We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up
Tuesday, September 4, 2018
On Labor Day, Where’s Labor? How Did American Workers Lose Their Power?
The author argues that the dramatic decline in union membership in the post-WWII period has been facilitated by union bureaucrats in cooperation with the capitalist ruling class's racist divide-and-conquer strategy. However there are many other factors involved in the deteriorating number of workers in unions.
Henry Luce, speaking for the ruling class, announced that the US could seek its own empire after WWII. The US ruling class understood that the war would likely destroy most of the industrial countries. And sure enough, the US fascist capitalists came out of their isolationist woodwork where they were hiding and joined in the plunder of war profits by manufacturing weapons for the numerous belligerents.
After the war they insured that labor unions were cleansed of radical organizers (the McCarthy period) and passed laws that suppressed the labor movement. Their propaganda machines in Hollywood, corporate media (even in comic books), and in public schools began to crank out themes of the Red (Communist) menace and the need to build up their armed forces. Then there was the Korean War which our masters saw as an opportunity to stop the Red menace and the growing appeal that the Koreans had for their own independence and social justice values. According to William Engdahl in A Century of War, as early as 1958 American capitalists began to take advantage of lower labor costs in Europe and other foreign countries because of their obsession with profits and power and their absence of any concern about the aging industrial infrastructure in the home country
Then there was the Vietnam War in which the military-industrial establishment earned billions of dollars manufacturing war materials that could have been spent to upgrade the domestic economic infrastructure and spent on other social needs like health, education, and welfare for ordinary Americans.
I myself have argued that our own "educated" upper-middle-class workers were seduced by many rewards provided by the ruling class to aid and abet their imperialist agenda abroad and the suppression domestically of other working people below them. Last, but not least, there has been the takeover of government by the Zionist-inspired neoconservatives who engineered the 9/11 false-flag tragedy and re-energized ordinary Americans for more wars they had planned in the Middle East.
There are other attempts to explain this phenomenon like in the current book reviewed by Guy Miller entitled On New Terrain: how capital reshaped the battleground of class war by Kim Moody.