The efforts of what we call interest groups (usually ‘top-down’ movements often representing elite interests), and the role of organized labor in the long term, ‘bottom-up’ fight for worker rights.

The two parts of this week’s writing assignment will focus on 1) the efforts of what we call interest groups (usually ‘top-down’ movements often representing elite interests), and 2) the role of organized labor in the long term, ‘bottom-up’ fight for worker rights. Part I -The IWW (Industrial Workers of the World) is an international labor union that was founded in 1905 in Chicago, Illinois. The IWW was fundamentally different from umbrella unions like the AFL or CIO that organized around specialized skilled trades. You could say their vision was a radical one in the face of the more ‘status quo’ union groups.Read the article “Listening to the Ghosts of Fresno” about the “free speech fight” of the “wobblies” (IWW) in Fresno by Paul Gilmore, describing a set of events that took place in Fresno over a century ago. This story gives us an idea for the way that the IWW was treated by powerful business and political elites across the United States in those days. Part II -Check out the Business Insider article “The 20 companies and groups that spend the most money to influence lawmakers.” Select ONE of these interest groups and do some additional basic research on your own. Part I -Why might the IWW have been seen as such a threat by business interests (more so than other union groups like the AFL-CIO) that it had to be stopped at all costs? As we look around us at the extreme inequality in America, and people’s unequal access to resources and rights, how do these “old ghosts” still haunt us? Is there anything you find important to take away from this story? Part II -What are they lobbying for (or against)? What tactics does this group use? Do human networking phenomena such as the revolving door, agency capture, or iron triangles play a role? What do their supporters say? What does their opposition say? Who is really benefitting? Add any thoughts or analysis of your own. Write at least 500 words.