BOOK REVIEW ESSAY... Building Global Labor Solidarity in a Time of Accelerating Globalization, by Kim Scipes... How in 2017 the working class needs strong working class unions and internationalism as well as massive protests and resistance to reactionary laws and leaders...

This is one of those "let's read this book and then gather to discuss it" book reviews. When Donald Trump becomes President of the United States later this week, the challenge to the working class will be greater than ever -- but far from surprising. Since the plutocracies across the world recovered from the working class, popular, and anti-colonial rebellions with a coherent plan for tightening their rule in the 1970s, the working class has been on the defensive, losing battle after battle because the other side has a coherent strategy and our side doesn't. Partly, that is because the ruling class came up with a long term strategic plan, while our side, the side of the working class, has been divided and confused (and not just in the USA).

A recently published book of essays -- Building Global Labor Solidarity in a Time of Accelerating Globalization, by Kim Scipes (Chicago, Haymarket Books, 2016, 278 pages, $19 paper) -- offers a strong beginning for discussion of how the working class, through "labor" (i.e., independent unions) can begin to rectify this massive imbalance.

"Building Labor Solidarity" consists of essays by seven of the best students of the international working class movement (if such it can be called in 2017): David Bacon, Bruno Dobrusin, Jenny Jungehülsing, Katherine Nastovski, Timothy Ryan, Kim Scipes (the editor, who contributes three pieces here), and Michae Zweig. Were organizers to begin studying the issues facing the working class today, each of these essays would be worth a major investment in time and energy -- followed by some strategic and tactical planning (for those of us activein the leadership or the rank and file in unions).

Each of the essays in "Building Labor Solidarity" needs to be taken as the germ of a unique book. And since these essays only cover a few of the more than 160 nation states in the world today, there are many more that need to be covered.

Kim Scipes's lengthy Introduction tries to set the stage by, among other things, defining terms. Neoliberal globalization is now better understood by many activists than it was even five or six years ago, at the time, say, of "Occupy Wall Street" and the publication of Thomas Picketty's work. But we are still facing much confusion about the enemy of working people.

Some of the challenges facing the working class as the "Trump Era" begins in the United States of America in 2017 is how to define working class opposition to the massive international plutocracy that has run the world based on "globalization" for the past quarter century. One of the many questions for the petit bourgeois ivy League socialists and progressives who sometimes discuss works about working class internationalism (sadly, often with an eye towards realities of a hundred years ago) is what has changed. We need more books about contemporary union and working class issues and perhaps fewer works of historical hagiography about the Good Old Days of strong international socialism and communism.Fifty years ago, when I was coming out of high school and the Class of '64 in any working class community in the United States was headed off to Vietnam, the nation's "best and brightest" were assuring the average American that we had to fend off communism outside Saigon and Hanoi or pretty soon they'd be on the beaches of San Diego and Malibu.

One hundred years ago, when another (much smaller) high school graduating class was emerging, America's "best and brightest" were assuring the people first that their recently elected president would keep us out of war, and then that we had to fight the vicious "Hun" because unless we did the spiked helmet warriors of Germany and Austria Hungary would soon be marching into Times Square on the way to San Diego and Malibu.

And a year ago, in early 2016, we were assured by our best and brightest that we had the best and brightest President ever and that his chosen successor, his former Secretary of State, would continue the "legacy"of all those good things since America's first black President had been given the Nobel Peace prize on the way to becoming the warrior president who was doing killings by remote control in a dozen or so countries, most of which we had never declared war against.

So why is it in 2017, on the eve of the inauguration of Donald Trump as President of the United States, does the working class need a book to begin warning us that this is a here we go again moment. Of: Haven't we learned a fucking thing after all this time about how to work for our class interests and ignore what the now (sort of) discredited pundit Nate Silver called that "noise" while listening to the actual "signal" of working class needs, desires and interests across the USA?


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