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Work 4 Peace,Hold All Life Sacred,Eliminate Violence! For now, I’ve returned from my Joiyssey to participate in the "revolution":I’ve been at many Occupy sites across the country:1st in D.C. Freedom Plaza I faced & challenged racism/white supremacy, sexism/patriarchy, classism, heterosexism & eventually was kicked off the island; then I offered workshops as I drove to CA:“Anti-Racism Geared for White Occupiers”; “NO DRONES” "Successes and Pitfalls of OWS"

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Why NOT Strike? An open letter to Anti-War Activists Communities and Leaders

I cannot fathom why we are refusing to call for a General Strike, especially now.

We SHOULD have called for a General Strike the minute the U.S. Supreme Court anointed Bush his first presidency.

Over the past 9 years, there have been SOOOOOOO many atrocities happening both in our name, with our tax dollars, and against we the people, we should have had a zillion strikes.

A strike is NO BUSINESS AS USUAL – yes?

I believe this shameful 9 year period will be looked upon by dumbfounded future historians the same way that we look upon the years leading up to WWII and clearly see all the moments of lost opportunities the world – and the people of Germany – had to intercede to prevent WWII.

What are we waiting for? What else needs to happen before we are willing to get out into the street and call for a General Strike?

  • We have entered another war – a war in the first TEN DAYS we spent the money we needed to bail out ALL the states in the union
  • Our Federal and State government elected officials are refusing to eliminate tax breaks and loopholes for the wealthy & their corporations that would easily pay for every social service for the most vulnerable now threatened with severe cuts
  • Nuclear fallout contamination is permeating Japan, our air, our water, our mother earth, and is on it’s way around the world
  • We continue to spend way over $140 MILLION dollars a day on war and terrorism against the world and her peoples

We KNOW strikes work.

And to beat all, we have witnessed – and some of us participated in – recently, within the past 5 years, the huge, overwhelming success of a GENERAL STRIKE: when the immigrant communities took to the streets, crippling business for at least one day, and refusing to allow life to continue as usual until their demands were met.

I just want someone to answer me, WHY NOT STRIKE? Is it because it is womyn who are putting forth the call?

How often have we talked of a General Strike, called for a General Strike, and were told by labor leaders especially, and by other anti-war groups “it is not the right time”, “it is too soon”, “we can’t ask people to sacrifice, to lose pay”, “we can’t ask people to risk their jobs".

Of course we can. Or are we so afraid of failure we’re crippled, unable to act boldly?

I remember a story Janet told us of Mother Jones gathering with some workers who were bitterly complaining about the injustices of their bosses. They decided they needed to go see the bosses and demand justice. Mother Jones strode down the lane and across the yard to bang on the bosses’ door. She looked behind her and none of the men had followed.

But she was not deterred. We remember and are deeply indebted to Mother Jones to this day – we don’t remember the men who didn’t take the risk to make demands.

Rosa Parks didn't look over her shoulder for 20 more comadres to join her. She just SAT!

And the first March from Selma, a handful of activists marched, risking and suffering extreme police brutality, arrests and violence. Within a couple weeks, thousands had joined in, and soon 100's of thousands.

I’m the daughter of a staunch union man, I was brought up in an active union family. I'm an anti-racism, anti-war & violence, womonist/feminist activist. 

I have participated in strikes, walked the picket lines, refused to cross picket lines all my life. I was taught, in school, thru movement histories and participate, and the unions, to believe striking was one of the most powerful and mandatory forms for impacting change.

I say we  STRIKE beginning May 1st,  May Day, International Worker’s Day, Beltane. We cannot let this opportunity to pass us by again, when hundreds of thousands, most likely millions around the world, of people will be out in the street marching and rallying.

Let us trust these workers and present the opportunity to  STRIKE Monday, the next day. And the next day. Or the next week. Or the next 4 weeks.  STRIKE until the budget reflects OUR values and needs!

Many say the press will make fun of us if we call for a strike and few show up. If few show up, the reflection is more on those who choose not to show, then on those who do.

If we are so very worried we will be the only ones striking, I challenge us to take it to the people by conducting an informal survey on April 4th at the labor, peoples, and move-on protests.

Here is the survey to ask folks:

  1. Are you concerned about the huge tax breaks and loopholes for corporations and the wealthy, and the huge cuts being proposed against the rest of us? Are you concerned about spending our taxes for war and occupation? Six BILLION dollars a week now!

  1. Are you DEEPLY concerned? Somewhat concerned? Not concerned?

  1. Are you so concerned you would be willing to STRIKE beginning May 1st, May Day, International Workers Day, on the steps of the Capitol in Sacramento or on the steps of your local City Hall?

  1. Are you willing to strike for a day, a week, or until our legislators pass a budget that reflects our values of taking care of the people, eliminating tax breaks & loopholes for the rich, and ending war?

I will email an easy spread sheet of the survey if anyone is willing and able to take me up on this challenge!