Tag Archives: workers

Humorists are having a good time with the 2016 elections because never in our history have we had two candidates with such negative approval ratings.


Remember that terrific episode of “Rosanne” when Dan’s bowling team came in next to last and celebrated by chanting “We’re not the worst! We’re not the worst!”?

Some of my friends tell me that they’ll launch some kind of a protest vote, possibly for one of the growing “other” parties. They think about Trump, they think about Clinton, then they stop thinking.

How does positive change come about?

If you want positive change, then you owe it to yourself to think through how that positive change could come about.  If you believe, as I do, that the basic conflict in the world today is between employees and bosses, then strengthening the employees’ side is the road to progress. So how the election is going to affect working people is the key to understanding the election and making the most use of it. The perfections and imperfections in the candidates aren’t what matters. What matters is what’s going to happen.

There are lots of other theories

I’ve known people, actually quite a few, who believe that bad is good. If something really terrible happens in the 2016 elections, then people will “wake up” and stop being so lackadaisical about progressive change. So they’ll pick the worst candidate. They loved it when Reagan was elected. I once heard a speaker call this the “vulture theory” of politics. We’ll wait around until all hope is lost, then we’ll pick up the carrion pieces. It’s not a good theory and there are absolutely no historical precedents to justify it.

I’ve known people who say that elections don’t matter because the capitalists are just going to do whatever they want anyway. So the upcoming Supreme Court appointments, the unfair trade deals, austerity proposals, and immigration reform won’t matter at all to the oppressed people. It’s not a good theory and it’s sad.

There are people who don’t believe in trying to win a majority. They actually believe that some small, dedicated group is going to make positive historical change. It’s utter nonsense and tends to lead them, in their constant frustration, toward violence as a strategy. Besides, even if they could effect change with a handful of conspirators, they couldn’t make it stick. How would they get the great unlearned people to support them?

Then there are the “revolution right now” people. They don’t need theories. They just sit around sanctimoniously and wait for everybody else to become as smart as they are. Then there will be a revolution and then we’ll be happy. Until then, they can take their joy by saying, “I told you so!”

I’m afraid to say it, but it’s possible that many voters don’t care about outcomes at all. They only care about their own feelings!

Working people make positive change

Working people have a big stake in the 2016 elections because we have a big stake in all political struggles. It makes a big difference who wins, both for working people and for prospects for change. Look at that, not the imperfections of the candidates.

Leave a Reply





People were shocked recently when French President Francois Hollande, head of the Socialist Party, forced legislation through that would make it easier for bosses to lay people off, make them work longer hours, cut their pay and cut into some of their special leaves — such as maternity leave. Click here for BBC version. Protests were very large. I read that 70% of the people were against the new labor rules. But they passed!


How could that be?

The simple answer is that Hollande is a SINO — Socialist in Name Only. But simple name calling doesn’t really provide any answers. Undoubtedly, France is a capitalist nation with a president who calls himself a socialist and leads a party that calls itself socialist. They got elected, but they didn’t overcome the bosses and, probably, never intended to.

As long as the bosses are in power, workers will never win any permanent gains. Everything we can win, even the 35-hour week that they enjoy(ed) in France, can still be taken away.

France is a capitalist nation and subject to the same economic laws that govern all the capitalist nations. All of them function in competition with one another. When the competition gets rough, as it is worldwide right now, the employers turn like vicious cannibals against their own people in order to drive down costs. Most costs are labor costs, so capitalist governments, including ours, are in the process of competing with one another by chopping away our standards of living.

Even nations that actually have overcome the employers have to compete with other nations within a world capitalist system. Did the Soviet workers ever win a 35-hour week? I don’t think so.

It doesn’t matter much what the government calls itself as long as it is still capitalist and still operating under the capitalist rules.

–Gene Lantz

Click here for more of these ideas

You are four times more likely to find a psychopath among executives than among the general population.


Look crazy to you?

In the financial services, it has been estimated that 10% are psychos. (click here for article)

I don’t doubt that a survey of ordinary workers would yield a much higher estimate.

How to Spot One

I got this from Wikipedia (click here):

“The organizational psychopath craves a god-like feeling of power and control over other people. They prefer to work at the very highest levels of their organizations, allowing them to control the greatest number of people. Psychopaths who are political leaders, managers, and CEOs fall into this category.

Interestingly, all the on-line articles I found said that corporations want to avoid hiring psychopaths. But do they really?

Why Are They In Top Spots?

I received this in a recent email, “For me, I said screw it when I found out the personality tests administered when you apply for promotions were used to find psychopathic or near psychopathic individuals for the higher up corporate positions.  To me, if you have to have concienceless mentally ill people run a system then something is inherently wrong with that system.”

My friend’s next email explained, “Concerning the tests, I had a PhD professor and friend learn this the hard way.  … He was approached by a big firm and asked to develop a set of personality tests to keep the ‘ruthless sociopath and psychopathic types’ out of higher management….  Well, he makes the test and they go off and use it for the opposite reasons!”

Bosses Don’t Have to be Nuts to be Bosses

Whether or not a particular boss is a psychopath doesn’t matter much in the grand scheme of things. He’s against you whether he’s sane or not. The Preamble to the constitution of the Industrial Workers of the World begins, “”The working class and the employing class have nothing in common.” Maybe it’s overstated, but you get the idea.

Even though we like to believe that we’re choosing our thoughts and prejudices, we don’t. Our ideas come basically from our actual situation. Employees think like employees and bosses think like bosses. You can see that easily any time somebody gets promoted into management. Their world view magically changes overnight!

While I was researching psychopaths, I came across a quote that reminded me that the bosses nearly always use religion and patriotism to confuse us. Here’s what George Bernard Shaw said, “Patriotism is a pernicious, psychopathic form of idiocy.” Maybe that’s overstated, too, but you get the idea.

–Gene Lantz

Click here for more of these ideas



Listening to almost anybody talk about American politics today unavoidably leaves one with the impression that they don’t know what they’re talking about. Populist? Nationalist? What do all those terms mean, if anything?


Click here for a glossary and lesson on political words. Click here for my previous analysis.

What one considers good or bad in politics depends on how one understands the idea of progress. Everything is moving in one direction or another all the time. A positive trend in politics is one that strengthens our side in the lifelong battle with our employers, or one that weakens the employers’ side. That’s progress.

Progressive for Whom?

If ordinary working people are strengthened by being more unified, or better informed, or by attaining positions of power, that’s progress. Progressive people are those who strengthen workers against their employers. Organizing a new union, for example, would be a progressive thing to do. Helping workers make good electoral decisions by providing useful information would be progressive.

Causing an unnecessary split in a workers’ organization is a reactionary event, the opposite of progressive.

“Left” and “Right” are Fuzzy Concepts

During the capitalist revolution in France around 1789, one group sat to the speakers’ left in parliament and another group sat to the right. That’s where we got “left wing” and “right wing,” but it’s really hard to tell what they mean today. Besides, everything is moving so what’s left today is right tomorrow!

If “Left” is Good, Then Is “Ultraleft” Even Better?

Serious activists might think “left” means “favoring the workers,” but “ultraleft” is a special term that does not mean “even more favorable toward the workers.” An ultraleft is an egotist willing to do anything, progressive or reactionary, to draw attention to themselves. Ultraleftism is a real pain in the movement. It’s been called “the infantile disorder.”

“Liberal” and “Conservative” are Confusing

If a liberal is a nice person who cares for others, what’s a neoliberal and why do the South Americans seem to hate them so? Is a neoliberal the same thing as a neoconservative or neocon? Actually, yes.

If a politician is racist and misogynistic, but votes for a giant boondoggle for his/her home district, is she/he a liberal or a conservative? If another politician is really stingy on government spending but promotes abortion and gay marriage, what is he/she?

Who’s Middle Class?

It’s common now to confuse “middle class” with “middle income.” I think the unions distorted the definition because union people, it’s true, make more money than other workers and, especially with overtime pay, often get into the middle income range.

The only useful meaning of “middle class” is that they’re neither bosses nor employees. So small shop owners, professionals, preachers, policemen, union staffers, and all the people “caught in the middle” in the great fight between workers and bosses, they’re the middle class.

The French revolutionaries called them “petit-bourgeoisie” or “small capitalists.” Ultraleft supercilious nut cases use it as a derogatory term.

Everybody hates being called middle class and will argue with you until they’re blue in the face about it, but if you can’t understand “middle class,” you probably can’t understand “worker” or “employer” either. Without clarity on those concepts, I don’t see how anybody understands anything about politics.

What’s a Populist?

It’s gotten popular today to talk about “populism of the left” and “populism of the right.” Supposedly clever people refer to Senator Bernie Sanders and Presidential Candidate Donald Trump that way. But what does it mean?

The populist movement of old was made up of agricultural interests banded together politically to fight against the industrialists who were taking over the nation. The populists lost. That battle has been over for some time.

Google says a populist is “A member of a political party claiming to represent the common people.” But don’t all politicians do that? Click here for Wikipedia’s treatment.

I’m pretty sure that what the pundits mean nowadays by “populist” is a candidate that doesn’t directly represent the employing class. As no candidate ever says he/she directly represents the employing class, it’s a pretty meaningless term.

What’s a Nationalist?

There are books on this. Nationalism, dividing people’s interests more or less by their region of origin, is usually divisive and hence reactionary. Not always, though. Groups of people fighting imperialist domination may be using nationalism in a very progressive way. People that use it to split the overall progressive movement, though, need to be avoided.

Think of the Class

If one sticks to the idea that workers are the only ones who can really overcome their employers, and that strengthening our side or weakening the employers’ side is the definition of “progressive,” one can be more clear in their communicating and their own thinking. Always, think of the class!

–Gene Lantz

Click here for more of these ideas


We all hear about “drawing the line” and “crossing the line.” They say in Texas that it has something to do with the Alamo, but there’s a more universal line. It’s the class line.


The physical line between bosses and workers is the picket line

It’s not always simple to figure out who we’re talking about when we sing the great old union song, “Which Side Are You On?” Almost everybody pretends to be on our side.

One could pick around all day trying to sort out exactly who is in the capitalist class, the working class, and the middle class. We can categorize ourselves over and over again as we consider different issues such as gay marriage, global warming, gun control, art lovers, art haters, renters or owners, etc etc. But the important line is the one between workers and bosses. There’s a sure-fire way to know just who is on the workers’ side and who is on the other side.

It’s the issue of wages

Our side wants better wages. Their side wants worse wages.

A new organization has been formed to fight against the Obama Administration’s change in the overtime law. The new law gives considerably more wages to certain workers, and the new organization, “Partnership to Protect Workplace Opportunity,” (who do they pay to come up with these names?) is on the opposite side of the line that really matters. You can look at their list at On their side you will find the National Restaurant Association, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Associated General Contractors, Associated Builders and Contractors, Jimmy John’s, and lots of  banks, insurers and  auto dealers.

Usually, when they are trying to influence legislation, they sneak around about it so we don’t know who they are. Read Dark Money. I guess the new organization is trying a new tactic by letting us know who (some of them) they are. Maybe they think it will intimidate us?


What they have in common is that they’re all for worse wages. They’re all bosses. They’re all against us. It’s good to know about them.

–Gene Lantz

Click here for more of these ideas

How do you decide whom to vote for? How do you decide anything? I’m reading postings that say “If Bernie isn’t the candidate, I will never vote for Hillary.” or “If my candidate doesn’t get the nomination, I’m not voting!” and things like that. How did they decide those things?


How Do We Decide Anything?

Once, I was astounded when I was taking a class in business finance. The homework assignment was whether to buy factory machine A or machine B. It dumbfounded me. The astounding thing was when I found out how the decision was made in business. They figured cost, production, and expected life of each machine. Whichever one made the most money over a period of time was the right answer.

In other words, the decision was made based on the probable outcomes of the choices. If you support this person and he/she wins, what do you think will happen? If you support that person and he/she wins, what do you think will happen? If you support some other person and he/she doesn’t win, what do you think will happen?

It’s Not Whom You Love

It’s not a question of whom you love or whom you hate, who gives you the creeps and who makes you feel all sunny. None of the candidates are perfect, but you still have to make a decision. Your decision will have likely consequences, outcomes. Some of those outcomes are better than the others. That’s rational decision making.

Progress Comes from United Working People

The best political advice I ever got was “think of the class.” How will the working class fare under this or that political leader. And don’t try to convince yourself that the working class has no interest in elections. We have an interest in every arena of struggle, a big interest — and it’s usually the opposite of the bosses’ interest.

End of Sermon

Put your emotions aside, make a rational decision about what to do, then do it. Afterward, you can re-evaluate and do the same thing or something else. Whatever you decide, rationally.

–Gene Lantz


me-knonWhat a time we live in! People are asking questions! People are broadening the range of answers that they will consider! I want to be involved with as many seekers as possible through this new blog, my 9AM Saturday radio show on, my union local’s newspaper, my site on workers’ issues (which includes my labor history collection), my work on, my work on, and my personal site with my biography, life lessons, and educational materials.

I’ll be meeting with union members, the AFL-CIO members, retiree organizations, and a group of deep-thinking general activists. I’ll be learning as I go along, and I hope you’ll join in.

Just for starters, here are some of my recent posts:

Environmentalists Call for End of Capitalism!

Us and Them, What Needs to be Said but Isn’t

What To Do — Long Term and Short Term

I have written a lot and will write a lot more. Let’s synthesize our thoughts together!

_Gene Lantz 5/30/16