On June 13, President Donald Trump told the graduating class at West Point, “We are ending the era of endless wars.” That is what Trump has promised since 2016, but the “endless” wars have not ended. Trump has dropped more bombs and missiles than George W. Bush or Barack Obama did in their first terms, and there are still roughly as many US bases and troops overseas as when he was elected.
When it comes to the American labor movement, coverage is often either cynically dismissive or so optimistic one could be forgiven for wondering whether the last few decades of decline, confusion, and infighting had happened at all.
Looking back to the defeat of the labor movement since the early 1980s, three lessons seem especially important. First, any gains made under capitalism are temporary; they can be reversed. Second, the kind of unionism we developed in that earlier period of gains was inherently limited; it left us in a poor position to respond to the subsequent attacks. Third, absent new forms of working class organization and practices, fatalism takes over and worker expectations fall.
This article originally appeared in Jacobin, and is reprinted here with their permission.
This article first appeared at Jacobin, a print quarterly that offers socialists perspectives on politics and economics. Support Jacobin and buy a four-issue subscription for $19.
Why Coen Brother's Latest Flick Makes for Uncomfortable Watching in a Culture Drenched in Positive Thinking
Alternet is proud to feature content from Jacobin, a print quarterly that offers socialists perspectives on politics and economics. Support Jacobin and buy afour-issue subscription for $19.
This article first appeared at Jacobin Magazine.
This essay was originally published in Issue 10 of Jacobin.
This article was originally published in Issue 10 of Jacobin.