The Man Who Hated Work and Loved Labor

Published on AlterNet, by Les Leopold, April 9, 2008.

Linked with Tony Mazzocchi – USA.

Long after the Democratic Party abandoned labor interests, Tony Mazzocchi continued to fight for the working class.

American progressives perpetually worry about the limitations of the Democratic Party and the historical rejection of third-party candidates in presidential elections. “Party within the party” approaches have led at times, to breakthroughs, if and when the thrust is part of a mobilized movement. The strategy has been demonstrably most successful in the 40-year takeover of the Republican party by its right-wing constituencies. In those 40 years, the Republican electoral victory has gradually softened Democratic electoral leaders progressivism, creating by now, two corporate parties vying for dominance and agreeing that The New Deal and Great Society overdeveloped wage worker influence on the party and the economy …

… For Mazzocchi, this was not mushy sloganeering. He’d already pulled off an astonishing national shift in consciousness on occupational health and safety.
It didn’t fall from the sky – he and a cast of thousands created it, and it’s still with us. By setting in motion an army of doctors, technicians, environmentalists, journalists, and local union activists, a new movement changed the way the entire country views the workplace environment. And because of mass education and dramatic anti-corporate campaigns to protect endangered workers and communities, workplaces continue to be policed and cleaned up today – albeit insufficiently. Mazzocchi had learned that a new consciousness could be developed if the conditions were right and if enough people could be impelled to work toward it.

With the collapse of the trade union movement, the rise of globalization, the stalling of workers’ wages, the redistribution of wealth to the super-rich, and the implosion of industrial America, the conditions, Mazzocchi believed, were ripe for an anti-corporate workers’ movement. History had done its part. The rest was up to the thousands of activists in and around the labor movement. Mazzocchi would try again to be their catalyst … (full huge long text).

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