The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Proposal 2:
We Have the Rights We Take!

Nov 12, 2012

In Michigan, Proposal 2, enshrining collective bargaining rights in the state constitution, went down to defeat.

It changes nothing.

Top union officials were foolish even to put a proposal like this on the ballot. Workers don’t need – and shouldn’t ask for – anyone’s permission to form a union. Not a vote of the whole population – which includes businessmen, wealthy people, and the politicians who serve them. And not the state apparatus with its laws, courts, police, etc. – all of which serve the wealthy. So, to ask all of them to okay our right to form a union was foolish to begin with.

But once it was on the ballot, it made sense that all those workers who want a union wanted to vote for the proposal. And they did – in fact, thepercentage of those who voted for it was much larger than thepercentage of the population in unions today.

But to get over 50% of the vote, the unions needed to do everything they could to get it passed. Instead, most of the unions did little. The UAW, in particular, was a big force in getting the proposal on the ballot – but then, it did nothing to mobilize its members around the issue until just two weeks before the election. That gave the bosses and politicians plenty of time to mount an expensive campaign of lies against the proposal, and helped to guarantee its defeat.

The UAW knows very well how to turn people out to campaign for the Democrats. If they’d mobilized like they do for the Democrats, the proposal could have passed!

But don’t believe that the defeat of Proposal 2 means we don’t have the right to a union. We have the right to form a union ONLY when we TAKE that right – when we organize and fight.

Don’t let anyone tell us otherwise.