Kim Moody is the author of a new book on the American working class: US Labor in Trouble and Transition. He spoke to Martin Smith and Chris Harman about his research
Martin Smith: Can you give us an overview of the state of the American working class, its organisational strength, its mood and so on?
Let me start with an anecdote. Before I left New York I was teaching at a class of apprentice electricians. These are very conservative workers, mainly white and so on. It was on the eve of the transit strike—the whole bus and subway system was out for three days—and I invited a friend of mine who is an activist in the union, a black worker in his fifties with a long political background, to come to speak to these apprentices. He started off by saying, “You have to understand I’m from a generation of trade union activists that have only known retreat. That’s why I think there will be a strike.” In other words, people were fed up. This was a situation where discipline was just unbelievable: there were 35,000 workers and in one year there were 15,000 disciplinary actions by the management.
And they did strike—although it was clear that the union leaders did not want them to strike even though the leadership reluctantly called the action. Not only did they strike, but they rejected the first contract offer. They didn’t win a clear victory, but my point is that there was anger there. This is a group of workers that is racially mixed—black, white, Latino—with a strong union and a tradition, and they fought back.
The point is that the situation for the organised working class has been one of decline and retreat for quarter of a century. Union density is 13 percent now, 8 percent in the private sector, the lowest its been since the start of the 20th century. But the retreat is not without resistance—at every point there has been an effort to fight back. There have not been a lot of unofficial strikes, unlike the 1960s and 1970s. Most of the strikes are forced on the unions or sometimes even positively led by some unions. But generally the level of strike action is not rising, even if it has gone up a little bit in the past couple of years.
Some of the strikes stand out more than others. The 1997 UPS strike by the Teamsters was extremely important because it was well prepared by both the leadership and the rank and file, and the strike was successful.
In the 1990s there were about 20 strikes at individual plants run by General Motors, which revealed the power of local activists. They found that if you close down one plant the whole system comes to a halt from Canada to Mexico because of the just-in-time production methods. Almost all those strikes won their immediate demands for more workers, for an increase in the workforce. But the national leadership of the union never pulled this movement together, never made use of this power.
The first effort to do something at the top of the union movement was the attempt in the 1990s to change the direction of the AFL-CIO union federation in response to rank and file activity. As a result John Sweeney was elected as president of the AFL-CIO in 1995, but has spent subsequent years squandering that victory, unable to come up with anything resembling a new strategy. The rhetoric was that we should “organise the unorganised”. The failure to deliver this was not only due to his own political failings, but also because of the resistance from a lot of unions that don’t really see it that way.
If anyone was going to do the organising it had to be rank and file activists in the labour movement. It could not be done by the army of professional organisers that the SEIU—the Service Employees International Union—and some of the others try to do it with.
The failure of Sweeney eventually led to a split in the AFL-CIO in 2005 with the formation of the rival Change to Win coalition of unions. Since then nothing much has changed. The SEIU—the major force in the Change to Win coalition—is more aggressive in organising than any other union, along with the Teamsters, who are also in Change to Win. But then the Communication Workers who are still in the AFL-CIO are also organising. So the division was not one of principle or politics or “vision”. It’s hard to say what it was really about. I was teaching classes in New York with activists from the unions involved in the split; almost to a person they had no idea it was going on. It was all done at the top. At root the split seems to have been about money and power—for the leaderships, that is. Some unions thought they were wasting money paying dues to the AFL_CIO, which was not altogether wrong. The new Change to Win federation structure is very bare bones.
The problem with the approach taken by some of the unions in Change to Win is that they have combined the organising push with two other practices. The first of these is they have merged union locals (branches). So now you have local unions that cover six or seven states, with members hundreds of miles apart. It is impossible to have meetings. They are run by a huge staff and are basically administrative units. They are not really democratic workers’ organisations at all. For decades we have talked about the “labour bureaucracy”, but this goes far beyond what we used to think of. A lot of people are inclined to forgive that because the SEIU does organise workers. But the rate at which it does that has slowed down, and one reason for this is the way they do it. They plan these organising drives years in advance and don’t deviate from the plan. Even if another group says we want to join, they say, no, sorry. I’m not exaggerating.
The second problem, which is very much part of the Change to Win thing, and particularly the SEIU, is the whole concept of “partnership”. Andy Stern, the SEIU leader, says things like, “We can’t have class conflict any more. We have to work with the employers to help them succeed.” They promise this in the organising drives—in a sense they are almost trying to organise the employer rather than the employees. In the Health Maintenance Organisations on the west coast they are explicitly saying they will restrain their members if it will help the business. This has always been an aspect of “business unions” but now it is being turned into an explicit ideology.
One of the things that made SEIU famous was their Justice for Janitors campaign in 1990. When I was doing research for my book I looked at the wage settlements they have done and they are horrible. In 15 years they have not even made up lost real wages.
You can’t say all the Change to Win unions are for partnership and all the AFL-CIO unions are against it. Unfortunately many of the leaders promote this idea, which is a little different from the union-management cooperation stuff of the 1980s and 1990s. Maybe they are trying to copy the European social partnership idea.
MS: But lots of people come to Britain and talk about the SEIU recruitment drives, and they sound very exciting. In New York or Seattle you see SEIU union people everywhere with their purple union baseball caps.
They mobilise members for demonstrations when they need them—and demobilise them when they don’t. The caps and T-shirts are near universal, but that’s more of an American thing. The SEIU have a term for it—the purple army—they are very concerned with image and this is part of it.
However, they do lead some interesting struggles. They are organising among workers who desperately need organisation. They are organising in industries that do not face international competition—what are sometimes called landlocked industries, like hospitals or building cleaners, that cannot be moved abroad. Their biggest growth now is among security guards. What gives the union some vibrancy is that many of the workers are immigrant workers and come from places like El Salvador and Mexico, and bring with them radical political ideas and traditions. That was very much the case with Justice for Janitors. The first people they recruit, who become the rank and file organisers, are political people.
There are 12 million immigrant workers in the US. They come overwhelmingly from Latin America. It took the unions a long time to realise this was an important constituency. The immigrant demonstrations and strikes on May Day 2006 were spectacular. The strikes closed down whole industries. It enabled us to see where these workers could have an impact. It’s not just in landscaping or building maintenance: they closed down half the food processing industry, the ports on the west coast and construction in California.
There has been enormous repression since the May Day strikes. Also, the Catholic church, which played a big role in 2006, got scared by what it had unleashed. This year there was no national drive so you didn’t get the same kind of thing. But in Chicago you still got 150,000 demonstrating—on a workday—and in Los Angeles 35,000. There are hundreds of local organisations and maybe half a dozen national coalitions, ranging from the conservative to the radical, concerned with this, and some are doing union organising on their own. There are stories about how the Laborers’ Union sent organisers into the South to organise a meatpacking plant and the organisers said, “When we got there we discovered the union was there before the union. They had organised themselves. All the union had to do was distribute union cards.”
The unions are going to have to make a breakthrough in the South. So much economic activity has gone there in the past 30 years—not just the food processing industry, which is massive, but also the automobile industry. There are now two automobile industries in the US. There is the old one, General Motors, Ford, Chrysler and so forth, which is in crisis. Then there is the new one, in the South, owned by Mercedes, Nissan, Toyota, etc, which is doing very well. There are no big layoffs in these plants in the South. This has to be the major organising target if the unions are going to succeed—the plants in the South are 95 percent non-union.
MS: Is there going to be another drive like “Operation Dixie” in the late 1940s and early 1950s?
That was a catastrophe. The CIO unions went down South from 1946 through to the early 1950s with the idea of (a) beating the Communists, because they were the only people to have fought to build unions in the South, and (b) organising the whites, so they wouldn’t have to face the race question. Of course they failed on the race question and they got into a big faction fight with the Communists in the steel industry—they ended up with nothing.
I don’t think they are that stupid now. There are no Communists in the South, anyway. The unions actually hire any left wingers they can get their hands on. Sweeney was the first one to do this in the 1980s. He asked, “How are we to get some spirit back into this organisation? Well, we will hire all these veterans of 1968.” The question is, can they deal with the race issue? It is much more complicated in the South than it used to be, because it is no longer just black and white; it is black and white and Latino and some Asians, etc. The South has changed. It’s much more industrial, even if it is still pretty backward.
The SEIU, despite some rhetoric, is not interested in organising in the South. It still has zillions of service workers to organise throughout the rest of the country. So it will have to be the job of the former industrial unions—the auto workers, the communications workers—who do have a foothold in the South. The United Auto Workers recently won union ballots in two small car parts plants in the South. It’s good but it’s not enough.
The unions have to function together, and they have to use those that have strategic power. That was what was right about Operation Dixie: they knew they had to do it as a federation. Now there are two federations and you need unions from both of them to make this thing work. Hopefully they will be able to work together despite this rather pointless split. That has to include the Teamsters, because trucking is the basis of this whole industry in the South. If you control Southern trucking you can pretty well close down anything.
MS: Give us some positive examples of organising workers—we haven’t heard much about this in Britain.
There’s meatpacking. For example, on 1 May 2006, when they struck, the people who were organising the Smithfield plant called a demonstration of immigrant workers for that day and they came not just from the Smithfield plant but from four or more plants and closed down all the major plants in the state. Recently at Omaha, Nebraska, they have had some success in organising meatpacking plants—that’s not in the South but it’s an important food processing area.
A key thing in both of these was the alliance with what we now call “workers’ centres”. These are organisations that have grown up in the past 20 years. They tend to be based in immigrant communities and are called workers’ centres because, unlike older community organisations, they focus on the workplace. They are not unions. There are about 130 of them around the country, mainly in the South. They have played a role at Smithfield and in North Carolina generally.
Sometimes they get financial support from the unions, but there’s tension between the two. Union leaders come across something they don’t control—immigrant workers who organise themselves on a community basis and usually on a nationality or ethnic basis as well—and they don’t know what to do with them. The union leaders have learnt some things in recent years and now the AFL-CIO has said that it wants workers’ centres to affiliate. The Laborers’ Union actually set up a workers’ centre themselves.
The workers’ centres have played a big role in the organising drives. One of the problems historically in the United States—perhaps in Britain as well—was that 30 or 40 years ago you lived in a community next to the plant and you walked to work. That all broke down a long time ago in the US. People now travel routinely over 100 miles to a good job if they can get it.
With the immigrants creating communities that are urban or semi_urban, they are now communities that are close to workplaces. So you have this new connection of the working class community and the workforce, which makes things a lot easier. So there have been successes like in New York City in organising taxi drivers—almost all from the Indian subcontinent. They organised themselves and recently became affiliated to the AFL-CIO. The workers’ centres are now pretty much working with the unions in organising. This represents a long term hope.
I am certainly not predicting that we are on the verge of an upsurge. Forces have to accumulate. The growth in organisation does not show up in the numbers yet. The unions are still haemorrhaging more members than they are gaining. The official figures for 2006 say that the unions lost another 300,000 people—this includes a lot of General Motors people and so forth. So the organising has not even got to the point where it is keeping pace with the losses.
I see this as flowing from the fact that the unions have no strategic focus. As I mentioned, the Teamsters could be key to organising the South. They are doing lots of things, but they are all over the place. There is no industrial or geographic focus to it. The same is true of the United Auto Workers. They have spent the past 20 years organising university graduate students and part-time lecturers. It’s all very nice but they can’t bring about even a minor shift in class power in the country.
MS: You have talked quite a lot about Latinos. What about the black working class? It was the backbone of much of the militancy in the 1960s and 1970s. And what about the white working class?
The black working class have been hit extremely hard, harder than any other section. They became important in the 1960s and 1970s because they had finally carved out a substantial presence in industry. That has been heavily set back, which is why cities like Detroit and Cleveland are devastated. Cleveland 20 years ago was a major industrial city. Now it is the poorest city in the US. The black working class who remain employed are pretty heavily concentrated in the public sector and the service sector now. They are still key in many industries. They are important in a lot of industries in the South and in the automobile industry, North and South.
Part of the problem is a political problem. Although the black working class are not in general as conservative as the white working class, they have been more dependent on the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party is also very dependent on them but does not give them anything. So there has been a long period of political frustration and it has not taken any clear radical direction.
You now also have a big black middle class. One result of the civil rights movement was that more black people could get civil service jobs, white collar work, although the fragility of the black middle class has to be understood—it is very dependent on the public sector.
As for white workers, there are more of them than anyone else, despite all the changes. They are still 75 percent of the workforce. There is a difference between public sector workers, who still have some job security and are generally unionised, at least in the big cities, and the industrial working class, which has been devastated. Whole towns that used to be bastions of unionism are just deserts now. But industry has not gone away entirely, even in the North, in the rustbelt. So the white industrial workers can still be important.
Their consciousness has always been completely contradictory. They were the backbone of the most militant unions in the 1930s and 1940s, and into the 1950s. There has not been a socialist presence in most of these unions for a long time, but they would vote Democrat and think of this as a class thing, even if we would not see it like that. At the same time, though, racism has always been very deep in the white working class. At times, in the heat of struggle, the racism can be put on the backburner. So for a long time, if you are running for office in the local union of, say, the Auto Workers, the Teamsters or what is left of the steel workers, you would never dream of running an all white slate. So you have a lot of racism, but also an operational sense that we are all in this together.
The other thing which has changed today is that you get a kind of backlash against the unions. People are not in the same plant any more. They are unemployed or working at some crummy job, or they are going to some trade school hoping to learn something. They are not in the same struggle any more. And those who had these good union jobs and lost them, they blame not only management but the union too. They say, “Where was the union? They knew about this and they just let us go.”
An anecdotal story shows something. There was an organising drive in northern Pennsylvania, not too far from Pittsburgh. This is part of the country that was very heavily unionised, not just steel but everything. The SEIU were trying to unionise a nursing club and they are not accustomed to losing recognition ballots. But they lost disastrously. Someone did a study, interviewing workers, and they said, “We cannot have faith in you. Look what the unions did to the steel plants. They did not stick up for anybody.”
So a lot of people who used to be good union members have bought into this neoliberal ideology or evangelical Christianity. Abortion suddenly becomes important in a way it wasn’t. You had always been a Catholic, and a good Catholic, and you were against abortion, but somehow it wasn’t the issue. The issues were money and fighting the boss. Now abortion and gay marriage in somewhere like Ohio becomes the issue in the 2004 election—it’s incredible. And the union can’t challenge that stuff.
Chris Harman: There is the widespread idea, even on the left, that industry has just disappeared from the economically advanced countries. Reading your book, what comes across is that it is much more to do with the move from the north east of the US to the South and the west. The figures you give are quite interesting. There is a net loss of just two or three million out of 20 or 30 million workers.
The manufacturing job losses are heavily concentrated in four industrial sectors. Textiles and clothing have virtually all gone abroad; metal working has not totally gone. Iron ore mining and all the things that go with it are down. The other thing that went down in the 1990s is chemicals, which was a well organised industry. But many other industries are still there—they’ve just moved within the US. There will be more losses of manufacturing jobs, no doubt about it. Some will move to China, Mexico or Brazil. But there are some things it is just not economical to produce far away. Those things will still be produced for the local and national market.
The idea that society is no longer composed of material things is, of course, nonsense. You have only to look around you. These things have to come from somewhere and some come from China, or India even, but they have not got rid of all the ones produced in the US by any means. The irony of it is that the way they have restructured has caused some forms of traditional manual work like trucking and railroads to increase in importance. This is true even of dock work, despite the new technology. What they call “logistics” now has become key to the new structure of industry. They can’t use the Panama Canal now—it’s not big enough for their ships—so they bring stuff to the east coast or west coast and run it across the country by truck or rail. So those industries have influence and power. It’s yet to be demonstrated. The Teamsters under their present leadership are not likely to do much to show it.
MS: At the time of the big anti_capitalist protest at Seattle in 1999 there was talk about the Teamsters and Turtles (a reference to young environmental activists) coming together. What sort of impact did that have? Was there an anti–capitalist mood inside the unions? The other thing which must have had an effect was 9/11.
9/11 more or less kicked two of the three legs from under the impact of Seattle. There hasn’t been a demonstration of that character in the US since. There have been anti-war demonstrations that have been bigger, but they don’t have the same effect.
But Seattle did have an impact. It was interesting not just because the AFL-CIO decided to take people there—they took 30,000 people. They tried to prevent them joining the young people in the street but they were not completely successful. The people who broke away to go down there were striking steel workers from Oregon, who had an alliance with environmentalists in their part of the country, and the west coast longshore people, who are in a traditionally left wing union. They have it in their contract they can stop work once a month for a “meeting”. They chose that day to stop work. And there were Teamsters from the reform movement—Seattle is a big centre of that. They were mostly white workers from these progressive local unions who had been radicalised and had moved beyond the consciousness of workers who put the blame on imports “taking the jobs away”. These more progressive groups of workers had been educated by people like us in Labor Notes, who had worked with them for many years building networks from Canada, US and Mexico around the issue of the North American Free Trade Agreement. So there was a small layer of workers who went to Seattle and when they saw a confrontation they liked it. It was very interesting to see people coming back from Seattle saying, “Next time we’re on strike I want those anarchists coming down.”
After Seattle the unions changed their minds on a lot of these questions. Not completely: the steel workers are still very protectionist. But at the same time they do more work of an international kind in Latin America, etc.
CH: You’ve talked a few times about the Teamsters. Tell us about the debate inside this union.
Since the mid_1970s there has been an opposition group in the Teamsters, Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU). It was started by people who were at that time in the International Socialists, but it brought in regular teamsters and it grew over the years. They built, not particularly by running people for elections, which you could not do in that union for a long time, but through workplace organising with strikes and that sort of activity. By the 1980s they were pretty strong. A door was opened for them in a way that nobody would have expected. The Reagan administration intervened with a legal suit over corruption—they were going after the mob. They were clearly interested in weakening the Teamsters and were out to put the union under government control. TDU said, “No. Don’t take over the union. If you are going to do anything, have an election for officers.” The union did not have elections previously. Leaders were chosen at the convention, which was rigged. For some reason that nobody understands, the government said it would supervise the election but not run it.
TDU were not powerful enough to run on their own, so they forged an alliance with some reform-minded people who were not quite as radical as them. Ron Carey was president of a big Teamster local in New York City based in UPS. He had a good reputation and so TDU supported him, and they won because the old guard split and ran against each other. No one was quite sure what Carey would do. He was certainly not under the control of TDU—influenced, yes, but not under control. But what he did was begin the process of cleaning up the union, or reorganising the divisions to have contract fights instead of just caving in, as they had for decades. The first ones he did were not all that successful, but as time went on they became stronger and the 1997 UPS strike was successful.
Working with the TDU and other forces they changed the culture of that union. It was the most remarkable thing I have ever seen. There are still a lot of corrupt big city Teamster locals and they still have enormous power, with the old guard under Hoffa junior back in charge at the top.
In 1997 there was a fight inside the Carey camp before the union election. Carey was beginning to go the way of all flesh. He was now on the board of the AFL-CIO, hobnobbing with all these big shots, Democrat politicians and so forth, and he became convinced the way to win the election was to do it they way the Democrats try to win elections and so he hired these Democratic Party consultants. TDU opposed that, saying, “Run a rank and file campaign. You are not going to raise enough money to equal Hoffa.” He said, “OK, if you want to do the rank and file stuff, that’s fine, but I’m going to do the professional stuff.” There was a money laundering scheme that was clearly illegal. Carey was charged—he was found innocent by a jury a couple of years ago, but he was removed from office in the union. The reform forces were in disarray and without a candidate with name recognition.
When you are running a rank and file movement or a reform movement, you have a certain amount of time to demonstrate what you can do, and if you mess up, as Carey clearly did, you lose your chance for a long time. The turnout in votes now is low and it is hard to convince people we can make a big change. People say, “We thought this guy Carey was an honest guy, but they are all crooks.” It was a big, big setback.
But Hoffa junior has not been able to undo all the things that were done. He’s undone some, so he’s giving his friends two or three salaries; he’s not organising strike preparation—he called a very disastrous strike at the Overnight Trucking Company that Carey was starting organising meticulously. Hoffa got talked into calling a strike before most of the workers were properly organised, firing all the organisers who were Carey or TDU supporters, and the strike dragged on disastrously for a couple of months.
MS: You talk about how the strategy at the top of the unions is to merge unions and so on. The other strategy has been to work through the Democratic Party. Is that still carrying on?
There is no section of the American labour movement bureaucracy that is not totally committed to the Democratic Party. You get some rhetoric about “we’re not going to depend on them again”, but unfortunately it’s not true. Every time an election comes they all fall for it. Everything is put on hold except that.
MS: Did any of the unions back Ralph Nader when he stood for election?
Not the leaderships. In 2000 Nader got three million trade unionists’ votes. We were involved. There was a substantial “Labour for Nader” campaign. It was exciting. But it did not involve the top people at all. In fact, if you were a local official or shop steward and you were supporting Nader, the leadership came down on you—”You put Bush in the White House.”
The commitment to the Democratic Party at the top is universal and still very strong. These people are capable of illusions that are mind blowing. They backed Kerry, although he was no pro-labour person. Hillary Clinton, she certainly is not, but they will go for her. Even when the Democrats win, they do nothing for labour. It’s not as bad as Bush, but that’s all you can say about it.
Beside the fact that they are supporting a capitalist party, the union leaderships have to lie to their members. They can’t sell Democrats on the basis of, “We know he’s really a jerk and not going to do anything, but he’s better than the other guy.” No, they have to put out literature: “John Kerry is a friend of the unions, of working people, etc, etc,” which is not convincing to the members or anybody else.
The other problem is that they don’t have an alternative political strategy at that level at all. All they can ever think of is, “Maybe we will support a few moderate Republicans”—as if that is going to do anything. They don’t consider the idea of a new party or of backing someone like Nader. There was an effort in the 1990s to set up a “Labor Party”, which was a very good thing. It was very exciting to see that happen. You would go to the convention and it would be a convention for coalminers, nurses from California, Latino farm workers, auto workers—a fantastic mix. Six international unions supported it. But the problem was that even those people, the ones that were willing to take such a step, a mildly radical class conscious step, were still tied to the Democrats. So they had the idea: “We’re not going to run candidates.” At the beginning they may not have had the strength to run at the national level, but they could run at the local level. But they would not do that. So it had nothing to do. It’s still there, the way political things do not disappear, but it has no power and no dynamism.
That’s the problem. The labour leadership has no other vision of what to do. They do not even have the notion that maybe the way to move the political agenda a little bit is to do some mass action, something like Seattle. Seattle inspired some people and influenced some union leaders, but it scared others. “Every time we bring people together in numbers they riot,” they said. “We can’t have this.”
I think organising in the South is the key to this. If you think in terms of electoral politics, there’s not going to be any change. Either the Republicans are going to triumph or there has to be something new. You can’t just win in the North. The South is the basis of Republican dominance now, but its demographics are changing. It is becoming more and more urban, more working class—but workers are not in unions so they act as individuals.
It’s nice to see the Republicans got beaten in November’s congressional elections. But you can watch these Democrats behaving in Congress and saying, “We’re going to put a date for withdrawal from Iraq” and all that, but they are voting Bush hundreds of millions of dollars to conduct this war. And Hillary Clinton is not even against the war.
CH: Can you tell us a bit about Labor Notes?
I was one of the co-founders of Labor Notes in 1979. It is an independent national monthly magazine that goes out to trade union activists. I worked for Labor Notes until 2001, when I moved to New York. And when I was in New York I was still on the executive board. Now I am not officially connected, although I stay in touch.
The organisation was set up in the wake of the 1978 miners’ strike in the US. What we saw then, and what we felt about the whole period of the 1960s and 1970s, was that one of the problems was that you had these huge rank and file movements—the miners’ was the only one that won at the national level—but then things fell apart. We saw this miners’ strike and the miners were suddenly going out with auto plants up North and steel plants collecting money, and people organised caravans from the Northern cities to take stuff down to the miners. It occurred to us that one of the problems with the whole era was that what was missing was any kind of institution, political force or publication that brought all this together, giving any kind of class vision, putting it in an analytical context.
We did not have the idea of starting an organisation. Most of us started with the International Socialists at that time, but the idea was that it would not be controlled by the organisation and that it would be independent, which is what by and large has happened, although the staff tend to be socialist for the most part. We were surprised by our own success. The magazine actually took off. I think the circulation is about 8,000 or 9,000. Then we started holding conferences to get people from the different parts of the working class together and those were a huge success—about a thousand people every other year. The problem is it’s about the only thing of its kind. It doesn’t have the resources to have the sort of impact we would like it to have, although it has some. It’s become an important left institution within the trade union movement. Leaderships have been hostile to it, but they have never been able to do anything particularly negative.
The layer of militants in the US is not that different from those in Britain or anywhere else, except in the important sense that socialism as a political idea has not been on a large scale an important part of the labour movement in the US for half a century. That is not to say there are not a lot of socialists. You can go to a lot of, say, these auto workers’ demonstrations and pick out somebody who’s not in a group and you wouldn’t think of as socialist, and you talk to them a little while and you find they are. And you get this other phenomenon I come across all the time. It’s a sort of little identity piece—to have an Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) card. You can come across ordinary union people who are attracted to this idea of radical unionism, revolutionary unionism. The IWW as it exists today is really just a political sect. But the idea of it, the history of it, is something that appeals to a certain number of militants. I’m always surprised when someone pulls me aside and says, “I’ve got a red card.”