Comment 32712

By LL (registered) - website | Posted August 08, 2009 at 20:38:43

Articles like this and their responses confirm for me that most new urbanists are clueless when it comes to class issues. Yeah, the "role" of unions "appears to be diminishing"... and real wages are going down and the workweek is getting longer - except in Western Europe where the labour movement is still strong. Guess what? That's also where cities have maintained their form. It all boils down to people not allowing capital to dictate their lives.

Ben: you talk about the union resisting management control and workers wanting to work less as if they were bad things. Am I missing something here? Labour-saving technology has advanced in leaps and bounds over the last fifty years and you want the duration and intensity of work to increase or at least stay constant? This is work ethic in the worst sense. Totally irrational.

Yes, unions need to change and adapt as capitalism has adapted to undercut previous working class gains. Unions need to globalize just as capital has. They need to become more grassroots and directly democratic. They need to respond to the precarious work and "immaterial" labour that is so prevalent today. They need to get into white collar and service sectors. Which is to say that white collar and service workers need to organize. Don't hate the union: organize yourself.

Sometimes public workers need to strike, otherwise their real wages will continue to decline. We need working class solidarity, not butt kissing of the bosses. That will bring us all down.

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