by Chris Maisano published in Catalyst
Read original on Catalyst's website
Maisano reviews the current strengths and weakness...Show description
Posted 693 days ago
Maisano refers to the current status of the American labor movements as in a "double bind." I find it hard to perceive it that way and simply more as of a retreat in labor's strength over recent years. He tries to classify it has being stripped down and not having the power to influence the change it needs, and that is what presents the "bind" that it's in. This seems like a kind of weird way to think about it.
The general review of labor statistics was a good one to read, but there was one section that really stood out to me as odd: Trade Representation. Maisano seems to simultaneously bash free-trade and support it in the following passage:
It is far from clear, however, that Trump’s China tariffs have done much of anything to boost the fortunes of US workers and industrial firms. If anything, they’ve boomeranged back on US companies and consumers in the form of higher prices and reciprocal measures by the Chinese government.
The footnote here is from a New York Times article that seems to be defending principles of free-trade, something that the labor movement (especially manufacturing) argues against. Maybe tariffs weren't the best solution, but the way to oppose it isn't to double down on neoliberal thought while also condemming it. This is something I would love to read about in Catalyst. I think the Left, especially the socialist Left, needs to unify behind a theory of international trade. Right now it seems there is too much finger pointing and policies and not enough suggestions for how to bring us out of this era. Protectionism or free-trade? Free movement of labor or no? We need more unification here.