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Lessons of the On-Again, Off-Again BART Strike
Internationalist Group
Workers of the Bay Area Rapid Transit system have recently faced one of the most vicious anti-labor attacks since Wisconsin Republicans teamed up with the Democrats to gut public sector unions in 2011. When BART workers walked out in early July the strike was totally effective, but union leaders called it off at the request of Democratic governor Jerry Brown. As management refused to budge from its take-back demands and the anti-union media demonized BART workers, one “fact-finding” and “cooling-off” delay after another wore down worker militancy. The union tops struck again in October only because BART forced their hand. After a scab-training train killed two strikebreakers, a concessionary contract was negotiated. Now Democratic legislators are pushing to ban transit strikes. How did this happen? The answer is that unions are saddled with a pro-capitalist labor bureaucracy that bows before the bosses’ laws, chains the workers to the bosses’ parties and is incapable of waging the kind of all-out class struggle we need.

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