from the quill of Antisthenes the Younger
Despite the occasional attempts to distance the Labor Party from its masters, the corrupt unions, the unions are ALP and ALP is unions. The Australian Labor Party, from its very inception in 1891 was planned as a political front for union organisers. They have been hiding behind the workers ever since. The current ‘debate’ is simply a smoke screen and medial distraction. After all, there is a Royal Commission coming on; and the spin-smiths are hoping to create a meme for the media to latch on; the Australian Broadcasting Commission, The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald will for sure.
Almost a half (48%) of the Labor federal parliamentarians used to be union apparatchiks, and a few additional ones were lawyers practically exclusively advising and representing the unions and union officials; Julia Gillard springs to mind. ALP is largely (officially around 15%) financed by the unions. Only 18% of all Australian workers (just 13% in private sector) are unionised, down from 43% in 1992. It is the nurses, teachers and public servants i.e. the main beneficiaries of the Labor largesse, who are keeping the Labor alive. Any real, as opposed to a sham, divorce would lead to the electoral oblivion.
In that extremely unlikely event of parting the Labor would probably split. The ALP’s loony left faction then would join the loony Greens, or possibly vice versa, and the apparatchiks’ rump would mellow its rhetoric and pretend that they are a sensible political party. It is unlikely that they would terminate the affiliation with Socialist International and Progressive Alliance.
Some so called conservative commentators who can’t imagine the life without the ALP they have grown up with, are suggesting that a divorce would not be good, because the unions are keeping the party less Left, less Marxists, i.e. less irrational. It is, naturally, true. The unions need relatively prosperous capitalists in order to extort from them. The Soviet Union, Cuban or North Korean systems of work practices would not be good for them, neither financialy, nor power-wise. One would wish that those commentators grow up past their Vietnam war moratorium years. The Labor Party is not sine qua non of the Australian political life.
We will undoubtedly see and hear more of the dissembling, head-scratching, finger-pointing and general obfuscation from the ALP in the future. But will they apologise to the workers and the unemployed? Unlikely. Their only remorse is for getting caught. Their inherent mentality prevents them from saying sorry. As Julia Gillard so memorably said, “We are us”.
What they are is well explained in the article bellow. It is in fact Chapter 38 of Mr DiLorenzo’s book – The Inherent Violence of Unions, republished here with the permission, albeit a little shortened, as it is in parts too specifically American:
“A basic understanding of elementary labor economics, and of the history of unionism, explains why violence has always been an inherent feature of private-sector unions. Historically, the main “weapon” that unions have employed to push wages above competitive rates through individual, employee/employer bargaining has been the strike or strike threat. But in order for a strike to be effective, and for unions to have any relevance at all to workers, some form of violence and coercion must be employed to keep competing replacement workers from the labor market. As explained by Dr. Morgan Reynolds, a former chief economist at the U.S. Department of Labor, in his book Power and Privilege: Labor Unions in America: A union’s problem is painfully obvious: organized strikers must shut down the enterprise, close the market to everyone else— uncooperative workers, union members, disenchanted former strikers, and employers—in order to force wages and working conditions above free-market rates. If too many individuals defy the strikers . . . then unionists oft en resort to force. Unionists ultimately cannot impose noncompetitive wage rates . . . unless they can prevent employers from hiring consenting adults on terms that are mutually satisfactory. Unions must actively interfere with freedom of trade in labor markets in order to deliver on their promises.
Thus, strikes—and unions in general—represent a conflict between unionized and non-unionized labor, not between “labor and management.” According to Reynolds, among the tactics that unions have traditionally employed against non-union workers, who they describe as “scabs” and “rats,” are mass picketing, insults, threats, throwing rocks and bottles at them, car chasing, abusive phone calls, physical assaults, property destruction, and even murder.
Union violence is in fact far worse than Reynolds’s description of it. In 1983 the Industrial Research Unit of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania published a 540-page book entitled Union Violence: The Record and the Response by Courts, Legislatures, and the NLRB by Professors Armand J. Thieblot, Jr. and Thomas R. Haggard. The book notes that employers have also resorted to violence in labor disputes, but that does not mean that two wrongs make a right. There have been books written about employer violence; Thieblot and Haggard document union violence which, as Reynolds has said, is inherent in labor unions.
Surveying newspaper accounts and judicial records for a period of several decades, the authors write that the accounts of union violence are full of examples of murder, assault with intent to kill, destruction of property, arson, sabotage, mayhem, shooting, stabbing, beating, stoning, dynamiting, intimidating, threatening—in short, physical, verbal, and psychological abuse of every sort. Th e police and the judicial system oft en look the other way when unions are the perpetrators of violence and property destruction. They do this because the police are unionized themselves, and consider striking workers to be their “union brothers.” And the judicial system is just as inefficient and corrupt in dealing with union violence as it is in dealing with anything else.
Thieblot and Haggard explain why violence and coercion are inherent features of unionism: they are used as an organizing tool; to endenged fear and comliance with union demads; as a bargaining device; as an attention getter that they hope will generate pressure for a settlement in their favor; as an enforcement mechanism to keep strikers in line; as a warning to employers who might consider contracting with non-union companies; as a means of preventing non-union companies from working during strikes; and as the means of generating fear in general, just like any criminal gang would in order to intimidate any potential competition.”