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 recent  article 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  without  too much education, from small nearby villages who had been filled with all the concepts of  the huntinand 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 began  in an outfit called  the Christian American Association, that was directed  against  the Roosevelt New Deal, and that,  in its turn,  gave rise to  the Southern Committee to  Uphold 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.

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