Monday, September 1, 2014

Honor Labor - Austrian School

In my youth in a family of academics arguments over politics was endemic, and I tended toward what my mother called the "wobbly" position.  Not wobbly as in unbalanced, but IWW, the anarcho-syndicalist labor movement, Industrial Workers of the World.  To this day they make a wholesome case, as opposed to house unions (mostly government unions) and the business unions, which sold out to the powers that be.
We strive to build unions based on the direct strength of workers on the job, without regard to government or employer 'recognition.' It also refers to a strategy that eschews traditional contracts as our end goal. Instead we seek to win gains and build power through direct action tactics, rejecting concessionary bargaining and the prevalent 'no-strike' and 'management rights' clauses most traditional trade unions are all too willing to accept.
The IWW professes to neither endorse any party nor be "anti-politics" but truly independent.  But that in itself is anti-fascism, since fascism thrives on parties and political participation.  Being anarchist is necessarily anti-fascism, and thus the term anarchy has been dysphemized by the powers that be.

IWW is not well known because they don't join in (get co-opted).  This is good because their time will come when the roots matter (radical) to re-grow what is good.  They had spectacular successes early on when they used violence, but that proved passing glory, and that is regrettable, but seemed to have learned there lesson. (It seems to be attracting some young nihilists advocating violence, but these people typically turn out to be cops.) Any union movement targeted for destruction by both communism and capitalism cannot be all bad.

The Austrian School and its "anarcho-capitalist" strain denounce unions for using government power to extort concessions.  Fair enough, but what then about the IWW?

The unions began to form in response to capitalism as a set of patterns and practices being settled in law, patterns and practices funded by usury.  Capitalism, and its apotheosis, fascism, is anti-human, and those who tended to get ground up in both industry and war organized to resist.

Trade unionism is not about wages, it is about conditions and justice, ends contrary to fascism.  If trade unionism is not essentially anti-fascist in results, if not word, then it is not trade unionism, but capitulation.

Self-employment is necessarily unionism, since it depends on solidarity and mutual benefit with vendors and customers.  Union labor is self-employment as well, the company does not own the worker.  In the measure it is voluntary association, something the capitalism has ended by state laws, employment can be anarcho-syndicalist.

So this Labor Day we need to all Honor Labor, and hail the IWW for keeping anti-fascism alive in spite of overwhelming odds.  This may be a union the Austrians can love.

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