The U.S. labor movement is going on a nationwide offensive to push, not only for the protection of collective bargaining “rights”, but also for a socialist “wish list” including an end to the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a “massive public works program”, socialized health care, higher taxes on the “rich” and “international worker solidarity”.
In an Emergency labor meeting (ELM) in Cleveland Ohio, last Friday/Saturday, labor bosses hunkered down to plan a national fightback against the Tea Party driven GOP agenda of government spending cuts, balanced budgets and smaller government.
The unions are planning more than mere street marches. This is “not-business-as-usual” but will involve unspecified “movement-wide dramatic actions.”
Ninety-six union leaders and activists from 26 states and from a broad cross-section of the labor movement , gathering at the Laborers Local 310 Hall in Cleveland on 4-5 March 2011, pledged to make the fight against union-busting and the budget cuts/concessions in Wisconsin the centerpiece of an emergency action plan centered on two national days of action called by the labor movement on March 12 and April 4.
March 12: Participants pledged to go back to their unions and workers’ organizations to promote the March 12 Day of Action called by the Wisconsin AFL-CIO. Brother David Newby, President-Emeritus of the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO, attended the ELM and relayed the proposal from his state federation that all unionists and labor activists in Wisconsin and neighboring states mobilize in Madison on March 12, with labor-led solidarity actions the same day in cities across the country.
April 4: Participants welcomed the call issued by Larry Cohen, International President of the Communication Workers of America (CWA) to organize on April 4, the anniversary of the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a “not-business-as-usual” Nationwide Day of Action at workplaces and communities across the country in support of labor rights. This call has since been supported by the AFL-CIO Executive Board, which is urging “movement-wide dramatic actions” on this day.
Participants agreed to promote broad support for this April 4 Day of Action in all ways deemed appropriate by unions and community organizations on the ground, including, where possible, industrial actions. They also urged support for these actions around demands that link the struggle in defense of labor rights to the struggle against budget cuts and concessions, and that point to solutions to the federal and state budget deficits, including taxing the rich and the corporations, cutting the war budget, and creating 27 million full-time jobs through a massive public works program (which could be launched immediately and with a $1 trillion “Bridge Loan” from the Federal Reserve).
To promote these actions, participants pledged to go back to their cities to build “We Are All Wisconsin!” committees of labor and community activists.
“Perspectives” adopted by the Emergency Labor Meeting included;
- As recent events in Wisconsin have reaffirmed, the key to an effective fight-back is mobilization of the union ranks. We envision a strategy that includes both actions in the workplace and in the streets.
- We not only defend the social insurance model — Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, public education, food stamps, unemployment insurance, etc. — but demand that these programs be strengthened and improved. And it is high time we follow the example won by our Canadian sisters and brothers decades ago by extending Medicare to all.
- A unified, energized working class could reach out for even wider alliances. There are millions of students, mom-and-pop businesses, family farmers, and others who are being squeezed by the corporate class. Seeking to partner with the Chamber of Commerce and corporate America, however, can only lead to failure for labor and its allies.
- Our goals cannot be met while American blood and vast amounts of our tax dollars are being consumed by unjust wars to advance the global corporate agenda. We say end the wars, bring all of our troops home now — and put the war budget to work for human needs.
- Instead of supporting wars of intervention, the labor movement should embrace international worker solidarity. The mutual declarations of support between protesters in Madison and insurgent independent unions in Egypt are a proud example that deserve wide emulation.
The unions and their socialist bosses understand that this is a battle for America’s soul.
If the Tea Party/GOP has enough backbone to win the day, America has a shot at restoring liberty and prosperity for all. Think Maggie Thatcher, communist inspired coal strike , 1983.
If the unions win, America as we have known her, is finished.