Our Labor is All We Have

Yesterday, I was given the opportunity to help striking workers.

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The Fort Worth Symphony Musicians are on strike. A couple of the leaders were on my radio show, then I went over to Ft Worth for their rally, march, and picket last evening. I was so proud of them for their courage!

The number of important labor strikes diminished after Reagan was elected in 1980, and has almost disappeared today. They are all tangled up with government supervision and extremely difficult to carry off.

Withholding Our Labor Is Our Weapon

The truth is, all we have is our labor, and almost the only real economic power we have is to withhold our labor. That doesn’t always mean striking. It might mean some kind of slowdown or “work to rule.” it might mean a sickout or “blue flu” day.

There are laws closely regulating what you can and can’t do on any kind of concerted action. That’s because our enemies, the bosses and their government lackeys, already know that withholding our labor is about all we can do — and they intend to limit it as much as they can!

Despite everything, we can still win strikes. Our slogan is “One Day Longer!

Boycotts, too, are Highly Regulated

The same is true of boycotts, which are much less effective weapons, but we can use them because  workers are also consumers.

We Have One Greater Power

Solidarity is our greatest strength. The Musicians Union might not be able to shut down the city of Fort Worth because they don’t occupy a vital economic center. But they could hit the economy hard if they had enough friends and allies. Suppose the taxi and bus drivers committed to helping, for example!

With enough friends and allies, labor could apply all kinds of economic pressures. Further, by pooling our financial resources to make sure strikers’ families keep eating, we could make a strike last indefinitely. The Musicians, by the way, have already thought of that. They have an on-line donation site.

If we were really pulling together. workers could win everything we want. That has to be the goal. The isolated strikes of today, like the musicians in Fort Worth, are good practice for us all!

–Gene Lantz

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