As SJ has been around for more than a few Labor Days, I’ve largely played out as much as I’ve had to say about organized labor. But recently, I’ve twitted a bit about public sector unionism being a travesty. I have no burning desire to engage in a twitfight with people whose grasp of unions is limited to “solidarity, yah!”
To discuss any subject requires some small depth of knowledge about it. The platitudinous crowd knows what it feels, and needs to know nothing more, making any engagement neither fun nor useful. Workers deserve to be paid a “decent” wage? Sure, but that doesn’t address anything of value. What’s a “decent” wage? Who pays it? Don’t the people who pay it deserve to be paid a “decent” wage too, especially if the money taken from them to pay public employees leaves them impoverished?
And then there’s the entire concept of public sector unionism that’s fundamentally and irreconcilably flawed, not to mention the ability of public employees to influence their paymasters by both their vote and their union bribes. But I digress.
What’s forgotten in this platitudinous gutter of simplicity is that unions, particularly the Industrial Workers of the World, have come up with some great music to further their cause, to rally their troops, to persuade the passionate to their cause. And no matter what you think of their cause, you can’t deny that the Wobblies had the best songs.
Enjoy Labor Day, and raise your glass to an anarcho-syndicalist for giving us music, if nothing else.