The Ethics of Labor Struggle

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This pamphlet by mutualist writer Kevin Carson lays out a defense of wildcat unionism, without government privilege, without government control, and without top-heavy bureaucracy. Government labor regulations, supposedly crafted to help workers unionize, have in fact domesticated the labor movement and brought it under government control, while establishment unionism has forgotten the most powerful strategies that unions had at their disposal before government patronage; networked guerrilla unionizing tactics, minority unionism, solidarity strikes, and direct action on the shopfloor.

Networked resistance against the Empire goes far beyond guerrilla warfare in the military realm. There is a wide range of ruling elite lit­er­ature of the dangers of “netwar’ to the exist­ing sys­tem of power, along with an equal volume of lit­er­ature by the Em­pire’s enemies celebrating such net­work­ed resist­ance. Loose, ad hoc coalitions of affinity groups, organ­iz­ing through the Internet, could throw to­geth­er large dem­on­strations at short notice, and “swarm’ the gov­ern­ment and mainstream media far beyond their cap­ac­ity to absorb. The post-Seattle move­ment con­firm­ed such elite fears. One quest­ion that’s been less looked into, though, is the extent to which the ideas of net­worked resistance and asymmetric warfare are appli­c­able to labor relations. . . .

Whatever value the Wagner regime had for us in the past, it has outlived. If labor is to fight a successful count­er­offensive, it has to stop playing by the bosses’ rules. . . .

Introduced December 2011.

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