The Marxists Internet Archive has made available a 1955 piece by Raya Dunayevskaya on rank-and-file opposition to UAW leader Walter Reuther (“New Stage of Struggle Against Labor Bureaucracy“). 1955—the year Reuther achieved the reunification of the CIO with the AFL—may well have been the high point of his influence in U.S. society, but here Dunayevskaya submits his administrative mentality to withering criticism.
Reuther was pulled to planning as the solution to the contradictions of capitalism. The bureaucratized UAW was to play a leading role in Reuther’s proposed plan of labor/capital cooperation, with the workers abandoning any pretense of control of production in exchange for higher wages and job security in the face of automation. This was the basis of Reuther’s “substitution.”
The labor bureaucracy in the U.S. has undergone some much attrition since the days of the Reuther and George Meany that today’s bureaucrats seem like ghosts in comparision.
Ironically, even though today the rhetoric of free enterprise is at a fever pitch and the formally planned economy of the USSR has long since perished, state-capitalist planning is a more integral element of capitalism than at any time. “Too Big to Fail” is the contemporary plan, and the state is the guarantor of “private” industry and banking.