THE RACE TO THE BOTTOM MUST STOP HERE!
SUPPORT THE BOYCOTT- UNIONIZE WAL-MART
FORGET DONKEYS, ELEPHANTS AND GREENS- BUILD A WORKERS PARTY!
This writer has just received news that the Massachusetts Federation of Teachers (MFT) has voted to support the Wal-Mart boycott. Thus, the MFT joins a growing number of other unions and union federations nationally and internationally in support of this first step in the struggle to organize Wal-Mart. Every militant is obliged to and must support this boycott as a first step in the struggle against this greedy mega-corporation. To list the egregious labor practices of this corporation is like reading pages from the history relating the sweatshop conditions of the American labor movement at the turn of the 20th century. Whatever piddling savings one might receive by shopping at Wal-Mart is negated by the degradation of its labor force. It is high time for the labor movement to move on this outfit and move hard. The race to the bottom stops here.
Whatever the practical effect of the boycott it can only be a first step in the ultimate union organization of Wal-Mart. A boycott is not enough! A consumer boycott, as has been shown by past practices, is only as effective as the diffuse shopping public is aware of it. In general, a consumer boycott has little or no effect at all. In any case it is not decisive. There is no short-cut to effective organization at the point of production and, particularly in the case of Wal-Mart, distribution. The leadership of the organized American labor movement (now centered in the AFL-CIO and Change to Win Coalition) has chiefly used to the tactic of boycott to avoid the hard struggle to unionize the workforce. In the final analysis only organization in the field will bring unionization.
To organize Wal-Mart means there must be the will to organize Wal-Mart. It is necessary to go all out to win once the decision has been made to organize this monster along industrial lines, like the automobile industry in the 1930’s. Previous local efforts (such as in Quebec and Texas) to organize particular stores have shown that this strategy (or lack of strategy) has been a failure. Wal-Mart is just too big and powerful to be taken on piecemeal. This writer has seen estimates that the number of field organizers necessary to effectively organize Wal-Mart is at least 3000. Militants must call on the organized labor movement to fund and sent out that number en masse. The time is now.
Those even slightly familiar with the Wal-Mart operation know that the corporation has a fleet of at least 7000 trucks to transport and deliver goods to its various locations. This should make every militant salivate at the prospect of organizing that fleet. Militants must demand that the Teamsters International Union organize the fleet. Know this, if the trucks, the key to the distribution process are unionized that is a very powerful argument in the workers favor if a showdown with other parts of the Wal-Mart workforce is necessary. This writer suggests that militants read Teamster Rebellion and Teamster Power by Farrell Dobbs; a central organizer of the successful Teamster union drives in Minneapolis and later over the road drivers in the 1930’s. (These books have been reviewed elsewhere in this space, (see April 2006 archives.) One thing is sure, if it took practically a civil war to bring the relatively loosely organized trucking company bosses to their knees in the 1930’s it will be 1000 times harder to do so against this monolithic giant. But the victory will be sweeter.
I mentioned above the need to fund field organizers, and plenty of them, and other support staff. Unlike the 1930’s the organized labor movement has no lack of funds for such an operation today. However, what is necessary is the political will to organize and fight rather rely someone else’s good will. The great lesson from the 1930’s is that you win on the streets, not in the White House or courthouse. Organized labor’s support for the failed Kerry Democratic presidential campaign wasted millions of dollars. Instead of using funds to support bourgeois candidates, mainly so-called Democratic Party ‘friends of labor’, through COPE and other PAC’s for minimal or no returns use the funds to organize Wal-Mart (and the South, while we are at it). That is the real way to use union money.
SUPPORT THE CALL TO ORGANIZE WAL-MART NOW!
NO MONEY FOR POLITICANS-USE THE FUNDS FOR THE ORGANIZING DRIVE AT WAL-MART!
BRING MOTIONS TO YOUR UNION CALLING FOR SUPPORT OF THE WAL-MART BOYCOTT!
BRING MOTIONS TO CALLING ON YOUR UNION TO SUPPORT AN ORGANIZING DRIVE OF WAL-MART!
THIS IS PART OF A SERIES OF ARTICLES ON THE 2006-2008 ELECTION CYCLE UNDER THE HEADLINE- FORGET THE DONKEYS, ELEPHANTS, GREENS-BUILD A WORKERS PARTY!
FOR MORE POLITICAL COMMENTARY AND BOOKS REVIEWS CHECK MY BLOG AT- Http://markinbookreview.blogspot.com/