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HOUSTON DSA – More “Groupthink” - Climate change and industries that oppose the Green New Deal.

Updated: Dec 25, 2021

The local chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (Houston DSA) recently sponsored an ongoing labor event in protest and in fundraising for some 650 locked-out workers in Beaumont, Texas, with USW – 13-243 union was to showcase industrial steel’s disregard for the protections of their workers, be it safely or better wages or better work rules or all three.

The Left must embrace the reality that support for industries which oppose the Green New Deal must be rethought. The steel industry is no different than the crisis that The Social Democratic parties of Europe saw some 100 plus years ago with agriculture and farming. That is, it was more feasible and sounder to accept that corporate farming, in a regulated political and economic environment, was more beneficial to society than the peasants and small farmers of their time, who could not perform in the manner that provided low cost for food to their people. The Swedes decided to embrace the small farmers and peasants under the “We the People “banner, on grounds that they were oppressed. The German Social Democrats under Karl Kautsky decided otherwise.

A fundraiser yield of $15,000, while laudable, for a fundraiser to benefit some 650 locked out workers is a drop in the bucket. It comes out to $23.08 per locked out worker, which one wonders what that can buy you. You would need several fundraisers like this to make any common sense of this endeavor. This romanticism with organized unions must end, (just like in the '80's and '90's, when the local Socialist Workers Party members were required to go get a job in heavy industry) particularly when these industries need not just climate change reform, but a review of whether human labor should even be utilized in a such a dangerous environment. The benzene, sulfur and by-products, mostly toxic to humans and the environment in general, must somehow end. It will take, probably, of severe government regulation such as criminal sanctions and civil penalties, AI, and robotics to truly remedy this problem. Human labor will be unnecessary as it should be what with all the known cancers such as multiple myeloma and other deadly cancers. The steel industry needs to be over as we know it! And the unions that organize around steel as we know it are no longer viable.

Political Organizing 101 informs you that for an organization to maintain consistency and credibility with its members and fellow travelers, a political organization needs to maintain some sense of “not talking out of both sides of their mouth.” People on the outside of the organization see through this. And this is what recently happened in this instance.

Why did the Houston DSA do this? Well not really for the working class, but for themselves, there have been other examples where the European left socialists have, under Karl Kautsky, advocated a rigid Marxian interest.

Would we on the Left employ the same attitude with striking coal miners? Marx himself said very little about the environment. You think this would also be a material concern, but no. Very little was said. And the case law regarding the industrial accidents in both the Steel and Coal Mining industries make clear that work in these industries is extreme and ultra-hazardous, without Karl Marx.

If the Houston DSA really wants to make it with labor, with their paid organizers and budget, they need to think more clearly and consider Amazon, Walmart and Starbucks employees to organize and the Service industry in general in Houston and elsewhere in America. Employees who provide services through major corporate entities need important relief, too!

Why is there no mention from either Houston DSA or the National DSA of any serious organizing efforts in these regards? Do we not in Houston, and the National DSA for that matter, have sufficient Amazon, Walmart, or Starbucks employees as DSA members to make a serious union organizing effort possible?

Sounds a whole lot like business as usual, another “neo-liberal” cause, which Houston DSA is supporting; the fundraising for just 650 locked out union members at $23.07 a pop. Yes, your old, old sentiments are felt here.

I just saw over the weekend with my family the old movie (I say old because of the cancel culture that goes on) “Moonstruck.” I think of the scene where the Cher character slaps the Nicolas Cage character in the face with the “Snap out of it! “ Kautsky and Marx, the DSA’s patron saints, are long dead, and so are a considerable portion of their ideas. Hopefully, the DSA can snap out of their groupthink sooner rather than later.

Kevin McGuire

December, 2021

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