Union Organizing Surged in 2022: Let’s Push for a Radical Labor Movement in 2023

More workers are forming independent unions, untethered from the AFL-CIO and other established labor groups.

Michael D. Yates

Truthout | December 29, 2022

Chris Smalls, a leader of the Amazon Labor Union, leads a march of Starbucks and Amazon workers and their allies to the homes of their CEOs to protest union busting on Labor Day, September 5, 2022, in New York City, New York.

The year 2022 saw a significant increase in working-class unrest in the United States. Millions of workers quit their jobs in 2021, and this trend has continued in 2022. Most moved on to different employment, while others continued their education or retired. Recently, many Twitter employees quit in response to the severe force reduction and intensification of work effort engineered by new owner Elon Musk. For those working, there has been a wave of what the media has dubbed “quiet quitting,” but which is really an old-fashioned labor strategy known as “working to rule,” or doing no more than what you have been ordered or contractually required to do. Those working from home have shown a reluctance to return to the office, an indication that, despite the problems of laboring where you live, offices are seen as worse.

Union organizing is on the rise, reflecting both the widespread disgust with workplace conditions and the now evidently positive public view of labor unions. The purchasing power of wages has stagnated for decades in the United States, while labor’s productivity has risen considerably. Unfortunately, the latter is partly the result of employer-initiated speed-ups, meaning that fewer workers must take up the slack created by a smaller workforce — again, management-created. According to Gallup, 71 percent of Americans now approve of unions, the highest favorable rating since 1965. This may help explain the surge in union recognition efforts. Between October 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022 (fiscal year 2022), union certification petitions at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) were up 58 percent over the previous year. No doubt there were other such efforts, those that simply petitioned employers to bargain with a union or where workers struck to win bargaining rights. Because employers regularly violate the law by committing unfair labor practices (ULPs) such as firing union supporters, the NLRB has faced a heavy caseload of ULPs, which rose 16 percent over the same period.

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The Impending World Recession

Prabhat Patnaik

IDEAs | January 16, 2023

The IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva has now openly admitted that the year 2023 will witness the slowing down of the world economy to a point where as much as one-third of it will see an actual contraction in gross domestic product. This is because all the three major economic powers in the world, the US, the European Union, and China, will witness slowdowns, the last of these because of the renewed Covid upsurge. Of the three, Georgieva believes, the US will perform relatively better than the other two because of the resilience of its labour market; indeed the greater resilience of the US labour market provides some hope for the world economy as a whole.

There are two ironical elements in Georgieva’s remarks. The first is that the best prospects for the world economy today, even the IMF concedes if only implicitly, lie in workers’ incomes in the US not falling greatly. For an institution that has systematically advocated cuts in wages, whether in the form of remunerations or of social wages, as an essential part of its stabilisation-cum-structural adjustment policies, this is a surprising, though welcome, admission. Of course Georgieva, many would argue, is seeing US labour market resilience only as the result of US’s economic performance and not as its cause. But her considering it a “blessing” (though not an unmixed one for reasons we shall soon see) leaves one in no doubt that the demand-sustaining role of workers’ incomes is also being recognised by her.

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Can Russia and India replace American dollar in bilateral trade?

Yevgeny Ivanov & Ashish Singh

Countercurrents | January 20, 2023

After the World War II, the role of the dollar has grown significantly in global trade. Since then, the American currency has been used not only for transactions in foreign markets but also for transactions within countries. The collapse of the USSR has made the dollar an informal tender (vs legal tender) across the territories of the former Soviet republics for many years. The similar situation happened in Zimbabwe when its national currency underwent severe inflation. Zimbabweans preferred the US dollar and other foreign currencies for their private purposes.

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Protests In Peru Persist

Countercurrents | January 12, 2023

People are protesting Rightist government moves ousting President Pedro Castillo.

Tweeting from jail on Tuesday, Castillo said history will remember Peruvians “murdered for defending the country from the coup dictatorship,” and that “terror is the last bullet of a regime cornered by the people.”

At least 47 people have died in connection with the protests, according to official government figures published on Tuesday. This includes 39 protesters, as well as seven civilians who perished in “traffic accidents linked to protest roadblocks,” and a police officer.

Media reports said:

Protesters in the southern city of Juliaca ambushed a patrol car after 17 local civilians were killed the day prior, in a confrontation with police.

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Thierry Meyssan: The world order already changed in 2022

Thierry Meyssan

VOLTAIRENET.ORG | January 12, 2023

After long months of pulling her punches, Russia is finally letting Ukraine get a taste of what it has sown through fanaticism, nonstop lies and indecent, often brutal acts against civilians and Russian personnel.

It is a constant of History: changes are rare, but sudden. Those who bear the brunt of them are generally the last to see them coming. They perceive them only too late. Contrary to the static image that prevails in the West, international relations have been turned upside down in 2022, mainly to the detriment of the United States, the United Kingdom and France, often to the benefit of China and Russia. With their eyes riveted on Ukraine, Westerners do not perceive the redistribution of the cards.

T. MEYSSAN


IT is rare for international relations to be shaken as they were in 2022. And it is not over. The process that has begun will not stop, even if events disrupt it and possibly interrupt it for a few years. The domination of the West, both the United States and the former colonial powers of Europe (mainly the United Kingdom, France and Spain) and Asia (Japan), is coming to an end. No one obeys a leader anymore, including the states that remain vassals of Washington. Everyone is now beginning to think for themselves. We are not yet in the multipolar world that Russia and China are trying to bring about, but we are seeing it being built.

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Soviet Literature

Maxim Gorky

August 1934

Portrait of Maxim Gorky by Nikolay Bogdanov-Belsky

THE ROLE of the labour processes, which have converted a two-Legged animal into man and created the basic elements of culture, has never been investigated as deeply and thoroughly as it deserves. This is quite natural, for such research would not be in the interests of the exploiters of labour. The latter, who use the energy of the masses as a sort of raw material to be turned into money, could not, of course, enhance the value of this raw material. Ever since remote antiquity, when mankind was divided into slaves and slave-owners, they have used the vital power of the toiling mass in the same way as we today use the mechanical force of river currents. Primitive man has been depicted by the historians of culture as a philosophizing idealist and mystic, a creator of gods, a seeker after “the meaning of life.” Primitive man has been saddled with the mentality of a Jacob Böhme, a cobbler who lived at the end of the sixteenth and the beginning of the seventeenth century and who occupied himself between whiles with philosophy of a kind extremely popular among bourgeois mystics; Böhme preached that “Man should meditate on the Skies, on the Stars and the Elements, and on the Creatures which do proceed from them, and likewise on the Holy Angels, the Devil, Heaven and Hell.

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THE FOOLISH OLD MAN WHO REMOVED THE MOUNTAINS

Mao Tse-tung

June 11, 1945

We have had a very successful congress. We have done three things. First, we have decided on the line of our Party, which is boldly to mobilize the masses and expand the people’s forces so that, under the leadership of our Party, they will defeat the Japanese aggressors, liberate the whole people and build a new-democratic China. Second, we have adapted the new Party Constitution. Third, we have elected the leading body of the Party–the Central Committee. Henceforth our task is to lead the whole membership in carrying out the Party line. Ours has been a congress of victory, a congress of unity. The delegates have made excellent comments on the three reports. Many comrades have undertaken self-criticism; with unity as the objective unity has been achieved through self-criticism. This congress is a model of unity, of self-criticism and of inner-Party democracy.

When the congress closes, many comrades will be leaving for their posts and the various war fronts. Comrades, wherever you go, you should propagate the line of the congress and, through the members of the Party, explain it to the broad masses.

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Economics Cannot be Separated from Politics

[Formerly titled: On Growth and Imperialism]

Che Guevara

August 8, 1961

Che Guevara’s speech on behalf of the Cuban government to the ministerial meeting of the Inter-American Economic and Social Council (CIES), sponsored by the Organization of American States (OAS) at Punta del Este, Uruguay, on August 8, 1961. Head of the US delegation, Douglas Dillon, presented Washington’s recently proclaimed Alliance for Progress for official ratification by the meeting. The conference was presided over by Uruguayan President Eduardo Haedo.

Mr. President;
Distinguished delegates:

Like all the delegations, we must begin by expressing our appreciation to the government and people of Uruguay for the cordial reception they have given us during this visit. I would also like to personally thank the distinguished presi dent of this gathering for the gift he made to us of the com plete works of Rodó, and would like to explain to him the two reasons why we are not beginning this presentation with a quotation from that great Latin American. The first is that I went back to Ariel after many years, looking for a passage that would express, at the present time, the ideas of someone who is, more than a Uruguayan, a man of our Americas, an American from the Río Bravo to the south. But Rodó expresses throughout his Ariel the violent struggle and the contradictions of the Latin American peoples against the nation that 50 years ago was already interfering in our economy and in our political freedom. And it was not proper to quote this in someone else’s house.

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The Revolution Begins Now

Fidel Castro

January 3, 1959

People of Santiago, Compatriots of All Cuba,

We have finally reached Santiago de Cuba. The road was long and difficult, but we finally arrived. It was rumored that they expected us in the capital of the Republic at 2 p.m. today. No one was more amazed by this than I, because I was the first one to be surprised by this treacherous blow, which would place me in the capital of the Republic this morning. Moreover, I intended to be in the capital of the Republic — that is, in the new capital of the Republic — because Santiago de Cuba, in accordance with the wishes of the Provisional President, in accordance with the wishes of the Rebel Army, and in accordance with the wishes of the people of Santiago de Cuba, who really deserved it, Santiago will be the new capital of Cuba.

This measure may surprise some people. Admittedly, it is new, but the revolution is characterized precisely by its newness, by the fact that it will do things that have never been done before.

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Americans Unhappy And Wary With Their Country’s Course, Leaders And Future

 Countercurrents Collective | December 19, 2022

Most of the U.S. citizens are unhappy with the course of their country, their leaders, and the future, finds a new poll.

A report by USA Today (Unhappy new year? Poll finds Americans wary of the nation’s course, its leaders and its future ahead of 2023, Dec 19, 2022, https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2022/12/18/poll-inflation-future-leaders-americans/10903538002/) said:

Americans are braced for an unhappy new year.

Two-thirds of respondents in a new USA TODAY/Suffolk University poll say the country has gotten off on the wrong track, and they express little confidence in either political party or any branch of government to effectively address the challenges they see ahead.

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