||4. Internal Military Interventions since World War II||Page 11|
Despite the decrease in the quantity of interventions in labor disputes in recent years, there is still an important qualitative effect. The 1970 intervention of 30,000 federal troops to take over the jobs of striking postal workers sent a message to government employees that all means would be used to break their strikes. And the 1982 intervention of 1,248 military air traffic controllers to replace strikers was seen by organized labor as a signal from the incoming Reagan Administration that it would not hesitate to use the military not only to break a strike, but to destroy a national trade union.
One may argue that the shift from labor to urban riot interventions reflects the consequences of the victory of capital over organized labor and the extension of class warfare from organized labor to the unemployed. There is no question that urban riots are related to the unemployment and under-employment that has resulted from the flight of industry out of the unionized Northern cities toward non-union areas in the South, rural areas, and overseas. During this time the strength of organized labor has declined greatly, to the point that today less than half the proportion of workers are in unions as compared to the period immediately after World War II. As Robin Higham puts it in his introduction to Bayonets in the Streets (1969, pp. 1-2), although 'money has not been everything' :
Money has, of course, been at the heart of most of the problems in which the military have been used in civil peacekeeping roles. Money and working conditions have been at the heart of labor disturbances. Money has been a major ingredient of the complex problems of the inner cities. Money has been a major factor in the expansion and equipping of police forces to deal with the increasingly sophisticated and complex problems of the protection of property and the control of crime in the United States.
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