Labor Advocate Online

KC Labor Newsletter
Week In Review, July 11, 2004
by Bill Onasch, webmaster, kclabor.org

F9/11
Considering Michael Moore’s erratic, sometimes bizarre political behavior I was fully prepared to have lots of criticism of his latest film release. But this shifty artist foiled me again. Fahrenheit 9/11 is his best work yet—and that’s saying a lot.

Certainly Moore, as charged, has made an anti-Bush movie. He no doubt hopes this will contribute to the Anybody But Bush mania afflicting so many good people. Having broken relations with Ralph Nader, Moore initially backed the short lived presidential bid of General Clark. Now he’s on the Kerry band wagon. But there is no way he can ignore the culpability of Democrats in at least some of the shameful policies he examines.

For example,

• The way the congressional Democrats—with the honorable exception of a handful of African American House members—rolled over without protest of the way Flordia’s vote was stolen, leading to the ultimate theft of the White House. The film opens with footage of Black congress persons rising to object to certification of the election results only to be gaveled out of order by none other than Al Gore, presiding over the joint session. The objectors could not force a debate because they could not get a single Senator to support their right to do so. Not Lieberman, not Kennedy, not Edwards, certainly not Kerry.

• Again only a handful, pretty much the same handful, of congressional Democrats opposed the antidemocratic, misnamed PATRIOT Act, passed in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. Moore includes an illuminating brief interview about this topic with veteran maverick congressman John Conyers.

• And Moore gave us a brief look at Senate Democrat leader Tom Daschel giving his blessing to Bush to invade Iraq.

Moore makes a convincing presentation about the connection of the Bush family to the rulers of Saudi Arabia. He tells about the Saudi’s formidable investment portfolio in the U.S. economy—nearly a trillion dollars worth. Connections with the Carlyle Group, as well as Halliburton, are also nailed.

Powerful video news footage never shown on network television intersperses interviews with families of World Trade Center victims, GIs on the ground in Iraq, disabled vets in VA hospitals, a Marine refusing call up to Iraq, the mother of a GI killed in Iraq, unemployed Black youth in Flint being eagerly courted by Marine recruiters, and much more.

Moore also skillfully manages to inject humor occasionally to save us from plunging into total depression.

Michael Moore is a political gadfly as disoriented as he is disorienting. But he’s also a great artist who, despite his political short comings, almost always comes down on the right side of the most important struggles. If you haven’t already, see this film.

NEA Endorses Million Worker March
In a surprising development the nation’s biggest collective bargaining organization, the National Education Association (NEA) endorsed the Million Worker March at its annual convention. This is in sharp contrast to the AFL-CIO leadership who have told their affiliates not to support the March.

Unions Win More, Fewer NLRB Elections
Reports this week showed that unions were winning a bigger percentage of representation elections—58 percent, the highest in at least twenty years. However, the number of such elections declined drastically,  from about 3,300 in 1997 to about 2,300 in 2003. Part of the decline can be attributed to card check agreements where the employer agrees to recognize a union that has signed up a majority without going through an election. The NLRB is plotting to undercut card check by allowing boss stooges to immediately file for a decertification election after card check recognition instead of allowing the new union the customary one year protection from decert while they negotiate for a first contract.

Coming Up
An article dealing with the “bad intelligence” leading up to the Iraq war.