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Court Rules Against Workers in Wisconsin!
by Revolutionary Tendency
Friday Jan 18th, 2013 4:07 PM
[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!

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Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Gary G.
Saturday Jan 19th, 2013 4:24 AM
STRIKE - Nationwide. Grow some BALLS AFL-CIO
by Yuen
Saturday Jan 19th, 2013 4:25 AM
Justice to Wisconsin Workers!
by Louis Y.
Saturday Jan 19th, 2013 4:28 AM
May there be a Union for every Industry!
by Sarah M.
Saturday Jan 19th, 2013 5:22 AM
The whole state has become corrupt, from the inside, but the army is outside.
by Cindy W.
Saturday Jan 19th, 2013 5:25 AM
by Steven Argue
Saturday Jan 19th, 2013 5:34 AM
The Army and National Guard are made-up of working class people. The ruling capitalists of the United States will have a hard time sending them against the American working class. If they do send out the military against a general strike, the strategy we will need will be to split the military, bringing the rank and file over to the side of the working class, leaving the brass with nobody to command. This is a step in how revolutions sometimes happen. Knowing this, the ruling class will often think long and hard about using military against a general strike.
by Mathew
Saturday Jan 19th, 2013 5:37 AM
This part of history is unspoken now it is taboo this may be the only way we should look back at it
by Jesse G.
Saturday Jan 19th, 2013 5:39 AM
Let's question everything they rule; Let's put our judges in their!
by alizya
Saturday Jan 19th, 2013 5:45 AM
Interesting read! I'm sure with you!
by Brian
Saturday Jan 19th, 2013 5:48 AM
Wisconsin Political Weasels.
by Denica
Saturday Jan 19th, 2013 8:00 AM
People are going to have to start relying less on courts to help them as conservative "activist" judges are on the rise (because they are getting PAID.)
by Steven Argue
Saturday Jan 19th, 2013 8:18 AM
Yes, the courts have gotten more conservative as the entire U.S. ruling class has. They pretend less that they represent justice. As the capitalist rate of profit has fallen, those who rule are making sure it is not they who pay for it. Within that context, they care less and less what we think of them, and rely more openly on the use of force. It is time the working class catches up and starts flexing real union power by shutting the capitalists down.
by anon
Saturday Jan 19th, 2013 9:01 AM
Stop scrubbing Walker's toilet. Stop picking up his garbage. Stop keeping his lights on and his heat going. Stop it all.

All those troublesome workers he depends on should walk away.

And workers need to stop relying on any part of the "system".

Check out Garfield high-school in Seattle - facing down a corrupt school district administration and do-nothing union - the whole teaching staff has gone on strike against worthless, corporate standardized testing.

This is so startling and powerful - that workers dare to stand down - it has been national news all the past week. (Democracy Now, etc.).

Take heart. And start stopping now.
by Grok
Saturday Jan 19th, 2013 9:11 AM
It is not enuff to win back what we have lost, and maybe a little more. We have to transform general strikes into revolution.
by Abby N.
Saturday Jan 19th, 2013 9:14 AM
every time i see pictures of mass turnouts like this, and REALIZE that once again, this is in the US, it helps to fuel my own fire in knowing that even though not everyone comes from the same set of beliefs or lifestyle or political affiliation, what matters is we all have the same goal in mind and we are beings of enough compassion and willingness to set aside our simple differences and ''take arms'' for the sake of the people as one. There's no way this counteraction on the court's part is going to go through without resurrecting the solidarity depicted in that literal 'kick ass
by S. Stewart
Saturday Jan 19th, 2013 9:20 AM
Union officers and "leadership" run to the courts. The courts belong to the bosses. Stupid strategy, proven to fail.
by Bobby
Saturday Jan 19th, 2013 9:43 AM
Yep. I'm waiting for the bold, radical, revolutionary response strategy from the Labor Leaders of our state. Anybody out there heard anything yet?
by Steven Argue
Saturday Jan 19th, 2013 9:54 AM
Sounds like you're waiting for the wrong people. If you want a bold response, don't wait, start making it happen.
by J.D.
Saturday Jan 19th, 2013 10:56 AM
Carpe the fuck out of that diem
by Steven Argue
Saturday Jan 19th, 2013 12:10 PM
Maybe. But I think it is unlikely until we get a better organized leadership ready for that struggle.
by Mark M.
Saturday Jan 19th, 2013 1:08 PM
This fight will be decades long. The only union I have seen which are advocating any "radical" agenda are the NNU and the CWA. Both are advocating Joining with social justice causes and fight for them as if they were union causes because *GASP* they really are. Also it is the only way unions will be able to build solidarity with nonunion working class, educate and recruit them as well.
by Steven Argue
Saturday Jan 19th, 2013 1:19 PM
There is no union leadership (at least at the top of the unions) putting forward any sort of radical agenda. There weren't at the beginning of 1934 either. But by the end of 1934 everything had changed. Not really in terms of the leadership of the unions, but workers started changing the unions from below. This transformed U.S. politics as well.

Members are not slaves to unresponsive union "leaders". In fact, in the 1934 longshoreman's strike, it was announced several times by the union "leadership" and printed in the corporate papers that the strike was settled. The rank and file, however, with a militant socialist leadership, met, voted, and rejected those agreements and stayed on strike until they got a much better agreement.
by Bobby G.
Saturday Jan 19th, 2013 4:29 PM
Mark, you're right. I really got a lot from working with UE District 1 in the 1980s, with Bob Brown at the helm. We'd be off helping the Homeless Union organize events (including a couple Bruce Springsteen benefits) or taking the back roads thru South Jersey to visit the Campbell soup contractor farms where COTA was organizing. It had nothing to do with enforcing labor contracts in the machine shops of Philly or Camden, but more so taking care of the future working class. Those we now call the poor and the super-poor.

Pretty accurate assessment I think from that RT group, with whom I'm not familiar. I always figured the 1947 Allis-Chalmers strike in West Allis WI was the watershed event that cut off the left leadership from the unions. People oft forget that John F Kennedy and Richard Nixon collaborated on some hearings to red-bait that union in particular to the end of forcing out the "reds" and forcing in the labor lieutenants of capital. The old "Wisconsin Alliance" group of the 70s used to highlight that special moment in our history.
by Mark M.
Saturday Jan 19th, 2013 4:39 PM
I never bought that even just the city of Madison could have lead a successful general strike. I do not believe there was true public support for such an unplanned action. Which takes me right back to my statement above. The biggest reason why Detroit sanitation workers won their strike this past year was because of overwhelming support of the public. Public sentiment towards unions today is nothing like it was in the 30's either and that will have to change before you can get joe blow nonunion shop keeper to shut down his shop for three days because he believes in the cause and it will benefit him and people he knows.
by Steven Argue
Saturday Jan 19th, 2013 5:06 PM
A state wide general strike has been entirely possible, a popular chant of protests, and has been the only hope in this struggle. As I've said from the beginning, it will take nothing less than a statewide general strike to defeat labor hater Walker. There has been much deeper state wide support for the unions in this fight than just in Madison. That has been another distortion in the corporate media. Historically, it has been strong and potentially victorious strikes by the working class that inspire more solidarity. But union leaders block militant action as they chain workers to the Democrats and the courts. Now is the time to unleash labor’s power. Use it or lose it!
by Doug
Saturday Jan 19th, 2013 5:08 PM
Help me out here. Wasn't the first decision based on Wisconsin law? This is a federal court, it doesn't change Wisconsin law?
by Steven Argue
Saturday Jan 19th, 2013 5:15 PM
The capitalist government has the guns, cops, military, judges, and prisons; they make the laws, and they make them against the working class. The working class has the general strike. It's our only hope of any power.

But more specifically, Federal courts do rule on the constitutionality of things like state laws.
by Cryan B.
Sunday Jan 20th, 2013 5:59 AM
The governor had no choice. The state could no longer afford to pay the wages, healthcare, and pensions bargained for by the unions.

If they want good wages And benefits then they need to join the private sector. Public sector jobs are just that, a public service. They are paid by the state from collected taxes therefore the state is operating on a fixed income. It's that simple. The unions expected more than the state had available to give. If thu were to honor the contracts then cuts would have had to been made in the education and civil areas, I.e. teachers and policemen just to allocate the money the unions expect and that is not acceptable. You can't ask the people of wisconsin to have bigger classrooms on less policemen on the ground to in order to meet the expectations of union fat cats. My opinions is unions have no business in the private sector to begin with
by Bryan B.
Sunday Jan 20th, 2013 6:02 AM
*that's Bryan B., not Cryan B.
by Andrew S.
Sunday Jan 20th, 2013 9:18 AM
So stripping them of their rights was the right thing to do? that's why there is a contract, so that union and company (this situation, the state) can bargain in good faith and come to a reasonable resolution. In every contract there is management rights, the right to run the business, but in between the lines, the right for management to mismanage, but that doesn't give them the right to strip the employees right to collective bargain.

Well that's your opinion, and I respect that. But anyone has to right to form a union. If the state was getting into trouble, was it the unions fault for asking for high wages and benefits, or was it the states fault for agreeing. The point of collective bargaining again is to come to a reasonable agreement. If either side felt the other was being to demanding or not bargaining in good faith, there are steps to to take on both sides. Republicans bang their chest on being responsible businessmen, but if the way they run their governments are signs of how they run a business...

Obviously you do not like unions, and that's ok, again your right.

With them being a fixed income, I understand that. But is there any wasteful spending? What about all the "merit raises" given out. Have you looked at his budget?

If they cannot pay the benefits, or need teachers to pay more, again, the state needed to ask to open the contract, most contracts have a letter of understanding that allows review of aspects of the contacts at certain intervals.
by Steven Argue
Sunday Jan 20th, 2013 12:47 PM
As Phony "Fiscal Crisis" is used to Attack Workers, Effective Fight-Back Needed!

Statement of the Revolutionary Tendency
by Steven Argue
Sunday Jan 20th, 2013 12:49 PM
Actually, above, I meant to post this in response to Bryan and Andrew, not Bryan and Doug.

As Phony "Fiscal Crisis" is used to Attack Workers, Effective Fight-Back Needed!

Statement of the Revolutionary Tendency
by Steven Argue
Sunday Jan 20th, 2013 1:12 PM
WE ARE STILL HERE Anniversary Rally!
Wisconsin State Capitol
Saturday, February 16, 2013
1:00pm in CST

Facebook page for rally: