Communist auto worker beautifully explains capitalism & racism in the Detroit auto plants, 1970

League of Revolutionary Black Workers
The League of Revolutionary Black Workers
 
The video below is an excerpt from the 1970 documentary, Finally Got the News. The film tells the story of the League of Black Revolutionary Workers, a radical organization of black auto workers from Detroit. Throughout the 60s, many working class black youth of Detroit began to radicalize in response to unemployment, police brutality and underfunded schools and housing. Culminating in the violent 1967 Detroit Riot, the growing civil unrest of black Detroit was quickly repressed by authorities (Mitt Romney’s father, Governor George W. Romney, sent in the Michigan National Guard, while LBJ sent in the US Army). The League was formed to fight back.

In his book, A Black Revolutionary’s Life in Labor: Black Workers Power in Detroit, Michael Hamlin recounts his first-hand experiences as one of the leaders of the movement. Hamlin was one of the prime movers behind both the Dodge Revolutionary Union Movement (DRUM) and the League of Revolutionary Black Workers.

“As the League was organized, we realized that to organize people in the community we would need many communication tools.  Two major goals of the “Black Manifesto” were to raise money to establish black printing and film operations.  We had started a newspaper and Black Star Publishing was working on two books.  We were speaking in the community, writing articles and giving interviews to radical magazines but our audience was small.  John Watson was interested in making films that could be widely distributed.  We established Black Star Productions.

Obviously the group was media savvy. Like the Black Panthers, the League of Revolutionary Black Workers were primarily informed by Marx and Lenin. Unlike the Panthers, the LRBW actually focused their militancy on labor, and seizing the means of production in the workplace. Their concerns were largely ignored by the United Auto Workers and its largely white leadership, in 1968 the LRBW organized a wildcat strike (a strike that doesn’t go through official union channels) alongside Polish women workers, to protest a speed increase on the assembly line. Most subsequent firings targeted black workers, though many were rehired.

The organization followed the trajectory of most radical groups on the American left—splits, splinters, rebirths, disbands, reformations, etc—and no longer exists, but with Detroit in perpetual free-fall, it’s damn near impossible to organize labor when there are no jobs. Regardless, they remain an inspiring moment in radical history and an insightful voice of radical ideology.
 

 
You can see Finally Got the News in its entirety here.
 

Written by Amber Frost | Discussion
The most insidious lobbying group in US politics: The National Frozen Pizza Institute
01.11.2013
07:59 am

Topics:
Class War
Food

Tags:
pizza
labor unions
lobbyists

pizza
 
Okay maybe they’re not really the most insidious lobbying group in US politics… but hey, they’re still pretty bad.

Even the most starry-eyed of patriots knows that corporate lobbyists are the puppeteers behind the majority of US politicians, but sometimes the specificity of these groups boggles the mind. They’re like Catholic saints—there’s one for everything.

The National Frozen Pizza Institute is actually a subsidiary of the American Frozen Food Institute—which already seems ridiculous. But why does frozen pizza need its own lobbyists? Why, to protect their god-given rights to exploit labor, of course! From the “Labor and Immigration” section of their website:

NFPI opposes efforts by the National Labor Relations Board to impose new workplace rules, similar to provisions contained in card-check legislation rejected by Congress, which would severely limit the ability of employers to engage employees, while robbing many employees of a ballot, during labor organizing proceedings.

Experienced immigrant food workers employed on American farms and packaging plants are a critical part of America’s food supply.  NFPI supports the adoption of comprehensive immigration reform policies that address the unique needs of American food makers by providing seasonal immigrant laborers with realistic avenues for temporary legal status while they work in the United States.  NFPI opposes efforts to impose the mandatory use of the federal “E-Verify” system by employers that do not adequately address the workforce needs of food makers.

“Card-check legislation” refers to a system by which unions would be able to form with a majority sign-up—more easily than they do now. But how will Big Pizza exploit migrant labor if that happens?

If that’s not insidious enough, remember all the hullabaloo about Congress declaring pizza a vegetable?  Yeah, that was the Pizza Lobby! And if you check the “Nutrition” section of their website, they can tell you how much they love providing healthy lunches for America’s school children!

A glance at their monthly newsletter Pizza Piece (come on, they couldn’t call it The Slice?) shows they’ve had their doughy little hands in everything from fighting dairy market controls to GMO labeling.

The capitalists… they stole my pizza.

Written by Amber Frost | Discussion
Today We Are All Wisconsinites
02.21.2011
10:05 am

Topics:
Politics

Tags:
Wisconsin
labor unions
Madison
good citizens

image
 
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Written by Richard Metzger | Discussion