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News ::
How does the movement deal with labor?
04 Oct 2000
Approaching Labor
Amidst running around Teusday afternoon I ran into something that I had not fully considered. By 4p.m., Gore supporters in the area numbered in the thousands. These were made up mostly of AFL-CIO's (steelworkers?) and the carpenter's union. Now, Mobilization for Global Justice events had been planned at the same time--a peace walk onto UMass through the "back door" at Mount Vernon--anyway, this was the area where the 400+ carpenters had gathered to rally for Gore. Well in the turn of events, i believe that folks who had showed up "as Greens" and as advocates for global justice were suddenly faced off with working class people who--quite possibly seeing the union organized event as an occasion to shake of the pressures of proletariate struggle in the U.S. (i.e. shout for liberal causes, Celebrate tradition of Democrat power in Bston, and maybe toss a few back)--more than an earnest admiration for Gore, felt like they were being attacked by Green Party supporters and tree-huggers.
Number one, it would be wise that anyone who is really committed to this movement not to bog themselves down with actions of idealist, political rationalization (i.e. even fucking wanting a Nader in amongst those Devils) and instead, maintain a free-and autonomous spirit emulating earth-based values (i.e. "Rainbow" "Anarchist" "Child of Light")
But number two, sometimes "laborers" in this country are synonymous with "slaves", and it is hard to respect a person like that (i.e. "Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our mind") What Bob Marley says here is the truth, but more than that he is announcing it as so through the peaceable medium of music. We need to learn and practice this technique folks.

Anyone who has made it this far, you can stop now. But if you like:

Now personally, EF! fucking should rule,) but pragmaticdally speaking, the fact that those of us who carry any number of signs at one time might and will easily find ourselves stepping on toes.
Look, greens don't want to give the impression that they are anti-labor but realize that the Democrat party is Big Money, anarchists don't want to play to anyone's classism (and as I finally figured out, respect the proletariate greatly), and the mobilization for global justice is all about workers rights, fair wages, conditions, etc. (read UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights), so in the end, "brothers and sisters" we need to reach inside ourselves and rid ourselves of our timidness, have confidence in what we finally know, and cultivate the opportune mountain of humanity. And if you feel like you don't know confidently enough yet, have the self-respect to ask another human being how they feel about it! Jesus Christ, the worst you can do is disagree with them.
There is no reason why not and furthermore, those union brothers (mostly) should have been marching with us down Morrisey. Against the same bullshit we were. Instead I felt taunts, "light-making", and a general sense of misunderstanding amongst both sides.
Conclusion:
The people on top are afraid of the people on the bottom. Those on the bottom are scared of those on top. What we have is the knowledge, that we are all on the same planet, all that other shit is just evil. And with that truth, I see we can prove everyone Together.
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labor
04 Oct 2000
this was an event that many had to disagree with the afl-cio. I wouldn't get too discouraged by this it should have been expected. The difference between nader supporters and the gore supporters on tuesday is largely superficial and i think people can see through that. Both contingents represent the same issues just different methods. The bottom line is that big labor does not want to be locked out of a Gore white house.
If you run into union workers backing gore just ask them Why? Why are they supporting someone who is in favor of NAfta and the WTO? What has Gore done for labor? Do you really think he or any other new democrat is going to seriously address labor issues if they know that no matter what they do labor will never confront the democrats. Gore and Bush are both pro-corporate America. You can't be pro-labor too it doesn't work because corporations will win every time. . .they have more money. Voting for a pro-corporate canidate does not help labor's cause.
brother in the march
04 Oct 2000
As a union member maching with the Greens on Tuesday night I would also like to pass along some observations. I am a shop steward with IUE L201 and my plant in Wilmington Ma. is under a 6 month notice for transfer of work to Reynosa Mexico. 85 lack of works this year. GE is forcing most of its suppliers, like us, to move to low cost centers(read-corporate greed) or loose GE business. First, all the protesters in the march were very civil to each other, as well as to opposition groups. From what I saw the guys in the white Gore T-shirts were grabbing Nader signs and ripping them up. When I got in their faces about my situation, Greens or whoever, pulled me away and calmed the situation down. All through the night I tried to talk to as many of you as possible. You people, as young as you are, understand more about what direction this world is going in than those guys who have been working for 20 or 30 years. I don't get it either. In the past 8 years labor has seen NAFTA, real wages decline, weakening of OSHA and the NLRB, etc,etc, and they still want to go lock-step with the "winner". Well all these "winners" are keeping us loosers too long. Keep fighting the fight! We have to turn this thing around and come together. Time is not on our side. It was a pleasure to march with you all and when they tell you stop screaming, SCREAM LOUDER!!
Alliance Sustainable Jobs & Environment ! ! !
04 Oct 2000
The Alliance For Sustainable Jobs and the Environment has a positive approach. There's living wage jobs in them their woods. And in many other industries, too. Our blue/green alliance is about people working together. ASJE is building. And we know how scared the corporations are to see us doing this. Workers & Enviros are suppose to be enemies, you know.

Bullshit.

Here is our Mission Statement:

The Alliance For Sustainable Jobs and the Environment is a network of individuals and organizations dedicated to building a world where nature is protected, the worker is respected, and unrestrained corporate power is rejected through grassroots education, organization, and action.


Wes Brain
board member ASJE www.asje.org
(our board is made up of 6 people on the labor side and 6 people on the enviroment side. I am on the labor side)
SEIU 503 (Oregon Public Employees Union) www.opeuseiu.org
Stupid actions behind the hostility
04 Oct 2000
Levi,
Yes, you're right, many of the union workers did feel hostile towards your group. Here's two of the main reasons why:
1) A number of Nader supprters teased and taunted the union guys as they walked past one another. How dumb was that? Any idiot knows that if you taunt a big group, let alone a big group of beefy guys with crew cuts, it's likely that conflict will arise. (And it's probably not the people who yell the insults, but others, who will get hurt.) Dialogue about common issues might have produced some positive results, but instead I saw a few morons yelling things like " Al Gore is a corporate whore". Was it surprising that the unionists responded with comments like "Nader's a fag"? The unions had leaders to try to prevent conflicts from breaking out, holding back the assholes who wanted to throw punches, and for the most part they did. The Nader supporters were not intelligent enough to silence the brainless yappers among them.

2) Roni Krouzman of Boston Mobe is personally responsible for helping create a hostile climate. In what was supposed to be a positive discussion with union leaders, he yelled at an AFL-CIO leader, and, I believe, stormed out. This is not someone who should be in a leadership role..

I think, and hope, that labor can be positively approached. This should serve as a negative lession.
rational discussion with an afl-cio member
05 Oct 2000
I did have one positive conversation with a member of the Local 125 Carpenters, out in support of Gore.

Me: Did you know that both Clinton/Gore and the GOP pushed NAFTA and GATT legislation and approval?

He: Yes.

Me: I think that many manufacturing plants are moving overseas, and many Americans have either lost their job, lost their freedom or affectiveness in organization, or have increased job insecurity for the present and the foreseeable future, due to NAFTA, GATT and the WTO.

He: I can't do anything about that. That's the wave of the future.

Me: Nice talking to you.
building a movement w/ labor
05 Oct 2000
the movement against globalization and corporate power needs the power and numbers of labor-plain and simple. very cool alliances are happening in this direction- with labor at the lead in many of them (check out TIRN, SOA Watch + Labor, Maine EF! and labor, etc.) the way to encourage this more is definitely not in silly confrontations in front of media.
we need to be alot more thoughtful and strategic if we want this movement to kick some corporate ass. think about why labor was out there- many probably think that they cant afford to lose the white house to bush. sure, Gore is for NAFTA and WTO and I personally wish that unions were endorsing Nader, but think about the threat Bush posess to labor and you'll see that its even worse than Gore's threat. Also realize that unions are much more accountable than affinity-based groups or whatever so working with them means realizing that they often can't be as radical as you'd like them to be--although if you researched into recent actions that have happened you'd be impressed. Labor has alot of knowledge, experience, and skills when it comes to organizing against corporate globalization (they also have working relationships across all kind of borders-something that has to happen to globalize justice) so basically we've got to learn to work together on this and that way we'll all be stronger.the way to work through this isnt in yelling matches on the night of a big protest- thats only going to mark our movement as divided.
Give it a chance
06 Oct 2000
"Sam",
At the risk of stating the obvious, a genuine dialogue does NOT end when someone disagrees witih you! Why exactly was he wrong? (If you can't say anything persuasive, then perhaps he IS right ...)What if you'd said, "no, you're wrong, organized people can change things, that's why you're in a union, right?" Give it a chance,
Larry