By now, most Republicans, Democrats and their Union supporters will be aware that Michigan has joined 23 other American States that have ‘Right-to-work’ laws. Republican Governor Rick Snyder yesterday signed two Bills that will allow Michigan workers in both the private and public sector to obtain work without being required to join a Union. Until now, in Michigan, like 26 other States including New York, there were many jobs where the Employer and a Union had agreed that the condition of employment was compulsory Union membership.
Enforced Union membership is, of course, a wonderful arrangement for Union leaders and Leftist activists, and so it is little wonder that Union activists and Democrats have thrown everything into trying to stop ‘Right-to-work’ legislation. Michigan is regarded by Union and Democrat activists as the ‘home’ of Union power, for the United Autoworkers Union was founded in Detroit’s automobile factories and Union power enabled the motor industry to lead the way in destroying America’s automobile industry.
I was for many years a member of a Union and was once a small-time Union activist, so I can probably write more knowledgably about Union power and functioning than many visitors to this website. In my early days I was one of those who agitated for compulsory Union membership (outraged that those who did not join and pay dues received the same benefits as the rest of us) and many years later left the Union and worked during a strike. By that time I had learned that the modern Union role in wages and working conditions was insignificant compared to the Union role in Leftist politics – especially politics on social/moral matters. I had learned that the vast majority of rank-and-file Union members are both passive and easily manipulated and that Union leaders (at all levels) in Local and Central Government wield enormous power – much more than voters!
It is worth restating that when Union membership is a compulsory condition of employment, several consequences follow – not all of them immediately obvious.
First, some people (those on the Right and those for whom personal freedom is paramount) will no longer seek employment in those places of work. This means that the Government workforce in particular is, at best, uniformly Left leaning and a potential obstacle to elected Right-wing politicians. In contrast elected Leftwing politicians can expect to get inside information from the workforce and full worker co-operation for their policies.
In a ‘closed shop’ (the British term for compulsory membership and the one I will use here), the Union leaders and activists can continuously advance their arguments to the workforce and exercise unhindered power in the workplace during working hours. This is a huge advantage to Union leaders and Leftist activists when a workforce is only mildly interested in politics and Union activities. Getting people to Union meetings after working hours and in places other than the workplace is a huge challenge. When I was a Union member of a Union that had to address its members outside of the workplace, it was common for meetings to be attended by a tiny handful of activists – the Branch officials and one or two Communists or Trotskyites (seeking to pass meaningless resolutions on nuclear disarmament and Peace Marches).
More importantly, the closed shop enables Union leaders and political activists to enforce discipline. Anyone questioning the Union/Leftist line can be expelled from the Union and thus rendered unemployed. And as we have recently seen in Wisconsin – and now Michigan – Union leaders can shut down the workplace and transport mobs to protest in front of a colluding Media. Few members are willing to be seen to be lukewarm or hostile.
The closed shop enables Unions to extract large sums of money from workers which can then be used to keep the Union leaders in the manner to which they become accustomed and also provide large sums of money which they can use for political purposes. All such money, extracted from workers who might not support Leftist policies, finds its way to Leftist causes and politicians. I need not write more about this for everyone knows that Union money only goes Leftward, even though many workers vote for Conservative, Christian and Nationalist politicians.
The end of the closed shop clearly deprives Union leaders and Leftwing activists of a lot of undemocratic political power over workers and reduces funds for Democrat politicians and Leftist causes. Union membership can be expected to drop once compulsion is removed though we should not kid ourselves that Union power in Government administration will be ended. Most workers in Government will remain Union members and Union activity in working time and in the workplace will continue. In many workplaces intimidation will keep many in the Union. Still the end of the closed shop is always a blow to the Left and this is why Leftist anger is so great in Michigan.
The Public Service Unions in Michigan were able to close the schools for their day of demonstration. I am sure that many other Public Services also closed to enable workers to mass outside the State Legislature in Lansing. Significant numbers of demonstrators were also transported in by Unions and Leftist organizations from out-of-State. I would not be surprised if Soros-sponsored organizations were also active in getting demonstrators to Lansing. The purposes of the demonstration were several and worth mentioning.
First, the Union leaders and Leftist activists were both genuinely outraged by and fearful of Michigan’s new law. The Obama victory back in November was expected to advance the march to totalitarianism (in this case the mobilization of a disciplined and controlled workforce) and here instead was legislation that restores individualization to workers. The Left abhors the concept of the individual (a reactionary Christian concept) and his/her freedom to opt out of the designated herd. It was necessary therefore to herd workers together and reinforce the herd mentality (in Leftist terminology ‘Class consciousness.’)
Secondly, the Left believes in violence and intimidation (as we repeatedly write on this Website, the Leftist mantra is ‘the ends justify the means’). There is nothing the Left likes better than mob violence. They see it as better at this stage in the march to totalitarianism than concealed terrorism, which can come later when the secret police, representing the all-powerful State, can visit by night. The mob assembled at Lansing was hoping to physically halt the legislation by force. Never mind that the lawmakers were elected and behaving legally. The mob could have been directed to march around the streets of the Capital, simply drawing attention to their point of view. That is the democratic way to demonstrate and the Mainstream Media (MSM) would surely have turned up to play its part. But no, the mob hoped to obstruct the democratic process by physical violence. Even if this failed, the mob organizers intention was that the mob’s size and appetite for violence would be intimidating, ensuring that other States’ legislators will be deterred from following the Republican example in Michigan. A Democrat legislator in Michigan actually proclaimed that the Right-to-work legislation would cause “blood on the streets”.
Thirdly the mob was assembled for the benefit of the orchestrating Media Class. The MSM regularly and blatantly ignores mass marches when the marches express counter-revolutionary sentiments. Anti-abortion, pro-real-marriage, religious events and Tea Party million marches are either totally ignored by the MSM or brazenly downplayed and misrepresented, yet a handful of Leftists or homosexual protestors are guaranteed maximum and flattering publicity. In the Lansing mob protest, the MSM was ready to sympathetically record and emphasize the numbers but not any of the ugliness. There was to be no mention of ‘bussed in’ Leftist agitators from out-of-State, no mention of professional activists of the Far Left, no mention of violence, just quotes from humble Union members from Michigan who simply wanted to stand up for working people ‘rights’. Certainly the MSM had no intention of mentioning the Rights of individuals to be just that – individuals and not be coerced into funding Far Left social causes.
As it happened – and predictably – this was an ugly mob bent on violence. The evidence is there for all lying eyes to see – but only on the Internet. There, the discerning can find plenty of film of violent, (almost wholly White) destructive, intolerant and irrational bullyboys, made brave by numbers, desperate to find the opposition and vent some destruction. Two big tents representing organizations that support the Right to Work (freedom) were violently pulled down and destroyed, one with several people inside it. One reporter from Fox News was violently assaulted and injured and who can doubt that this mob, if it had found other targets, would have wreaked much more violence and destruction. The MSM reporters in unity chose not to see any of this and would not have seen any, no matter how outrageous the destruction.
Matthew Dolan and Kris Maher of the WSJ have a front page (and much more inside on page A4) article that totally avoids any mention of the ugly nature of this mob and its violence. Their photo shows a policeman striking a protester and that is it. Of course, on this Website we are not surprised, for as we constantly maintain, the MSM has its Ruling Class agenda and has an alliance with the Unions.
It remains only for us to comment on the President’s role in all this. Despite the current demands of his job keeping the Nation from slipping over the fiscal cliff and preparing for his $5m vacation in Hawaii, President Obama, president of all the American people, found time to visit Michigan and assure the gathering Union mob that he was on their side and not on the side of individual freedom. Just as he never fails to side with Black against White (Trayvon Martin) and his Justice Department does the same, so he never fails to take the side of Organized Labor. It is clear that Obama (and his wife) nurse deep-seated racial and Class resentment. In the next four years he will continue to foment Racial and Class divisions in America.
Weather – Very cold in the UK and cold here in California! Well, it is winter.
Music Choice – Californian-born pianist Dave Brubeck died this week. Unlike his regular musical partner saxophonist Paul Desmond, Brubeck lived to a good age and deservedly so. Unlike Desmond, he was clean-living and I believe he was a practicing Catholic. I was only 15 when I bought the LP “Jazz Goes to College”, recorded at the College of the Pacific. I later bought other Brubeck Quartet albums, including “Jazz at Oberlin”, also recorded at an American college. I was fortunate to twice see the Quartet live in the UK. Brubeck was a fine and original pianist and his technique was formidable. Desmond’s alto-playing was a fine foil as he had a soft sound and Brubeck was mostly ‘heavy’. When I heard Brubeck live in the UK, drummer Joe Dodge (another Californian) had been replaced by Joe Morello and this was hailed as an improvement by jazz critics, for Morello had a lot of technical skill but a busy, fussy style. I was disappointed for I thought Dodge was absolutely right for the Quartet, a no-nonsense drummer with a great sound with both sticks and brushes. The Brubeck Quartet with Morello quickly drifted into experiments with time, and cleverness replaced raw emotion and excitement. I recommend the recording “Lullaby in Rhythm” which was live from a College and has some superb drum-breaks by Dodge. The audience is really switched on but then, this was the 1950’s, before the Media Class-imposed Cultural Revolution had foisted pimply pansy-boy strummers and mincing strutters on us, later to be followed by pampered whiners and protestors (also with guitars). College audiences today have tastes to match the Michigan mobs.
College audiences of that distant past also gathered for traditional Indian music and for a time jazz players like Joe Harriot experimented with Indo-jazz fusions. Ravi Shankar, the sitar master, also died this week, aged 92.