Thursday, September 9, 2010

Michael Moore: F*Bomb for Rahm

I am not a fan of Rahm Emanuel.  Why?  I don't trust him.  His personae is smug, secretive, arrogant.  He's the  hatchet man.  I never like the presidential hatchet men:  Haldeman, Rove, Rumsfeld come to mind. Also, my inner voice tells me he's not to be trusted.  My inner voice is usually, not always but usually, correct.  When I heard about the possible "shake up at the White House", i.e. Rahm may run for Mayor of Chicago, I thought, "Good riddance".  Apparently I'm in good company.  Michael Moore wrote an open letter rant to Emanuel in The Daily Beast.
 "Happy Fuckin' Labor Day!
I read this week that—according to a new book by Steven Rattner, your administration's former "Car Czar"—during White House meetings about how to save the tens of thousands of jobs that would be lost if GM and Chrysler collapsed, your response was, "Fuck the UAW!"

Now, I can't believe you actually said that. Maybe Rattner got confused because you drop a lot of F-bombs, or maybe your assistant was trying to order lunch and you said (to Rattner) "Fuck you" and then to your assistant "A&W, no fries." 
Or maybe you did mean, "Fuck the UAW." If so, let me give you a little fucking lesson (a lesson I happen to know because my fucking uncle was in the sit-down strike that founded the fucking UAW.)"
Moore refers to the lack of an American middle class prior to the formation of  the UAW, formed as a separate union from the AFL in 1935.  The UAW demanded a fair wage for a fair day's work after wages were reduced from $40 per week to $20 .  Sit down strikes ensued as did a 44 day take over of GM's Chevrolet and Fisher Body plants in Flint Michigan, Moore's home town. This organized strike resulted in reform and, according to Moore, the creation of the "middle class". 
"Before there were unions, there was no middle class. Working people didn't get to send their kids to college, few were able to own their own fucking home, nobody could take a fucking day off for a funeral or a sick day or they might lose their fucking job."
Now, I like Michael Moore and I enjoy his movies and his drama but he sure can go over the top when he's making a point.  If memory serves, the AFL, headed by Samuel Gompers, was the first truly organized union of trade and labor and Gompers the driving force.
With his election as president of the AFL in 1886, he sought to build a national federation of trade unions dedicated to these principles. He immediately threw himself into the organization's first big effort—a nationwide general strike on May 1, 1886— in support of an eight-hour workday. 
At the end of the 1890s, the AFL's membership began to soar-faster than in any other period in the history of the U.S. union movement.  
The unions gave people a better life, no question.  We studied this in college.  We read the stories in Mother Jones.  We listened to our parents argue as to whether or not Walter Reuther, Gompers and the like were Socialists, Communists or social reformers. 

"Nonetheless, labor unions did create a middle class for the majority (even companies that didn't have unions were forced to pay at or near union wages in order to attract a workforce), and that middle class built a great country and a good life. You see, Rahm, when people earn a fucking good wage, they spend it on stuff, which then creates more good-paying jobs, and then the middle class grows fucking big. Did you know that back when I was a kid if you had a parent making a union wage, only one parent had to work?! And they were home by 3 or 4 p.m., 5:30 at the latest! We had dinner together! Dad had four weeks paid vacation. We all had free health and dental care. And anyone with decent grades went to college and it didn't fucking bankrupt them..."
Moore goes on to admonish both Republican and Democratic presidents who seriously undermined union and non-union workers in the name of free trade.  Power to the people right?  No, power to big business and foreign corporations. 
Then a Republican fired all the air-traffic controllers, a Democrat gave us NAFTA, and millions of jobs were moved overseas. (Hey, didn't you work in that White House, too? "Fuck the UAW, baby!") Unions got scared and beaten down, a frat boy became president and, like a drunk out of control, spent all our fucking money and our children's money, too. Fuck."
You know what?  Michael Moore can exaggerate all he wants.  He still makes sense to me.


Coffee Messiah said...

It amazes me out here, how much people tend to hate unions, but cry about their plight in the workplace.

Having been in one for many years, and now 15 not, I'll take a union any time, although RR took care of the early demise of unions back with the Air Traffic Controllers.

Perplexing that we are now going backwards and all that people fought for hundreds of years ago, well, we are back at square one yet again ; (

I wonder why we have brains, if people don't bother using them?


Ruth said...

Thanks so much for putting this all together. I loved it. Yes, Rahm. What was Obama thinking? Let him go be mayor and vent at someone else. I don't like that kind of vitriol in the White House.

DJan said...

I also feel like your first two commenters. Unions have their place, and they should not be disparaged. I've never belonged to one, working for the government during my years in the workforce. And yes, Rahm will NOT be missed.

injaynesworld said...

I LOVE this post. I've been a member of the Writers' Guild since 1986. Because of the Guild, I had medical insurance when I broke my neck in 2006, I have a pension now, and I receive royalties every time one of my TV shows reruns somewhere. N one can talk down unions to me. I remember our time of prosperity in this country and it was largely unions that created it. And Viva Michael Moore!

Juli Ryan said...

Union, yes. Great letter by Mr Moore, and wonderful post by you. xx

Susan said...

If not for unions, we would still be living in the dark ages. Thank God for people like Michael Moore who tell it like it is. Maybe he is a bit over the top at times, but he gets his point across in an entertaining way. And most people need to hear it that way, or they fucking don't listen.

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