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Louis makes several mistakes as well as unwarranted assumptions. He writes:
"In my entire life on the left, no
significant motion has been detected by construction workers except
maybe on May 8, 1970, in New York City when about 200 construction
workers were mobilized by the New York State AFL-CIO to attack some
1,000 college and high school students and others who were protesting
the Vietnam War."

It was just last spring that hundreds of carpenters - mainly apprentices -
rallied against a sellout contract in New York. There was even a campaign
towards a wildcat strike (which didn't get off the ground). Prior to that,
thousands of construction workers actually shut down central streets in
Manhattan in protest against a major nonunion construction project.

In 1999, 2,000 carpenters did go on a wildcat strike in the SF Bay Area.

And back in the early 1980s, my local passed a resolution in favor of a
labor party and authorized me to hold regular meetings of the Bay Area
Coalition for a Labor Party in our hall.

None of this means that carpenters, and construction workers in general,
will be in the lead of a movement to build a working class party, nor that
they will even be in the lead of a working class resurgence in general. Nor
does it even mean that blue collar workers will be in the lead. Hopefully,
Louis would agree with me that the US working class is composed of much
more than blue collar, manual workers. But Louis is simply much too
categorical in what he wrote.

It could be argued that these struggles I mention were just workers
fighting for their own narrow interests. Yes, in a way that's true. But who
among us would argue that it isn't out of exactly these struggles over
immediate interests that a wider, and more political struggle can develop?

Louis also writes: "John writes these things out of a deeply felt need to
be authentic." I'm glad he's a mind reader.

John Reimann

*ā€œIn politics, abstract terms conceal treachery.ā€ *from "The Black
Jacobins" by C. L. R. James
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