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I'm going to assume that this report more or less reflects the general
approach of the conference. If there are other reports that show
differently, then all the better. But based on this report:
First, I'll give my perspective: I was a 30 year member of the Carpenters
Union, recording secretary of my local elected three times over the
opposition of the official leadership, offered full time (appointed)
positions many times, and known as one of the most prominent dissidents in
the union. I was also active in the wider labor movement, including
delegate to the central labor council in my area as well as numerous union
conventions. I was ultimately expelled for my role as a dissident, using
the excuse of the 1999 carpenters wildcat strike
in the SF Bay Area. I mention all of this to say that I'm not speaking as
some ultra left or as some wild-eyed young idealistic radical.Those who
would like to know a little more about the carpenters' union, the building
trades in general, and what they show about the unions in general, can look
at this pamphlet
We have to start with the situation in the unions: Even as far back as the
1970s and 80s, this leadership was continually trying to accommodate the
needs of the employers. Since then, they've gotten even worse. The result
is that the membership in general is nearly totally alienated from their
unions, which they perceive as being the union officials. In my area, most
rank and file union members I meet couldn't even tell you the name of the
union they belong to. I could tell you one story after another about how
betrayed these members feel.
And how have most socialists responded to this? On the one hand, they tend
to ignore how the leadership refuses to organize a fight against the
employers. At the most, these socialists call for more "union democracy",
but that skirts the main issue, which is whether the union will fight for
better wages and conditions. The payoff is that some of the leadership is
willing to endorse some resolution on El Salvador or something like that
that these socialists put forward. Then, these same socialists can use that
to parade around and boost their authority.
On the other hand, many of them love to talk about union militancy... back
in the 1930s or even the 1960s. But as far as placing any demands on the
present leadership to organize a real fight now? That's a book sealed with
a 1000 seals. And it tends to be the same thing as far as organizing a
campaign to get the unions to break from the Democratic Party, to refuse to
endorse ANY candidates of this party of big business, and to join with
community groups, etc. in building a working class party.
So, what it amounts to is using the union for their own individual
advancement. And from these reports, I don't hear that there's anything
very much different in this case.
Some may say that these comments are trying to tear down DSA or not trying
to build it or something. Frankly, I completely reject that criticism. I
used to hear it all the time from my business agents, when they were trying
to prevent any discussion on how the union needs to change its course. A
free and open discussion, including airing of differences and criticism, is
an absolutely essential part of building any workers' movement.
On Tue, Feb 13, 2018 at 2:09 PM, Dayne Goodwin <daynegood...@gmail.com>
> On Sun, Feb 11, 2018 at 5:45 PM, Louis Proyect via Marxism <
> email@example.com> wrote:
>> From Dan La Botz on FB:
>> Yesterday NYC DSA Labor Branch held a Labor Day School that was attended
>> by about 100 DSA members, most of them union activists. I spoke on a panel
>> on the left and labor: Stephanie Luce talked about Why the Working Class,
>> Chris Maisano talked about the Communist Party and the Trade Union
>> Education League in the 1920s, I spoke about the Communist Party,
>> Trotskyists and Socialists in organizing industrial unions in the 1930s.
>> About 50 people attended that session, though I think 75 to 100 attended
>> one or another session throughout the day. While I couldn't stay for the
>> entire day school, I heard good things about all of the panels and
> On Mon, Feb 12, 2018 at 3:33 PM, John Reimann via Marxism <
> firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
>> Louis reports on some discussion on labor in the NYC DSA.
>> Was there any discussion on the issue of building a working class party
>> the relationship between this and supporting Democrats - either all
>> Democrats or even just some of them?
>> It seems to me that this is really the issue of the hour.
> On Mon, Feb 12, 2018 at 3:46 PM, Dayne Goodwin <daynegood...@gmail.com>
>> Seems to me that when there is finally a tiny but noticeable socialist
>> organization in the U.S. (now about 1/100th of one percent of the U.S.
>> population) our primary emphasis should be on generally encouraging
>> the growth of the DSA.
> P.S. As part of the organizational process of the DSA's last national
> convention (held early August 2017) Dan LaBotz ran for a position on the
> DSA's 16 member national leadership body the National Political Committee.
> To have been a successful candidate for the NPC LaBotz would have needed to
> receive at least 2,947 votes; LaBotz received 2,631 votes.
> Here is the candidate 'platform'/bio on which LaBotz ran for a position on
> the NPC:
> *I have been a socialist activist since 1969 when I joined the
> International Socialists
> (IS), which in 1986 became part of Solidarity
> <http://www.keywiki.org/Solidarity>. I served on the national leadership
> bodies of both of those organizations. After attending the last DSA
> Convention two years ago as an observer for Solidarity
> <http://www.keywiki.org/Solidarity>, I joined DSA about a year and a half
> ago.* *In the 1970s I became involved in unions. I was a founding member
> of Teamsters for a Democratic Union
> <http://www.keywiki.org/Teamsters_for_a_Democratic_Union> in 1976 and
> subsequently worked for various unions and community groups as well as with
> immigrant rights groups. I was a Socialist Party USA
> <http://www.keywiki.org/Socialist_Party_USA> candidate for the U.S. Senate
> in Ohio in 2010, built an organization, campaigned throughout the state,
> and won 25,000 votes. I am co-editor of the independent socialist journal
> New Politics <http://www.keywiki.org/New_Politics> and a writer for Jacobin
> <http://www.keywiki.org/Jacobin>, Labor Notes
> <http://www.keywiki.org/Labor_Notes>, Against the Current
> <http://www.keywiki.org/Against_the_Current> and other publications. I was
> for 20 years editor of the Mexican-U.S. union publication Mexican Labor
> News and Analysis
> *I teach labor studies, principally about Latin American labor, at the
> Murphy Institute, the labor school of the City University of New York. I am
> the author of several books on labor and politics in the United States,
> Mexico, Nicaragua, and Indonesia.* *I believe the central political issue
> facing DSA is its relationship to the Democratic Party
> <http://www.keywiki.org/Democratic_Party> and especially to progressive
> organizations such as MoveOn.org <http://www.keywiki.org/MoveOn.org>, Our
> Revolution <http://www.keywiki.org/Our_Revolution>, and Indivisible
> <http://www.keywiki.org/Indivisible>. While we should work in coalition
> with those groups, I want to work to make sure that DSA charts an
> independent and socialist course. We should harbor no illusions about
> reforming or capturing the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party is not
> our party; we should not become involved in its internal life.* *We
> should support socialist candidates and progressive candidates in the
> Democratic Party, but we should not–if and when those candidates lose–back
> the corporate Democrats. The central political challenge is to avoid being
> swept up into the progressive organizations, which in the end usually
> support the Democrats corporate candidates.* *So while joining coalitions
> where appropriate, we should be wary of the Democratic Party and especially
> of its progressive wing, which will be most enticing to our members and
> friends. We do not want DSA to become simply a small group at the left
> margin of the Democratic Party. We want through coalition work to build a
> powerful social movement, a resistance with its own political identity, and
> its own political expression.*
> *I work in the NYC DSA Political Education Committee and well as in the
> Immigrant Justice Working Group
> (IJWG) and with the New Solidarity Coalition
> I am a member of the Central Brooklyn Branch. I have worked with the IJWG
> in the New Sanctuary Coalition, involving Latino and Haitian churches.
> Rahel Biru <http://www.keywiki.org/Rahel_Biru> and I led the introductory
> class for hundreds of new members in New York over the last several months.
> I was also involved in planning, organizing, and speaking on the labor
> movement at our socialist day school. I have been a regular at DSA
> political meetings, social events, and picket lines.*
> On Tue, Feb 13, 2018 at 10:16 AM, John Reimann via Marxism <
> email@example.com> wrote:
>> Dayne Goodman wrote about encouraging the growth of DSA. I take Dayne
>> that in reply to my question. How does questioning whether there was any
>> discussion of the relationship with the Democratic Party not encourage
>> growth? I'd really like to know.
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