Monday, September 15, 2008

Correction On Wimpy

A few days ago, I quoted William F. Buckley where he called Mr. William Winpisinger a socialist. I made the assumption that it was just a label. An alert reader wrote me to say that Mr. Buckley was factually correct. Mr. Winpisinger was indeed a socialist. And what a socialist.

Mr. Winpisinger’s obituary in The New York Times is most enlightening.

William Winpisinger, 73, Machinists' Chief

December 13, 1997

“William W. Winpisinger, a fiery, left-leaning labor leader who battled management, politicians and sometimes his fellow unionists as president of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, died on Thursday at a hospital in Howard County, Md. He turned 73 on Wednesday and lived in Ellicott City, Md.”

”Mr. Winpisinger sometimes called himself ''a seat-of-the-pants socialist,'' and he spoke and acted accordingly. “

”He once described the United States as a ''corporate state'' in which entrenched financial and business interests were fleecing the honest workers. He called for a national takeover of railroads, airlines, banks, utilities and the oil industry. “

Considering today’s news, I guess we have a few more socialists among us. At least as far as banks are concerned.

Mr. Winpisinger was active in the Democratic Party, serving on its finance committee. But at heart, he remained a leftist.

''The labor movement is drifting to the right along with everybody else,'' he said in a 1977 interview. ''We have an obligation to stand fast against that.''

In 1981, he condemned the Federal Government's bailout of the Chrysler Corporation, calling it ''Government intervention, on the side of the employer, to an extreme degree.''

He viewed the ascendancy of Ronald Reagan with special distress.

''Never before has an Administration stacked a Labor Department so heavily against labor and so mightily in favor of management,'' he complained in 1982.

I may not agree with Mr. Winpisinger on everything but I think I would have liked him. Socialist or not.

”William Winpisinger, Wimpy to his friends, was born in Cleveland. He dropped out of high school and learned how to repair diesel engines in the Navy in World War II. He worked as an automobile mechanic in Cleveland after the war and became head of the machinists' local.

In 1958, he moved to Washington to organize truck and car mechanics nationwide and became machinists' union vice president nine years later.

As president, he tried to live up to his self-affixed ''socialist'' label, pushing successfully for the expansion of job safety, human rights and organizing programs.“

I appreciate it when my readers write me with a correction. Sometimes I even like it. And on a related note, I always answer my emails. There have been a few lately that have bounced back as undeliverable. If you wrote and didn’t hear back from me that is the only reason. I do have a file labeled “The Looney Bin” but thankfully, I haven’t had to put an email in it since I started Get the Flick.

Thank you all for reading and (occasionally) writing.

Don Brown
September 15, 2008

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