Unionism and Feminism

During the 2016 presidential primaries, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright (America's answer to Margaret Thatcher) embarrassed herself by declaring publicly, "There's a special place in Hell reserved for those women who refuse to support Hillary Clinton."

Besides insulting the millions of young women (those under age 35) who voluntarily chose to support Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders in the primary, Albright indirectly and clumsily did Clinton a disservice by suggesting that the principle reason for voting for her was her gender.

Albright's smug comment was one of the two dumbest remarks we heard during the campaign, the other being Donald Trump's response when a reporter asked what he would do with ISIS if elected president. Trump said, "What I will do with ISIS will shock the world!" Of course, with the media as gutless as it is, the reporter didn't bother challenging this idiotic answer.

Despite what Republican (and many Democratic) congressmen preach--despite what talk-radio hosts, academics, entrepreneurs, anti-labor propagandists, revisionist historians, mainstream media puppets, and comfortable suburbanites would have us believe, it was labor union muscle and the tacit threat of violence that single-handedly created the American middle-class.

It's a fact. Of course, because civil disobedience and "muscle" tend to be messy and scary--impervious to pretty words, seminar-speak, "mission statements," and team-building exercises--the Establishment wants us to believe that anything falling outside the bounds of civil discussion and spilling into the streets is undignified, unsavory, and (the biggest lie of all) unnecessary.

Examine the history. The middle-class did not coalesce until the post-war decade of the 1950s. Prior to that, the middle-class didn't exist. And this bountiful decade happened to be the same decade in which organized labor hit its all-time peak, with close to 35% of all U.S. workers belonging to unions.

Moreover, those impressive figures don't even take into account the "free-riders" who benefited from employers who provided them with union-quality wages, benefits and working conditions in order to keep the union out.

Compare that to the pitiful state of affairs we find today, where barely 6% of private sector jobs are unionized. In truth, one can barely grasp--can barely wrap their mind around--the tremendous influence labor was able to exert fully half a century ago (even despite passage of the toxic Taft-Hartley Act, in 1947). The notion of working men and women having that much raw power seems like a fantasy today.

Which brings us to feminism. In the history of the U.S., going back all the way to 1920, the year adult females were finally given the right to vote, the only jobs that absolutely, positively guaranteed that women doing the same work as men would receive the same pay as men were union jobs.

It wasn't the Congress who was responsible, it wasn't philanthropic institutions, and it wasn't the Church. It was organized labor. That was true then and it's true today. If a woman wants to be assured of making the same rate of pay as a man (and who would oppose that??), the only place where this is guaranteed in writing is within the confines of a labor union.

Accordingly, instead of sending petitions to Congress, holding demonstration at city hall, enlisting in buzz-groups, or writing scathingly clever op-eds for the New York Times, women should consider getting scary. They should consider doing what men dread them doing, which is to abandon good manners and act independently.

If women rightly believe it's outrageously unfair for them to make 77-cents on the dollar compared to what men make (and who doesn't??), they need to abandon their intellectualism and rhetoric, and do something bold but effective. They need to join a labor union.

Which is what made Hillary Clinton's "ornamental" feminism during the campaign seem so phony. She couldn't have it both ways, and it showed. She couldn't be a glorified shill for Wall Street and, simultaneously, insist that she favored "wage equality," because those two views are mutually exclusive. Wall Street is opposed to wage equality, and opposed to labor unions. Alas, deep-down, so is Clinton.