I speak about remembering the events of January 6, and of the need to resist all forces that would eliminate our democracy.
Last month I went to the Michael J. Crescenz VA Medical Center in West Philadelphia, to the ER. (I won’t mention why, too disgusting.) I received great care there, which is important since my health insurance from the time with the city has run out. Next year, I’ll be eligible for Medicare, and I’m active in the cause of a national health insurance system for ALL Americans, “Medicare for all.” Health, like education, is a necessity and not a luxury.
Are you keeping track of all the strikes and other labor actions going on in the country? The Bureau of Labor Statistics of the US Department of Labor, workers, due to the pandemic, now realize their importance in the working of the company. Before, the inability of workers to change jobs has been one means of controlling them, to take away their power and autonomy; a submissive working class has always been the billionaire class’ goal. (https://www.npr.org/sections/money/2021/10/19/1047032996/why-are-so-many-americans-quitting-their-jobs) (https://www.al.com/business/2021/11/the-great-resignation-2021-americans-leaving-jobs-in-record-numbers.html)
(I’ve mentioned earlier the need for a national health insurance system, “Medicare for all.” Corporations use their health care plans to keep employees from leaving the job and going somewhere else; there would not be that kind of a problem with “Medicare for all.”)
Are workers finally realizing their power through organizing? The workers at the Kellogg cereal facilities, members of the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union-like the one in Lancaster, PA-have voted to ratify the new contract, which calls for no concessions or takeaways, no two-tier system, a path to full employment, a pause in plant shutdowns, cost of living raises, and improvements in the pension system. (https://bctgm.org/2021/12/21/kelloggs-strike-ends-bctgm-members-ratify-new-contract/) Plus, Amazon reached an agreement with the National Labor Relations Board; allowing union organizers to meet with workers after their shifts and to notify workers of their right to organize; and to not retaliate against workers for union activities. (https://www.nbcnews.com/business/business-news/amazon-settles-nlrb-helping-pave-path-union-organization-rcna9834) (https://www.huffpost.com/entry/amazon-nlrb-settlement_n_61c4cd61e4b0d637ae8ba8f3) Workers in a Starbucks store in Buffalo, NY, also voted to form a union. (https://www.nbcnews.com/business/business-news/amazon-settles-nlrb-helping-pave-path-union-organization-rcna9834) These low-income employees, such as store workers stocking shelves, truck drivers delivering goods, and hospital housekeepers cleaning rooms during COVID, are finding out how important they are in the community, and they value themselves enough to demand better, for themselves and their families.
We cannot rely solely on elected officials, no matter how pro-worker or pro-people they are; after we finish our New-Year’s revels, we have to let them know, and each other know, that we can and will band together to protect our democracy. One way is the upcoming series of Days of Remembrance and Action for the January 6 riot, the trumpist effort to overturn the decision of the American people through violence and terror. The Republicans have tried to whitewash the memory of that terrible day, saying either it was “antifa,” or tourists on holiday.
We must remember the real story of January 6, reminding ourselves of what trump and the Republicans tried to do-destroy our democracy-and rededicate ourselves to registering to vote, learning about the issues of the day, and actually voting, and no letting ANY thing stand in our say to the polls. The Republicans and their corporate pimps think we won’t stand up for ourselves; let’s give them ONE rude awakening. You can sign up for the Day of Remembrance at https://jan6unityday.org/.
Stay safe, stay strong, and stay together! America will be free! Happy New Year!
I continue my tradition of writing resolutions for the new Year, just as I do for my birthday, Pesach, and Rosh Ha-Shona. Here they are:
I will continue to conduct myself with self-love, self-esteem, and self-respect, forgiving myself of my errors and knowing I can overcome them, thinking and speaking positively about myself, my life, and my abilities.
I will take care of my body, with mild exercise; more fruits, vegetables, and water; and giving myself days off.
I will continue meditation, for my mental and spiritual health.
I will continue to be loyal to Jewish religion, history, folklore, etc.
I will continue all sources of education-classes, libraries, galleries, readings, seminars, etc.
I will continue the art and business of writing-attending readings, workshops, submitting to journals, conferences, etc.
Happy New Year!
I speak about the danger of a coup in 2024, and of the need for grassroots organizing and voting.
I will take part in the Holiday Art Market, December 19, from 2:00-7:00 PM, at Dirty Frank’s, 347 South 13th street, in Philadelphia. there I’ll join other local craftspeople selling their handcrafted products for the holidays, and there will be a great jazz band and a buffet. Come and support locally-based craftspeople, get some nice handmade gifts for your loved ones, and have fun doing it.
On Wednesday, December 22, I’ll be with other poets and their followers at the live in-person poetry reading of the Moonstone Arts Center (https://moonstoneartscenter.org/) for a live poetry reading, at Fergie’s Pub, 1214 Sansom Street (https://www.fergies.com/) . The featured readers will be Lynn Levan, Jim Mancinelli, and Elijah B. Pringle III, after which will be an open mike, where I’ll perform. Do come in and enjoy great poetry, and food and drink to match. See you there?
Today, December 17, is the International Day To End Violence Against Sex Workers. Sex workers and their allies will gather, in person or on Zoom, to honor the memory of those persons who have been killed in the past year while engaging in sex work.
Sex workers are assaulted, raped, and killed, and the social stigma and sexual shame in our society prevents them from attaining help. They are face abuse from clients, pimps, police, and the courts, as if they meant nothing. Transwomen of color are particularly vulnerable. December 17 is a day to honor their memories, to gather in tribute, and to hold conferences and artistic events around sex work.
Sex workers, like all workers, are organizing for their rights, including for the decriminalization of consensual sex work. They’re also calling for the repeal of such laws as FOSTA-SESTA, which don’t fight against sex trafficking, but they really drive sex work further underground.
I am an ally of sex workers, and I agree that sex workers, like all workers, must organize for their rights, and for their seat at the table where laws are debated n the subject.
I discuss the right’s “war on Christmas” bunk, and I urge people to stand up for the right to vote.