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Labor and Environment

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During a few days when the headlines and thus this blog are understandably rather dominated by another, very important story, I’m still plugging away at my usual subjects, this time on the need for labor unions and environmentalists to overcome their differences and work together for a better future for both. This time, I have an essay at The Daily Climate on the matter:

Neither the labor movement nor the environmental movement has the power that it did four decades ago.

Economic instability and the rise of conservative politics have undermined public support for environmentalism while making successful unionization efforts hard to achieve.

Looking back on the 1960s and early 1970s, when both movements were at or near historic heights of public support and political success, shows how these two great movements once worked together on many issues and how that has become harder over the years.

Moreover, as the nation fights an unprecedented attack from right-wing forces that threaten our basic freedoms, both the labor and environmental movements provide critical organizing to preserve the best of our democracy. If they are fighting amongst themselves, it makes a full-throated effort to turn out progressive voters for the midterm elections this fall all the more difficult.

Rethinking the relationship between the labor and environmental movements is critical for both unionists and greens as they mutually struggle for power in this corporate-dominated era.

I then go into some history, why both movements have some responsibility for this problem, etc. I didn’t really get into timber workers using their unions to promote their own environmental agenda, but then I wrote a whole book on that topic.

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