Statement by Alyson Kennedy, Socialist Workers Party Texas state campaign chair, April 7.
Solidarity is needed now to strengthen the strike by 1,300 steelworkers at Allegheny Technologies Inc., 200 locked-out oil refinery workers facing off with Marathon Petroleum bosses in Minnesota and over 700 nurses on strike against St. Vincent Hospital in Massachusetts. All working people have a stake in these struggles.
Let these workers know they do not fight alone — tell your co-workers, fellow unionists, family and friends about these battles, and send messages of support. Donations to their strike funds, as well as food and other supplies, are needed.
“You pick a fight with one of us — you pick a fight with all of us,” was the message delivered by United Auto Workers Local 722 President Steve Frisque to the Marathon workers. Urge your union to do the same — spread the word about these fights and organize the members to back them.
The Massachusetts nurses are fighting to reduce unsafe nurse-to-patient ratios. Marathon workers are fighting for safety for themselves and everyone in the communities near the refinery. Steelworkers at ATI have gone seven years without a pay raise and now face demands for more concessions. They set an example for millions of us who face similar conditions.
This week’s strike by miners at Warrior Met Coal in Brookwood, Alabama, is about resistance to boss plans to deepen divisions among workers. “We are one — that’s us!” miner Tyler Bittle proudly told the Militant.
Win or lose, the organizing fight at Amazon’s warehouse in Alabama has caught the attention of workers across the country. Unions must organize the unorganized “into their ranks. They must look carefully after the interests of the worst-paid trades,” wrote Karl Marx, a founder of the communist movement, in 1866. “They must convince the world at large that their efforts, far from being narrow and selfish, aim at the emancipation of the downtrodden millions.”
We can advance this perspective by fighting to wrest control of production from the bosses and taking it into our own hands. Work can be carried out without harm to life or limb if workers take control over how it is organized, if we set line speeds and if we decide how many workers are needed. That is also the road to preventing bosses from making shoddy and dangerous goods and halting their contamination of the earth, air and waters.
Through these kind of fights, we’ll rebuild the labor movement, learn to rely on the collective power of working people and act on the conviction that it is possible for our class to run the entire economy. To do so we need to build our own political party, a labor party, to fight to overturn capitalist rule and replace it with a workers and farmers government. That is the road forward presented by the SWP. Join us!