A January 18 podcast interview with labor historian Jeremy Brecher, editor of LNS’ Making a Living on a Living Planet, delved into strategic issues for the labor and climate movements.
Noting the 52nd anniversary of Brecher’s labor history Strike!, interviewer Scott Parken asked what is the source of the power of strikes.
Brecher: A basic theme of Strike! and a great deal of the rest of what I’ve written over the years is that, as the old Industrial Workers of the World (aka the “Wobblies”) song said, “They’ve taken untold millions that they never toiled to earn, but without our brain and muscle, not a single wheel can turn.” [That indicates the] underlying power of the strike, and of all ways in which people withdraw their cooperation and withdraw their support from whatever the power centers or the people or the oppressive forces that they’re confronting.
Parkin also asked, how has the politics of workers and climate changed in recent years?
Brecher: My first answer is not enough has changed, but it has changed. I think the biggest change of all is something that we’ve just seen, which was the UAW, in the context of the new leadership and the strike against the Big Three took on the idea of just transition to a climate safe economy as a central part, not only of its advocacy for what the government should do, but it’s demands for what the industry should do.