Thursday, December 22, 2005

Thoughts on Unions

How often have you said that the Government takes your money? How often have you said that all politicians are a bunch of gold diggers?

I know that I have said this many times. Every time I hear about tax cuts for the rich and benefit cuts for the poor, every time I hear about government banks writing off huge corporate loans but auctioning off small farm land, every time huge subsidies are announced for an already rich business, I think and say that they are all a bunch of hooligans taking our money.

But when it comes to supporting a movement that has questioned this system of appropriation of public wealth, we don’t do it. “So what if employers are exploiting workers; they are essential service providers, and should not strike! There are better ways of getting justice”. This is an all too typical middle class rhetoric.

What are the other ways of getting justice? If workers don’t come together, and fight back in the only way they can, what else can they do?

Public transit workers have a very important job to do, teachers, doctors all have an important job to do. But does that mean that they are not entitled to a decent life themselves? How fair is it that people should work as hard they can and more, and shouldn’t even complain if they are not paid well?

The poison that has been filled into the minds of the middle class against unions is part of a larger conspiracy. The establishment knows that an organized population is dangerous. But what is sad is that, even workers are disintegrating, buying into the lies of the managements, and are unsupportive of fellow workers. When the agenda of the establishment is so clear, when a movement has been attacked so vehemently, we need to stand in solidarity with our fellow workers. But instead we turn our backs and criticize the people who have the courage to stand up to power.

We have let the propaganda of those in power, the government with its corporate allies, overtake us. We have let them believe that they can rule over us, and do away with us if need be. How else can a President stand in front of the public and say shamelessly that he has committed an impeachable crime, and not regret it?

There is an attack on public movements everywhere in the world right now. Even peace activists and environmental activists can be labeled potential terrorist. The attacks on unions and the attacks on other people’s movements have come down on us simultaneously like a double edged sword. It’s the agenda of this sword to break us, scare us into inaction.

Today, more than ever, we need to stand in unison to fight this sword. We need to support our people who so courageously stand up for their rights. We need to do this for ourselves, so that we can take back that freedom which has been so mercilessly snatched from us.

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