Working people — who bear the brunt of the social, economic and moral crisis of capitalism today — are the source of powerful and sorely needed solidarity when we confront the bosses’ assaults. The social movement teachers have drawn around their union battle shows the potential power of labor.
Make these struggles your own! Help spread the word about the teachers and other union fights and other protests the working class champions, organize with your co-workers to join their protests and picket lines, and bring signs saying where you’re from. Get workers together and send messages of support from yourselves and your union, if you have one. Talk the battles up if you don’t, it will lay the groundwork to fight to organize.
These actions can reinforce the courage and confidence of those on the frontline. Those bringing solidarity gain a greater sense themselves what workers are capable of and become better able to fight.
Above all we gain confidence that workers have the numbers and the power — if we can unite — to change the daily indignities and unacceptable conditions we confront. Retail workers and others face part-time hours and low pay that make life harder. We face the disdain and opprobrium of those like Hillary Clinton who call us “deplorables” and try to shut us up.
Other workers confront speedup, dangerous conditions and the bosses’ disregard for workers’ lives. Millions of toilers worldwide confront the brutal consequences of the capitalist rulers’ wars.
The past 30 years have been marked by big struggles — from the 11-month battle of 1,700 miners at Pittston Coal in 1989 that drew solidarity strike action from 40,000 other miners; to the millions who stayed off the job on May Day in 2006 demanding, “No deportations!” of immigrant workers; to the 22-month lockout of sugar workers in the Upper Midwest in 2011.
But throughout this period our unions have continued to get weaker as officials have refused to build on the courage and tenacity displayed by workers in battle. Instead, they’ve directed labors’ efforts into the dead end of backing Democratic and Republican politicians — who are bought and paid for by the capitalist exploiters who attack us. This has led a stunning decline in union membership.
The teacher’s actions today give a glimmer of new opportunities to rebuild the labor movement. What’s in store for workers and farmers as the death agony of capitalism continues to unfold is deepening assaults by the bosses and more battles that can transform the working class. Our unions can become the fighting mass organizations that we need, that unite all workers, union and nonunion, native-born and immigrant, Black and Caucasian, women and men.
This is the road toward breaking from the bosses’ political parties and fighting for independent working-class political action — the struggle to take political power into our own hands and join the fight for a socialist world. Join Socialist Workers Party members and growing numbers of others on the picket lines!