Sun Dec 16th, 2007 at 12:26:12 PM EST
This is going to be short, because I'm going to have to get on the road for my trip before things turn really bad.
Solidarity is a something that isn't nearly as in style as it was some time ago. There was a time in the US and Europe when workers had songs that told them that together they were strong. In Europe it was the Internationale. In the United States, the song that said it all was Solidarity Forever by Pete Seeger.
For the union makes us strong
When the union's inspiration
through the workers' blood shall run,
There can be no power greater
anywhere beneath the sun.
Yet what force on earth is weaker
than the feeble strength of one?
But the union makes us strong.
In our hands is placed a power
greater than their hoarded gold;
Greater than the might of armies,
magnified a thousand-fold.
We can bring to birth a new world
from the ashes of the old
For the Union makes us strong.
Althought solidarity seems to have gone out of style, Manchester's satanic mills seem to have found a new home in the Middle Kingdom and all those other portions of the earth where workers are repressed. I don't need to tell you that now, even in the "advanced capitalist" states, the human rights of working people are under assault from the forces of neo-liberalism.
Man and Earth have been made to have no greater meaning than the money they can make for the market. Humanity loses its soul, and we fail to see that the Earth is not for us alone, but for all those who will come.
I have two (short) proposals for international labor solidarity that I think could go a long way to bringing together working people across borders.
Something akin to the JakeS's strike screw is needed to coordinate strike funds across borders and industrial sectors.
One of the more terrifying aspect of going on strike is that you're suddenly in a position where you don't know how you're going to pay for you mortgage or food for your kids. When my brother in law went out on strike this fall, my sister and her family were scare td they might lose their house. I've got two cousins who've been out at International Harvester for over two months.
If it wasn't for them having built up savings, they could very easily be forced from their homes because they stood up and went on strike.
I think that there needs to be a seperate effort to attend to the families of those on strike. Direct aid to striking workers would create legal and PR problems in many countries. But imagine reading stories about the company trying to block groups from helping families feed their kids. It makes management look like real bastards if they try to do it.
And if workers aren't trying to figure out how they're going to feed their kids, then they're going to be a lot lessed stressed out. And they're going to be able to hold out longer to get a better contract.
Better yet, in the US (and I presume other countries) donations to this type of organization would be tax-deductible.
Organized as an international charity, this could provide an important way in which workers in the global North could show support for their brothers and sisters in the global South. And I think that it would be relatively easy to get started, and could make effective use of the internet.