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News :: Labor
Possible Next Steps for the Million Worker March
11 Oct 2004
Congratulations to everyone who has worked so hard to make the MWM a reality. I look forward to seeing everyone in DC. As hard as we have worked, we must work harder still to guarantee the continuation of this great movement for the independent organization of workers and the working class.
Last evening the National MWM Committee SF decided to defer any discussion of which way forward for this movement to Monday October 18th, the day after the March. This informal meeting will be composed of members of the Regional Organizing Committees who will be contacted by the National Committee over the next few days to confirm their participation. The location and time of the meeting is to be determined.

This meeting can only serve as the beginning of the process to discus the next steps for this movement as most March participants will be leaving either Sunday night or Monday morning. The regional Committees will have to be given more advanced notice for future discussion on this critical issue in order to have maximum democratic input. Perhaps a series of Regional Conference calls or a national meeting of the leaders of the Regional Committees can be held to democratically formulate the appropriate next steps.

We must press our fellow activists and the MWM leadership to discuss how we may best develop a lasting and democratic organization that will contribute to the advancement of the working class organized around the demands of the MWM. Working people, both organized and unorganized, need a standing organization to empower them both politically and economically. To this end, I propose the following as my personal recommendations:

1. The election of an interim National Steering Committee to develop democratic by-laws, membership requirements, fundraising (dues?) and prepare for a National Convention/Conference in 2005.

It is critical that our movement express itself as a standing organization that advocates for the independent empowerment of workers. Paramount to this is the creation of a national democratic structure that allows Regional Organizing Committees to be involved in democratic decision making processes. I raise this issue to advocate for a stronger and more open and democratic organization to be born from all of our efforts to date. If we are not honest and open with each other and with our sympathizing public then we will never gain the strength or trust required to advance our economic and political agenda in the work place or community at large. A National convention in 2005 would enable the most democratic input from rank and file members so that we could chart our way forward with the best representation of all of our Regional Committee members.

2. The Interim Steering Committee should create a new National Organization for the Independent Mobilization of Organized and Unorganized Labor (Title –TBD). (Labor/Community Alliance?)

This movement must birth a new national organization to empower activists and workers throughout the country. Knowing that thousands and potentially millions of other men and women concretely stand shoulder to shoulder in the same organization, even though from different unions, organizations and states, will enable us to begin to organize on a class basis and not simply a trade or issue basis. The organization will only fully awaken following a convention in 2005.

3. The Interim National Steering Committee should commit to advancing both workplace organizing and social unionism as their primary objectives.

Have you ever noticed how many seminars, tapes, videos, tv and radio programs there are about getting rich quick, building a better business, etc? There are virtually ZERO programs, seminars, tapes and books on how to organize a union, just ask the clerk the next time you are at a library or book store. We must prioritize teaching unorganized workers how to organize. Public forums, meetings, seminars, booklets, and websites must be created to educate workers on their rights and how to organize themselves. We must plant the seed and desire to organize in hundreds of thousands of people in order to build solid economic defense organizations for workers: unions.

Secondly, we must continue to unite the peace, anti-war, labor and community organizations in grass roots fight back campaigns. Such coalitions are the foundation of united front campaigns and social unionism. The possibilities are endless. In my home town, we have developed campaigns that brought together local peace and justice organizations and the local California School Employees Union to fight a ballot initiative calling for the creation of a new City jail. We won and stopped the jail and now have on the ballot an initiative to fund our public schools. Recently, we held a public forum on the Attack on Democracy in which the local Buildings Trade Council Participated. This was a kickoff for a campaign against Diebold Touch Screen Voting Machines which we finally were able to eradicate from our County. We now will be voting on paper ballots! Social unionism and united front campaigns work.

4. We must discuss the creation of a New Workers Party (Title – TBD) in the United States and the fielding of candidates.

The creation of a workers party in the United States is paramount if we are to achieve any lasting success for the working class. The dismal turnout of American voters at each election is symptomatic of the lack of any party that adequately addresses working class needs. Although it would be premature to create such a party immediately following the March, we must discuss it and debate it at the national convention in 2005. We owe the creation of such a party not only to the millions of American Workers but the billions of workers world wide. The demise of the Labor Party must be studied in order to avoid making the same mistakes. Yet, the best elements and experiences from that organizations history must be learned and worked with.

I hope these ideas will provide food for thought.


Douglas MacDonald
Member National Million Worker March Committee SF (ID purposes only)
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