General strike talk

This lovely headline graced the Truthout website as of two days ago: "Labor Prepares for Last-Minute General Strike If Trump Tries to Steal Election." So what's the plan?

The 100,000-member MLK Labor Council, an AFL-CIO regional body of labor groups representing more than 150 unions in the Seattle, Washington, area, passed a resolution Wednesday that calls for a general strike if President Donald Trump does not respect the outcome of the November 3 election.

So it's basically some labor who will do this. Also:

On Oct. 8, the Rochester [N.Y.] Labor Council passed a resolution supporting a general strike if Trump refuses to leave office after a November election defeat.

Now, I'm totally in favor of expressions of worker solidarity, but this would be an opportunity wasted unless it develops into something else. Let's see, if Grifter A wins the election, we're going to be in the streets defending him against Grifter B, who refuses to concede. I presume that, throughout this "general strike" (if it at all happens), no question will be raised about a system in which most if not all of our political figures are grifters.

Dictionary.com defines "grifter":

noun Slang.
a person who operates a side show at a circus, fair, etc., especially a gambling attraction.
a swindler, dishonest gambler, or the like.

We work within a system, basically capitalism, in which the police, lawyers, judges, financiers, bureaucrats, private security, writers of code etc. exist fundamentally to protect property, and thus to protect those whose ability to steal things and call said things "their property" is recognized by law. Which is to say, grifters. But this is trivial, right? Onward and upward! The New Yorker:

What Can You Do if Trump Stages a Coup

There's a fifty-five page manual, an organization called the "Indivisible Project," people are doing trainings and so on. Very cool.

There's Jacobin, from six days ago:

Unlike most of the world, American unions have almost no history of waging political mass strikes. But with Donald Trump’s exceptionally dangerous and undemocratic threats, some unions are discussing the possibility of withholding their labor to stop him from stealing the election.

Or Jacobin, from nine days ago:

Faced with Donald Trump’s repeated declarations that he will refuse to peacefully leave office if the vote results don’t go his way, some unions are speaking up about the crucial role organized labor can play in defending democracy.

Democracy, yeah right. The right to "elect" the grifter of your choice is sacrosanct! General strike y'all. I'd like to ask the folks who are planning a General Strike for Biden what their favorite Biden policy is, to remind us all of what we will all be defending in the forthcoming moment of truth. Is it the 1994 Crime Bill? The 2005 Bankruptcy Bill? The War in Iraq? Here's a list -- go for it, kiddos. (And, as for Trump, well there's a whole life full of grift to discuss there. Start with the bankruptcies and the Mafia connections.)

At this point I'd like to point to a previous diary of mine, "Coalition politics in America today." Real power in America is held by partnerships: police and militias, donors and politicians, city councils and homeowners/ businesses, NGOs and political parties. Something happens, money changes hands, and we discover that the "leaders" have decided and we have no power over our lives. "Democracy" within such a system is the right to "choose" between alternatives none of which we chose.

I hope he does it, frankly. If Trump can lose and then refuse to leave the White House, maybe we'll have a chance to incite a real discussion about what to do. To "defend democracy," you first have to have democracy.

Tags: 
Share
up
18 users have voted.

Comments

thanatokephaloides's picture

To "defend democracy," you first have to have democracy.

Not true. Many a battle has been fought to defend democracy and freedom that the fighters had yet to experience. All revolutions are just this at their cores.

(Fuck, I'm so pleased that any significant number of Americans are showing any backbone at all that I'm beside myself!)

Wink

up
14 users have voted.

"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

Cassiodorus's picture

@thanatokephaloides You can say, as Leonard Cohen did, that "democracy is coming to the USA," but that's to put it in future tense.

Without real democracy, we are back to "I love the country, but I can't stand the scene."

Let's proceed forthwith to the etymological roots of the word "democracy." "Democracy" comes from classic Greek: demos, meaning the people, and kratos, meaning power. Thus a democracy is a regime of people-power. Do the people hold power in this instance? Maybe a few people hold power. But, like I said, they hold that power on the basis of partnerships, not by general assent of the governed.

up
12 users have voted.

"Every election is fake." -- Janna Ordonia, from "Star vs. the Forces of Evil"

Because I think we’ve all heard how he shut down the NBA walkout in support of BLM.

I’ve seen mumbling of this a few places now. It feels too much like a Democrat version of the Brooks Brothers riot in the planning. Something about this just feels as phony as that was. Let me know when they’re talking of striking for actual policy changes (which we know the Dems are against) and I’ll be on board 110%.

Edited to add: I’ve heard this “Orange Man is going to steal the election!” talk from high ranking Dems. I know they are feckless and ineffective but if there was credible evidence that Trump and the Republicans were going to try to steal the election, shouldn’t they be doing something about it before It happens? I know there is active voter suppression happening right now, but I have to assume the Dems are ok with it as they never do anything about it other than whine (at least when they think it’s going to hurt them.) I’ve been saying since 2000, there is real issues with voting in this country, obviously, but neither party really wants to change anything. This just feels like ramping up the excuse generator for if Biden doesn’t win like they were doing about this time four years ago for Hillary.

up
11 users have voted.

The only way Joe Biden is “going to be like FDR” is that he will die in office and leave a shitty vice president as a replacement.

@Dr. John Carpenter
Trump winning is prima facie evidence that he cheated. Because EVERYONE loves kindly Uncle Joe.

Traitors. The whole DNC is a nest of election fixing traitors.

There is ZERO evidence that he will not step down. All he has said is that he will not concede. So he won't roll over and play dead like Bernie Sanders. I'll give the man credit for that. Conceding without pursuing all legitimate avenues is what losers do.

And, no. the military will not support him if the SCOTUS says he lost. It's not the Waffen-SS no matter how much you hate them.

This is Democrats trying to steal the election.

up
8 users have voted.

I've seen lots of changes. What doesn't change is people. Same old hairless apes.

@The Voice In the Wilderness
The insistence on getting Coney Barret on the Court before the election is designed to ensure the Supreme Court will side with Trump even if Roberts has a burst of conscience.

up
2 users have voted.

@FuturePassed
This is fantasy masquerading as fact. Like Russiagate.

up
0 users have voted.

I've seen lots of changes. What doesn't change is people. Same old hairless apes.

RantingRooster's picture

gone to the dark side, advocating for Herd Immunity, along with the DSA. They both have nice "slogans" but they are sheep dogging "the people" into the Democratic party or coalitions with the Democratic party. (imho)

I simply can not, will not, align myself with anyone or any organization promoting herd immunity without a valid vaccine. We see the effects this genocidal policy already with massive amount of death. It's insane to me.

All we have to do is just refuse to provide our labor for a few days or weeks. We can shut this country down by simply refusing to work. We don't need mass demonstrations, no violence by the cops, no nothing, just refuse to work.

How hard is that? What are they going to do, depoly the military and have us return to work at gun point?

up
10 users have voted.

C99, my refuge from an insane world.

polkageist's picture

@RantingRooster
A general strike is just that: a withholding of labor by the laborers. No guns, no sirens, no tear gas, no picket lines; just don't go to work for a few days. The only caveat is to stock up some food beforehand.

up
10 users have voted.

-Greed is not a virtue.
-Socialism: the radical idea of sharing.
-Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.
John F. Kennedy, In a speech at the White House, 1962

@RantingRooster
It's large but not massive. I predict more people will die from mitigation than from covid.

up
1 user has voted.

I've seen lots of changes. What doesn't change is people. Same old hairless apes.

RantingRooster's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness just what number of death do you considered "massive", if not 220,000? Gee, 1% would equate to what, 3.28 million? In Dallas, we're at about 1.2% comparing number of cases vs number of deaths. Some counties in Texas are as high as 4.8%.

At 5% you're talking over 16 million dead in the US. That's insane! 1% is insane at 3.28 million.

up
9 users have voted.

C99, my refuge from an insane world.

@RantingRooster
The Spanish flu was double digit too IIRC. Before COVID the leading cause of death was pneumonia. "Sending the curve" is just keeping the hospitals from being swamped. Eventually we will all get it, unless we die of something else first.

The focus should have been on effective treatment, not billions for big pharma and huddling in fear.

I now know three people who have caught covid. The elderly Hispanic father of the bank manger is recovering with some damage. The elderly neighbors of my Brother-in-Law are recovering well. I was especially concerned for him because he just recovered this summer from colon cancer. We need to study why some people are severe cases and others hardly notice it. We need to study what treatment works, what doesn't, and what actually makes it worse. All we hear is "fire your employees, close your business and wait for the expensive vaccine being developed on government money but privately patented" And of course "Vote for Biden, he will save you."

up
3 users have voted.

I've seen lots of changes. What doesn't change is people. Same old hairless apes.

@The Voice In the Wilderness
but he's not likely to encourage armed Brown Shirts to show up at my polling place and monitor my voting behavior.

If Trump had followed the advice of the preponderance of research scientists and physicians estimates are that the US death toll would be between 130,000 and 200,000 lower. I suspect Biden will follow advice from the experts.

If Biden does nothing more than return to Obama's entirely inadequate environmental policies it will be a step in the right direction.

up
1 user has voted.

@FuturePassed
then YOU are my enemy.

up
2 users have voted.

I've seen lots of changes. What doesn't change is people. Same old hairless apes.

Daenerys's picture

@RantingRooster

All we have to do is just refuse to provide our labor for a few days or weeks. We can shut this country down by simply refusing to work. We don't need mass demonstrations, no violence by the cops, no nothing, just refuse to work.

I've been saying this for months.

The first general strike was supposed to happen May 1st: nothing happened.
Another one, August 1st: nothing happened.
Rent strikes in between: nothing.

I read somewhere that it only takes 3% of the population to participate for an effective general strike. But it seems we can't even do that. We are simply too divided, too desperate, too cowed to do anything about it. I'm scared.

up
12 users have voted.

This shit is bananas.

RantingRooster's picture

@Daenerys suspended my account, I saw all those calls for Strikes etc.

I was also apart of ER Rebellion for a while, till I figured out nobody really wanted to do anything, but talk shit, not to mention they (national organization) really didn't want an old white, ex-military type like me to lead.

But, I was the only one willing to step up and lead. I was like, ok, so what do you want to do? So for another two months we tried to recruit females and POC to step up and lead. Nobody wanted the position.

These people just wanted to protest with placards and block traffic. That's actually kinda dangerous down in Texas, where open carry is a thing, and perfectly legal to walk around with a semi-auto assault rifle strung over your shoulder. Not to mention the Bugaboo boys are thing here in Dallas.

I've been thinking about starting my on direct action group, Rooster Rebels.

Yeah, I'm Crazy

up
8 users have voted.

C99, my refuge from an insane world.

Daenerys's picture

@RantingRooster is they tend to get killed. Can't say I blame people for not wanting to lead. Sad

up
12 users have voted.

This shit is bananas.

I'm not really impressed by any threats they make. Their leadership are generally part of the problem, and the rank and file are both too few in number and too goddamn busy trying to survive to organize anything meaningful on their own. The powers that be have done a very effective job at neutralizing labor's power in this country.

up
8 users have voted.
edg's picture

From BLS: "In 2019, 7.5 million employees in the private sector belonged to a union. The union membership rate declined over the year in the private sector by 0.2 percentage point to 6.2 percent. Among occupational groups, the highest unionization rates in 2019 were in protective service occupations (police and prison guards, 33.8 percent) and in education, training, and library occupations (33.1 percent)."

I can't see police and prison guards standing with the little people. Perhaps librarians can whack someone over the head with a book.

up
10 users have voted.

@edg
The last unionized employees. A few (more than five less than 10) years I saw a handbill (several pages actually) titled "The Last Union" that detailed why management wanted to break the American Postal Workers Union", the last nationwide big union. UAW is small. Although Honda uses UAW workers in Ohio, US plants are mostly final assembly plants and automated plants. There is a maqiladora(Sp?) just across the border in Mexico where GM makes all it's V-8 engines. It's highly automated and has only 20 employees, including management. I've mentioned it before and my suspicion that it's in Mexico to evade costly hazardous waste disposal rules. It can hardly be labor costs.
So, teachers, cops, postal employees. The private teachers & cops wouldn't last long without the public teachers & cops being in the union.

Was Mob infiltration of unions that ubiquitous? or is that just the tale told to justify busting the unions?

up
2 users have voted.

I've seen lots of changes. What doesn't change is people. Same old hairless apes.

edg's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness

Back in the good old days, when the real mob infiltrated unions, it wanted to keep the golden goose alive and laying eggs so it supported unionization. But the "mob" that infiltrated unions starting in the Reagan years consisted of management and turncoat employees. Management, with the help of government (including Democrats), figured out how to buy off enough union leaders, sell out enough workers, and outsource enough jobs that it was able to eviscerate many private sector unions.

Here's a sickening story about Democratic politicians like Biden being in bed with union busters: Why are Democratic Candidates Taking Money From Union-Busting Lawyers?

up
2 users have voted.
Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

You can't have an existential threat against something that doesn't exist.

up
3 users have voted.

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones." - Fiver

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem