Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Cracks Form in Neo-Conservatism

What an interesting news week!

Madison, Wisconsin. Massive protests by unions and students against Governor Scott Walker's (R) cuts to benefits, salaries and  bargaining rights of the public sector.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not getting all soft on unions. But I have to admit that it's gratifying to see them calling out new conservative governments on that little lie they have been playing with for the past couple years. i.e. the Republicans and their tea-party backers are for  the the regular, working man.

We're seeing it played out in Toronto as well. Rob Ford, with the help of Don Cherry, campaigned on a platform of "stopping the gravy train" and to dismiss the "Liberal Elite" in favor of blue collar sensibilities.

Well, my right wing friends, you are forgetting a simple piece of political history. The working class is the seat of socialism and a lot of workin' stiffs belong to unions. It didn't take long before conservative doctrine took aim at unions and guess what happened.

But hey, who really cares about unions, it's the big corporations that matter to conservatives. There seems to be a little issue there too though. Stephen Harper has become (or always was) a populist first and foremost. Being a conservative plays second fiddle (or piano, depending on the gathering). In fact, Steve has made several major moves based on chasing that elusive majority he wants that he has left big business shaking it's collective head.
Just look at the decision to stand against the telecom giants and their UBB strategy or blocking the buy-out of Potash Corp. I will admit that I agree with both those decisions but they certainly can't be what one would expect from a business friendly, conservative government.

With conservatives turning on the very people who helped to elect them, the cracks are starting to form in this ultra right wing experiment. What we can hope for, in Canada at least, is a slow but steady return of the Progressive Conservative party and a relegation of Harper and his kind back to the fringe from whence they came.

As for the US, I haven't a clue how that will turn out. I think they're in for a rough ride. Today, the Tea Party and Americans for Prosperity are staging a counter protest in Madison. As the working class and the people who claim to represent the working class clash in the streets, let's just prey that they all left their precious 2nd amendments at home.

3 comments:

Nadine Lumley said...

Do We Need Labor Unions Anymore?

The short answer is yes.

The view we don’t need unions anymore is a popular one. It is also an uninformed, narrow and incorrect one.

It is unclear as to what specific expertise or fact set you have based your view on. When considering the economic downturn I cannot discern whether you thought about poor product designs, overinflated executive compensation, consumer excesses, or even hordes of dishonest financiers. Inasmuch as you did not comment on these then I trust that you were content to simply contain your focus to trade unions. Always a pity when one does not do even the most basic homework.

Unions, like any other organization, are as good or bad as their leadership and membership. They serve a purpose in our society. Unions bargain for workers as a collective in an effort to bring some sort of fairness to the employer-employee relationship. This is a mechanism to curb management's appetite for excess and to create basic guidelines for employee treatment, as well as recourse when those guidlines are ignored.

One may believe that laws will always take care of us. Sadly, that has not been historically true. One only needs to look at voting rights and civil rights as two examples where the law lagged society by decades. Laws also change and thus cannot be consistently relied upon by workers for protection. That is why workers continue to need unions.

Unions are imperfect but so are corporations. Both will endure this recession and both will likely change in the process.

Unions are a benefit to the lower classess. Upper classes would love to destroy unions as it means more money for them because they can never have enough. Nobody knows why.

http://youth.ofl.ca/index.php/myths/

Nadine Lumley said...

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Voice of tReason said...

Ah Nadine. At the juncture, I'm not actually knocking the unions. In fact, as wisdom dictates, my enemy's enemy is my friend.

"How can this be so?" you ask. "You've never though highly of unions!" you observe.

True, but I am a centrist and therefore able to see the big picture.
"The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function."
--- F. Scott Fitzgerald

(I hope that doesn't reek of hubris)