How the Unions Killed the Working Class Movement

Stratman, Dave
Date Written:  2006-06-13
Publisher:  New Democracy
Year Published:  2006
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX11152

An analysis of how the vertical integration of unions disempowers workers and forces them to use captilist systems such as courts instead of relying on friendship and solidarity.

Unions are vertically organized to minimize relationships and solidarity between union members in different locals, maximize the power of national union staff and officials over local unions, and fractionalize the working class. Away from the workplace, the role of the unions is no less destructive. Unions train workers not to rely on themselves as agents of change with direct action, whether on the job or in society. Instead, they steer their members into the arms of the capitalist political parties and encourage workers to rely on politicians and courts. The central myth on which contemporary unions depend is that workers' power comes not from their friendships and solidarity but from union structures. The most destructive effects of the unions have been on the self-concept of the working class. Workers have been led to think of themselves as helpless, to believe that their strength comes from institutions outside themselves, and to lose sight of their revolutionary mission.

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