Book Review: Medhurst, John, “No Less Than Mystic. A History of Lenin and the Russian Revolution for a 21st Century Left.” Repeater Books, London, 2017. Second review

I found out who gifted me this lousy book, but I did not strangle him on the spot. It’s just a very old friend from 50 years ago who made a lot of money but lost track of things and made peace with the bosses. He meant well. Because another old friend of 50 years ago, who has also lost track, urged me to, I finally finished the darned thing.

My opinion of the book hasn’t changed since I first saw the cover page endorsement by armchair socialist Noam Chomsky and wrote my pre-review.

The book is anti-revolutionary and pro-idealistic-backbiting all the way through, just like Chomsky.

There are many interesting historical dates and events in there, but the interpretation is wrong from beginning to end. Medhurst seriously wants to prove that all revolutionaries in history were wrong, and that all the armchair socialists, who sat back and criticized, were right.

In the first chapters, Medhurst exposes his basic thesis: The Bolsheviks failed to create Heaven on Earth 1917-1921. The reason, as he explains for 594 pages, is not because of the desperate fight against reactionaries. Medhurst has a psychological explanation: Lenin was an egotistical monster.

The book lauds the Medhurst’s great men of armchair ideas: Bernstein, Kautsky, Martov, Orwell, and Chomsky. He might as well have added Nixon and Reagan, because their aims and effects were the same, even though their methods differed.

Medhurst’s basic thesis against Marx and Lenin gets greatly muddled as he reviews a pageant of middle-class scholars with a panoply of themes that include everything except that the workers must oppose the bosses. Examples are too many to list. Here’s just one from page 54: “Marxism had too much about the hours of work and not enough about sex and celebration.”

As one might expect, the Red Terror that Lenin unleashed takes up a considerable portion of the book. To be sure, there is one line in there somewhere that says that the White Terror from the imperialist forces was just as bad or worse. Elsewhere, there is one line that says that the American CIA has been worse than all of them. That doesn’t keep the single-minded Medhurst from raving on throughout the book about the great Mensheviks and the horrible Bolsheviks.

If one looks carefully, one can find, on page 380, two sentences that validate Lenin and condemn both Martov and Medhurst: “On 17th October Yudenich’s [white army] forces were only twenty five miles from the city [Petrograd]. On 19th October they were 9 miles away.” Despite having taken extreme measures, the Russian revolution almost lost to imperialism! The revolution barely survived.

Armchair socialists, then and now, are forever condemning revolutionaries for taking strong measures. But if they hadn’t, they would have made no progress against imperialism. Trotsky would have lost to Yudenich at Petrograd. Stalin would have lost to Hitler at Stalingrad. Castro would have lost to Kennedy at the Bay of Pigs. Alternately, if stronger measures had been taken in Chile in 1973, Allende might have prevailed over Kissinger.

–Gene Lantz

I”m on knon’s “Workers Beat” radio talk show at 9AM every Saturday. Podcasts go up on Wednesdays under name “Workers Beat Extra.” If you are curious about what I really think, chcck out my personal page.

Mao Zedong died in 1976. The other titled characters were long gone decades earlier. And yet, young “revolutionaries” of today are still spending their time and resources arguing about them instead of dealing with the awful crises at hand. As early as this Summer, a world-wide economic crisis may begin. An ice shelf may drop into the ocean and drown millions of people who live on coastlines. The Supreme Court may take away our legal right to strike. State legislatures are clamping down on all aspects of democracy. Fascism may take us into its icy grip. And young people are still arguing about Lenin, Martov, Stalin, Trotsky, and Mao!

V.I. Lenin was the pen name of the revolutionary who created a split in the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party in the early part of the 20th century. He insisted that revolutionaries had to recognize that the people ruling Russia, and the people ruling all nations, had to be fought and removed from power. Martov and his followers believed that no such fight was necessary, or if it was necessary, it would be wiser to put it off and wait for a more propitious time. Lenin’s group eventually took the name “communist,” while Martov’s followers continued with “social democrat.”

Lenin believed that the war against the ruling class was necessary and had to be ruthless. His followers emphasized “necessary” and Martov’s emphasized “ruthless” in their arguments over the ensuing years. Following the success of Lenin’s formulation in 1917, the split continued around the world. The Leninists believed that class war was inevitable; the Social Democrats believed in gradualism and, specifically, that they could eventually be elected to power through conventional democratic processes. There are still a few communists in America and a few more social democrats, especially since social democrat Bernie Sanders stirred the pot with more-or-less independent campaigns in the 2016 and 2020 Democratic Party primaries. Incidentally, I’m not sure what will happen with the American social democrats now that Bernie has endorsed Joe Biden for 2024. I think I can explain that.

When fascism triumphed in Germany, the social democrats blamed the communists and the communists blamed the social democrats. Each of them said that they could have united in the 1932 German elections and out-polled Hitler, and each of them says, to this day, that it’s the other’s fault. There’s a pretty good treatment of that election on Wikipedia. I think it shows that no such coalition was ever possible. The social democrats did not even run in that election. They supported General Paul Von Hindenberg in the erroneous belief that he could stop both Hitler and the communists.

When the beleaguered Soviet Union eventually collapsed, the social democrats said “we knew it all along,” and the communists said, “they lasted 7 decades against overwhelming odds!” That was 3 decades ago, and yet the arguments continue.

Stalin, Trotsky and Mao enthusiastically supported Lenin’s view. Trotsky was deported around 1928 and started his own world movement that said, basically, “Lenin was right, but Stalin ruined it.” Over the years, they even began saying that Trotsky had never supported Lenin’s ruthless Red Terror, but he did.

Stalin certainly supported the Red Terror and continued similar policies as head of the Soviet Union until he died in the early 1950s. Mao of China sincerely supported the Soviet Union until he started a split in the early 1960s. After that, he encouraged a worldwide “Maoist” movement based around the idea that “Mao Thought” was the only prescription for revolution. They were quite popular among students for a while.

About Bernie

I think Bernie Sanders was probably right to endorse Joe Biden for president in 2024. The danger of fascism is too near and too awful for anybody to deliberately split the electorate. Biden is no revolutionary and, some would say, neither is Bernie; but working families need to get past the 2024 elections without instituting fascism, and all of us should be able to agree to that.

The funny part

Ironically, all the aforementioned historical figures called themselves Marxists. Even though they argued against each other and, in some cases, even killed each other, all through history, they all claimed the same ideology. All of them claimed that they were adamantly opposed to the bosses who run things. If they really were Marxists, one would think that they would take to heart one simple sentence from the best-known work of Marx and Engels, “We communists have no interests outside those of the working class.”

It isn’t very hard to figure out the interests of the working class, both short term and long term. It wasn’t hard in the old days and is certainly not difficult today. Working families need better living standards and more democracy. Both are being threatened by the bosses who are running things. Worldwide, the bosses are slashing living standards and democracy. The process, often called “the race to the bottom,” grows more clear every day. Working families around the world, to one degree or another, are trying to fight back, but they desperately need coherent revolutionary leadership.

But the leaders are too busy arguing with one another about things that happened last century.

–Gene Lantz

I’m on’s “Workers Beat” radio talk show every Saturday at 9AM Central Time. They post my “Workers Beat Extra” podcasts on their websight and, long term, on If you are curious about what I really think, just look at my personal web site. BTW, I just posted my 4th Sci-Fi novel there.

I was surprised, just now, to learn that Texas is not the worst state in America when it comes to gun killings, at least we weren’t in past statistics. This weekend’s massacre in Allen and the Uvalde bloodfest will surely boost the state in the next polling. I suppose that all Texans are wondering today, just as I am, will I die by gun violence in the near future?

After all, I am known somewhat as a union spokesperson. Every week on FM radio, I espouse progressive causes. When crazy reactionaries call in, I can nearly always lead them in discussion until they reveal how ridiculous they are. On the air, I often joke about MAGA extremists and denounce American foreign policy. Does that make me a target for the crazies?

Even now, I’m extra cautious when I drive up to the KNON studio parking lot on Saturdays. I look to see if there are any white men sitting in cars or pickup trucks. Usually, it’s only African Americans waiting for their appointments at the barber shop in the building. They’re OK. Hardly any Black people have carried out massacres.

For a while, I considered packing heat. It’s legal in Texas even without a license nor any training. I was raised in the country, so I’m not the worst shot in the world and could probably hold my own, I hope, in a gunfight. So I considered putting a pistol in my car. I thought better of it, partly because I might not fare so well in a gunfight against several assailants, and partly because I don’t think I could ever feel good about it, even if I won.

So I made a plan. If I see any white men waiting in the parking lot, I put my phone on “Facebook Live” before I get out of the car. A few gunmen, I suppose, might think that they can kill me and get away with it; consequently, they might be deterred once they see that I’m broadcasting on Facebook. If they see that they won’t get away with it, my reasoning goes, maybe they won’t do it. Maybe they will settle for a few threats and insults, but let me live another day. And if they murder me, at least I’ll be their last victim because Facebook will provide witnesses and pressure on the police to arrest the perpetrators.

It was the best plan I could come up with. I’m a little scared to live in Texas today. I imagine that everybody is.

–Gene Lantz

I’m on’s “Workers Beat” program every Saturday at 9AM Central Time. They post my weekly blogs “Workers Beat Extra” to If you are curious about what I really think, you might look at my personal web site

I am a long-time member of UAW 848 and currently serve as President of the retirees. I wrote this in hopes it might get seen by UAW members.

Our bosses know that the turnout in our national UAW election was less than 15%, with the tiniest sliver of a majority on the winning side for Shawn Fain. Fain starts his presidency with the sure backing of less than 7.5% of the members!

The whole world now knows what observant members have known for years — that UAW members are not following the union’s leadership. I don’t think that “apathy” is the correct word to describe this problem. The words we probably need are “neglect” and “distrust.” Leadership has neglected the UAW membership for decades; consequently, the members distrust them.

Corporations are sure to try to break the back of our union in the current round of negotiations. Every concerned member needs to

1) recognize the dangerous situation and

2) begin to re-organize.

Solidarity among members

I was on a call with national AFL-CIO leaders on April 10. They were proud of Michigan leadership because they got rid of “right to scab” and won a bunch of other union and civil rights victories in their legislature.

Most of those AFL-CIO guys just talk about how many phone calls they generated or how many doors they knocked on, but the Michigan guy, the most successful one of them, Ron Bieber, talked about mobilizing the membership.

Communications need improving. For decades now, workers have moved further away from their workplaces and union halls; consequently, on-line communication is a necessity.

Over the last few decades, our union has shifted from print media to digital. However, we have not fully utilized the digital capabilities. In our local 848, Region 8 has provided a very nice web site, but nobody in the local has been given a password. The web site lists officers from past times. In fact, the listed president passed away years ago. The only digital presence we have is our Facebook page. Some UAW locals don’t even have that.

Even when the pandemic was at its worst, our local, and many others, did not utilize on-line meeting programs like ZOOM. So far, attendance has not recovered.

Suggestions for improving our on-line work

1. Train officers and staff on digital platforms

2. Encourage members to get on-line

3. Utilize ZOOM or Google Meets on “hybrid” meetings with in-person and on-line attendance encouraged

Unions need more activities. Our business meetings should include updates of interest to union members. It isn’t hard to organize parties, dinners, talent shows, classes, special speakers, receptions, and discussions. They can be on-line as well as in-person.

We could do more to encourage our members to wear red on a certain day. Currently, the UAW International has chosen Wednesdays, but they might want to review that decision and look to see what day other unions chose. In my area, the Dallas AFL-CIO adopted Thursdays as the day to wear red because the CWA and AFT were doing it successfully.

Solidarity among retirees

There are significantly more retired than active UAW members. Currently, they may have less money and less commitment to their unions, but they have more time. Also, they are pound-for-pound more important in politics because they vote at much higher levels than active members. The UAW set up an excellent network for retirees in the 1960s. It has been allowed to fray in the last few years, but it is still among the best retiree networks in the nation.

Solidarity among political figures

Bosses listen to political leaders. Many political leaders listen to union members. Keeping those channels open is critical. The Labor Steering Committee that Congressman Veasey held at UAW 848/129 hall on April 5, 2023, was an excellent example of what to do.

Solidarity among potential allies

The size of the UAW has been diminishing, as has the entire American labor movement, for decades. The good news, though, is that unions have recently become more and more popular with the general public. We currently enjoy an approval rating over 70% while no other organization nor political figure can top 50%. Congress can’t get to 30%!

In my area during the last General Motors strike, there were unsolicited supporters on the picket lines every day. If our supporters had been prepared in advance and invited, we’d have had a lot more. Another way to get a lot more support is to let people know the issues and how they might be affected. We can build up contacts through social media and participation in other people’s events.

The first place to look for potential support is other unions. Our auto contracts will be expiring this summer in the same time frame as the Teamsters’ UPS contract with 340,000 members.

We need to be active with our AFL-CIO organizations and constituency groups. Special days like May 1 and Labor Day are good times to get together with other unions and union supporters. The leadership group that marched in the 2023 Dallas MLK parade set a good example.

Solidarity with organizing efforts

Every time a union tries to organize, labor moves forward. Our members should be looking for organizing opportunities and opportunities to help anybody, from any union, organize.

–Gene Lantz

I’m on “Workers Beat” radio talk show every Saturday at 9 AM Central Time. My weekly podcast is on the web site or “Workers Beat Extra” on If you are curious about what I really think, check out my old personal web site

Limited democracy, which characterizes our American political system, cannot endure another of its inherent crises. Change is coming. It will bring either furtherance of democracy or radical curtailment.

For explanatory purposes, examine the western world just prior to the great crisis of October, 1929. The people running things chose their way out of the great depression, some by radically increasing their democracy under Franklin Delano Roosevelt as chief executive; others chose to curtail democracy under Adolph Hitler.

It’s Present, not Future

The polarity between more democracy and less is underway. In Washington State, everybody can vote by mail. In Texas, the right to vote is being whittled away. In some places, abortion rights are enshrined in constitutions. In others, women have no rights at all. In some of the world’s places, gay marriage is common. In others, homosexuality carries the death penalty.

Political parties in the United States each take almost 50% of the vote. Neither more democracy nor less has triumphed, but small, quantitative changes add up historically to big, qualitative change. One more crisis will push us one way or the other.

Choose Your Crisis

As Finland and Sweden join NATO and the war in Ukraine continues, the siege of Russia is set. American oil companies, already taking over Russia’s European markets, will not be restrained from bringing nuclear war closer and closer.

In the East, America is re-establishing bases in the Philippines, training South Koreans, and strengthening ties with Taiwan. As America’s proxy war grew strength in Europe, President Biden tried to turn it toward China. Mighty navies and air forces crisscross the South China Sea. An American general predicts war with the world’s second largest economy within two years.

Sea levels and carbon in the atmosphere continue to rise. Thousands of tons of ice have already melted. Giant ice shelves hang precariously over the ocean. Storms, floods and droughts are already taking lives and threatening food production.

Bank failures within the United States terrify economists. Untamed inflation forces governments to choose between potentially disastrous monetary policies and, for them, unthinkable fiscal policies against the ruling rich. Smaller nations are joining the interlocking BRIC economies that challenge the “American Century” of domination. Reactionaries in the U.S. Congress announce their intention to bring about a worldwide financial meltdown.

The leadership that is offered has hardly any credibility. The most popular politicians capture less than 50% approval ratings. Institutions, such as the U.S. Congress, can’t get above 30%. In “democratic” America, fewer than 50% of the voting age population turns out even in the most highly publicized elections. 30% do not even register.

Choose your crisis, all of them are at hand.

A Program for More Democracy

Our choice has to be more democracy, not less. Our choice is peace; clean air and water; pro-worker economic policies; and leadership we can believe. To take the limits off our American democracy and give people say-so in international and economic affairs, which we do not have and have never had, we must organize.

Organizing is an incremental process. If we take the side of working families on every issue, if we build the organizations that win for working families on every issue, we will be ready to demand and win more democracy during the next crisis. The alternatives are unthinkable.

–Gene Lantz

I’m on KNON.ORG “Workers Beat” radio talk show every Saturday at 9AM Central Time. My weekly podcasts are on their web site and “Workers Beat Extra” on If you are curious about what I really think, check out my old personal web site

Book Review:

Robeson, Paul, “Here I Stand.” Beacon Press, Boston, 1958

I got my copy from the Dallas Library B, R653R. You may have to reserve it and then wait, as I did. I was pleased to put aside the absolutely terrible political book I was trying to read and enjoy some time with one of the greatest men ever produced by our country

It’s not a biography. It’s a statement of beliefs and a strong prescription for action on civil rights. I believe it’s a good book to read for 3 reasons:

  1. It’s very direct and clear about history in Robeson’s lifetime
  2. His prescription for the civil rights movement is valid
  3. It’s a short easy read of only 111 pages

Paul Robeson went to Spain to help the republican nationalists who were fighting fascism. It was a prelude to World War II. Robeson explains, in just a page or two, that the western powers allowed German and Italian fascists to become great military powers because they believed that Hitler and Mussolini would kill all the socialists in Europe and then in the Soviet Union. They were to be nothing more than an exterminator squad for capitalism.

Robeson recommended a great, unified civil rights movement involving all good people but led by African Americans. He had a lot of first hand experience in civil rights and knew what he was talking about. He is very convincing and his recommendations should be taken seriously today.


Book Review (Partial): Medhurst, John, “No Less Than Mystic. A History of Lenin and the Russian Revolution for a 21st Century Left.” Repeater Books, London, 2017

Somebody sent me a book anonymously. The package just said “Pearl Books” Wisconsin. I don’t know if everybody is getting one or if I was singled out. Even in paperback, this one costs $19.95 so whoever sent it must have either been strong of purpose or just has a lot of money. I get a lot of books because book salesmen mis-read “Workers Beat” the title of my radio show, and send me business management stuff. They think it’s “Beat Workers,” I guess.

Nevertheless, I liked the “21st Century Left” part of the title, so I’m trying to read it. Also, it led off with an interesting quote, “The Marxist doctrine is omnipresent because it is true.” –V.I. Lenin.

But I got really worried as soon as I got to the top of the second page of the Introduction: “In the end I suggest that that anti-capitalist writers such as …Noam Chomsky… have more constructive options to offer the left today than do the sages of Bolshevism.” I flipped back to the cover and, sure enough, there was a flagrant endorsement from the world’s champion armchair socialist himself, Chomsky!

Determined as I am to hear both sides of the story, I’m still trying to read it and have accomplished all the way to page 127 now. There are 467 to go. It’s pretty easy to see, from the git-go, that the author is against all revolutionaries and for all back-biting intellectual splitters. It reads very much like a treatise on theology – lots of name dropping, obscure quotes, and hardly any commitment to a course of action.

Since the author rules out revolution in the first few pages, I was eager to see what he does recommend, so I skipped to the last chapter. It wasn’t exactly clear, but he seems to favor early anarchism – the idea that capitalism has an on/off switch that needs no process. He likes the occupy movement, whether on the large scale like the Zapatistas in Mexico or the small scale such as what occurred recently in America’s parks and public places. He likes employee stock option plans in which laborers own a controlling stock in (usually small) businesses. He likes the word “libertarian,” but I don’t think he means America’s Libertarian Party. I think he means “more liberal.” Oh yes, I nearly forgot, he favors the counterculture idea – in which no revolutionary activity, or any activity at all, is required because the bosses are about to capsize on their own and all we have to do is grow our hair long, listen to music, and recycle our trash until they’re gone. All of the people he quotes that I recognize were gradualists who believed that the bosses will stand by while we elect revolutionary socialists to replace them.

When it suits him, the author finds anti-revolutionary quotes from Rosa Luxemburg or even Leon Trotsky to discredit the people who actually did make a difference in their lifetimes.

As I spent considerable time as a counter-culturalist and, later, as a Trotskyite, I felt that I had a special need to set the record straight on Luxemburg and Trotsky. Both of them were lifetime revolutionaries with slightly divergent views on how to overcome the bosses. Luxemburg, in fact, wrote what is probably the best refutation of people like Medhurst, the present author, in her short book “Reform and Revolution.” She spoke the truth and paid for it with her life. She’s essential reading.

I don’t like dissing somebody’s thinking without offering an alternative, so let me explain a short version of the actual situation. It begins by asking “what’s wrong?”

What’s Wrong?

Nothing is wrong. Everything is going swimmingly – but only for the bosses. The people who are running most of the world are running it very well, from their point of view. Working families may not like constant wars and environmental disaster, but oil stocks are skyrocketing. Racism and police misconduct may be ugly from our point of view, but they have always paid off nicely, from slavery thru Jim Crow to the present state of things, for our employers. Mass murders may be unseemly to us, but they are just fine for arms manufacturers. For our bosses, hunger and disease are just the cost of doing busines

Anybody who is thinking clearly will see it. Working families’ problems come from our bosses, and the only long-term solution is to remove them from power. I figured that out without any help from Marx, Engels, Lenin, Trotsky, Luxemburg, Mao Tse-Tung, Che Guevara, Patrice Lumumba or Fidel Castro, and certainly not from Noam Chomsky. In my own case, I was simply an elementary school teacher who thought, at first, that the world would change if I could end corporal punishment. When I paused being a knee-jerk activist and thought about it, though, I realized that America’s system of public and private education has not “gone astray” or “missed the point.” They may not always be good for working families, but they function pretty well for the bosses. The same is true for all the other of society’s “ills.”

What I couldn’t figure out, and, like most people, what I’m still grappling with, is what to do about it. History’s great revolutionaries may have had minor differences in their strategies and tactics, but they all agreed that the bosses need to go. In some parts of his long book, Medhurst hints that he thinks so, too, but, for the most part, his contribution provides comfort for those who don’t really intend to do anything at all.

One can live a long and comfortable life writing books about the need for change as long as they stay away from doing anything, or advocating anything that might work. They can advocate for change – heck, they can even get big financial grants from the bosses for their projects – as long as no real challenge to the bosses is involved.

Clever writers can rise to fame and fortune if they defame the people and ideas that might actually make a difference. The armchair socialist, like the cockroach, will survive after all.

–Gene Lantz

I’m on’s “Workers Beat” radio talk show every Saturday at 9AM Central Time. My “Workers Beat Extra” podcasts usually go up on Soundcloud every Wednesday morning. If you are curious about what I really think, look at my personal web site

book review: Virginia Hamilton, “Anthony Burns. The Defeat and Triumph of a Fugitive Slave.” Knopf, 1988

Here’s a great book to read during Black History Month, especially while Republicans are fuming about “The 1619 Project” and trying to shut down history classes and ban books. This one is in the Dallas library and can be read on kindle, or at least it is now but it might not be if the Texas governor finds out about it.

Anthony Burns escaped slavery in 1854 and made his way to Boston. The Fugitive Slave Act was already in effect. Anthony was a practicing minister and was eager to join a local church, but they required a letter of transfer from his former church. Foolishly, Anthony wrote the letter. Later in 1854, his former master showed up with a gang of hoodlums and a lawyer to reclaim his “property.” The federal law seemed to be in conflict with Massachusetts law and apparently had not been tested. I suppose that the Dred Scott case settled the legal questions in 1855, but they weren’t completely settled when hoodlums and local officials grabbed Anthony Burns off the street.

I thought it was interesting that Burns’ pro-bono lawyer was Richard Henry Dana, famous novelist who wrote “Two Years Before the Mast.” I didn’t even know he was an abolitionist. In this book, lots of people were. At one point, according to the author, 50,000 people mobilized for and against the extradition of Anthony Burns! Also, the slaver was apparently scared he’d be lynched!

The way the book is written is interesting in itself. Instead of just recounting and embellishing the historical facts and the great suffering of the runaway slave, this author tries to get into the head of Anthony Burns. That’s the imaginary part, and it’s quite interesting, but the historical part could stand alone. There were really a lot of people involved in trying to help Burns. The period is called “Boston Riots!” Makes me proud!

–Gene Lantz

I’m on’s “Workers Beat” talk show every Saturday at 9AM and I podcast “Workers Beat Extra” on Soundcloud every Wednesday. If you’re curious about what I really think, check out my 2014 personal web site.

An editorial in the Washington Post says that labor’s share of GDP is 56%, an all-time low. “The key [to understanding our oddball economic situation] is what happens to wages. For all the talk of workers having so much power, union membership reached an all-time low in 2022, and wages for most workers have not been keeping up with inflation. Companies made hefty profits because they raised prices faster than their labor and other costs.” –Heather Long in WAPO

Heather Long’s opinion is quite a bit different from what we in labor normally publish about labor’s situation. Recently, for example, we pointed out the large number of new union members nationwide, but we failed to point out that our organized percentage of the overall working class is still falling, just as it has since the 1950s. To start winning, we have to do something different from what we have been doing.

I’m in the Auto Workers Union. One side of the current national election says that we must do something dramatically different no matter how scary that may sound. The other side says they’re the ones with experience who know how to run things because they have been running them absolutely since 1947. In their literature, neither side takes note of the incredibly low turnout in the national election: 11% in the first round. There are some projections that it may rise to 16% in the runoff, but I doubt it. No matter which side wins, their main problem is going to be regaining the kind of membership participation that they had before 1947.

I would like to suggest that the “something different” for the UAW and all of American labor is to take advantage of our unprecedented popularity with all workers, unionized or not unionized. Over 70% of the American people approve of labor unions while not a single Democrat or Republican person or organization can get over 45%! I think we could win a nationwide boycott or a united nationwide organizing drive or even a nationwide general strike. Should labor give change a try or should we keep on slowly circling the drain? –genelantz

I’m still on’s “Workers Beat” talk show at 9AM Central Time every Saturday. If you are curious about what I really think, check out my personal web site at