Tag Archives: UAW

Soldiers of Solidarity – Militant worker Org w/in the UAW

Soldiers of Solidarity (SOS) is a rank-and-file militant workers organization within the United Auto Workers. They think the leaders are sellouts and try to get their coworkers not to accept the new contracts that have been forced upon them now for the last 5 or so years.

Money isn’t lost, it changes hands. It’s not a conspiracy, it’s capitalism.

For a glimpse into the culture of these people check out this video.

Its a little cheesy, the country/blues/rock music isn’t exactly what we listen to on the west coast, and there’s a lot of red, white, and blue. but what counts is their organizing perspective which is dope:

We the People are at war. We need to develop Soldiers, not coareer opportunists. It will take time and patiences, there wil be set backs and victories. Given time and effort, the law of multiplication will prevail. If on goes out and trains two soldiers; and they go aout and do the same, and this continues, we will have our army. We the People are the Union.” — Miguel X. Chavarria
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What is the role of Marxists in an Economic Crisis?

“The day after the UAW pushed through the contract—claiming it would prevent the company from declaring bankruptcy and save jobs—the number three US automaker filed for Chapter 11 protection and released plans to close eight plants and eliminate another 3,500 jobs.”

“Organizing a fightback using some of the militant tactics of the ‘30s like eviction blockades, mass protests, and strikes with fighting pickets is the only way we can effectively resist. ”

Here are two articles, each one illustrating a different approach to resisting massive capitalist crisis.

In the face of crisis in the 1930s, the Communist Party refused to surrender to circumstances, organizing creatively to stop evictions in the communities, to organize labor in untraditional ways (through a new union federation called the CIO) and to involve the whole working class in its work (e.g. organizing the unemployed despite the contracting economy, organizing sharecroppers, making conscious efforts to reach out to and organize black workers, etc). Nothing they did was perfect, but these strategies demonstrate the creative spirit the left so severely lacks today.

For example, the union movement has no far-left participation within it. The left has no roots in the working class, be they unionized or not. This creates a situation in which UAW can get away with telling its members to accept cuts in pay and benefits and claim that resistance would be futile because workers have no leverage. The defeatism is justified by conjuring up the danger of businesses going bankrupt or moving overseas. When the working class lacks “leverage” in the form of a high demand for their labor, political consciousness and militancy becomes their most valuable asset.

It’s the job of Marxist militants to bring that consciousness to the workers, whether they are blue-collar workers, like in the auto industry, welfare recipients, white-collar computer industry workers, soldiers or veterans, informal economy day-laborers like maids or nannies, or students. With class consciousness comes solidarity, and solidarity generates not only deep commitments to struggle, but also opens up many more paths to action, helping the proletariat redefine the terrain of battle and outflank the capitalist enemy (and supposed progressives in union bureaucracies, non-profit organizations, and of course the Democratic Party). Tthis is the reason why, objectively, internationalism, ant-sexism, anti-racism, pro-ecology, etc., are fused with true proletarian class consciousness. The internalization of these principles creates more unity and opens up options to exploit capitalism’s most vulnerable points at any given time. Some have confused these areas of struggle as alternatives to class struggle, but really they should be seen as extensions of class struggle.

Everything from sexism and racism and ecological destruction are products of class societies and capitalism, even it didn’t generate them in the first place, sure capitalizes on them to increase exploitation and derive profits. what left group is organizing (not just theorizing) along anti-capitalist, class based anti-racism or environmental protection? what organization is doing this with the goal of seizing the means of production, knowing that unless the way we produce, distribute, and consume is thoroughly democratized and socialized, the basis will never exist for any of the cultural and ideological revolutions we know are crucial components of a real communist revolution?

Here are the articles:

White House relies on UAW to ram through GM Job Cuts, Concessions By Jerry White 19 May 2009

Organize and Fight Back – 1930s Struggles of the Unemployed Hold Lessons for Today May 18, 2009 By Jesse Lessinger

“Organizing a fightback using some of the militant tactics of the ‘30s like eviction blockades, mass protests, and strikes with fighting pickets is the only way we can effectively resist. “

“The day after the UAW pushed through the contract—claiming it would prevent the company from declaring bankruptcy and save jobs—the number three US automaker filed for Chapter 11 protection and released plans to close eight plants and eliminate another 3,500 jobs.”


Here are two articles, each one illustrating a different approach to resisting massive capitalist crisis.

In the face of crisis in the 1930s, the Communist Party refused to surrender to circumstances, organizing creatively to stop evictions in the communities, to organize labor in untraditional ways (through a new union federation called the CIO) and to involve the whole working class in its work (eg organizing the unemployed despite the contracting economy, organizing sharecroppers, making conscious efforts to reach out to and organize black workers, etc). nothing they did was perfect, but it demonstrated the creative spirit the left so severely lacks.

for example, the union movement has no far-left participation within it. the left has no roots in the working class, be they unionized or not. this creates a situation in which UAW can get away with telling its members to accept cuts in pay and benefits and claim that resistance would be futile because workers have no leverage. the defeatism is justified by conjuring up the danger of businesses going bankrupt or moving overseas.

when the working class lacks “leverage” in the form of a high demand for their labor, political consciousness and militancy becomes their most valuable asset. its the job of marxist militants to bring that consciousness to them, whether they in a blue collar job like auto, welfare recipients, are white collar computer industry workers, soldiers or veterans, informal economy day laborers maids or nannies, or students. with class consciousness comes solidarity, and solidarity generates not only deep commitments to struggle, but also opens up many more paths to action, helping the proletariat redefine the terrain of battle and outflank the capitalist enemy (and supposed progressives in union bureaucracies, non-profit organizations, and of course the Democratic Party). this is the reason why, objectively, internationalism, ant-sexism, anti-racism, pro-ecology, etc are fused with true proletarian class consciousness. The internalization of these principles creates more unity and opens up options to exploit capitalism’s most vulnerable points at any given time.

some have confused these areas of struggle as alternatives to class struggle, but really they should be seen as extensions of class struggle. everything from sexism and racism and ecological destruction are products of class societies and capitalism, even it didnt generate them in the first place, sure capitalizes on them to increase exploitation and derive profits.

what left group is organizing (not just theorizing) along anti-capitalist, class based anti-racism or environmental protection? what organization is doing this with the goal of seizing the means of production, knowing that unless the way we produce, distribute, and consume is thoroughly democratized and socialized, the basis will never exist for any of the cultural and ideological revolutions we know are crucial components of a real communist revolution?

/////////

White House relies on UAW to ram through GM job cuts, concessions

By Jerry White
19 May 2009
Organize and Fight Back – 1930s Struggles of the Unemployed Hold Lessons for Today
May 18, 2009
By Jesse Lessinger