Defining Democracy: The Labor Movement and #Occupy
Panel held on March 31st, 2012 at the Fourth Annual Platypus International Convention, School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
In 2009 President Obama's auto bailouts became a major flashpoint between the left and the mainstream of the labor movement. The majority of the left, including UAW dissidents, felt the auto bailouts were a missed opportunity to retool our manufacturing base, and a miserable half-measure.
On the other hand, mainstream labor leaders, and a consistent majority of polled union members, endorsed Obama's plan and explanation that the bailouts were an extraordinary measure and that government support for union ownership of firms was generally inappropriate. In 2009 an absolute majority of Americans opposed the auto bailouts altogether by an average 3 to 2 margin.
What does #Occupy's demand for "more democracy" in the labor movement mean in this context, where the majority of members did not support a comprehensive intervention into the affairs of GM and Chrysler?
John Peterson (International Marxist Tendency)
David Moberg (In These Times)
James Manos (Occupy Chicago Labor Committee)