Earlier this month, I took part in the reorganizing meeting of the 48th Ward Democratic Committee, in South Philadelphia, and I was elected Secretary of the committee. I’m proud of the assignment, and I look forward to doing my part in urging people in my neighborhood to band together to address the problems they face-gun violence, racism, and the rise of fascism in this country. The members of the committee, who I’m proud to work with, and working-class people committed to dealing with our community’s issues.
We need more of that-activism at the grassroots and shop-floor level, people who are affected by decisions in corporate boardrooms and legislative bodies, where we working people are excluded. That’s the thinking of the billionaire class in this country and throughout the world: they act as if we, low-income and working people, who work in the factories where their products are made, have no business asking about how they run the business. (It’s the tendency shown in the rag of a “novel” by Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged. )
Also, I have been in and out of the national convention of the national AFL-CIO, which took place June 13-15 in Philadelphia, with its theme, “Building The Movement To Meet The Moment”. Here is another area of working people banding together to find their collective power. I heard addresses from Liz Schuler, the new (and first female) President of the federation, who came out of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW); and Fred Redmond, the Secretary-Treasurer, who came out of the United Steel Workers (USW). There was also a panel of younger workers, from various backgrounds, adding their energy to the movement.
So many decisions and policies take place in corporate boardrooms—and country clubs, high-end restaurants and brothels, and golf courses—that serve to fatten billionaires’ bank accounts and stock portfolios, as well as weaken any attempt by working and low-income people to resist these attacks on our rights and our livelihoods.
A terrible example of this is the latest atrocity: The United States Supreme Court has voted 6-3 to overturn the landmark decision Roe v. Wade. (https://6abc.com/supreme-court-protest-roe-v-wade-philadelphia-city-hall-abortion/11993756/) Don’t think for one minute they won’t overturn other rulings, which, like Roe v. Wade, have been considered “settled law” —voting rights, same-sex marriage, anti-sodomy laws, interracial marriage (like Clarence Thomas’). These nine individuals had the power to decide which laws are legitimate and which are not. It was the same body, though not all the same people, who voted to sustain Citizens United and similar rulings that called unlimited millions in donations to political campaigns “protected free speech.”
This is some fine legal logic—comparing the right to express your beliefs to dumping money on politicians who will do the oligarchy’s bidding! But logic and justice has nothing, NOTHING, to do with sustaining the power of ruling plutocratic elites. For decades, corporations have donated to think-tanks that cranked out press releases attacking environmental laws, unions, LGBTQ rights, and abortion rights; to political movements that raised fears about drag queens in schools, transgender girls in girls’ sports, the “Oppression” of Christians, the greater prominence of non-white people in America; and to scapegoating people who are a little worse off than we are financially, like mothers on public assistance, or public employees who got their benefits from being in unions. (Hint, hint!)
Thus, we are divided against each other over some lame excuse or another; why be angry at a union workers for their benefits, when you yourself should enter a union to get the same damn benefits? Why bother the same-sex couple who love one another and don’t bother anyone else? Why keep a kid from learning about the world, and about our nation’s real, and bloody, history—and about who and what they truly are? Who is anyone else to decide the workings of a woman’s body, and what she needs to sustain it, and whether she should continue a pregnancy?
All of these issue are critical in and of themselves, but we must also remember the issue of class in our society—and yes, we have our own class of oligarchs, as evil as the crowd around Putin. They would love for us to attack and hate each other, so that we don’t combine against them. It’s not either/or, it’s another serious issue we have to deal with, for the betterment of our society.
I was there Friday, June 24, for the rally in front of Philadelphia City Hall to protest the court’s terrible decision. The energy and determination of the crowd, with a lot of young people, was strong, and we must keep it up, in the streets, but more importantly in the ballot box.
Does the oligarchic class really think women who just accept passively the end of Roe v. Wade? Do the managers of Apple, Starbucks, Amazon, and others think their workers will continue to accept mistreatment? That LGBTQ people would accept being oppressed again, after the legacy of the Stonewall uprising of 1969? Do they think we’ll passively accept losing the right to vote, among other rights? Apparently they do; their attitude around social issues is “We don’t want to hear of it or talk about it, and neither does anyone else.”
Yes, we WILL talk about them, we WILL advocate around these issues, and we WILL vote, and we WILL NOT give up our right to vote!
Stay safe, stay strong, and stay together! Slava Ukraini! America will be free! Bye!