A recent blog (May, 2023) suggests that trade unions may be able to increase democratic participation in governance and avoid the political crisis caused by rising economic inequality. Here are excerpts:
“At the end of the February blog on this subject, it was stated that ‘Without profound and universal taxation of the rich, we are headed for what Stiglitz calls “a chaos far greater than what we saw in Washington, D.C. and Brasilia’.
“Recent events reveal another important side to the dynamics, the renaissance of trade unions as a political force that works to reduce economic inequality,. This was not considered in the February blog, as this renaissance has gathered force only recently.
“Elections such as those of Trump and Bolsonaro, and the rise of right-wing, even fascist political forces elsewhere in the world, have expressed the anger of voters against rising inequality and capitalist exploitation. That is why the blog stated that the correct political analysis is economic.
“However, when trade unions become a political force, they provide a very different political alternative.
“A recent example is the election of Lula as President of Brazil. Lula has always been associated with the trade union movement of Brazil and his new government reflects that association.
“In the United States, a important recent election saw the voters of Chicago choose a trade unionist as mayor rather than his right-wing opponent. The mayor, a teacher, had the backing of the teachers union. Although the traditional American labor movement was decimated by the loss of manufacturing industry, it is beginning to regain force in service industries such as teachers, workers at Starbucks and Amazon, etc.
“Elsewhere (in France, in Germany, and in South Africa), trade union movements have organized important mobilizations to oppose government policies that favour capitalist exploitation and growing inequality. . . . . So far, Brazil is the exceptional case, but if trade union movements elsewhere in the world are able to provide progressive electoral alternatives to capitalist-dominated governments, perhaps we can avoid the chaos foreseen by Stiglitz and achieve progress in democracy and economic equality.”
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The following are CPNN articles on this subject: