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Starry Messenger

Profile Information

Name: Decline to State
Gender: Female
Hometown: Sacramento, CA
Home country: USA
Current location: Left Coast
Member since: Sat Apr 9, 2005, 08:01 PM
Number of posts: 32,339

About Me

Artist, high school teacher and "hard-liner" (yet to be defined).

Journal Archives

Netroots Nation 13 stresses building lasting leadership

I got to go to this last weekend to cover it for PW. It was a blast. I took tons of notes and learned a lot. It's not a "socialist" conference, but there's a lot going on with labor and progressive grassroots in the anti-corporate activist realm that is interesting. (If you have time to browse, many of the events were livestreamed and archived here: http://www.netrootsnation.org/nn13/)



This year's event centered on the concept that leadership is created in the course of struggles along with building on small victories to reach larger gains.

In addition, the usefulness of the internet as a springboard toward face-to-face organizing, with media and petition tools was another topic highlighted throughout.

"Innovative Corporate Campaigns", which could have been more accurately titled Innovative "Anti-Corporate" Campaigns as it featured the strong voices of people who have taken on many large targets and won gains for workers and homeowners who have been the most squeezed by large companies and banks for the last few years, was a particularly engaging panel.

The panelists energetically crunched out a labor 101 primer that will serve everyone who attended for years to come. Cathy Youngblood, the woman who crafted the "Someone Like Me" campaign to put a Hyatt hotel housekeeper on the Hyatt Board of Directors, helped invigorate the panel, while Maurice Weeks, an organizer for the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) in California, drove home the sentiment saying, "Folks are sick of playing defense." Weeks also added that the job of an professional organizer is to organize themselves out of a job and allow the people most affected by the problem to be the ones to take leadership in the struggle.


Posted by Starry Messenger | Mon Jul 1, 2013, 04:24 PM (0 replies)

Big picture trade unionism



A defining feature of labor today is a commitment to coalition building. The uprisings in Wisconsin, Ohio, and Indiana, were vast coalitions, led by labor, uniting union and non-union workers in defense of labor rights. The Chicago teachers' strike victory resulted from a powerful labor-community coalition that united parents, teachers and communities into a powerful force. The teachers struck not only for their work place demands, but also for the students, for the schools and for the communities.

Increasingly, in rebuilding the labor movement, the unions fight for the common good, for the whole of the working class, every bit as hard as they fight for their own interests. This is illustrated in the priorities set by the national AFL-CIO for this year's work. Two of their top legislative goals include immigration reform with a path to citizenship rights and protection and expansion of voting rights.

Further the AFL-CIO is making tremendous efforts to build broad united coalitions with all kinds of working class organizations. They are hosting numerous meetings and conferences with all kinds of allied working class organizations, like those fighting for immigrant rights, civil rights, economic and social justice and more. They are very serious about not just consulting but also giving allies, including non-union workers, a voice in developing the future of the labor movement. They fully expect to have more delegates to their coming national convention from allied organizations, than from AFL-CIO affiliates.

Class-consciousness is on the rise. Five years ago, how many union members were talking about the Koch brothers? How many knew about the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), and its role? Realizing that it is the banks, the big corporations, and big money that sponsor the right-wing attacks on labor is a giant step in class-consciousness for American workers.


I've seen Scott moderate discussions of his piece here and it is very compelling, on how we can work to shore up new shifts in labor, and also on the need to move to a new phase of unionism.

He makes the case that we are ripe for a jump to a more effective form of labor struggle, in the same way that labor moved from craft to trade unionism, and from trade unionism to industrial unionism. He calls the next iteration "big picture unionism" and lays out some points that show a way forward and is open to discussion.
Posted by Starry Messenger | Tue Jun 4, 2013, 07:26 AM (1 replies)
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