I watch in amazement as the Republican right seizes more power by the day which is what neo fascists do in preparation for the full blown fascist abuses of power they inevitably will attempt. With each passing day we watch as our brother and sister workers in Wisconsin fight valiantly to preserve the right to collective bargaining as though this was their fight alone when that clearly is not the case.
In the Arab states we have seen that when the political henchmen of the oligarchs turn the screws too far the people have risen up as one and not only exercised their power but proven that the only legitimate government is one that rules with the consent of the governed. The power of Egypt’s uprising and the others taking place right now across the middle east are clear demonstrations of this simple truth: without the consent of the governed no regime can last. By pouring into the streets and by no longer obeying the people of any nation can experience the power they possess and it is a power far greater than that of any government.
The people, regardless of which nation you look at, do not need their oligarchs to survive, but all oligarchs need the obedience of the people to survive. It is no different in the United States than it is elsewhere. We forget because we so rarely exercise the power of the popular will that it is the people who are sovereign. The state only possesses sovereignty by our leave.
In all the Arab uprisings we have seen one spot of protest spread to others like wildfire yet here in the land of the free and the home of the brave where are our leaders in terms of joining this battle? The President’s perfunctory statement about an attack on workers is nice but not enough. Where are the leaders of the Democratic Party calling on the tens of millions of loyal Democrats to stand up for the right to collective bargaining? Where are the national and local labor leaders calling on their members and all those in solidarity with the dignity of labor everywhere to hit the streets in their own cities and towns? Where is Al Gore’s voice on this vitally important question? Where is Bill Clinton’s voice on this vitally important question? Where is Jimmy Carter’s voice? Clearly, if we wait for our ostensible leaders there will be no fight as is typically the case. If we let them do the fighting we already know what the outcome will be. Are we willing to lose forever? Are we really willing to submit to the abusive and idiotic rule of athoritarianism in the US? Because that’s what our enemies are all about. It could not be clearer.
It is well known that the fight in Wisconsin is the test case. The Republicans plan on systematically destroying the right to bargain collectively and thus break organized labor wherever they can. If we do not fight them and win on this battleground we will have missed a golden opportunity to demonstrate the power of the people and to show them they will not be allowed to carry out their rotten plans. In terms of this strategic moment this is the equivalent of Hitler moving his troops into the Rhineland. (No, I’m not calling the other side Nazi’s. It’s simply an analagous strategic point) Had France and her allies challenged the remilitarization of the Rhineland they could have stopped Hitler right there. Hitler himself admitted this. But they didn’t and their failure to challenge him when he could not hold his ground only emboldened him. Failure to fight and to demonstrate our opposition to this abuse of power and this attack on both workers and democracy itself will only embolden the enemies of the common people.
The time to fight has arrived. Every single day of delay allows our enemies (and make no mistake they are our enemies) to grow stronger and organize themselves even further. It is time to quit playing like the intentions of these people are good and that they mean well for America. They do not. They mean quite clearly to return to the days when unions were all but illegal, where sweatshops reigned supreme, where children worked literally for pennies, and where peasant immigrants arriving here found working conditions at least as bad, if not worse, than in the old country.
The fight today is the same fight that was fought and won in 1932. The enemy has never forgotten this though many in our ranks have (including many of our political leaders). It is the fight of the many against the favored few. It is the fight between the good of all the people versus the good of the rich people. It is the fight of democracy over authoritarianism. It is the fight of labor to challenge the power of the predator class that doesn’t give anymore of a hoot about the lives or living standards of the common people of this country than they do of the people working literally for slave wages in Asia. It’s all about money for them. They put profits before people. They always have and they always will.
Unions didn’t bring about the collapse of the world economy in 2008. It was the greed fueled criminal fraud of the predator class that brought down the economy. Yet, the crooks who engineered that biggest heist in the history of the world destroying pensions and retirements for hundreds of millions and destabilizing whole communities, states and nations have been pampered and bailed out and given a complete pass because our leaders serve them instead of us. How is that different than what the people of Egypt objected to regarding their oligarchy and how it denied opportunity to millions there? It isn’t.
It’s time to pick a day for every American who has had enough of the rich fattening themselves up while 20 million or more remain unemployed! What’s wrong with March 1st?
That should give enough time to spread the word on the net, let the unions mobilize and for all those in support to prepare and show up. Remember, though the media likes to tout the role of social media in organizing the recent Arab uprisings, it has been the labor movement in these countries that has provided the backbone of organization and opposition, especially in Egypt.
It is time for every American to stand up and be counted and demand the right to collective bargaining be left untouched! It is time to demand the government do something to stop the millions of foreclosures that we know are coming down the pike. It is time to demand that we put this country back to work and fight for restoration of stability in our communities and for what remains of the middle class in this country. It is time to say enough of Republican trickle down economics: it has never worked for anyone but the rich and never will.
There is plenty of wealth in America, but not if we allow the parasites at the top to continue to run the show in their interest and their interest alone. They have proven time and again throughout history that they are incapable of leading a society where all can prosper and where every person has the opportunity to do better through hard work.
Our grandparents fought them and won. African Americans fought them and won. Women have fought them and won. Gays have fought them and won. We can fight them and win too. But we cannot fight them sitting at home. We must take to the streets and we must stay there until our demands are met.
In order to win a fight you have to actually take part. The enemy prays we will remain at home. Will we allow their prayers to be answered? I hope not.
Now is the time! If we don’t try we’ll never know what could have been! Let us act now!
I leave you with two quotes from a very wise man who lived through most of the major people’s battles of the 20th Century and then made his life’s work studying them… Howard Zinn:
“Not to play is to foreclose any chance of winning. To play, to act, is to create at least a possibility of changing the world.”
“When you’re feeling powerless remember: the power of the people on top is only possessed due to the obedience of the people below.”
This entry is also posted at dagblog