Likelihood of Success

Ron Coleman’s pretty good blog

Class war in Illinois

Posted by Ron Coleman on December 6, 2008

It’s a brave new world, and their favorite son is not even in office yet:

Which side are you on?

Which side are you on?

Workers who got three days’ notice that their factory was shutting its doors have occupied the building and say they won’t go home without assurances they’ll get severance and vacation pay.

About 250 union workers occupied the Republic Windows and Doors plant in shifts Saturday while union leaders outside criticized a Wall Street bailout they say is leaving laborers behind. . . .

“We’re doing something we haven’t done since the 1930s, so we’re trying to make it work,” she said, referring to a tactic most famously used in 1936-37 by General Motors factory workers in Flint, Mich., to help unionize the U.S. auto industry.

Of course in ’36-’37, the country was actually beginning to recover from the double whammy of the Depression and the New Deal policies that deepened it.  The unionization of the auto industry probably didn’t help much, but with war in Europe brewing orders were picking up.  A year or two later, and the real shooting under way, factory orders were up enough that unionization seemed to work wonders for the economy!

Here in 2008, however, we’re almost certainly not at bottom yet, by a long shot, and no obvious new war is on the horizon, so the timing for union-orchestrated violence — and that is what this is — would appear less than brilliant.

So what is the thinking in the People’s Republic of Illinois?  Is organized labor so close to back in the driver’s seat, and the Big Three bailout so close to fruition after all, that a fantasy-based-union-bounty-based economy is upon us?   Is it that the era of President-Elect Obama means that Chicago is totally up for leftist power grabs?  A little of both?  Or was I wrong about the whole “here comes socialism” piece altogether, in a way that — let’s face it — none of us had guessed?


12 Responses to “Class war in Illinois”

  1. jaymaster said

    Ron, I think you’re wrong.

    I admit, I have no evidence to support that assertion.

    But I just can’t believe enough ignorant or delusional people exist in this day and age to make tactics like this have a significant impact.

    Enough to garner some headlines, yes. But enough to have a real impact, I don’t think so.

    But maybe I’m just a delusional optimist myself…

  2. BSG said

    So what’s your prescription for the worst economy in my lifetime? More conservative policies? You do know the definition of insanity, I’m sure.

  3. “B,” we haven’t seen conservative economic policies in this country in a long time, so I can’t imagine what you mean. But you’re not really addressing my point here. Let me ask you a couple of questions:

    Do you think these workers have any “right” to “take over” this building? Do you think more union power will be good for the auto industry’s survival? Or any manufacturing industry?

  4. B said

    Luv it, classic conservative response. It’s not the ideology at fault, it’s the pols who failed to adhere to it. If so, after being in power for so long, what’s the point of electing conservatives???

  5. jaymaster said

    I do agree with Ron on that point. There hasn’t been a fiscally conservative approach to US government since around 1990 or so. Sure, there have been a few tax cuts along the way, but government expenditures continued to grow.

  6. E said

    no they don’t have a right to take over the building

    people are dumb and their IQ drops when in crowds or mobs, so.. they’re even dumber than usual…

    IMHO –more union power will kill the auto industry…

    the auto industry is staggering under the JOBS bank program of the union/ the unions are scared, their folks will be hugely out of work considering the that Big Three have paid for nearly 7K workers to sit around and do nothing… can you imagine 7K workers abruptly out of work? not a good thing for the economy so we need some part of union helping people along, BUT… the auto industry is struggling to match the innovation and the new technologies of the foreign companies… they will continue to lose market share as they have since the 70s. When you siphon off millions into keeping union stuff afloat, you can’t put that money into research and redesign. Having worked with auto companies before on serious research problems for automotive technology… I can attest these guys are stuck and in trouble. They cannot be competitive.

  7. mj said

    Why the Pete Seeger photo to illustrate the article? He’s hardly the only leftist folkie who sang that song.

  8. jaymaster said

    I don’t know why Ron chose to use that pic.

    But I’d bet big money that copyright was factor number one or two in his decision tree.

    (Not that there is anything wrong with that….)

    Now as for me, I LOVE that shot for its blatant phallic symbolism.

  9. I have no idea why this is a question. I think Pete Seeger was awesome. DId you click through on that pic — no, click and then click it again on the original post where I used it…

  10. Brian G. said


  11. Jack said

    “Now as for me, I LOVE that shot for its blatant phallic symbolism.”

    What ole Pete needs is a good hard shot of ukulele.
    They call it the effeminate banjo.

    “So what’s your prescription for the worst economy in my lifetime?”

    A much longer lifetime?
    A renegotiated UAW contract – Chicago style?
    A better education?
    Barney Franks for everybody?
    A Democratic Congress?
    A free subscription to Daily Kos?

    That’s a tough one without knowing ya better.

    Will you settle for a free reading on the Psychic Network and perhaps a free 401K from Ford?

  12. Bob Miller said

    Anyone who has ever tried to improve some practice in a union shop knows what a near-impossible dream that is.

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