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August 16, 2011


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Robert Allen

The only good that can come from this is the workers begin to realize the forces of the bourgeois state arrayed against them, and the longer it goes on the more politically conscious most of them will become. A few will be radicalized enough to go into local politics as Democratic activists, maybe a handful will go over to socialist consciousness like I did. Facing the company thugs and police riot squads really sharpens your awareness of your political class standing. What is new/old is the complete snubbing of the unions by the Obama administration (unions must "embrace reforms..where needed") such as I'd noticed either Mondale or Dukakis told the UAW "things couldn't go on as they have in the pasT" just before he lost to Reagan. First time trajedy , next time farce?

Jodi Dean

thanks, Bob, for the comment. I was talking with some of the striking Verizon workers in my town this morning. There were only 5-6 on the picket line. A couple were pretty worried that the strike was not going to go well. The others didn't say much. I wanted to be able to offer more than 'moral support' (and letters to their CEO etc which I've done). But I was pretty clueless. Actually, I wish that I had had some good material to hand them (socialist newspaper or something). But it might not have been the right time. Maybe in the next week or two. Or maybe it would have seemed completely moronic coming from someone not in the union. what do you think?

Robert Allen

Buy them a cup of coffee, tell them you appreciate what they're doing, talk a little politics, introduce yourself as a political science professor, and refer 'em to your blog. You don't really have a party apparatus to try and absorb them into ala the SWP, so that's the most you could do for now,, I think.


i'm an IBEW member. it is rare to find other people who want to talk union politics at all, let alone trying to find those who are pro-union. most are very conservative, with an exceptional few (and i live in a very liberal-strong union town, in terms of market share).

i know you all probably realize this, but unions are not enough. they were only ever meant to serve as merely a buffer to appease class conflict. i realize this is glaringly obvious. still, it is better to be union no matter where you are or what you do. it can never hurt.

unfortunately i think *class consciousness* is lost on them. not sure why. not sure what can be done. at this point. maybe not too much at all. it is more like a waiting game, i am afraid. a waiting game for the worse.

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