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(en) Strike #2 - Rich Men Will Never Ever Solve Our Problems

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Thu, 16 Sep 2004 08:06:02 +0200 (CEST)


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Even if you're not the type to pick up a copy of the daily
newspaper, it's not that easy to escape the bad news. Check it.
Three million factory jobs have been destroyed since 2001. We have
the highest unemployment rate in 15 years and state and local
governments are locked into the largest budget crisis since the Great
Depression. Nearly 45 million people live without health insurance
coverage and increasing attacks on reproductive freedom have left
many women in rural and urban searching out increasingly scarce
resources when faced with an unwanted pregnancy.

The occupations of both Iraq and Afghanistan have created human
misery on a massive scale for both the common people of those
nations as well as the working people who are sent by the Bush
administration and their respective government to fight and die ,with
the total casualties of all involved (dead and wounded) easily
numbering in the tens of thousands. Huge tax cuts for the rich are
dolled out while what is left of social services have been severely
scaled back once gain. Immigrant workers, whether they be from the
Middle east, Latin America or elsewhere, are increasingly facing
government repression and deportation under the pretext of
“protecting our borders” or “fighting terrorism”. The
dirty laundry list goes on and on....

The vicious policies of both Washington and Wall Street face working
people at every corner we turn. We don’t need to watch the
nightly news to know that times are rough, because these policies
play out in real ways in our everyday lives.

We’ve got tax cuts and economic policy that benefit the rich
which directly translates to us, the working class, being poorer: A
single mom hopes that her kids don’t notice that she’s not
eating so that they can get enough food , a family whose jobs have
been outsourced say goodbye to their neighbors and friends and move
halfway across the country in hopes of another job, A family files for
bankruptcy because they can’t pay their medical bills, a tired
worker wonders anxiously on the picketline how long they can hold
on strike against a boss whose fat on his tax cut, a dad gets busted
stealing Christmas presents he can’t afford.

We’ve got homeland security which directly translates into 1984
in 2004: an anti-war protester is visited by FBI agents at their home
and questioned about going to protest the Republican National
Convention, INS agents grab an Arab father away from the arms of
his children, in the dead of night , and disappears him for a couple
months of questioning and detainment, the government puts you on a
list just becuase of the library books you check out.

We’ve got the invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan
which directly translates a bloody mess: dead and maimed sons and
daughters, your friend patroling the streets of Baghdad and
wondering if they’re going to get sniped for fighting in a war that
they don’t even believe in, husbands coming home and
developing a nasty dope habit to to forget what they’ve been
through, An Iraqi kid whose father has been killed joins up with an
Islamic fundamentalist group, although he isn’t down with their
beliefs, he wants revenge and they’ll deliver.

These are just a few snapshots of the fucked up scenarios that
confront members of our class. Is our predicament completely
hopeless? No. For instance one recent moment in pop-culture
indicated that we as working people are at least looking for some
answers in in this mess, when Michael Moore’s documentary
Farenheight 9/11 became a hit and the highest grossing documentary
of all time. The documentary, which takes the Bush Administration
to task for its mishandling of 9/11 and the war in Iraq, had record
attendance outside of the usual suspect liberal urban centers with
rural black church groups making a night of going out to see it, Dale
Earnhardt Jr of Nascar fame taking his whole crew toheck it out, and
the Army and Air Force Exchange Service which shows films on US
military bases abroad even booking it because of overwhelming
demand. Beyond merely attending a movie, people have protested the
war in Iraq, the attack on reproductive rights and the policies of the
Bush administration in record numbers. What can be said is this: lots
of people are pissed off at the way things are going. We want some
change and were eager to oust an unpopularly elected regime in
exchange for one that won’t run roughshod over our lives at quite
the same deafening pace. However, we’ve gotta remember that
our problems didn’t start with Bush and they won’t end with
Kerry. They go deeper than the regressive policies of the current
administration

Many of our weekly lives reflect at least 40 hours on the job, 40 –
50 hours of sleep a week if we’re lucky, and after errands,
laundry, childcare, and chores, we for the most part have little life left
in us. We spend most or our waking lives in workplaces where we
have no say in how things go down and were bound to the plans of
our managers and bosses. Many of us don’t do work that we find
meaningful or fulfilling in the first place. Ways of living like family
farming are being torn apart by the advancement corporate controlled
agriculture. Old neighborhoods are taken over by yuppies who buy up
houses therby driving up rents and taxes. Once thriving small towns
where people lived together for generations have become ghost towns
as plants close their gates and move off to somewhere where they can
can take advantage of workers more easily. Many of us are living
check to check, week to week, slaving away as our lives pass us by.
This is life in a society which is set up for the benefit of the rich. This
is life under global capitalism and theres gotta be a better way.

From August 30th through September 2 the Republicans meet in
NYC to celebrate the success of their last four years and plan for
another four. On the ground people will be reaching out and
searching for that better way in NYC. Unions and anti-war groups,
synagogues and churches, community groups and tennants’
organizations, anarchists and socialists, immigrant community
centers and people from all walks of life have been gearing up for a
showdown with the Republicans. Enraged by Bush’s exploitation
of the anniversary of the September 11th tragedy and his atrocious
foreign and domestic policies, people have been organizing for
massive protests and direct actions for well over a year. These
protests against the Republicans will undoubtedly dwarf the 2000
RNC protests in Philly which drew around 10,000 people. Across the
country and even the globe, groups have organized themselves to take
the streets of NYC in September. It’s gonna be big, maybe even
the biggest protest that all of us have seen in our lifetimes. While the
administration of NYC mayor Bloomberg has made attempts to block
and dissuade protests , even going so far as to deny permits to groups
organizng rallies and arrogantly offering them space to protest in
Brooklyn no one is fooled, and neither Bloomberg or even Bush will
be able to stop the outporing of dissent against the Republicans. Such
is the power weilded by mass social movements. The elites may hide
in their towers and convention centers guarded by lines of thugs in
blue armed to the teeth , but they cannot completely break the spirit
and will of the great masses people to speak out and act out against
them and their monied interests.

Now as a union member and someone whose been in the struggle for
a minute, I understand the danger of organizing people under the
pretense that if we “Dump Bush” everything will be all right.
Don’t get me wrong it’s not such a bad idea to vote Bush out
of office and attempt to win some mid term bread and butter victories
for our class. However, if what we seek is to ensure that all working
people have, among other things, ample access to decent housing,
healthy food, acceptable healthcare, quality childcare, meanigful jobs
and direct democracy in our workplaces and communities, just
rallying around the “Anybody But Bush” banner will lead
ultimately to disillusionment and dead ends. Under the Kerry
administration we will still have troops occupying Iraq, he will still
craft economic policy to benefit his rich Yale buddies, he (as Clinton
did with the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty act) will
continue to erode civil liberties and forge a police state aimed at
controling the populace, he will still be a motherfucker that we curse
under our breath as we watch the nightly news. Kerry and Bush are
players in and representatives of the system the keeps us, the working
class, in the economic rat race and strips us of political power. This is
capitalism. If we want to live in a society in which the people who do
the work make the decisions and in which we don’t have to slave
away to have access to the necesities, we must build directly
democratic grass roots social movements in our workplaces and
schools, our neighborhoods and towns, and among working class
people internationally. These movements must not only capable of
forcing Bush out of office, but also of reclaiming the democracy and
freedom that has been snatched away from us by the elites that run
our world, our countries, our states, and our hometowns. That is, we
must build directly democratic organizations which can not only
defend the working class, but will eventually be capable of self
managing our workplaces, self governing our communities and self
organizing an economy that will be for all working people not for
private profit. This is anarchist communism.

As I chill at my friend’s place, drinking beer and writing this
article I can’t help but think of the coming protests at the RNC in
August and September and the most widespread and deeply felt anger
I’ve seen directed at any administration in my entire life. I
can’t help but grin. At the RNC we will take our voices to NYC,
build links of solidarity between our movements and manage another
step towards in building the movement that will ultimately be able to
effect lasting change. I’ve got just one thing I gotta say before we
all see each other in the streets: rich men will never ever solve our
problems and it’s time we flip the script. Let’s roll!

By Luther Blisset Green Mountain Anarchist Collective (VT-NEFAC)
*******************************************

This article is from the second issue of "Strike!"

Strike! is a tabloid newspaper covering the ever important struggles of
working people in the Northeast and across the world. From
community and workplace resistance, to the fights against racism and
sexism as well as international turmoil, the struggles that rock your
world are brought to you here with a fresh anarchist-communist
perspective.


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