The Corner

Labor, Coalitions, and Closed-mindedness

Alec Dubro suggests it is hypocritical for some on the right—myself included—to support independent labor movements in Iran and elsewhere, when we are sometimes skeptical of organized labor in the United States.  While I haven’t written anything about labor for about a decade, I still oppose closed shops and binding membership card drives as opposed to secret ballots.  But, putting debates of U.S. labor issues aside, might I suggest: So what?  Policy is about building coalitions.  Some of the most effective in foreign policy involve the right and left versus the center.  Poland in 1981, Sudan in the late 1990s and today, to name just two.  If both conservatives and big labor have a mutual interest in seeing that striking Iranians force their government to become accountable to ordinary people, doesn’t it make sense to cooperate on that specific issue even if we may disagree on other issues?  Or should organized labor limit its partners to political clones and, in the process, sacrifice men like Mansour Osanlou (who, since publication of that piece, has been re-arrested)?

Michael Rubin is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, senior lecturer at the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Civil-Military Relations, and a senior editor of the Middle East Quarterly.


The Latest