Hortatory Uplift Is Not a Plan

by Rich Yeselson on July 9, 2013

I thank John S. Ahlquist and Margaret Levi (hereafter A/L) for their response, “With Fortresses Like These …” to my essay in Democracy, “Fortress Unionism.” I had an odd feeling reading and rereading their essay. I though its bark was far worse than its bite. A/L warn that my strategy is “doomed”, and rests on “dangerous assumptions.” Unions are already doing what I advocate, and they are thus headed down “the drain.” Yet, given their final set of suggestions, it seems as if we really don’t have much to disagree about at all.  When all is said and done, A/L ignore most of my proposals before agreeing with others.

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With Fortresses Like These …

by John Ahlquist and Margaret Levi on July 9, 2013

Rich Yeselson’s stimulating piece, “Fortress Unionism,” has attracted wide attention and appears to have provoked yet another round of soul-searching within the US labor movement. Yeselson clearly and convincingly shows how the laws and institutions governing American labor markets have, since Taft-Hartley, sapped the energy and resources of American unions, rendering them unable to effectively organize and represent workers as times have changed. He calls for unions to hunker down in their existing geographic “strongholds” and wait for someone or something else to bring workers into the streets.
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Debating Fortress Unionism

by Henry on July 9, 2013

As Chris’s post below suggests, Crooked Timber is a kind of anarchist collective (albeit in ways not appreciated by David Graeber …), which reflects a variety of views. We’ve also tried over the years to encourage argument between different views (mostly on the left). In that spirit, we’re publishing a short and vigorous back and forth on the future of unions. A few weeks ago, Rich Yeselson wrote a piece defending what he called “Fortress Unionism” for “Democracy”:http://www.democracyjournal.org/29/fortress-unionism.php?page=all (PDF version “here”:http://www.democracyjournal.org/pdf/29/fortress_unionism.pdf). John Ahlquist and Margaret Levi, have written a “response”:https://crookedtimber.org/2013/07/09/with-fortresses-like-these/ to Rich’s original piece; Rich has in turn “responded”:https://crookedtimber.org/2013/07/09/hortatory-uplift-is-not-a-plan/ to the response. For those who prefer to read in printed form, here’s a PDF of the argument.

Rich Yeselson is a writer, all-round public intellectual and former labor organizer. He has contributed to Crooked Timber book seminars in the past

John Ahlquist is Trice Family Faculty Scholar and Associate Professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin—Madison. Margaret Levi is Jere L. Bachrach Professor of International Studies at the University of Washington and Chair in Politics at the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney. Their book _In the Interests of Others: Organizations & Social Activism_ will be published by Princeton University Press later this year.

Adler on Shelby

by John Holbo on July 9, 2013

After my posts on Shelby, a few weeks ago, I decided to see what the Volokh folks have had to say about that particular decision. Not a lot, it turns out. But here’s Jonathan Adler, explaining how he thinks left and right tend to view the issue differently. Seen from the right, the decision makes sense (although Adler does not endorse it explicitly): [click to continue…]

Shorter Kevin Vallier

by Henry on July 9, 2013

Is there anything more to this “post”:http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/2013/07/robin-and-the-austrians-revisited-ii-anatomy-of-a-hayek-fail/ of epic, indeed Den Bestian length than the claim that if you define the term ‘elite’ in an arbitrary and weirdly narrow way, then Hayek is not an elitist (and btw Corey Robin eats his own boogers!)? I’ve read the piece through a couple of times and not found it, if it’s there. I’ll say that this is all especially annoying coming from Kevin Vallier, who was lecturing me last year for failing to demonstrate “sufficient intellectual charity”:”:https://crookedtimber.org/2012/05/22/welfare-and-charity/ to Hayek (when I took Hayek’s words to mean what they would appear, quite literally, to mean). This year, he’s telling us instead how Corey’s purported errors allow “people who aren’t already Robin fans how to distinguish him from a responsible intellectual historian.” I’m more in favor of vigorous argument than starting from charitable assumptions myself, but the inconsistency is rather startling …