March 2, 2007
Democracy soiled again
I am really tired of people trying to use the principle of Democracy in order to advance patently undemocratic agendas. Right now, Republicans are opposing and President Bush is promising to veto an amendment to the current S-4 bill that would make it easier for unions to organize in the workplace. Why? Because if union organizers use easily distributed membership cards then membership would not be determined through a “closed ballot” democratic procedure.
The problem is that the opposition to unions, which has been a long-standing principle of “free market” ideologues, is anti-democratic in principle. They say that this will hinder the capacity of a corporation to seek the common good through its ability to churn the economic energy of the country. But a corporation is simply a legal construct which is created for the purpose of allowing a group of people to act as an independent legal entity. If that meant that every member of the corporation were equally entitled to all of the benefits of the corporation, then there would be no problem. However, in practice, this is almost never the case, specifically because in the United States it is easy to find workers willing to fill wage earning jobs. Thus, in practice, the corporation is an independent entity that acts on behalf of a few people in the corporation, specifically, those who are not wage earners.
If we deny wage earners the capacity to negotiate their wages and benefits collectively, then we are implicitly granting one group of people rights that we are denying another. This is undemocratic; and a fortiori there is no reasonable grounds–on the principle of democracy–to oppose it.