The Urgency for Workers to Break With the Main (Yellow) Unions
Workers Struggle recently engaged in a Facebook discussion with a member of the TEAMSTERS union (also a member of the Facebook page “Workers Power”) on the nature of the unions, their structure and what the interests of the working class are, especially now as we face an international rise of Fascism and its consolidation (US, Ukraine, Brazil, Italy, etc). We are posting the following piece to further elaborate on our position and why we feel it is crucial at this time for the working class to break from the shackles of the unions. The leadership of the working class movement belongs to the workers themselves!
We as workers and laborers are facing the international crises of Capitalism head on. It is on our backs the capitalists attempt to “fix” the problems they themselves created. It is our labor power which produces value and commodities that are the core of ANY human organization. It is labor, the fundamental ENEMY of capital, which holds the keys to the future. The reality of intense crisis however does not automatically produce militant, combative workers ready to fight. Most are still living day to day under the leadership of capitalism.
When we engage in struggle against capital, we must also engage in the struggle against its ideological domination. Within our class and our camp, we find many capitalist tendencies and positions. We must enter the battle of ideas to win people over to the side of the international working class against our exploiters, our dominators, and the plunderers of all the natural resources of this beautiful world - a world that is also facing the devastating reality of capitalist produced climate catastrophe.
Conscientious workers should always struggle guided by their interests, especially when struggling with other workers and laborers under the influence of capitalist ideology. Some claim the usage of the concept “Yellow Unions” ceased to exist in the US because of some bourgeois laws that outlaw “business unions”. We see this as a level of chauvinism that exists, insinuating that the history of the struggles of the American working class is only American and not part of the international struggle of workers. Such a denial of proletarian internationalism, especially at a period when American Imperialism is pertinently effecting every dominated social formation on Earth is ludicrous!
Note: We are introducing the concept of “social formation” here as opposed to “Country” due to the reality of the complexity that exists in any given society. Nothing is stagnant, countries are not locked in time but are in a constant mode of development with all sorts of contradictions. As we struggle for the workers to rupture from bourgeois leadership, we also need to build our own theory to understand the world. This theory will help inform our political work and will arm us as we face our capitalist enemy.
The opposite of Proletarian Internationalism is Nationalism, a current political orientation of the TEAMSTERS, one of the most reactionary organizations in the midst of American workers. After its treacherous alliance with US Imperialism during the second Inter-Imperialist war (chauvinistically called “World War 2”), this organization was led by Jimmy Hoffa - a gangster leader for a gangster anti-worker organization.
Such a reactionary should never be considered part of our struggle but be part of the learning from the negative experience of history. The opportunism and populism which gives him and other enemies of the working class a pass usually happens when progressives and revolutionaries betray their own positions, and are slowly digested by the enemy. The unity of the roach and the chicken will happen in the belly of the roach. Workers must learn from this so they can construct combative intermediate and revolutionary organizations capable to wage struggle against the capitalist class.
The struggle of the working class is international, we face the same enemy around the globe, our organization must be international as well! Nationalism denies the reality of class contradictions. Trump’s immigrant “invasion” for example, is a caravan of international workers fleeing capitalist and imperialist violence. They are our sisters and brothers, not our enemies. We need to struggle to transform the working class as a class by itself to a class for itself.
It is not a Leadership Question
Generally, all these unions have the same characteristics and all are Yellow Unions, especially the ones affiliated to AFLCIO, TEAMSTERS AND SEIU. These unions are not only sabotaging working class struggles, they are also playing an active pre-emptive role of repression. They consistently attempt to pacify the struggle and their membership. We see this now at UPS. They can succeed or not but if they don't succeed it doesn’t mean they have changed their nature. It simply means that as an act of survival, they are using a tactic - which will eventually fuck us up.
Their incapacity to construct a working class movement in the US, their silence over wage struggles for the past 40 years or so, their tailgating politicians, etc, are a result of their yellow-ism. It is not only a problem of corruption or of leadership. It is a structural problem that those unions face. Corruption can be reformed for a limited time. The internal struggles inside these unions prove that these structural problems can't be reformed.
The struggles waged inside the TEAMSTERS are internal struggles of the bureaucratic bourgeoisie. Looking at failure after failure of trying to reform a corrupted structure based on our interests, we conclude the structure itself is the problem.
We Draw a Line to Demarcate From Bourgeois Organizations
Organizations like Workers Power that do not demarcate from the political line of capital are objectively fronts for capital. A front doesn't simply mean a coordinated effort under the table to deceive. Workers Power for example functions as a front for the TEAMSTERS. We see an objective level of political and ideological unity with one fraction over another within the internal feud of the TEAMSTER bureaucratic bourgeoisie. If they’re not yet a front, they’re good marketing for one of the most powerful enemy organizations among workers. Workers Power hasn’t shown us any demarcation at any level from the TEAMSTERS. We therefore identify these unions as Yellow Unions. They no longer function in the interest of workers.
History has taught us that our struggle must go far beyond the trade union level. Just struggling there is not enough to defeat our class enemy. Struggle under the leadership of Yellow Unions will result in us digging our own graves. Workers Power is essentially an apolitical organization since no political line can be depicted. Without a clear autonomous political line, workers will never realize their historical objective. Armed with their theory and autonomous organizations at the intermediate and revolutionary level, workers will have the power to transform all of society!
If you agree, hit us up!
TIME TO BUILD OUR ORGANIZATIONS!
INDIVIDUALLY WE’RE WEAK, COLLECTIVELY WE’RE STRONG!