Friday, July 27, 2012

New York; For a Citywide General Strike to defeat Con Ed's Lockout!

Finish With Half-Stepping to Survive and Dare to Win! Victory to Local 1-2 UWUA and for All Workers!

We call for the immediate nationalization under workers' control of all electric and gas utilities in the U.S. with no compensation for the major stockholders!

This is the only adequate response to the premeditated lockout by Consolidated Edison of its 8,500 union employees, members of Local 1-2 of the Utility Workers Union of America. This lockout is not merely a provocation but a sign of the thinking of the capitalist class. If they can bust unions in New York with this tactic, no one will be safe anywhere. The Con Edison management has robbed its workers and gouged its customers for 125 years and the new Chief Officers, i.e., Burke and his associates, seek to make the company attractive and themselves indispensable to coupon clippers (those who live off stock dividends) looking to buy their way to the monopolizing of ever greater service areas, to more millions of customer captives. To become that much more attractive Burke et. al. have embraced union-busting, exactly like the old-time robber barons; they are robber barons. They want it all.

Don't they? We do not agree that Burke and co. deserve 22% raises when Con Ed's profits rose 23% in one year. The public just suffered a 10% rate increase and a secret 5% voltage cut! Cuomo and Bloomberg, their twin parties and their pet "Public Service Commission" approved this. No one asked if that was alright with you. For Wall St. these are savvy businessmen who have removed safety concerns from the public discourse and are eliminating worker pensions.

We have to want it all if we are to beat them! It is not "unfair" of us to want to survive and do better than that for our kids. But to set out to settle for some arrangement with these sharks is to plan to be eaten alive! Sad to say, these robber barons really can get away with this. It is possible and even likely that we will go on losing big battles in what our present union leaderships now at last admit is a class war. Instead of mass pickets we see thin lines at the Irving Place Company HQ, and these lines depend on the militants of other unions. The Local 1-2 leadership will not defy a gag order and tell the members where talks stand. But what members do know is that as their contract ran out their "leaders" were only haggling over twenty different givebacks! That's when the membership was locked out in the wee hours of Sunday/Monday, July 1st. Now we hear that management has caved in to bad publicity and restored the health care coverage they terminated on July 1st. Is this a big victory? Management is already talking to their press friends about when their workers come back to work--without a contract!

This course of events is only possible because we have leaders who are so pickled in legalism that they cannot preserve even the dues base that is the source of their white collar lifestyle and privileges. How is it possible that 5,000 supervisors and a like number of scabs from "right to work" states have been able to keep the lights on (albeit very dangerously?) It is because "leaders" have agreed to more and more "outsourcing" to the semi-slave non-union over the last 30 years. And they have agreed to speedups no old timer would have stood for. All of this derives from a bureaucratic state of mind that sees management as labor's partner and from a coziness within the post-Taft Hartley Act anti-labor legality. They have sold us on reliance on capitalist party politicians like Cuomo and Bloomberg, who proceed to cut our legs off when we look for help. Rank and file members need to revolt and replace these leaders and ditch the parties they support! We need a fighting workers labor party, beholden only to ourselves and the oppressed.

For President Farrell of Local 1-2 Burke and co. are "lunatics" for so brazenly breaking the social contract of the 1950s and '60s he called Con Ed's "promise." Other unions' leaders used other names. For us, Burke and co. are sociopaths in suits and the Central Labor Council leaders who have spent the last 65 years making such "managers" respectable have forfeited their credibility. Not a whisper of "STRIKE!" do you hear from them.

WE need truly mass general strikes of unannounced duration to defeat the lockout and the plutocrats' union busting drive! This will require another, higher order of solidarity than has so far been seen or proposed at the one "We Are One" march and rally. Career honchos on the stage were free with the "Whatever it takes" slogan, but to set our millions of feet on that class warpath the rank and file memberships of our several hundred Locals will have to elect leaders who will commit to smash Taft-Hartley, the Taylor Law and all such anti-labor laws on the streets and in sit-down, occupation action. We need to re-establish solidarity as a principle on this continent. We need to go about this is a thorough going way we need a party of workers committed to a revolutionary social contract. A thorough going struggle for the elaboration of an international party of the working class. Only such a party will fight for the entire programmatic historical legacy of the workers movement and provide the analyses and situational awareness necessary to carry the class struggle through to its victorious conclusion.

We need to take this battle to the capitalists, the authors of every kind of injustice, and carry it through to our complete victory over all their thievery and the state they guard it with. 

  • For that we will need a workers government composed of immediately recallable delegates of factory and shop committees, neighborhood and workers councils. These delegates will WORK and for wages only.  
  • Likewise we will need a workers militia, at least for a time, and this will cost society a tiny fraction of the extravagant waste of the imperialists’ military industrial complex. This militia will be the logical descendant of the picket line but invested with social authority, and all able-bodied persons will serve their turn in it.  
  • Business secrets will be abolished and it will overnight become possible to employ everyone who wants a job and also to reduce the work week with no reduction in pay. Price committees will protect your paycheck, and meanwhile more and more necessities will be free.  
  • All education will be free through graduate school and beyond, the social value of a liberated education at last being recognized as the great bargain of civilization after reorganization under parent-pupil-teacher-worker control. 
We have a right to this much and more if we are not afraid to conceive of it and go get it. Only this can no longer wait for someday. Con Ed has locked your sisters and brothers OUT!


Reblogged from Communist Workers Group (USA)
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