10 comments on “Democracy: It’s Ours Versus Theirs

  1. “Lions led by asses.”

    CIO founding leader John L. Lewis on the relationship between the union rank and file on the one hand and the leadership on the other.


  2. A very insightful post, Rustbelt. I’m reminded that before his execution in 1798 the Irish rebel leader Henry Joy McCracken wrote to his sister: “The rich always betray the poor.”

    It also reminds me of the advice given me by my father when I was a teenager: “Never trust a cop, especially an Irish cop. They’re the worst of a bad lot.” Of course my father is an Irish Republican from Kerry so he has an ingrained problem with authority figures (including the Catholic Church).


    • Thanks Sean,
      McCracken sure was on to something. Your father sounds like a good man; there are places in Ireland that haven’t yielded to any authority since before Brian Boru. It’s a tradition I hope continues.


  3. If the workers take a notion,
    They can stop all speeding trains;
    Every ship upon the ocean
    They can tie with mighty chains.
    Every wheel in the creation,
    Every mine and every mill,
    Fleets and armies of the nation,
    Will at their command stand still.
    Joe Hill


  4. Good points on the class nature of “democracy” and how ours is not only an expansion of theirs but a negation of it as well since even the most “democratic” version of theirs is based upon the exploitation and oppression of the majority (labor) by the minority (capital).

    Too bad more people in the “left” don’t talk or even think in those terms any more. We could also add to that world view the acceptance of the bosses’ arguments about workers having to “make sacrifices” to “balance the budget,” which are accepted by the Democratic Party loyalists in the trade union bureaucracy, who, to this day, have yet to call for any strike action, let alone, a general strike, due to their loyalty to this pro Wall Street party. Instead they are diverting the struggle into re-calling the Republicans, to be replaced by Democrats equally committed to cutbacks and layoffs, when we need a labor party to replace both.

    However, if our side is going to wage, let alone, win, class warfare, we need a general staff that doesn’t tie labor’s hands before going into the ring. The bosses are playing for keeps; they make the rules as well as break the rules…regardless of how many demonstrations there are or how big they may be. Just like Bush did during the hey-day of the anti-war movement.

    Industrial action, i.e., the withholding of labor power is the only language that they understand. And there are hundreds, if not thousands, of Wisconsin workers who understand this as well. Or as one of them said, “150,000 people don’t have to beg!” I would add especially 150,000 people who control the production of wealth and the provision of services.


  5. Well said, Governor Rust Belt. A (nonwhite?) womyn represented on that flag would be nice, particularly because teaching is one of the professions currently on the front lines of a severe antiunion attack, and it has been a historically feminized and devalued profession.

    These symbolic representations matter.


    • Certainly agreed on the need for representations (this was the clearest image connected to Madison saying workers democracy I could find). And not just symbolically; women are the majority of wage earners now and that means the workers movement needs a much further ‘feminization’ (I don’t like the word, but can’t think of a better one right now). In the Madison demos, at many different levels, women seemed to be fairly well represented. But I think Madison may be a particular case. I haven’t noticed that same level of participation at other demos I’ve seen. People of color? Not so much. The movement and our symbols still have a long way to go.


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