“The American Labor Movement has consistently demonstrated its devotion to the public interest. It is, and has been, good for all America.” — John F. Kennedy

 “Whatever their faults, unions have been the only powerful and effective voice working people have ever had in the history of this country.” — Bruce Springsteen

The union loss in UAWVW vote in Chattanooga last week is a wake up call to the power of the right-wing media echo chamber to warp public discourse towards their narrow agenda.

You could fill many volumes with specific instances of smears, distortions and false narratives woven by right-wing media spin-meisters over the past decades many of which, echoed by the broader media, have tainted the public attitude and understanding toward unions and the labor movement.

But even when it is not specifically attacking unions and union workers, the right-wing media monolith’s constant war of divisive wedge issues and derision of the common good works to create a toxic cultural atmosphere that undermines the union message and movement.

The building of union strength is only possible when there is an understanding of solidarity. 


Solidarity is defined as: fellowship arising from common responsibilities and interests, unity or agreement of feeling or action, esp. among individuals with a common interest; mutual support within a group.

It is through this balance of motivated individual interest and connection to community and cooperation that the labor movement creates a needed counterbalance to the forces of organized avarice.

The message coming from the noxious noise of the right-wing media is that solidarity is for suckers.

What do they offer in its stead? Impossible dreams of personal material acquisition and comic book delusions of phony “individual freedom,” amounting to gun hoarding and bunker building.

“You’re on your own, Jack, and you are worthless before God and man if you can’t compete in an ever more ruthless “free-market” system. Its zero sum out there, my friend. You can’t trust anyone, ‘cause they’re only in it for themselves just like you. Keep your head down and keep tuning in every day. I’m the only one who understands your anger and frustration…because I help concoct your anger and frustration out of your fears and by keeping you blind to other possibilities.”

Why are they so committed to destroying unions? 

It should be clear by now that a major elements of the right-wing movement are ideological zealots who have true contempt for working people and adhere to an almost worship of Ayn Randian notions of wealth and corporate power. Just look at recent extremist efforts to use a government shut down as extortion to stop health care reform and their absolute resistance to extending unemployment insurance to desperate families.

And its also that unions work. They work to put a check on corporate overreach and they are effective in elections, especially in putting “boots-on-the-ground” to counter the influx of secret money into the “airwar” of negative ads.

Finally, and most crucially, unions are living breathing, real world proof that human life isn’t a zero sum, social Darwinian nightmare. That everyone does better when everyone does better and people can take it into their power to build a better more decent society by, to borrow from FDR, taking up cooperation where competition fails.