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[personal profile] birdboy2000
At first glance, one might ask why I care so much about the protests in Wisconsin. Despite all the talk of Walker as a "Mubarak of the midwest" he has not actually fired on protesters, nor are the protesters themselves calling for violent revolution. The protesters are not an uprising of the poor, either, but of the middle-class. I don't live in Wisconsin, and if they start to have Alabama-quality education because they won't pay their teachers or give them rights, it doesn't effect me. But I care.

I care because my mother taught at a Hebrew school for fifteen years, before being fired for criticizing her boss's education plan. Now she has no job and no pension.

I care because in Tunisia and in Egypt, for all the attention the demonstrators got, the regimes fell when people went on strike. I care because unions are the only institution capable of calling for and carrying out such strikes.

I care because I was born into the middle class, but am well aware of what a lack of unionization has done to this generation. Had it not been for thirty years of union-busting, if the service sector had become unionized like manufacturing once was, I wouldn't have friends struggling to pay the rent.

I'm not a union member. It's possible that I'll never become one, with the decline of organized labor in this country. But I do understand the power of collective bargaining, how it protects workers from corporate abuses, asshole bosses, or simply their own poor negotiating skills. How instead of being an individual selling one's labor to survive like a slave, it allows one to stand with all the workers as an equal partner, capable of costing the company severely if they fight back.

And it's because, with plutocrats fighting to accumulate more and more wealth, unions - public or private - are the only ones fighting back.

That's why I keep talking about it. That's why I'll be at the state house tomorrow for a sympathy protest. Workers of all countries, unite!

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birdboy2000

December 2011

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