Re: General Comment

Andrew Stewart

As for the organization of Starbuck workers and other workers--to what end? Being organized is better than not organized, but surely union organization that is not linked to a critique of the more general exploitative and oppressive structures will not advance towards the end of the class power of employers
It all depends upon how you comprehend our current political/economic landscape. Some more heterodox thinkers, like Michael Hudson, make the argument that finance capitalism is now in a mode of aggression that seeks to return us to feudalism, a world where everything is based upon rent. This is why you have been seeing major Wall Street financial firms moving hard on real estate, vacuuming up tons of stock that it intends to keep and only offer as rental property, or in other words, ending suburban home ownership as it has existed for over a century. Simultaneously, both of the US political parties, in their own way, have been eviscerating democratic modes of engagement and privatizing the commons. Unions can play an important institutional role in that struggle by maintaining whatever countervailing power that they possess and can strengthen. Starbucks and Amazon are two major economic hubs of the neoliberal political economy. Bezos in particular is truly insane, he has been angling for years to abolish the postal service and create a mega-monopoly unlike anything ever see in history (did you see recently that they are moving into the medical services realm?) We need a labor movement that overcomes its own internal contradictions, undeniably, but it seems like it really is a matter of time before change begins to set in. For instance, after decades of domination by white heterosexual Catholic men, the national AFL CIO leadership has finally come out in the wake of the Dobbs decision with a pro-choice political position. The largest membership constituency of the entire labor movement is Black women, due in no small part to the fact labor is now primarily rallied in public sector service jobs. Does that necessarily mean that we could see something beyond trade unionism of the typical variety? Tough call…

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