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Henrik Unné

"Why I Hate the Labor Union"

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I wrote the debate article below, "Why I Hate the Labor Union", in February 2009. It was published on the Swedish Internet debate site Newsmill. I have got a total of 176 articles published on Newsmill over the course of the 16 months that I have been contributing to the site. My article, "Why I Hate the Labor Union", was the individual article of mine that, so far, has got the most viewers, roughly 8.000 over the past year. I believe that the main reason it was viewed so many times, was partly the exposure that Newsmill gave it on the site, and partly the provocative title. Also, it is possible that a lot of blogs and other sites linked to this particular article of mine.

Incidentally, I have written many articles on Newsmill that are much more philosophical than this article. I am aware of the importance of spreading fundamental ideas, and not just engaging in concrete-bound political activism.


I hate labor unions. Why?

I do it above all because of the ideas that the labor unions propound. There are many bad ideas that the Swedish labor unions stand for. One especially repugnant idea that is widespread in the labor union movement in Sweden is hostility to immigration.

I experienced this in a very concrete way just about 1 month ago, when I was eating lunch together with some workmates (I work at a company, Qualitrol AKM, in the suburb of Stockholm called Skarpnack, which manufactures measuring instruments). A workmate of mine, who is active in the labor union, was talking about immigration. All of a sudden he tossed out the words – “They ought to send back more of those immigrants who lack passports back to their home countries”. He said that without showing any signs of shame. Apparently he thought that it was an uncontroversial viewpoint.

I spoke up and said that governments did not have any right to decide where people were to live or not live, and that we should have free immigration. Then the labor union man just laughed and asked – “Yeah, but what shall we do when all those immigrants take our jobs?” I tried to explain to him that there would arise more jobs, if only the nominal wages were cut, so that the employers would be able to afford to hire more employees. Then the labor union man came back with the shopworn Keynesian fallacy – “But what will all those new workers produce? We cannot use an unlimited quantity of doodads?” I tried to point out to him that men´s need of goods and services is virtually infinite, when they have enough food, clothing, cars, TVs etc. then they will demand other things over and above what they already have, and if by chance they do not want any more `doodads´, then they will instead demand more recreation, that is to say they will work shorter workdays, so that nobody needs to become unemployed. But it was no use. The labor union man stood by his view that more immigrants should be “sent back”.

The worst thing with this labor union man´s attitude is not that it borders on racism, although that is bad enough. What is worst is the labor union man´s appalling indifference to human suffering. This labor union man reads the newspapers. I have myself seen him doing it. He cannot be unaware that the majority of the people in the Third World live in poverty and misery. And he must be able to realize that many of those immigrants and refugees who would be “sent back”, if he had his way, would live in misery after their return home. But that evidently does not bother him. He is completely callous, in regard to people who happen to come from other countries than Sweden. His policy, to victimize helpless immigrants, is an example of the phenomenon that the leftists themselves call – “contempt for weakness”.

This workmate, who was active in the labor union, is not the only labor union man who is hostile towards immigration. Many, many labor union men want the government to “protect” the Swedish workers against a “mass immigration” which, it is said, would entail that foreigners - “took the jobs” from the Swedes, and “dumped the wages”. Many Swedish labor union men have the same attitude that Goran Persson [the former Prime Minister, and former leader of the Social Democrat Party] revealed when he explained that an increase in immigration would be bad, because it would entail “social dumping”.

It is natural that Swedish labor union men dislike free immigration. They are Social Democrats. And Social Democrats believe, to use Tage Erlanderssons words [Tage Erlandersson was a famous leader of the Social Democrats during their “golden age” during the 1950s and 1960s] – “It is the distribution that is the important thing.” Social Democrats believe that there is a total welfare cake, and that the wellbeing of every individual depends on how the government “divides up the cake”. Well, anybody who believes that idea, can figure out with his a-s that if the individual´s welfare depends on how a cake is divided, then there will be less to each individual, the more individuals are to share that cake. So it is natural that Social Democrats see immigrants as a threat to their welfare. The more persons there are to share the “Swedish” welfare, the less welfare for each Swede.

So it is natural that labor union men, who for the most part are Social Democrats, tend to be hostile to immigration. And this is confirmed by the public opinion polls. Polls of the voters have shown that the nationalistic and xenophobic Sweden Democrats [a small party that campaigns mostly by advocating for more restrictions on immigration] have a larger share of the blue collar worker vote, than they have of the white collar worker vote and the votes of the intellectuals. And the voter polls also show that it is the Social Democrats, together with the Conservatives, that constitute the largest recruitment base for the Sweden Democrats. The Sweden Democrats themselves boast about this fact.

There are many other ideas that the Swedish labor unions stand for, that I despise. But I think that the hostility to immigration is one of the worst. I simply cannot abide with people who are indifferent to human suffering!

Don´t you hate the labor unions too?

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