The Pen is mightier than the sword, but the Pen must sometimes move the sword against corruption if the corrupt are not moved by the pen.. An idea without an implementer is useless. "The Rulers do not carry the sword in vain"Rom 13:4

Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Jury found him Innocent, but the JUDGE found him guilty! (Labor Relations in the USA)

"A person who merely by superior skill and intelligence...got the whole business because nobody could do it as well as he could was not a monopolist but was if it involved something like the use of means which made it impossible for other persons to engage in fair competition."  (Congressional document)

Here is one of  the great speeches of Clarence Darrow where he describes the conditions faced by budding Labor unions during the reign of the mega Capitalists in the USA. He describes in harrowing detail, how 'conspiracy laws' were used against anyone who tried to form a labor union. The case from which the title comes is not about labor relations, but it fits in perfectly to illustrate the climate of the time.
The facts were the same...
The law was the same....
The Jury found him Innocent....
but the Judge over-ruled them and declared him 'guilty'.

It seems pretty clear to me, that life for the working man in those days was grim and gruesome. Still, it must be said that they had a choice... to work for or not to work for the company that employed them. However bad it was, it was a choice they made. There was always the land, and other opportunities, but for some people, working for the 'man' is the only option they feel comfortable with.

Although the power and prestige of the huge capitalists of that time was almost unassailable, things did change.  Over time, and many strikes, better conditions were chiseled out of the big corporations. If only it ended at the point of reason?  But like most things, it did not. If you want a jaw dropping experience, just listen to socialist Union leader Walter Reuther recount how much they 'got' from General Motors, Ford and Chrysler, by striking. After they had obtained just about all a reasonable man could want save eternal life,  they still had a huge list of increasingly bold and audacious demands they were determined to get. At this point we need to quote a relative unsavory man who had some very unpalatable opinions on race, but he was highly astute on trade unionism.

By my twentieth year I had learned to distinguish between a union as a means of defending the general social rights of the wage-earner, and obtaining better living conditions for him as an individual, and the trade union as an instrument of the party in the political class struggle.

You can google that if you wish. Not bad indeed!  by his 20th year? By my 20th year I barely knew one end of a bicycle from the other. Anyway, his point stands invulnerable to contradiction because it's true.  Reuther took so called  'workers rights' to such an extreme level that few reasonable men would disagree that his demands were of such a scale as found in the quote above.  Further listening to Reuther reveals that he entertained global messianic aspirations, but that's another story.

So in conclusion, the courts and the halls of politics are populated by people who will see the same thing completely differently. As Darrow points out,  (paraphrase) you keep the constable and the politician, and you write the laws, just give me the judge-ship and I'll make the law mean whatever I like.  But the shoe equally fits the labor and the capital side of things. Clearly the only solution to this tragic and destructive adversarial approach to economic relations is, a non adversarial approach.

The forces of opposite contention, which are the source of national problems will need to be identified, and dealt with, there is no question about this, but after the initial phase of housekeeping, things should be much smoother and much better for all Aussies. (I refer to our own national situation, not globally)  It might be thought that such a plan would involve the Nationalization of all means of production. Far from it!  What would happen though is that an overlay of economic justice and viability would be placed over all operations and some key industries would be selected for special advancement in terms of our natural resources, education skill set and global conditions.

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