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Court Rules Against Workers in Wisconsin!

by Revolutionary Tendency
[Photo: 50,000 people protesting in Madison, February 18, 2011 against Scott Walker's union busting bill, (Photo: M.P. King/Wisconsin State Journal)]
Court Rules Against Workers in Wisconsin!
Down with Austerity and Union Busting!
Towards a General Strike!
Labor Must Play Hardball to Win!

Statement of the Revolutionary Tendency (RT)

Two years ago, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker incited a mass workers movement into the streets of Wisconsin against his union busting legislation. Today, Jan. 18, a Federal Appeals Court upheld Walker's actions in stripping Wisconsin public workers of collective bargaining rights. Scott Walker praised the ruling.

This is another clear indictment of the union bureaucracy's failed strategy of relying on the capitalist courts and the Democrat Party. The courts and the Democrat Party belong to the the ruling capitalist class, not the working class. Through all of this, the Democrat Party opposed some of the worst legislation, but they also agreed with the Republicans on massive austerity against the working class.

Instead of funneling the mass working class struggle in Wisconsin into a recall campaign in support of the Democrat Party, the union movement needed to call a general strike to bring the bosses and their government to its knees. The size of the mass working class mobilizations in Wisconsin showed that this was entirely possible.

Likewise, instead of waiting for rulings from capitalist courts, the labor movement should have, and still should, carry out a general strike. Labor rights are won on the picket line, not in the courts. Union members must form our own rank and file leadership from below to challenge the conservative leadership that holds back the potential of labor.

History shows the winning strategies. Like today, before 1934 the labor movement of the United States was taking a beating and unable to effectively fight back due to the conservative leadership of the labor unions. It was a situation very similar to today. In 1934 this all changed when socialists took the leadership of three important unions and, unlike the entrenched union bureaucrats, were able to lead successful strikes. These were the San Francisco longshoremen’s union led by the Communist Party, the Minneapolis Teamsters led by the Trotskyist Communist League of America, and the Toledo Auto-Lite Strike led by the left socialist Workers Party. General strikes also took place in San Francisco and Minneapolis.

These victorious strikes were the three most important strikes in U.S. history. These 1934 victories (along with the tactics used) inspired the great labor upsurge that formed the CIO and made many gains against the employers. This is what created the climate that forced one of the parties of the ruling rich, the Democrats, to give the working class the “New Deal”.

As a result of these victories, in 1935, at the height of another economic depression, the Democrat Party under Franklin Delano Roosevelt carried out a jobs program that improved the condition of the working class. Key components were Social Security in the Social Security Act of 1935, the first minimum wage (40 cents an hour) and the 40 hour work week in the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, and jobs organized through the Works Progress Administration of 1935 which employed 3.8 million people from 1935 to 1941 and built 11,000 schools, 122,000 public buildings, 77,000 bridges, 285 airports, 24,000 miles of sewer, and 664,000 miles of road.

A revolutionary workers party must be built that instills these lessons of history and fights for change against all enemies of the working class, including the capitalist courts and Democrat Party. What was won in the 1930s was a start, but the Revolutionary Tendency doesn't want just reforms for the working class, we want to end the dictatorial rule of the rich through socialist revolution and the establishment of a workers democracy. We are committed to building a fighting labor movement and a revolutionary workers party as first steps in bringing power to the working class.

Down with Austerity and Union Busting!
Towards a General Strike!
Labor Must Play Hardball to Win!

Distributed by Liberation News, subscribe free

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