Wednesday, November 30, 2005


I was walking to the march site, for what turned out to be one of the biggest anti-war demonstrations to date. She was sitting on the grass on the mall in Washington with a hand lettered sign that said, “My husband is fighting for your right to protest.” How did she come to that conclusion I wondered? Doesn’t having a loved one in the path of such danger make a person go beyond the political rhetoric and try to find the real reason for things?

Whatever freedom we have and our right to protest was not fought for by a military force halfway across the world. Those rights were fought for right here on our soil by people who were not wearing a military uniform, but were still shot at and sometimes killed by people in uniform while they were fighting for the right to organize, the right to vote, the right to be treated like human beings, the right to try and stop illegal and immoral wars that our government was waging in our name.

There are few monuments to people like us. They don’t stand in every public park or in center city squares. A holiday like Labor Day doesn’t quite memorialize the sacrifices made to win decent working conditions and the 8 hour day. Mayday doesn’t exist in the country in which it originated. International Woman’s Day is not celebrated here although the event that it commemorates, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire where over 140 women died many by being forced to jump from the building where the exits were locked to keep them in occurred in NYC.

The celebration of the history of resistance of the multinational American working class would bring to light not only our strength, resilience and creativity but would also expose the illegal and violent tactics of the capitalist class that continues to grow wealthy on the sweat of workers here and all over the world.

We need a cultural revolution in America; a revolution during which we rediscover our past and ourselves. Individually, we need to come to the conclusion that we have a right and responsibility to be aware and to participate as much as possible in this democracy. As a class, we need to fight for the right to have time to participate, for a right is not a right if you cannot use it because you are working 2 jobs just to make ends meet.

The words of Eugene V. Debs are as relevant today as they were when he first uttered them, “I don't want you to follow me or anyone else. If you are looking for a Moses to lead you out of the capitalist wilderness you will stay right where you are. I would not lead you into this promised land if I could, because if I could lead you in, someone else could lead you out."

And From the preamble to the constitution of the United Mineworkers of America, “Step by step the longest march can be won, can be won. Many stones can form an arch, singly none, singly none. And by union what we will can be accomplished still. Drops of water turn a mill, singly none, singly none.

Only when we organize and fight for our rights to healthcare, education, housing, the rights of the planet on which we depend for our survival will we become human beings and not just superfluous objects of capitalism. The technology that increased productivity was paid for with our labor. We deserve a share of the profit including leisure time without worrying how we will pay the bills.


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