Sunday, March 29, 2009

Stand Up, Speak Out and Fight for the Employee Free Choice Act!

(The Gus Hall Action Club attended a town hall meeting in Minneapolis on March 24 which demanded the passage of the Employee Free Choice Act. We passed out Marxist-Leninist leaflets, bearing a quote by Gus Hall, to the huge labor crowd. Note: Gus Hall was the former leader of the Communist Party of the United States and one of the founders of the USWA, the Steelworkers Union)

"I’m alive today because of unions!" declared a member of ATU 1005 (the bus driver's union) at a rally in Minneapolis for the Employee Free Choice Act. V.I. Lenin was right that "as long as classes exist, the class struggle is inevitable." The working class--owning no means of production and compelled to sell their labor power in order to live--has fought tooth and nail to build the unions. And ever since its birth, "the labor movement, " William Z. Foster pointed out, "has had to develop in the face of the opposition of the most powerful capitalist class the world has ever known." Workers fought back, organizing militant strikes and picketlines (especially in the 1930s). The history of the American labor movement is the history of class struggle. And for Communists, as Gus Hall put it, "class struggle is the frame of reference."

As a great strike movement, which Foster called an "explosion of proletarian wrath," swept the country, the right to organize unions was enacted into federal law as the New Deal's Wagner Act (1935). Communists (Marxist-Leninist fighters) were, as Gus Hall said, the "main force" in unionizing industry and mass production. History is witness that class struggle unionism, not class collaboration, wins victories for the working class! In 2009--in our era of class struggle--Karl Marx’s words ring true: "the battle between labor and capital, between wages and profits, continues."

(The United Steelworkers (USW), Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers rally in Pittsburgh to call for passage of the Employee Free Choice Act, 2007)

The passage of the Employee Free Choice Act, the AFL-CIO’s top priority in the 111th Congress, would make it easier to form a union at the workplace. Unions fight for better wages, benefits and working conditions for the entire working class. They, J.V. Stalin once said, "curb capitalist exploitation." Unions--a class organization of the proletariat--produce gains for all workers. Union women earn 32 percent more than non-union women. African American union members earn 28 percent more than their non-union counterparts. For Latino workers the union advantage equals 43 percent. But capitalists, waging an anti-labor offensive, fire workers in 30 percent of workplaces where there is a union organizing drive. The Employee Free Choice Act would penalize bosses for violating workers’ rights to form unions.

Gus Hall, speaking as a partisan of the working class, argued that "to get government to intervene on the side of labor is part of the class struggle." We must fight for the passage of the Employee Free Choice Act! However, as Maurice Cornforth wrote, "the trade union struggle does not get rid of capitalism." Without the leading vanguard role of a Marxist-Leninist Communist Party, socialism cannot be won. Socialism will end the exploitation of labor by capital forever.

What you can do to Fight for the Employee Free Choice Act:

Step 1) Sign the AFL-CIO's online petition at AFL-CIO Online Petition to Fight for the Passage of EFCA.

Step 2) Grab a notebook! At the top of one page, write: "I support the Employee Free Choice Act." Provide some lines with the words: first and last name, street address, city, state, zip code and e-mail address. Then write: "this will be sent to the AFL-CIO."

Step 3) Ask your schoolmates or fellow workers to sign your notebook petition on lunch break or after school. Be prepared to give a soundbite description of the Employee Free Choice Act. Maybe: "the EFCA would make it easier to join a union. Unions give us better wages, benefits and working conditions. EFCA would punish bosses who are anti-union." Point out that the EFCA is backed by the AFL-CIO and the labor movement.

Step 4) When you get 10 signatures on your petitions, send in their e-mail addresses to the AFL-CIO's "Spread the word about EFCA" page.