Tag: unions

Jan 11

A Bad Day for Unions

The Supreme Court heard arguments today in the Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association case that may cripple the rights of public sector unions to bargain for workers. The case has the backing of the right wing group backed, the Bradley Foundation, that is backed by the billionaire Koch brothers. The group has spent millions over …

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Jun 01

Anti-Capitalist Meetup: Beltaine with Walter Crane

Every day is May Day which we here at The Stars Hollow Gazette and DocuDharma celebrate in the traditional way- with the clenched fist salute.

The Internationale

Arise ye workers from your slumbers

Arise ye prisoners of want

For reason in revolt now thunders

And at last ends the age of cant.

Away with all your superstitions

Servile masses arise, arise

We’ll change henceforth the old tradition

And spurn the dust to win the prize.

So comrades, come rally

And the last fight let us face

The Internationale unites the human race.

No more deluded by reaction

On tyrants only we’ll make war

The soldiers too will take strike action

They’ll break ranks and fight no more

And if those cannibals keep trying

To sacrifice us to their pride

They soon shall hear the bullets flying

We’ll shoot the generals on our own side.

So comrades, come rally

And the last fight let us face

The Internationale unites the human race.

No saviour from on high delivers

No faith have we in prince or peer

Our own right hand the chains must shiver

Chains of hatred, greed and fear

E’er the thieves will out with their booty

And give to all a happier lot.

Each at the forge must do their duty

And we’ll strike while the iron is hot.

So comrades, come rally

And the last fight let us face

The Internationale unites the human race.

By thanatokephaloides

Note 1: This was supposed to be “Part 2” of a single Beltaine Diary of which my Diary entitled “Bringing In The May: The Heroes of Haymarket” was to be “Part 1”. (So I’m posting this now, even though the First of May 2015 is now long past.)

Note 2: Please allow me to express my deepest gratitude to the Marxists Internet Archive website, http://www.marxists.org, and Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/, for much of the material I am using in today’s Diary. Although in the public domain owing to its age, I would not have been able to gather this material had it not been for these websites and those who operate them. Therefore, I express my thanks for their assistance.

Most of my readers here on Anti-Capitalist Meetup recognize this image immediately; it was used in many of the Diaries and discussions here on Daily Kos on the subject which appeared around Beltaine (May 1) this year:

This classic portrayal of the Heroes of Haymarket Square in Chicago is the work of British illustrator Walter Crane (1845 – 1915).

                                      Walter Crane

It is not quite as well known today, a century after his death, that Mr. Crane was a Socialist; that he employed his not insignificant talents in the graphical arts in the service to the Socialist and Labor movements in Britain and America during his time; and that even today his graphics still strike a serious chord with those of us who believe that all wealth is created by Labor, and Labor is entitled to everything it creates.

For more details — and more Walter Crane images — follow me beyond the fold!

May 05

TBC: Morning Musing 5.5.15

Happy Cinco de Mayo! Before you get started on your margaritas, I have 3 articles for you this morning!

First up, we can only hope:

FORGIVE THEM, FATHER

The ambassadors of denial are nervous that the tone of our cultural conversation is about to shift. Their worst fear is that Francis might successfully disabuse religious conservatives of a longstanding and pernicious myth: that climate change should be thought of as a splinter issue, and that belief in climate science and support for environmental action signify membership in the “enemy camp.” So long as climate deniers can maintain the charade of Us vs. Them, their well-funded dissembling machine keeps on rolling. But if the Pope actually manages to bring people together-and so far his track record on that front is pretty good-the whole thing could fall apart.

Jump!

Jul 27

Anti-Capitalist Meetup: Gaza, and Life in the Global Economy

‘But I don’t want to go among mad people,’ Alice remarked. ‘Oh, you can’t help that,’ said the Cat. ‘We’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.” (Alice in Wonderland)  

The past month or two I have been running from one demonstration and issue to another in support of various causes. I have attended several of the various demonstrations in support of Palestinian rights as Israel, with the backing of the United States, once again, exercises it’s barely hidden genocidal agenda. The past week and a half, Israel has been pounding Gaza with a massive bombing campaign and an aggressive ground war. The Palestinian people have already been devastated from a seven year siege. Many people aren’t aware that Israel, which puts forward the myth that Gaza is an independent entity, still controls most of the power, water and goods going in and out of Gaza – Gazans currently get about four hours of electricity a day and three hours of water once every three days. In the week and a half since the “war” began over 1,000 Gazans have been killed (a majority women and children),  millions of dollars of infrastructure have been destroyed. At last tally, 45 Israeli soldiers and three Islaeli civilians have died in the conflict and Israel gained controlled of approximately 1/3 of the remaining land in Gaza which they now call a “buffer zone.”

This is the third such incursion since 2008.  The other two bombing operations resulted in thousands of additional deaths and demolished neighborhoods and the ongoing blockade prevented Palestinians from rebuilding.  People often forget that the destruction of the infrastructure, once the bombing stops, is often more dangerous to the people’s health when they cannot have drinkable water (95% of Gazans don’t), adequate power and shelter.

For the first time, Palestinian voices are being heard, even by the mainstream —  if only because the devastation is so great they cannot be ignored. Demonstrations in Europe reached over 100,000 in England and France. There is clearly a movement that is stronger today than in the past.  Many of the demonstrations I attended were sizable – between one and two thousand people. In New York City, a stronghold of Zionism, that is no small number and shows the changing landscape in regard to the Palestinian issue – even here in the belly of the beast. And yet, today, as I write, there is no cease fire and the people of Palestine are still under attack.

I could go on about Gaza, but there are so many other issues. Like the 57,000 undocumented children coming across the Mexican border, fleeing from dictatorial states like Guatemala, El Salvador  and Honduras that the United States supported. Most recently the USA supported the coup in Honduras which ousted President Zelaya after he made two fatal mistakes – he doubled the minimum wage and he planned to join ALBA, a group of seven Latin American countries which have formed a coalition to fight the United States neoliberal agenda in the South. President Obama was the only leader in the western world who did not condemn the coup and gave immediate recognition to the new government. The United States government plans to send the majority of the fleeing children back to these states for their “safety” which is the reason that they fled and made the dangerous trek to the United States in the first place.

And then there are the other “domestic issues.” Thousands of poor, elderly and disabled people in Detroit are being denied water because they can’t pay their water bill, often after the state cut off their pension due to the Detroit bankruptcy. A young man brought my attention to another black man, Eric Garner, killed in Brooklyn  due to excessive police force. .(The young man who told me was unaware of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict).I also just learned, today, that there was yet another incident yesterday in which the NYPD stomped on another black man’s head – also captured in a video.  Oh, and there was newspaper headline about the “open carry (guns) advocates who stood on the grassy knoll (where Kennedy was killed) and criticized Obama. Guess what man – you’re still black.

Finally, there is the civil war in the Ukraine which recently resulted in the deaths of 298 civilians in an air crash (many of them AIDS researchers) when the Russian backed rebels shot the plane down by mistake. Many of the US backed forces, which recently took the Ukraine over in a coup are real old fashioned fascists (which feels a lot worse in Europe than it does here given the fact that Fascists have actually held power in Europe and we experienced the results).These new Ukrainian leaders are pressuring Europe to put more and more sanctions on Russia. I’m old enough to remember the cold war between the Soviet Union and the United States and this certainly feels like de javu.

But I digress.  There is a big demonstration planned in Washington for August 2nd for Palestinian rights. Kerry is negotiating right now for a short cease fire that does not actually change any of the conditions in the siege on Gaza.  Hamas (and it seems like most of the Gazan people including those who don’t back Hamas) say the cease fire must include the ending of the Siege on Gaza (what have they got to lose? They are already being slowly killed anyway with no drinkable water and half their land destroyed). Israel is unlikely to comply (Why should they ? They have our backing and the Seige meets their long term goals for a greater Israel just fine).

IN THE MEANTIME THE DEMONSTRATION IN WASHINGTON, D.C. IS STILL 7 DAYS AWAY – HOW MANY MORE PEOPLE CAN THEY KILL AND HOW MUCH MORE INFRASTRUCTURE CAN THEY DESTROY IN 7 DAYS? Of course, this is just an infinitely small fraction of the devastation we have visited on the rest of the world in just the 20th and 21st century. (Pick a region)

Have you signed your 150th petition today? Have you written your congress person or Obama? Have you gone on a demonstration? Do you feel good about doing your civic duty? I was watching TV the other night and the ad with the dog with sad eyes and the sentimental music came on soliciting donations so that the dog and other dogs could live without abuse. There is a similar ad with a small clearly starving child in Africa.  As Bill Clinton would say “I feel your pain.” Synthetic, televised pain is not enough.



The definition of insanity someone said is to keep doing the same things over and over and expect different results. With the advent of the internet and globalization, the world is turning faster now, and the contradictions are heightening. “We do what we can” we say. We “keep the faith, “we keep hope alive.” But as Mao would say, just “tolling the bell” (doing the usual level of political work or doing the usual rant as I am doing now) is not enough. We need to give ourselves a wake-up call.

Jul 01

SCOTUS Sides with Corporations in Last Two Rulings

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Considering it has sided with corporations in so many of its rulings over the last few years, the out come of the last two rulings by the US Supreme Court for this session were predictable down to the vote.

As in its decision in Citizens United, in a five to four vote, the court rules that just like people, corporations, too, have religious beliefs.

Supreme Court Rejects Contraceptives Mandate for Some Corporationsby Adam Liptak, New York Times

The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that requiring family-owned corporations to pay for insurance coverage for contraception under the Affordable Care Act violated a federal law protecting religious freedom.

The 5-to-4 decision, which applied to two companies owned by Christian families, opened the door to challenges from other corporations to many laws that may be said to violate their religious liberty.

Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., writing for the court’s five more conservative justices, said a federal religious-freedom law applied to for-profit corporations controlled by religious families. He added that the requirement that the companies provide contraception coverage imposed a substantial burden on the companies’ religious liberty. He said the government could provide the coverage in other ways.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, writing for the court’s four-member liberal wing, said the contraception coverage requirement was vital to women’s health and reproductive freedom. Justices Stephen G. Breyer and Elena Kagan joined almost all of the dissent, but they said there was no need to take a position on whether corporations may bring claims under the religious liberty law.

In an Illinois case with another 5 – 4 ruling, the justices ruled that in-home healthcare workers who are paid by the state cannot be compelled to pay union dues.

Supreme Court Ruling Allows Some Public Workers to Opt Out of Union Fees by Steven Greenhouse, New York Times

The Supreme Court ruled narrowly on Monday that some government employees did not have to pay any fees to labor unions representing them, but the court decision declined to strike down a decades-old precedent that required many public-sector workers to pay union fees.

Writing the majority 5-4 opinion, Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. concluded that there was a category of government employee – a partial public employee – who can opt out of joining a union and not be required to contribute dues to that labor group.

Justice Alito wrote that home-care aides who are typically employed by an ill or disabled person with Medicaid’s paying their wages would be classified as partial public employees, which would not be the same as public-school teachers or police officers who work directly for the government.

Because states often set wages for partial public employees like home-care aides and because unions often do not conduct collective bargaining for them, these aides cannot be required to pay union fees, Justice Alito wrote. He wrote that requiring these home-care aides to pay would be a violation of their First Amendment rights.

Burwell v Hobby Lobby can be read here and Harris Et Al. v. Quinn, Governor of Illinois, Et Al can be read here

Jun 13

Hellraisers Journal: General Bell Blames Socialist and W. F. of M. for All Troubles in Colorado

You ought to be out raising hell. This is the fighting age. Put on your fighting clothes.

-Mother Jones

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Monday June 13, 1904

From The Indianapolis News: More Union Miners Deported from Cripple Creek District

Cripple Creek Deportations June 1914

BELL SAYS SOCIALISTS ARE CAUSE OF TROUBLES

———-

SAYS HE WILL DRIVE FEDERATION FROM GOLD CAMP.

———-

THE ONLY HOPE FOR PEACE

———-

CRIPPLE CREEK, June 13.-Gen. Sherman Bell has given out a statement concerning his action in deporting strikers and the causes leading up to the same. He attributes the recent troubles growing out of the miners’ strike, and the strike itself to the Socialist element in the Western Federation of Miners, which, he says, captured the organization two years ago. He declares that the federation has made unionism a secondary consideration, and the organization, root and branch, is being made a vehicle for the promotion of socialism. The leaders, he asserts, have not hesitated to cause “weak and willing members to commit any crime to strike terror to property owners or working men who refuse to abide their dictates.” The murder of non-union men by blowing up the Independence station, he charges, was “perpetrated with the aid and advice of federation leaders and by men in their employ.” The only hope for peace and security of life and property was “to exterminate the federation from the camp.”

General Bell and staff attended church yesterday and transacted no business, except what was absolutely necessary. Another party of 100 deported miners left Victor to-day, their destination being either New Mexico or Utah. The saloons of the district were opened to-day for the first time in a week.

Practically all the large mines in this district which closed down last Monday, after the explosion at Independence, were working to-day. The Portland mine has not yet been reopened and the company has not announced its plans.

[emphasis added]

———-

An Appeal to Gompers.

KANSAS CITY. June 13.-The Industrial Council of this city, which claims to represent 25,000 union members, adopted resolutions [yesterday] asking President Gompers, of the American Federation of Labor, to call a meeting of the executive board of that  organization for the purpose of devising means to settle the Colorado labor troubles. Telegrams were sent to President Roosevelt asking him to investigate and to Governor Peabody, condemning his actions by the orders of the Industrial Council. Mother Jones addressed the meeting.

———-

Miners Remain at Holly.

HOLLY, Colo., June 13.-Ten of the deported miners from Cripple Creek left here at midnight Saturday for La Junta, Pueblo and Denver. The remainder are staying in town. They have paid cash for their meals and lodging and made purchases at stores. It is probable that a considerable number of the exiles will go into the country to seek work on the ranches.

———-

Today’s edition of the St. Louis Republic reports that Mother Jones addressed the Kansas City, Missouri, Industrial Council yesterday, and that the following telegram was sent to Governor Peabody of Colorado:

The Industrial Council of Kansas City, Mo., in regular session assembled, condemns your action as unamerican, uncivilized and barbarous in the extreme, in your treatment toward workingmen and women of Colorado. For such acts Russia, in her darkest ages, would blush with shame.

Jun 12

Hellraisers Journal: Deported Union Miners Dumped at Bleak Alkali Sand Dunes Without Food or Water

You ought to be out raising hell. This is the fighting age. Put on your fighting clothes.

-Mother Jones

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Sunday June 12, 1904

Cripple Creek District, Colorado – Deported Miners Dumped Near Kansas Border

Cripple Creek Deportations June 1914

The miners who were herded down the street on Friday by militiamen and Citizens’ Alliance “deputies” and then loaded into railroad cars and deported from the Cripple Creek strike zone, were found near the Kansas border yesterday. The following report comes to us from today’s San Francisco Call:

EXILED MINERS, HUNGRY AND WEARY,

CAMP ON THE COLORADO BORDER

———-

Deported Men Are Taken to the Kansas Line by Troops.

———-

Left on a Bleak Prairie Without Food or Water Supply.

———-

SYRACUSE, Kansas, June 11.-The deported Colorado miners camped at Holly to-night, just across the Colorado line. They were notified to-night that a special train would be sent to take them all to Denver.

HOLLY, Colo., June 11. – With a parting volley of rifle bullets, fired over their heads by the militia and deputies to, warn them to “hike” eastward as fast as their legs could carry them and never again set foot on Colorado soil, ninety-one union miners from the Cripple Creek district were unloaded from a special Santa Fe train on the prairie this morning, one half mile from the Colorado-Kansas State line, and left to shift for themselves. The exiles were disembarked in haste and without ceremony. The guards and deputies were tired out and in ill humor from their long, tedious trip from the Teller County gold camp and were in no mood to extend any special courtesies or kindness to their unfortunate charges.

“Hurry up there, you fellows,” cried Lieutenant Cole, when the train stopped in the midst of the alkali sand dunes that dot the prairie in the vicinity of the eastern part of Powers County near the Kansas line. “We haven’t got any time to waste out here.”

WITHOUT FOOD OR WATER.

And no time was wasted. The special, which consisted of an engine, a combination baggage car and smoker and two day coaches, had no sooner come to a standstill than the car doors were unlocked and thrown open and the order given by Lieutenant Cole for the exiles to leave the train.

“Step lively, you fellows, step lively,” admonished Deputy Benton, who was in command of the civil forces of the expedition, and in less time than it takes to tell it the three cars were emptied of their passengers and the train was started on its way back to La Junta.

The men were dumped out on the cheerless prairie without food or water, for the soldiers and deputies, in their haste to get home, had forgotten to unload the small stock of commissary supplies the train carried when it left Victor yesterday afternoon.

SPIRIT OF MEN BREAKS

The exiles were a cheerless lot, indeed. Without even a light and miles from the nearest habitation, they huddled together in groups on either side of’ the Santa Fe track and discussed their plight. Warned to move eastward, on pain of being rearrested  and severely handled, and notified by the Kansas authorities that they would not be allowed to seek refuge in that State, the spirit of the men broke. Many of them walked  back westward on the railroad to Holly, the Salvation Army colony in Colorado, where the charitable inhabitants provided breakfast for them. Some of them later started to walk to Lamar, Colo.

Sheriff Jack Brady and forty deputies of Hamilton County were at the State line to prevent the deported men entering Kansas.

———-

CLAIMS TO HAVE MURDERERS.

———-

Bell Declares Independence Dynamiters Are In Bullpen.

———-

CRIPPLE CREEK, Colo., June 11.-General Sherman M. Bell to-day made the following statement for publication:

“I have indisputable evidence in my possession which will lead to the conviction of  union men for the murder of non-union miners who were killed in the Independence explosion. We have between thirty-five and forty men in the bullpen who will swing for this crime. We are only waiting to capture three or four men before we tell what our evidence Is.”

SOURCE

The San Francisco Call.

(San Francisco California)

-of June 12, 1904

Ahttp://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85066387/1904-06-12/ed-1/seq-22

Image

Miners Being Deported from Cripple Creek District

http://www.rebelgraphics.org/w…

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Jun 11

Hellraisers Journal: Gen. Bell Promises “One Deportation After Another” from Cripple Creek District

You ought to be out raising hell. This is the fighting age. Put on your fighting clothes.

-Mother Jones

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Saturday June 11, 1904

From The Topeka Daily Capital: Mother Jones Continues Heading East

“MOTHER” JONES WAS HERE

———-

Is One of the Staff of President John Mitchel
l

“Mother” Jones, who has been prominently identified with the Colorado miners’ strike and is on the immediate staff of John Mitchell of the United Mine workers, was in Topeka for a short time yesterday afternoon. She called upon the local machinists and made a short talk at their meting. She left for the East last night.

———-

Cripple Creek Deportations June 1914

More from the Cripple Creek Strike zone, a report from the Daily News-Democrat of Huntington, Indiana:

UNION MINERS ARE BANISHED

———-

WORK OF DEPORTATION FROM CRIPPLE CREEK BEGINS.

———

TRAIN LOAD IS TAKEN AWAY

———-

Men will Probably be Taken to Kansas State Line-

Will Not Be Permitted to Land In Colorado Cities.

———-

Colorado Springs, Col., June 11-Acting under the orders of Adjt. Gen. Sherman Bell, of the state national guard, a special train was made up shortly after noon Friday in the Short Line yards at Victor for the deportation of 76 union miners. The train was composed of a combination baggage car and two day coaches. Almost immediately the work of loading the men began. They were marched to the train between heavy lines of military and deputies. A crowd of fully 1,000 people had collected to see the men placed on board. Among the spectators were wives and sisters, fathers and mothers of the deported men, and the scenes were very affecting.

Mayor Harris of this city, had been apprised of the decision to deport the men, and immediately took steps to see that none of them landed in Colorado Springs. Under his instructions a large force of officers and deputy sheriffs met the special train at 6:10 p. m. for that purpose. No attempt was made, however, to unload the men here, arrangements having previously been made to send them to Kansas state line, over the Santa Fe, because of protests made against taking them to Pueblo or Denver and leaving them there.

Kansans Indignant.

Syracuse, Kan., June 11.-Sheriff Brady of this county received a telegram from Sheriff Barr, of La Junta, Col., stating that a special train, carrying 140 deported miners from Colorado, would reach Coolidge and unload the miners in Kansas. Citizens of this county are indignant at this proceeding of the Colorado authorities, and an appeal has been made to Gov. Bailey to prevent Colorado from dumping her alleged undesirable citizens into Kansas.

Will Soon Be Rid of Agitators.

Cripple Creek, Col., June 11.-The woman’s auxiliary of the miners’ union has been forbidden by the military authorities to hold meetings.

“Within 48 hours this district will be rid of all agitators and other objectionable men.” said Gen. Bell, Friday. “One deportation after another will be made until none of the men who have terrorized the district so long will be left here”

Apparently by “men who have terrorized the district so long” Gen. Bell means striking union miners, and not the members of the Citizens’ Alliance who have been rampaging through the Cripple Creek Strike zone these past several days, destroying union property, trashing the union relief stores, and rounding up, beating, and threatening union miners and local officials who are deemed too sympathetic to the union cause. Without any proof whatsoever, the Western Federation of Miners is blamed for the explosion at the Independence Station on June 6th, and this has provided Gen. Bell, the militia, and the Citizens’ Alliance with the excuse they needed for this final assault on union organization in the Cripple Creek District.

The wives and children of the deported miners are now left behind to manage the best they can. The union relief stores on which they depend for food and other necessities of life have all been destroyed.

SOURCE

The Topeka Daily Capital

(Topeka, Kansas)

-of June 11, 1904

http://www.newspapers.com/imag…

The Cripple Creek Strike

-by Emma F Langdon

(Part I, 1st pub 1904)

NY, 1969

http://www.rebelgraphics.org/w…

See also:

Hellraisers+Cripple creek independence explosion

http://www.dailykos.com/search…

Image

Cripple Creek Deportations of June 1914

http://www.rebelgraphics.org/w…

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Jun 10

Hellraisers Journal: Trial of Joe Hill, IWW Singer & Songwriter, to Begin Today in Salt Lake City

You ought to be out raising hell. This is the fighting age. Put on your fighting clothes.

-Mother Jones

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Friday June 10, 1904

From the Kansas City Star: Mother Jones Heads East to Speak in Kansas City on Sunday

Mother Jones, Not Smiling

“Mother” Jones to Speak at a Picnic

Mary G. [sic] Jones, known as “Mother” Jones, will speak at Budd park Sunday afternoon at 4 o’clock. “Mother” Jones once lived in Kansas City and had a dressmaking shop, but in recent years has devoted her attention to Socialism and has been active in big strikes as a crusader. She will talk on the miners’ strike in the Cripple Creek district. There will be a picnic in connection with the meeting Sunday afternoon.

SOURCE

Kansas City Star

(Kansas City, Missouri)

-of June 10, 1904

Image

Mother Jones

http://www.britannica.com/EBch…

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Mar 28

College Football Team Wins Right to Unionize

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Collegiate athletes have won the right to unionize:

A regional director of the National Labor Relations Board ruled Wednesday that a group of Northwestern football players were employees of the university and have the right to form a union and bargain collectively.

For decades, the major college sports have functioned on the bedrock principle of the student-athlete, with players receiving scholarships to pay for their education in exchange for their hours of practicing and competing for their university. But Peter Ohr, the regional N.L.R.B. director, tore down that familiar construct in a 24-page decision.

He ruled that Northwestern’s scholarship football players should be eligible to form a union based on a number of factors, including the time they devote to football (as many as 50 hours some weeks), the control exerted by coaches and their scholarships, which Mr. Ohr deemed a contract for compensation.

“It cannot be said that the employer’s scholarship players are ‘primarily students,’ ” the decision said.

The NCAA’s “Student-Athlete” Charade Is Officially Crumbling

By Jordan Weissmann, Slate

{..} I’d like to draw attention to the refreshingly obvious point that Peter Ohr, director of the NLRB’s Chicago office, makes on page 18 of his opinion. No matter what the NCAA wants you to think, Northwestern’s scholarship football players, he writes, “are not primarily students.” It’s that simple.

Why not? Because math:

 * Players spend 50 to 60 hours a week on football during a training camp before school starts.

 * They also dedicate 40 to 50 hours per week on football during the four-month season. “Not only is this more hours than many undisputed full-time employees work at their jobs, it is also many more hours than the players spend on their studies,” Ohr writes. They spend 20 hours per week in class and more doing homework, sure, but they also work on football outside of official practice time. Ohr’s equation also doesn’t seem to take into account the off season. But, he writes, it “cannot be said” that they “spend only a limited number of hours performing their athletic duties.”

This is not the crux of the case, but it is a direct retort to the mostly fictive concept of the big-time scholar-athlete. Ohr is saying that Northwestern’s players are athletes first, students second. Throughout the decision, he recounts the ways in which team members are expected to prioritize athletics over school-for instance, by avoiding classes that might conflict with practices, even if the courses are necessary for their major. The fact that the university tries to support them with tutors and study hall requirements only underscores “the extraordinary time demands placed on the players by their athletic duties,” he writes. [..]

This distinction matters legally, because Northwestern had argued that the NLRB should apply the test it used when it ruled in 2004 that graduate teaching assistants at Brown could not unionize. Part of the board’s reasoning, at the time, was that while TAs indeed do lots of work as instructors, they are primarily at school to learn, and teaching is one of their degree requirements. Ohr found that the Brown test wasn’t applicable, because nobody is required to play cornerback to earn a bachelor’s degree. But even if the test did apply, it still wouldn’t stop football players from unionizing, because of the sheer amount of time they spend on the field and at the gym rather than in their lecture halls.

The Northwestern University Football Union and the NCAA’s Death Spiral

By Dave Zirin, The Nation

Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered,” – Mark Cuban

[..]

This decision marks the first real crack in the NCAA cartel in any of our lifetimes. It is also far from over. Northwestern University is leading the appeals process for now. They want the NLRB decision squelched for two reasons, both based in fear. They are afraid that if the football players can unionize, then the graduate teachers, the custodial staff, the work-study students and the cafeteria workers will all say, “If they can be a recognized union, then why not us?” That simply cannot happen in today’s neoliberal university system. Northwestern may fear those below them, but they fear those above them even more. That would be the Big 10 conference and the NCAA. If their football players are allowed to collectively bargain, the NCAA could shut them out, turning off the spigots from which the almighty revenue streams of cable television money seem to endlessly flow. Yet whatever response Northwestern is conjuring, it pales in comparison to the scorched earth about to be fired from the NCAA’s legal guns. For Northwestern, this jeopardizes the power arrangements on their campus, but for the NCAA, this decision threatens their very existence.

The NCAA is now in a fight for its life. Their power emanates solely from its position as a cartel. That means they have the controlling authority to hold every school to the same byzantine ground rules or suffer the consequences. This controlling authority is currently being crippled under the weight of its own greed. This controlling authority has created an unsustainable system of free-market, freewheelin’ capitalism for coaches and indentured servitude for players. This controlling authority allows the NCAA to turn its so-called student-athlete players into walking billboards for the pleasure of their corporate sponsors. This controlling authority has taken maximum advantage of the fact that the two revenue producing sports, football and basketball, tend to be populated by impoverished people of color. They have created a system of $11 billion television contracts where coaches make 100 times what they made thirty years ago. They have kept their foot on the gas, making and remaking conferences, destroying traditional rivalries and all with a short-term eye on the bottom line. Through it all they never reassessed the position of the players themselves and now they are paying the price. Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered.

Dec 22

Anti-Capitalist Meet-Up: Annie Clemenc and the Italian Hall Massacre by JayRaye

Annie Takes Up Her Flag

Ana K Clemenc

Ana K Clemenc

On July 23, 1913, 9,000 copper miners of the Keweenaw laid down their tools and walked off the job. The were led by the great Western Federation of Miners, and they had voted by a good majority for a strike: 9,000 out of 13,000 The main issue were hours, the miners wanted an eight hour day, wages, and safety. The miners hated the new one-man drill which they called the “widow-maker.” They claimed this drill made an already dangerous job more dangerous.

The mining companies had steadfastly refused to recognize the Western Federation of Miners in anyway. They would continue to refuse all efforts at negotiation or arbitration, even those plans for arbitration which did not include the union, and this despite the best efforts of Governor Ferris, and the U. S. Department of Labor. James MacNaughton, general manger of Calumet and Hecla Mining Company, famously stated that grass would grow in the streets and that he would teach the miners to eat potato parings before he would negotiate in any way with the striking miners.

The Keweenaw Peninsula was a cold, windy place, jutting out into Lake Superior from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. This area was known as the Copper Country of Michigan and included Calumet Township of Houghton County, with the twin towns of Hancock and Houghton ten miles to the south. Calumet Township included the villages of Red Jacket and Laurium.

It was here in Red Jacket, on the third day of the strike that Annie Clemenc, miner’s daughter and miner’s wife took up a massive America flag and led an early morning parade of 400 striking miners and their families. Annie Clemenc was six feet tall, and some claimed she was taller than that by two inches. The flag she carried was so massive that it required a staff two inches thick and ten feet tall. The miners and their supporters marched out of the Italian Hall and through the streets of the Red Jacket to the Blue Jacket and Yellow Jacket mines. They marched silently, without a band, lined up three and four abreast. These early morning marches, with Annie and her flag in the lead, were to become a feature of the strike.

Nov 17

Anti-Capitalist Meetup: Feb 23, 1903 Mother Jones and the Massacre of the Raleigh County Miners

 by JayRaye

 

“Has anyone ever told you, my children, about the lives you are living…?”

Mother Mary Harris Jones

Mother Jones The Miners Angel
 

Let us stop and consider, for a moment, what would cause thousands of miners to lay down their tools and go out on strike, when striking meant homelessness and hunger for themselves and their families. Striking also brought down upon them the terror of the company guards, heavily armed deputies (often one and the same), state militia, bullpens, raids, court injunctions, and the wrath of the capitalistic press. In 1897, Mother Jones was in West Virginia traveling and speaking to miners and their families. John Walker of the United Mine Workers of America was traveling with her. In 1904, a reporter who had accompanied her wrote this account of one of her speeches:

 

“Has any one ever told you, my children, about the lives you are living, more so that you may understand how it is you pass your days on earth? Have you told each other about it and thought it over among yourselves, so that you might imagine a brighter day and begin to bring it to pass? If no one has done so, I will do it for you today. I want you to see yourselves as you are, Mothers and children, and to think if it is not time you look on yourselves, and upon each other. Let us consider this together, for I am on of you, and I know what it is to suffer.” So the old lady, standing very quietly in her deep, far-reaching voice, painted a picture of the life of a miner from his young boyhood to his old age. It was a vivid picture. She talked of the first introduction a boy had to those dismal caves under the earth, dripping with moisture often so low that he must crawl into the coal veins; most lie on his back to work. She told how miners stood bent over until the back ached too much to straighten, or in sulpher water that ate through the shoes and made sores on the flesh; how their hands became cracked and the nails broken off in the quick; how the bit of bacon and beans in the dinner pail failed to stop the craving of their empty stomachs, and the thought of the barefoot children, at home and the sick mother was all too dreary to make the homegoing a cheerful one…. And so, while he smoked, the miner thought how he could never own a home, were it ever so humble; how he could not make his wife happy, or his children any better than himself, and how he must get up in the morning and go through it all again; how that some day the fall of rock would come or the rheumatism cripple him; that Mary herself might die and leave him, and some day there would be no longer for him even the job that was so hard and old age and hunger and pain would be his lot. And why, because some other human beings, no more the sons of God than the coal diggers, broke the commandment of God which says, “Thou shalt not steal.” and took from the toiler all the wealth which he created, all but enough to keep him alive for a period of years through which he might toil for their advantage. “You pity yourselves, but you do not pity your brothers, or you would stand together to help on another,” said “Mother” Jones. And then in an impassioned vein she called upon them to awaken their minds so that they might live another life. As she ceased speaking men and women looked at each other with shamed faces, for almost every one had been weeping. and suddenly a man pushed his way through the crowd. He was sniveling on his coat sleeve, but he cried out hoarsely: “You, John Walker; don't you go tell us that 'ere's 'Mother' Jones. That's Jesus Christ come down on earth again , and saying he's an old woman so he can come here and talk to us poor devils. God, God-nobody else knows what the poor suffer that way.” The man was quieted by his wife and led away, while “Mother” Jones looked after him with dilating eyes, and then broke out fiercely in one of her characteristically impassioned appeals for organization. The reporter feared the outbreak was too sacrilegious for publication….

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