Today was a day of union action across much of the United States. Well over 1000 events were held nationwide, with the kick-off rally in Waynesburg, Pa. getting the most attention. That event featured strong support from the miners' union for public employees and drew about 5000 people.
These were global actions, with British, Egyptian and other workers joining in.
The Student Labor Action Project mentioned these actions:
*In Philadelphia: Over 1,000 community members, faith, students, young people and workers came out to rally in solidarity with the labor movement and battles happening around the country.
*In Ann Arbor: At the University of Michigan, hundreds of students covered the campus as they demanded the right to an affordable and accessible education and demanded that our communities be run by us, not corporations.
*In Altanta: Hundreds of workers, students, young people, faith and community came out to a march and rally to stand against the attacks being launched on our communities that included MLK III as a speaker.
And the action is continuing. The AFL-CIO blog had this to say today:
•College students and professors are hosting more than 175 teach-ins across the country.
•International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) members in all California and Pacific Northwest ports are flying the Wisconsin flag in their ports. On the East Coast, Longshoremen (ILA) on the ports of Charleston, Savannah, Ft. Lauderdale, Mobile, Philadelphia, and Bayonne are also flying the Wisconsin flag.
•In Syracuse, N.Y., people will stand at 40 intersections to talk to people in their cars about what’s happening at a state level.
•On Sat., April 9, thousands of union members and community members will rally in Downtown Chicago and in Manhattan’s Times Square.
We can trace a straight line from the union demonstration in October in Washington, D.C. to Wisconsin and then to the antiwar demonstrations, to today's actions and forward to the coming April progressive actions. For the most part, these events have been critical of the Obama administration, but have focused their fire on the ultra-right and have depended to some extent on rallying local Democratic forces and the groups and movements which helped elect Obama in 2010.
Where is all of this headed? No one knows, but I hope that it will build momentum for a 2012 political victory for labor, people of color, women, youth, the LGBTQ communities, immigrants and everyone else who has a direct and vested interest in the democratic, anti-imperialist and anti-monopoly struggles. We desperately need to move the political center in this country leftwards and reinspire people with a hope for real change.
Sam Webb of the Communist Party apparently agrees with this. Read his latest article here.
I have my doubts that we're seeing a counter-offensive by the working class just now, or that we are likely to see one this year or next, but something is clearly stirring. The quality and number of defensive struggles---battles for basic democratic rights, for a better living standard for working people, against monopolies and foreclosures---is deepening and coming smack up against the right-wing political agenda.
It's a time for great patience and organizing.