On Friday, September 13, 2019, I joined other trade unionists in celebrating the annual Awards Banquet of the Philadelphia chapter of the A. Philip Randolph Institute. (I’m the recording Secretary of the Philadelphia chapter.) The honorees were:
Martin Williams Jr., of the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers;
Linda Fields, Special Assistant, LIUNA Local 135;
George Piasecki III, President of the Delaware County (PA) AFL-CIO;
and Vernon Woodall, LIUNA Local 135.
Joining me to honor these Labor leaders were other labor leaders, Stewards and other people dedicated to upgrading the lives of their fellow working people. These are working-class people finding empowerment in banding together to help other workers find their power. I would encourage you to find your power in banding together with other workers in a union.
It’s come to this, threatening to engage in armed violence if their opponents get democratically elected and implement popular, and long-overdue, regulations around possessing firearms. Conservatives have been the spoiled children of American politics; every President has had to look over his shoulder at what the right-wing will complain about next. When the Obama administration put out the report on right-wing violence as a national security threat, the conservative media-Fox News, et al-let out such a whine about being reporessed that the administration recinded it.
But the threat is real; the next administration-please Lord, a Democrat!-must come down HARD on these bullies and terrorists-yes, they ARE terrorists!- and let them see we WILL NOT be intimidated! we WILL stand up to these spoiled bullies, and we WILL take their evil toys away from them! And when we do, we’ll finally see the kind of gutless, yellow-bellied tapeworms they are, and they’ll crawl back under their rocks of insignificance!
Saturday, September 7, I attended a citywide meeting and electoral forum of Reclaim Philadelphia, the grassroots progressive activist group which has mobilized its members to canvass for several progressive candidates during the Primary election in May. (https://www.reclaimphiladelphia.org/) The meeting took place in the sanctuary of the First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia, 2125 Chestnut Street. (https://www.philauu.org/)
The forum was for candidates for the two minority At-Large seats in Philadelphia City-Council, traditionally held by Republicans. (Full disclosure, I’m a Democratic Committee-person in the 48th Ward.) At the forum were Kendra Brooks and Nicolas O’Rourke, running with the Working Families Party; Sherrie Cohen, running although she was taken off the ballot (her case is going through the courts); and independent Joe Cox. Reclaim activists Aileen Callaghan, Ken Begley, Natasha Cahill, and Sarah Kloss asked the candidates questions about such issues as ending the ten-year tax abatement for real estate developers (which takes money away from housing and other needed services); juvenile justice and reentry programs for people coming out of the penal system; climate change and the environment; and funding for quality schools, ending support for private charter schools (which takes funding from public schools), and community control of local schools.
City Council-person-At-large Helen Gym spoke, discussing the successful electoral work of Reclaim in electing progressive candidates such as herself; in the May primary, Gym, with the support of Reclaim, raked in over 100,000 votes, more than the next-highest candidate. ( https://whyy.org/articles/2019-pennsylvania-primary-election-results/)
On Sunday, September 8, I joined other Democratic committee-people at a cookout put on by Congress-member Dwight Evans. Amid the fun, we were reminded of the importance of getting the vote out for this election, and especially next year, the presidential election. Committee-people are the arms, legs, eyes, and ears of the party system, going out to urge people to vote and take part in their political process, and to listen to the concerns of the people in the neighborhoods.
These folks are talking tough about forming militias if they don’t get their way, so what do we do to fight this?
During the Sixties and Seventies, the right-wing slogan was “law and order” and “support you local police.” But it was THEIR law and THEIR order they wanted, not protection from crime; and they only support law enforcement if it was THEIR law they enforced. We can’t be intimidated, we must resist the slide to fascism. We must stand up for our rights against these bullies and thugs.