leftists can use to promote their goals.
     
    #23 The Overlord, Jul 13, 2020
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2020
  23. Axl Van Sixx Comrade

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    I see where you're coming from, @The Overlord. But these are not new debates. If you have the time, you should check out the pamphlet Reform or Revolution by Rosa Luxemburg, which identifies many of the same questions activists grapple with today.

    Just to give you some background: the German Social Democratic Party (SPD) at the time she was writing was an officially Marxist party, but there was an increasingly vocal segment of reformists who argued that achieving "socialism" was possible through gradual reform and that there was no need for revolution. There's one passage in particular I'd like to highlight:

    This still holds true today. It's not a matter of revolution vs. fighting for reforms. The fight for reforms is the way that the working class becomes aware of its own power, and of the need to transform society to make the gains of the workers permanent. Remember, all the reforms that workers fought for many decades ago are now under attack again.

    I completely agree with you that direct action by workers needs to go hand-in-hand with work in electoral politics. Where we disagree is that I believe workers need to maintain the principle of class independence at all costs. Working within a capitalist party like the Democrats and hoping they will fight for working people is like hoping the tiger will change its stripes. The Democrats, like the Republicans, are a big business party. Anyone who even hints at fighting for workers, like Bernie Sanders, will be viciously attacked. This is why workers need their own party.
     
  24. The Overlord Registered

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    Fair enough. I think you also have accept that different leftists will have different ideas on the best way to move forward, leftists fight with each other all the time online. And again, I am Democratic Socialists, not a Social Democrat.

    I still think there is a benefit to having people like AOC or Sanders in positions of power, even if they failed to achieve a takeover of the party from the neoliberals, I think there is a benefit to have them there.

    I do not like Biden, I think the debate in leftist circles on whether voting for him is a harm reduction argument or not, maybe more hotly debate than one would think. I have seen minorities or LGTB people willing to vote for Biden simply because they think Trump is far more actively cruel them than Biden would be, even if they do not like Biden. Trump trying to take away health insurance from trans people, will result in trans support for Biden, even if socialized health care would make such an issue moot. I think some leftist think Biden is a corporate tool and want nothing to do with him, others will argue Trump is a fascist and a neoliberal like Biden would be less of a threat to them and their goals. I think that is why Chomsky is willing to vote for Biden, despite disliking him:

    Mehdi Hasan and Noam Chomsky on Biden vs. Trump

    Noam Chomsky Is a Liberal

    One can argue whether that is good logic or not. Although frankly a lot of this depends on where you live, if you live in New York, it doesn't matter who you vote for.

    I also think setting a new party to rival the GOP or the Democrats would be tricky, given the systemic issues that prevent a third party from gaining popularity.

    Personally I am all for breaking the cycle of nightmarish Republican and mediocre Democratic Presidents, but I think that would not be easy.
     
    #25 The Overlord, Jul 14, 2020
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2020

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