What contribution to social and economic progress have Trade Unions made to our communities? A historical review…
‘With all their faults, trade-unions have done more for humanity than any other organisation of men that ever existed. They have done more for decency, for honesty, for education, for the betterment of the race, for the developing of character in man, than any other association of men‘.
Clarence Darrow, The Railroad Trainman, Nov. 1909 – Wikipedia tells you more…
(He meant women too, of course, he just didn’t know it in 1900…Ed).
Collective action by organised labour has a long history. Common pursuit of socio-economic self improvement remains popular, whether you are a junior doctor, a farmer, a Member of Parliament or hard working ordinary workers, with the burden of low pay, poor conditions and with no voice.
Only the latter group, in this example, have long suffered oppression, attack and vilification for their unity, their demand for humanity and their cry for collectivism to be ascendant.
Trade Unions, with their long history of defense from exploitation and support of those in need of welfare and a vocal champion, have been significant contributors to the story of our work-place in the UK. We shall see, in this text, how that long history has been peppered with mistakes, anti-feminist ideals and political acquiesence.
You can see an argument for strong unions in a wage driven economy here.
It is a history, however, that has seen the Trade Unions and The Labour Party advance in concert towards the goal of humanity and fairness under Capital.
Here are some useful organised labour links…
A BBC News article about work, jobs and technology.
Karl Marx expressed the Entfremdung theory, of estrangement from the self, in the Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 (1927). How might I be alienated from my surroundings? Wikipedia tells you how.
Are we heading for an economic civil war?
A very dramatic, attention grabbing headline hides a very thoughtful essay from Joel Kotkin in the USA. Illustrating well how the new industries and technologies, based on the virtual, may well supercede or dominate our older, traditional industries and notions of labour relations and organisation.
Enforcing Capitalism for the many, not the few?
This is a view from the other side of the bridge. Conceding that ‘Capital’ unrestrained is a source of bad things for the many, Robert Reich argues for a mediated ‘capital offensive’ to tip the balance back in favour of the many.
An example of articles from the journal Evonomics, occasionally sounding as apologists for Capital but we sense a few hearts in the right place.
The World’s Women 2015 – literacy and STEM education
A staggering deficit report from the United Nations. Not entirely lacking in good news for the women of the world, but noteworthy in terms of how significant global illiteracy is for women and how access to science and engineering, as a profession, is as far away as it ever was for the many.
Many battles still to win?