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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Don't Be So Sure Democrats Are Going to Win This Thing

I wonder how many people raising righteous hell at Republican union-busting right about now also facilitated this predictable outcome by contributing to low Democratic voter turnout in November? I wonder how many people triumphantly declaring that overreach will bite Republicans in the ass will still remember their current outrage six months from now, let alone when these anti-government anti-tax anti-democratic union-busters are up for re-election and start tweeting their usual dumbass anti-government swinging dick slogans again?

I can't honestly say that I think our side is going to win the current stand-off in Wisconsin, in either the short term (Walker or legislative Republicans blinking on this reactionary bullshit) or the longer term (Democrats mobilizing a stronger electoral coalition more devoted to social justice outcomes). Losses like the ones we are confronting now were baked into the cake in November -- which is why my hair was on fire in the low-enthusiasm party-equivalence-thesis run-up to November.

I agree that Wisconsin has enabled a long overdue public discussion of the righteousness and indispensability of collective bargaining in our democracy. Whether or not this actually pays the dividends it obviously should in the long-term organizing of the democratic wing of the Democratic Party will entirely depend on the sustained energy and attention of activists, and will require a discipline and commitment to clear pro-government pro-labor arguments none of which is exactly anything we can simply assume will be on offer. Much the same is true of the coming government shut down that November also baked into the cake. Without organizational and messaging discipline all this can really be lose lose lose for us all.


Chad Lott said...

My wife and I were talking about this last night (her entire family is hard core Union Electric).

Our unfortunately pessimistic conclusion was that when people see this and decide they want a good Union job, there won't be one and their enthusiam will fade quikly as they fill out the McJob McApplications.

We both have pretty good jobs with fairly progressive companies that are unlikely to ever support unionization. It's a weird place to be; we want to raise the fist of solidarity but our very livelihoods are at odds.

I'm sure some radical types would advise us to quit, but we live in reality and have a mortgage and family responsibiliies so we won't be taking that advice, just donating what we can to groups who need financial support.

I've been reading some of Murray Bookchin's writing lately and it's a stone cold bummer how right he was.

Dale Carrico said...

One possibility might be for you two to join Working America, a union labor affiliate for everybody who works, whether unionized or not.