Thousands of members of the United Steelworkers, United Mine Workers, United Auto Workers and Teamsters unions are on picket lines across the U.S. and in Canada, the beginnings of stirrings in the labor movement. They’re fighting against attacks by the bosses and setting an example for working people everywhere.
Striking miners at Warrior Met Coal, ATI steel, Volvo Truck, Vale mining in Ontario, and more need and deserve as much solidarity as we can mobilize. Union locals and fellow workers have sent messages of support and donations and joined picket lines. Further efforts to get out the word and mobilize solidarity is needed to make a difference.
At the same time, the strikers and their unions face a concerted anti-labor campaign by an organization calling itself the Socialist Equality Party, which runs a well-funded website misleadingly named the “World Socialist Web Site.”
In the midst of these labor battles, instead of solidarity, this reactionary outfit strives to pull strikers aside and badger workers to quit their unions — echoing the bosses in calling them treacherous and corrupt. As an alternative, it dangles a call for the formation of “International Workers Alliance of Rank-and-File Committees.”
The anti-union Socialist Equality Party has a long record trying to divide and demoralize workers involved in labor struggles. It takes advantage of real difficulties striking workers face from boss attacks and defaults by union officials flowing from decades of reliance on the Democratic Party.
On June 14, the WSWS printed a so-called Autoworker Newsletter by a “rank-and-file committee” quoting one unnamed worker saying, “The first obstacle for all of us, Volvo and the Detroit auto companies, is the UAW.” That’s exactly what the Volvo bosses say!
Writing about the Vale miners’ strike in Ontario, the Socialist Equality Party says, “The USW is working night and day to isolate the striking miners’ struggle.” It claims the same thing about the ATI strike: “The United Steelworkers has signaled its intent to isolate and wear down the strike.” It urges striking coal miners at Warrior Met Coal to quit their union, the United Mine Workers, in the midst of their battle. And the outfit calls a May 26 USW solidarity rally with locked-out ExxonMobil workers at corporate headquarters “a stunt protest.”
This is the opposite of what is needed to advance workers’ struggles. We need our unions. We need them to be stronger and to fight harder. Workers need to discuss how to do that effectively as we work to expand the labor movement, organize solidarity with struggles today and work to make our unions more effective instruments of class combat.
Workers at unorganized jobs, like at Walmart, food delivery, Amazon, construction and others, are watching the battles unfolding on these picket lines, and respect and cheer on union members standing up to the bosses. But the Socialist Equality Party’s anti-labor actions and rhetoric try to undercut this and discourage union organizing.
Part of the goal of this anti-working-class outfit is to make the name socialist unpopular, to dissuade workers from looking to find out more about the Socialist Workers Party and the real history of the union movement.
There is nothing more important today than to fight to build and strengthen our unions!