"There's something happening here, what it is ain't exactly clear..."
This week, I attended a talk put on by the International Socialists, featuring an organizer with OUR Walmart, by Skype from Texas, and a Toronto-based union activist. Both speakers were terrific and so inspiring, but although I took copious notes, I'm not posting a summary of the talk.
It was similar to the talk I blogged about here - from greece to chicago to toronto, workers fighting back against austerity - and an extension to an article I wrote recently: workers doing it for themselves: fighting the austerity agenda in north america. The themes are the same. In a unionized workplace, rank-and-file membership need to challenge the complacency of the official union (so-called) leadership, and apply pressure to be more militant.
In a non-unionized workplace, workers need to meet, discuss their issues, work out their demands. They need to link up with other workers, possibly contact established unions for support, and think of ways to challenge their employers.
It's not easy. It's scary, and it can be costly. But there are examples to follow, people who can give support and advice based on experience. And above all, there is no other way. Without worker action, conditions will never change. No one can liberate the working class but the working class.
But that's not want I want to write about today. Here's what's on my mind.
The Occupy movement
The uprising in Wisconsin
The Arab Spring: Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen, and other countries
The Quebec student strikes and demonstrations
Walmart workers organizing and striking
Fast-food workers in New York City organizing and striking
Ongoing mass demonstrations and general strikes throughout Europe
Miners in South Africa on a wildcat strike
100 million people striking in India
The Chicago teachers' strike
The global environmental movement
Idle No More
And hundreds of smaller struggles that we may never hear about, all around the globe
These movements are all inextricably related.
Think of how powerful we would be if we all came together.
Think of how we might achieve that.