Bob's Links and Rants

Welcome to my rants page! You can contact me by e-mail: Blog roll. Site feed.

Monday, October 11, 2004

The Airline Squeeze and the Socialists

Joseph Kay and Samuel Davidson of the World Socialist Web Site write about how the Carter-era deregulation of the airlines has led to the bankruptcy of most major carriers, and how that has been used as a tool to separate workers from their hard-earned wages, benefits, and pensions.

Joseph Kay lives in Ann Arbor (at least as far as I can tell). I first met him, on the bus to the ANSWER anti-war march in Washington in January, 2003. I've seen him regularly at various protests and events around Ann Arbor since then. Joe and Socialist Equality Party candidate for Congress Jerry White were at the farmers' market on Saturday. While Joe is generally easy to talk with, Jerry was pretty strong in pushing the socialist agenda. And I'll confess that I'm unaccustomed to having my opinions attacked from the left!

I've been reading the WSWS since, I think, late 2001. They generally provide a lot of background that you don't get from other news sources, and they had me soured on the war in Afghanistan long before most people (Actually most people still haven't soured on that particular criminal enterprise, thanks to the complicity of almost all Democrats). Usually, WSWS articles do an excellent job of presenting the facts and destroying the arguments given by the Republicrats. At the end, frequently with little segue, they almost always conclude that the only answer is a broad international movement of the workers that rejects criminal capitalism. I generally just take this with a grain of salt, and appreciate the article as a whole.

But at the farmers' market, candidate Jerry asked me for my opinion on the socialist agenda. I said that I agree with much of what they say, but that I thought there was still a place for Adam Smith-style capitalism--competition between small enterprises. I also said I preferred going to more local economies than global. Jerry said, rather derisively, that that was Nader's position, and that it wouldn't work. He said the global economy is a good thing, but it needs to be wrested out of the hands of the warmonger capitalists. (I'm paraphrasing pretty heavily, and may have gotten some of this wrong.) As I said earlier, I wasn't really prepared for this type of argument! But, in retrospect, I think that the socialist hope for a giant global uprising of workers is extremely unrealistic, and would be highly vulnerable to totalitarian hijacking, as it was decades ago by Stalin and Mao. I think that our chances for curtailing the imperialist exploitation of the world and its workers, thereby allowing other nations to determine their own direction, while slim, are much greater than the chances of a successful glorious workers' socialist revolution. Global communication is probably a good thing, but I don't think that global markets are. And if there is ever going to be a socialist utopia, I think it will start small and grow.

(Sorry, I'm arguing with paper tigers you may not have met!)