Whatever Occupy Wall Street once was long ago (i.e., three weeks ago), the revolution has been seized by big labor, particularly public employee unions, as proudly reported yesterday in left-wing Mother Jones magazine, Occupy Wall Street, Powered by Big Labor:
In late September, major labor unions mostly watched from the sidelines as the Occupy Wall Street protests grew from a ragtag band of diehards camping in a park into a fledgling movement grabbing national headlines and sparking similar protests around the country. Now, Big Labor is going to work: endorsing the protests, offering manpower and resources, and helping stage a major march in New York City’s financial district on Wednesday. They are adding organizing muscle, fresh energy, and greater numbers to the boisterous demonstrations that began in downtown Manhattan more than two weeks ago.
Among those now jumping in is the New York State United Teachers, the Empire State’s largest union, representing 600,000 educators….
The New York educators join labor unions representing more than 2 million additional workers that have recently broadcast their support: the American Federation for State, County, and Municipal Workers (1.6 million members); Service Employees International Union’s 1199 chapter (300,000 members); Transport Workers Union Local 100 (64,000 members); and more. AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka, who personally endorsed the protests, told In These Times that he’s meeting with his union’s executive board on Wednesday to discuss a union-wide endorsement. The executive board for the Communications Workers of America (700,000 members) declared in its own statement that Occupy Wall Street “is an appropriate expression of anger for all Americans, but especially for those who have been left behind by Wall Street.” ….
The irony, of course, will be lost on the original protesters.
The original protesters will be drowned out by people whose pensions and benefits have strangled municipal budgets, resulting in the cuts they are protesting, and will be locking arms with the people they subsidize with astronomical local property taxes which make owning and keeping a home so difficult.
Few among the crowd will doubt that “Wall Street” is to blame for high college tuitions, even though there is no connection, as they exit the university buildings donated by the barons of Wall Street. How many will ask, where are the buildings donated by the unions, and how much did the unions donate to our school’s annual campaign?
How many of the unemployed in the crowd will make the connection between exclusive union shops and lack of right to work laws, and diminished job opportunities? How many will understand that trade unions exist to protect members of the unions, even if it means driving up the cost of products and services to consumers?
As they tearfully mourn the loss of Steve Jobs, how many will wonder why Jobs was so against unions, and fought a long battle to keep unions out of Apple? As they tweet the revolution from their iPhones and iPads, how many will realize that these devices may not ever have come into being but for Apple’s fight against some of the very unions marching along side them?
The revolution has been seized by the very people against whom the protests should be directed.