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Re: <nettime> The Californian Reality (from: New Geography)
martha rosler on Wed, 22 Jan 2014 08:51:13 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> The Californian Reality (from: New Geography)

ah, I should not butt in without getting me ducks in order.
Unlike all the fabulously articulate nettimers, I only have time for sloppy seat-of-pants writing. SO apoogies for what will be a RANT, adnd moreoever flinging at ya thinks you must already know>

 Yes, my memory of PATCO as a mere labor association did not serve me well. (and didn't say they endorsed Reagan in his second term, did I? He fired em in 1981! Second term was supposed to be dedicated to taking out Nicaragua and then presumably Cuba)

 PATCO had changed its status from a professionall org to a union, but it did not get ITS ducks in order. It failed to gain solidarity from other unions, including, i think, the pilots. They believed they were, in effect, part of the aristocracy of labor, though not in the guild sense. Having mostly come from the miltary, they no doubt identified with Republicans, and thought they were too essential to fire. but it was ILLEGAL for them to strike.
(As to endangering the public, that likelihood, or possibility, about which i said nothing, is too far in the past to argue over now.) If their firing really spooked the labor movement, it was because labor had been led for decades by consensus leaders rather than miltant ones. I remember an ad with (I think) George Meany, sitting in a chair chomping on a cigar, saying he'd never walked a picket line in his life. "Business unionism"

The first link that popped up when I google- searched  for PATCO:


> But whether you consider it causal or not is a moot point; it clearly marks an historical watershed and this is generally agreed

well, on that formulation, I have to sort-of agree, but there is a "thicker' story to be told. In other words, we have to moot it.

The "beginning of the end" for organized labor was the emergence of neoliberal strategies even in midst of Carter's time in office and which emerged fully in Reagan's 8 years in office. Industrial unionism (private sector) was declining as industrial production declined and as management followed the runaway shop strategy. [PATCO was a federal-workers' union of professionals, of course, of something over 15k members] . Reagan could act against PATCO because the decision to reinstitute out-and-out class war while also amping up the Nixonian Southern strategy, of appealing to "traditional" working-class values?racism, patriarchalism, homophobia, religion, militarism, nationalism, anti-urbanism ? as against elites and counterculture values, divided the working class  ("values voters) and separated it from its middle class allies? though it did not succeed in destroying union allegiance, but led to idiotic electoral choices (thus, the argument over Tom Frank's "What's the Matter 
 with Kan
 sas?, which i don't have time for here. you vote your pocket book when necessary but abandon an unpromising political leadership when the other side can promise bread and values)  (Cf Chris Christie 's [popularity in NJ: voters like the narrative of bluster cum pragmatism, as they liked Reagan's Morning in America narrative). The oil shock of 1973  shook labor relations as its shook the auto industry, and the movement south of the auto industry, the incursion of Japanese and germn manufacturers to the officially antiunion South led to concessionary bargaining?. making it clear that labor was losing strength even on its own behalf, let alone on behalf of Democratic candidates.  The Repubs. abandoned their pet union, the Teamsters, and the historic compromise, which had help establish pattern bargaining in industries like auto, died.
The neoliberal/Republican strategy took advantage of the fact that longstanding Congressional comity could result in the successful institution of more and more of the anti-labor agenda, until organized labor was going to die of a thousand cuts.  And then we got NAFTA under Clinton, which also brought the decision to end Congressional comity and mutual back-scratching under Gingrich and which has been im its fullest flower since Obama's election. So, back to the rhetoric of 'the makers and takers,' the 'usses' and the 'thems,' the lazy poor?. all of which have resonance in the rural redoubts of the old south, including the top tier, lIke Ky and W.Va. The war against labor is sold as the war against Others: poor people of color (Reagan's welfare queens), but that is adjustable to different populations, so that the working class does not see it as class warfare but a war of workers vs lumpen (and liberals, asin the silky narrative of the professor whose obfuscatory blog on cali
 fornia p
 rompted all this).  Meanwhile,  in that period, the service sector unions like SEIU were on the rise (albeit with disastrous, ongoing internecine battles). The 'war' against unionism was larger than any attack on actual union activity; private and public sector unions were and have been played off against each other, to this day.

> We can argue some other time the virtues of labor unions.

  I am a HUGE supporter of labor unions, with all the warts. (But I like shop floor & rank-and-file insurgencies.) We need some more unions (by any name), right now.

Anyway, after that long thing above, with I've got to think many historical errors, I 'm off!
 thanks keith!

PS as to hollywood: yes

On Jan 21, 2014, at 8:26 PM, Keith Sanborn <mrzero {AT} panix.com> wrote:

> I have to disagree about both Hollywood and PATCO. 

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