Monday, December 24, 2007

Sources of Strength

Sources of strength that produced gains for the majority during the second half of the twentieth century:

- industrial unions within the context of "fordism" -- fordism and mid-20th century capitalism allowed a few gigantic corporations to dominate the economy. Because of realities of technology, these firms employed armies of industrial mass-production workers. Because of realities of economics, these mass-production workers could (if they could arrange it) shut down significant portions of the leading production of the economies of nations. Because of political realities (having to do with the crises of the 1930s and 1940s) these workers were able to unionize and exercise this latent power.

- an important portion of this political reality was the existence of a genuine threat of an alternative; this being Soviet-style communism. It's often perception that is more important than reality when it comes to elites. In the case of the elites and Soviet Communism, many Western elites saw the governments of the Soviet Union and the Peoples Republic of China as offering an alternative to voters in the West. For that reason, many leaders in the West advocated providing workers with reforms in the hopes of forestalling revolution.

- public sector unions and the growth of government: prior to 1929, even after the accomplishments of the Progressive Movement, and the realities of World War I economies, capitalists and many capitalist politicians were able to delude themselves that some fantastical illusion of a "free market" was a sufficient means for organizing industrial-urban society. The ten lost years of the Great Depression and successful public mobilization of resources in World War II disabused them of that notion. While significant public activism in the economy was and is still regarded as heresy against the laws of nature by right-wing cranks, even they aren't going to do anything to roll-back the size of the state to 1929 levels. (Maybe. In this late period of right-wing triumphalism and delusion, anything is possible, despite what the reality-based communities have to say on the subject. ) Anyhow, ... the state grew in importance as an employer and provided large numbers of workers with steady work, ... and in response to the culture of the times, these workers were allowed to unionize. In Canada, these public sector workers and their unions remain significant sources of progressive strength and resources, even after over two decades of assaults.

- the welfare state, "full" employment policies, and mass education: While education is usually intended as a means of training obedient workers and indoctrinated managers, ... and while revolutions had been fought and sometimes won by illiterate peasants and workers in the past, it was and is also the case that education systems sometimes train people for independence, as well as providing expecatations of fulfilling work and careers. When these expectations are not met, there is often an articulate pool of resentment. In the 1960s and 1970s, and even up to today, the former manifestation, ... independent, critical thinkers, continue to be produced in larger numbers.

- feminism: economic independence and education produced the second wave of feminism, in the West, producing a powerful movement that has had impacts on the social, economic, and political levels. It has also created a body of critical thinking that naturally responds with skepticism to the platitudes of elites.

- environmentalism: full employment and the welfare state created a sense among many that the struggle for survival (in a realistic sense, I mean within the economic and technological realities of the late-20th century West) did not require constant consumption of the world's resources, strip-mining of all available natural resources. It too served as an area of critical thought.

I suspect that I'm getting into results of the sources of strength. I don't know. I haven't typed an entry for a number of days, and I need to put something out there.

We need to take stock today, of what our potentialities are. That's all for now spam-bots and uninvestigated google hits. And me.


pretty shaved ape said...

hey thwap, just thought i'd drop off some kudos for the over all quality of writing here at the schoolyard. cheers.

thwap said...

Thanks PSA,

I still remember that entry of yours at CC's right before you became a co-blogger.

trog69 said...

Good morning, thwap. Ufffhhh. Teehee.

And that concludes our mini-play, "My bells got rung." Man, I crack me up!

I look forward to your next post, on how these 'strengths' have been neutralized by the corporatocracy. In particular, how the right has turned the word "union" itself, to imply corruption, arrogance, and unfair advantage, and by steadily rearranging the portions of education so that unions aren't even mentioned in the classroom, unless it's a teacher willing to buck the system.

Feminism. Now that is an interesting strength. Just as Unionism divides the menfolk, feminism has split the women, and with just as many false arguments on the conservative side. As the old-timers retire though, more progressive views are starting to catch on, such as the millions of women more than ready to be represented. Why the right would be so dead set against feminism has me scratching my head. Now that households include two workers as the norm, it's taking far too long for the homestead to realize that, while they're okay when finances are combined; Singularly, they're getting screwed just like the rest.

thwap said...


I was hoping to get around to cataloging how to move forward from present positions of strength.

Trends that helped the capitalist right-wingers were high-interest rate recessions and a massive investment in hearts n' minds propaganda, ... guys like mellon scaife and such.

this windows been open forever since we went out visiting.

so i end this.

trog69 said...

Good evening, thwap.

I admit to being weak in economics, so I look forward to your analysis.

thwap said...

(When i have been typng, I've ben typing in the mornings with a baby in my lap, so i wuzzint prepared to type nything long.

Check out the search terms "milton friedman" "zero inflation" and "linda mcquaig" for now.

I'll be posting more nextweek.

trog69 said...

Will do.

Yes, I have two grandkids who get mad when papa is typing, rather than connecting to Polly Pockets. (We always end up though.)

thwap said...

"end up 'what' though"?

trog69 said...

Wow! Proofreading is my friend. I was clumsily trying to say that once I would finish my post, and stop teasing the kids about not knowing how to "connect" to their fave site, we always managed to get to the site.

I see it remains a clumsy mess of an explanation. Happy New Year!