This site is kept by Boyce Richardson, journalist, writer and documentary filmmaker, of a leftist persuasion.
Wednesday, August 16, 2017
LINK OF THE DAY: August 16, 2017-08-16: Beware the American habit
of using high-sounding names for venal purposes
With the opening of the Nafta renegotiation talks, Canadians are
being confronted with all sorts of ideas about life that are purely American,
such as “buy American,”“Right to Work” and so on. It is good to
remember the doubtful origin of these concepts, and a recentarticle in Labor Notes by Michael Pierce called The Racist Origins of Right to Work reminds us of at least one
thoroughly disreputable concept that has had the effect of virtually destroying
the only weapon working people have had for defence against their employers,
namely, the union movement . I have been keenly aware of this for many years
because I once was called upon to finish a half-hour film shot by some young
filmmakers on the subject of the industry --- yes, it is an industry ---
devoted to the destruction of unions in the United States, a film that
concentrated on one typically right-wing professional agitator whose business
in life was precisely that, to destroy unions.
Later, when researching a proposed film on a new Nissan truck
manufacturing plant in Tennessee, I became aware of the anti-union bias underlying the choice of the work force for
the new factory, carefully chosen among gung-ho young guys withouttoo much education, from small nearby villages who had been filled with
all the concepts of the huntin’and fishin’America the Great. I thought of
this when reading recently about the failure of the union movement to penetrate
another Nissan truck factory in the United States: I was not surprised: the
workers there, too were no doubt carefully chosen to abhor unions.
Michael Pierce's article, which can be accessed here with two clicks,reveals the virulently racist, anti-semitic,
anti-communist and anti-union origins of a Right to Work movement that
beganin an outfit calledthe Christian
American Association, that was directedagainstthe Roosevelt New Deal,
and that,in its turn,gave rise tothe Southern Committee toUphold
the Constitution. Right-wing Americans are never at a loss for a high-sounding
name to disguise the venal objectives of their politics. We have to be
especially aware of this right now.