Friday, March 09, 2012

The Latest From The “Occupy May 1st” Website- March Separately, Strike Together –International General Strike- Down Tools! Down Computers! Down Books!- All Out On May Day 2012- Why You, Your Union, Or Your Community Organization Needs To Join The May Day 2012 General Strike In Boston-Stand Up!-Fight Back!

Click on the headline to link to updates from the Occupy May 1st website. Occupy May Day which has called for an international General Strike on May Day 2012. I will post important updates as they appear on that site.
An Injury To One Is An Injury To All!-Defend The Occupation Movement And All The Occupiers! Drop All Charges Against All Occupy Protesters Everywhere!

Fight-Don’t Starve-We Created The Wealth, Let's Take It, It’s Ours! Labor And The Oppressed Must Rule!
OB Endorses Call for General Strike

January 8th, 2012 • mhacker •

Passed Resolutions No comments The following proposal was passed by the General Assembly on Jan 7, 2012:

Occupy Boston supports the call for an international General Strike on May 1, 2012, for immigrant rights, environmental sustainability, a moratorium on foreclosures, an end to the wars, and jobs for all. We recognize housing, education, health care, LGBT rights and racial equality as human rights; and thus call for the building of a broad coalition that will ensure and promote a democratic standard of living for all peoples.

Why You, Your Union, Or Your Community Organization Needs To Join The May Day 2012 General Strike In Boston-Stand Up!-Fight Back!

Last fall there were waves of politically-motivated repressive police attacks on, and evictions of, various Occupy camp sites throughout the country including where the movement started in Zucotti (Liberty) Park. But even before the evictions and
repression escalated, questions were being asked: what is the way forward for the movement? And, from friend and foe alike, the ubiquitous what do we want. We have seen since then glimpses of organizing and action that are leading the way for the rest of us to follow: the Oakland General Strike on November 2nd, the West Coast Port Shutdown actions of December 12th, Occupy Foreclosures, including, most recently, renewed support for the struggles of the hard-pressed longshoremen in Longview, Washington. These actions show that, fundamentally, all of the strategic questions revolve around the question of power. The power, put simply, of the 99% vs. the power of the 1%.

Although the 99% holds enormous power -all wealth is generated, and the
current society is built and maintained through, the collective labor
(paid and unpaid) of the 99%-, we seldom exercise this vast collective power in our own interests. Too often, abetted and egged on by the 1%, we fruitlessly fight among ourselves driven by racism, patriarchy, xenophobia, occupational elitism, geographical prejudice, heterosexism, and other forms of division, oppression and prejudice.

This consciously debilitating strategy on its part is necessary, along with its control of politics, the courts, the prisons, the cops, and the military in order for the 1% to maintain control over us in order not to have to worry about their power and wealth. Their ill-gotten power is only assured by us, actively or passively, working against ours our best interests. Moreover many of us are not today fully aware of, nor organized to utilize, the vast collective power we have. The result is that many of us - people of color, women, GLBTQ, immigrants, those with less formal educational credentials, those in less socially respected occupations or unemployed, the homeless, and the just plain desperate- deal with double and triple forms of oppression and societal prejudice.

Currently the state of the economy has hit all of us hard, although as usual the less able to face the effects are hit the hardest like racial minorities, the elderly, the homeless and those down on their luck due to prolonged un and under- employment. In short, there are too many people out of work; wage rates have has barely kept up with rising costs or gone backwards to near historic post-World War II lows in real time terms; social services like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security have continued to be cut; our influence on their broken, broken for us, government has eroded; and our civil liberties have been seemingly daily attacked en masse. These trends have has been going on while the elites of this country, and of the world, have captured an increasing share of wealth; have had in essence a tax holiday for the past few decades; have viciously attacked our organizations of popular defense such as our public and private unions and community organizations; and have increase their power over us through manipulating their political system even more in their favor than previously.

The way forward, as we can demonstrate by building for the May Day actions, must involve showing our popular power against that of the entrenched elite. But the form of our power, reflecting our different concepts of governing, must be different from the elite’s. Where they have created powerful capitalist profit-driven top down organizations in order to dominate, control, exploit and oppress we must build and exercise bottom-up power in order to cooperate, liberate and collectively empower each other. We need to organize ourselves collectively and apart from these top down power relationships in our communities, schools and workplaces in order to to fight for our real interests. This must include a forthright rejection of the 1%’s attempts, honed after long use, to divide and conquer in order to rule us. A rejection of racism, patriarchy, xenophobia, elitism and other forms of oppression, and, importantly, a rejection of attempts by their electoral parties, mainly the Democrats and Republicans but others as well, powerful special interest groups, and others to co-opt and control our movement.

The Occupy freedom of assembly-driven encampments initially built the mass movement and brought a global spotlight to the bedrock economic and social concerns of the 99%. They inspired many of us, including those most oppressed, provided a sense of hope and solidarity with our fellow citizens and the international 99%, and brought the question of economic justice and the problems of inequality and political voiceless-ness grudgingly back into mainstream political conversation. Moreover they highlighted the need for the creation of cultures, societies, and institutions of direct democracy based on "power with"- not "power over"- each other; served as convivial spaces for sharing ideas and planning action; and in some camps, they even provided a temporary space for those who needed a home. Last fall the camp occupations served a fundamental role in the movement, but it is now time to move beyond the camp mentality and use our energies to struggle to start an offensive against the power of the 1%. On our terms.

Show Power

We demand:

*Hands Off Our Public Worker Unions! Hands Off All Our Unions!

* Put the unemployed to work! Billions for public works projects to fix America’s broken infrastructure (bridges, roads, sewer and water systems, etc.)!

Guest Commentary

From The Transitional Program Of The Leon Trotsky-Led Fourth International In 1938Sliding Scale of Wages and Sliding Scale of Hours

Under the conditions of disintegrating capitalism, the masses continue to live the meagerized life of the oppressed, threatened now more than at any other time with the danger of being cast into the pit of pauperism. They must defend their mouthful of bread, if they cannot increase or better it. There is neither the need nor the opportunity to enumerate here those separate, partial demands which time and again arise on the basis of concrete circumstances – national, local, trade union. But two basic economic afflictions, in which is summarized the increasing absurdity of the capitalist system, that is, unemployment and high prices, demand generalized slogans and methods of struggle.

The Fourth International declares uncompromising war on the politics of the capitalists which, to a considerable degree, like the politics of their agents, the reformists, aims to place the whole burden of militarism, the crisis, the disorganization of the monetary system and all other scourges stemming from capitalism’s death agony upon the backs of the toilers. The Fourth International demands employment and decent living conditions for all.

Neither monetary inflation nor stabilization can serve as slogans for the proletariat because these are but two ends of the same stick. Against a bounding rise in prices, which with the approach of war will assume an ever more unbridled character, one can fight only under the slogan of a sliding scale of wages. This means that collective agreements should assure an automatic rise in wages in relation to the increase in price of consumer goods.

Under the menace of its own disintegration, the proletariat cannot permit the transformation of an increasing section of the workers into chronically unemployed paupers, living off the slops of a crumbling society. The right to employment is the only serious right left to the worker in a society based upon exploitation. This right today is left to the worker in a society based upon exploitation. This right today is being shorn from him at every step. Against unemployment, “structural” as well as “conjunctural,” the time is ripe to advance along with the slogan of public works, the slogan of a sliding scale of working hours. Trade unions and other mass organizations should bind the workers and the unemployed together in the solidarity of mutual responsibility. On this basis all the work on hand would then be divided among all existing workers in accordance with how the extent of the working week is defined. The average wage of every worker remains the same as it was under the old working week. Wages, under a strictly guaranteed minimum, would follow the movement of prices. It is impossible to accept any other program for the present catastrophic period.

Property owners and their lawyers will prove the “unrealizability” of these demands. Smaller, especially ruined capitalists, in addition will refer to their account ledgers. The workers categorically denounce such conclusions and references. The question is not one of a “normal” collision between opposing material interests. The question is one of guarding the proletariat from decay, demoralization and ruin. The question is one of life or death of the only creative and progressive class, and by that token of the future of mankind. If capitalism is incapable of satisfying the demands inevitably arising from the calamities generated by itself, then let it perish. “Realizability” or “unrealizability” is in the given instance a question of the relationship of forces, which can be decided only by the struggle. By means of this struggle, no matter what immediate practical successes may be, the workers will best come to understand the necessity of liquidating capitalist slavery.

*End the endless wars!

* Full citizenship rights for all those who made it here no matter how they got here!

* A drastic increase in the minimum wage and big wage increases for all workers!

* A moratorium on home foreclosures! No evictions!

* A moratorium on student loan debt! Free, quality higher education for all! Create 100, 200, many publicly-supported Harvards!

*No increases in public transportation fares! No transportation worker lay-offs! Free public transportation!

To order to flex our collective bottom up power on May 1, 2012 we will be organizing a wide-ranging series of mass collective participatory actions:

*We will be organizing within our unions- or informal workplace organizations where there is no union - a one-day general strike.

*We will be organizing where a strike is not possible to call in sick, or take a personal day, as part of a coordinated “sick-out.”

*We will be organizing students to walk-out of their schools (or not show up in the first place), set up campus picket lines, or to rally at a central location, probably Boston Common.

*We will be calling in our communities for a mass consumer boycott, and with local business support where possible, refuse to make purchases on that day.

These actions, given the ravages of the capitalist economic system on individual lives, the continuing feelings of hopelessness felt by many, the newness of many of us to collective action, and the slender ties to past class and social struggles will, in many places, necessarily be a symbolic show of power. But let us take and use the day as a wake up call by a risen people.

And perhaps just as important as this year’s May Day itself , the massive organizing and outreach efforts in the months leading up to May 1st will allow us the opportunity to talk to our co-workers, families, neighbors, communities, and friends about the issues confronting us, the source of our power, the need for us to stand up to the attacks we are facing, the need to confront the various oppressions that keep most of us down in one way or another and keep all of us divided, and the need for us to stand in solidarity with each other in order to fight for our collective interests. In short, as one of the street slogans of movement says –“they say cut back, we say fight back.” We can build our collective consciousness, capacity, and confidence through this process; and come out stronger because of it.

Guest Commentary from the IWW (Industrial Workers Of The World, Wobblies) website

Preamble to the IWW Constitution (1905)

Posted Sun, 05/01/2005 - 8:34am by Editor

The working class and the employing class have nothing in common. There can be no peace so long as hunger and want are found among millions of the working people and the few, who make up the employing class, have all the good things of life.

Between these two classes a struggle must go on until the workers of the world organize as a class, take possession of the means of production, abolish the wage system, and live in harmony with the Earth.

We find that the centering of the management of industries into fewer and fewer hands makes the trade unions unable to cope with the ever growing power of the employing class. The trade unions foster a state of affairs which allows one set of workers to be pitted against another set of workers in the same industry, thereby helping defeat one another in wage wars. Moreover, the trade unions aid the employing class to mislead the workers into the belief that the working class have interests in common with their employers.

These conditions can be changed and the interest of the working class upheld only by an organization formed in such a way that all its members in any one industry, or in all industries if necessary, cease work whenever a strike or lockout is on in any department thereof, thus making an injury to one an injury to all.

Instead of the conservative motto, "A fair day's wage for a fair day's work," we must inscribe on our banner the revolutionary watchword, "Abolition of the wage system."

It is the historic mission of the working class to do away with capitalism. The army of production must be organized, not only for everyday struggle with capitalists, but also to carry on production when capitalism shall have been overthrown. By organizing industrially we are forming the structure of the new society within the shell of the old.

Watch this website and other social media sites for further specific details of events and actions.

All out in Boston on May Day 2012.

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