Political Biography of Walter Reuther: The Record of an Opportunist

Political Biography of Walter Reuther: The Record of an Opportunist

by Beatrice Hansen, Farrell Dobbs
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Political Biography of Walter Reuther: The Record of an Opportunist 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a lively and very useful pamphlet taking up important questions of political perspective and strategy facing workers everywhere. Bea Hansen was a young auto worker, a union activist and a socialist in the 1950s. Her talk printed here focuses on the evolution of Walter Reuther, then present of the United Auto Workers, tracing his development from a militant-minded young student and worker into a career-minded, union bureaucrat looking to collaborate with the employers and their government in maintaining the status quo. Hansen gives a lively introduction to the massive struggles of millions of workers that forged the industrial unions in the United States in the 1930s and 1940s, and a sharp contrast of Reuther¿s political course with that of the great revolutionary working class leader Eugene V. Debs. This is an important story that is often hidden or falsified, and full of lessons for today¿s labor movement. This pamphlet also prints an article by Farrell Dobbs, a leader of the union battles in the Mid-Western United States in the 1930s, comparing Reuther¿s views with those of another top union bureaucrat, George Meany. On the same topic, I¿d also recommend reading Labor¿s Giant Step: The first 20 years of the CIO, by Art Preis, Trade Unions in the Epoch of Imperialist Decay, by Leon Trotsky, and the Changing Face of U.S. Politics: Working class politics and the trade unions, by Jack Barnes.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Do you want to know what the labor bureaucracy is all about? Read this little book on Walter Reuther, the longtime head of the UAW and spiritual father of today's labor misleaders. Bea Hansen tells the story of how Reuther, who once described himself as a socialist, traded his principles to mount the ladder of the bureaucracy to its top rung. Hansen contrasts Reuther with another kind of labor leader, Eugene V. Debs, who fought for his socialist principles, tried to build a movement against the U.S. war machine, and supported the rank-and-file struggles of labor. Hansen is an authoritative voice on these issues. Members of her family led the Flint Sit-Down strike when she was a girl and she was a respected socialist fighter in the auto workers union for most of her life. This remarkable pamphlet ends with Hansen's confident prediction-in 1955 at the height of the witch hunt--that young people will pick up the struggle for socialism that Reuther abandoned.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Many people think Reuther was a fighter for labor's rights. He started out as a young fighter but ended up curbing the fights of working people and herding people who wanted change into the Democratic party. Beatrice Hansen a long time socialist worker who worked in the autoplants, explains this. She explains not just Reuther, but the big struggles in the autoplants in the 1930s and 1940s that surrounded Reuther and the choices for fighters then and now. She also explains the way forward for working people who are facing new fights with rising unemployment, cut backs, and a need for expanded and fighting unions. Farrell Dobbs, a leader of the 1930s teamsters, and of the Socialist Workers Party has an article showing how Reuther's reformism was just a slicker form of class collaboration than that of AFL leader George Meany. This all was written in the past, but the present and the future are times when working people face desperate struggles like those in the 1930s. We need this now!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Bea Hansen who wrote this had slaved in GM and I believe ford. Her sister Genora had been one of the heroic leaders in the Flint sit downs. She did not write about Reuther as someone in a book, a newspaper, a liberal or limp water pseduo socialist or any kind of hero, but a sellout, a particular kind of sellout, someone of her generation, someone who started out like her as a worker wanting to fight, who had strayed and been deformed by Stalinist, social democratic., Democratic party, big business humping, selloutism into what he became. To anyone who knew Bea, her tremendous intelligence, her dead serious organization skills, her smarts with people, her cold blooded decisiveness, you knew her choices, even as a woman in those times, had been just as open outside the revolutionary workers movement or moreso than someone like Reuther. Yet she chose the workers movement, the revolutionary communist movement, without restraint as heartily and strongly as she did everything else! She had signed up for the duration and fought every battle to the death! She received a bigger prize than Reuther ever did! Bea was tied to her class, not by sentiment, but by conviction of who you really need in a fight. She was not some nostalgia monger harping back to the 'good old days' when even Reuther was militant, but a fighter who kept on fighting against world War 2, against the cold war, against Reuther, fought even when her sister sold up and gave up, she fought on until she could fight with people like Malcolm X and Che Guevara. Bea stayed to welcome militants like me who came from the antiwar movement and others who came from the women's liberation movement. Bea Hansen was a fighter, a leader and trainer and organizer of fighters.