Would you perhaps consider (1) the timing of the decline in membership (does it not coincide with the anti-union push beginning with Reagan attack on air traffic controllers strike), (2) inability /lack of interest of union leadership to fight back (due to the rise of labor aristocracy and labor bureaucracy that have more in common with the employer class than with rank-and-file workers, in addition to the crimes of Stalinism?  

It is my observation (others can correct me if I am wrong) that Michael B. typically blames "socialist" and "anti-imperialist" currents for much of what is wrong with the world. This is a serious theoretical and methodological error that share nothing with Marx's heritage if that is what he aspires to follow.


On Wed, Aug 10, 2011 at 8:48 AM, Michael Balter <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
Thanks to Carrol and Herb for taking my digs with humor, and to Herb
for responding to them in a thoughtful way. Better responses than that
of our moderator, who insists on silly apologies.

The decrease in union membership can probably be traced to a number of
factors, and anyone here who tried to explain it would probably just
be guessing. My guess is that it is a combination of increasing
disenchantment with the possibilities of socialism beginning in the
1950s with Hungary, the 1960s with Czechoslovakia, the 1970s with
China, and the 1980s with the fall of the Soviet Union, along with
capitalism's increasing ability to satisfy the major needs of an
increasing number of people (a big middle class despite poverty and
increasing wealth gaps.) Certainly the fall of Communism, which many
on the American left have yet to come to grips with, has made
socialist goals farther away than ever for both leftists and the
people they might organize.

But good to know that my remarks have generated a discussion, that's
encouraging. I will keep on truckin.


On 8/10/11, Mitchel Cohen <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> At 10:54 AM 8/10/2011, herb fox wrote:
>>Apparently either unable or unwilling to investigate what actually
>>is the political practice or position of those whom he judges, he
>>cavalierly invents their views.
> Putting words in the mouths of one's opponents is an old
> tried-and-true tactic. Sooner or later, some of that will inevitably
> stick, tho' we never know beforehand which ones.
>>in 1952 (when this old fart's eldest son was born) 21.6% of the
>>workforce was organized and popular support was at 75%.  Today about
>>half, around 11% is organized and popular support of unions is below
>>50%.  Explain that M. B.
> Similarly, let me put Michael Balter's inevitable one-note response
> in his mouth. Why should Michael have all the fun? Michael says: No
> doubt 10.6 percent of the workforce withdrew support from labor
> unions because they were disgruntled with the Soviet Union. And Cuba.
> Isn't it obvious?
> :-)
> Mitchel
> http://www.MitchelCohen.com
> Ring the bells that still can ring,  Forget your perfect offering.
> There is a crack, a crack in everything, That's how the light gets in.
> ~ Leonard Cohen

Michael Balter
Contributing Correspondent, Science
Adjunct Professor of Journalism,
New York University

Email:  [log in to unmask]
Web:    michaelbalter.com
NYU:    journalism.nyu.edu/faculty/michael-balter/

“Faced with the choice between changing one’s mind and proving that there is
no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof."
                                                 --John Kenneth Galbraith