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Work 4 Peace,Hold All Life Sacred,Eliminate Violence! I am on my mobile version of the door-to-door, going town-to-town holding readings/gatherings/discussions of my book "But What Can I Do?" This is my often neglected blog mostly about my travels since 9/11 as I engage in dialogue and actions. It is steaming with my opinions, insights, analyses toward that end of holding all life sacred, dismantling the empire and eliminating violence while creating the society we want ALL to thrive in

Saturday, April 16, 2011

dialogue with a union fella - who says we'll never get u.s.a. folks to STRIKE

The 'controversy' over 'allowing' the anti-war community to give u.s.a. folks the opportunity to STRIKE to END WAR, to STRIKE to END TAX BREAKS for CORPORATIONS, for the RICH, to END POLICE BRUTALITY, to END NUCLEAR WEAPONS & POWER rages on. Here is one dialogue: union guy is in blue, I am in black

I would like an explanation of the reference to "strike" for what appears to be a march and tent city

michael - i do understand organized labor wanting to claim the term STRIKE for their own, but we are also borrowing it for this action. 

STRIKE - meaning NO BUSINESS AS USUAL - and WORK to end war!
in order to march for 8 days and occupy a location, we all HAVE to go on strike! how else can we do it? 

we are not only refusing to work for money, to go to class, to work at home - whatever we normally do, but we are working instead to end war, end tax breaks for the rich & their corporations, to save and increase all the necessities of life threatened today.
is that clearer? i'm sorry, i am rushing (as usual) but i can try to be more coherent later

It is not that organized labor has some kind of exclusive right to the term "strike".
For those of us who have been on strike, who have put their livelihood at risk, the terms has a very specific meaning.  My objection is that "strike" has a particular meaning - collective action by workers to withhold their labor.  It does not mean individual symbolic protest.
If Code Pink's use of the term refers to people individually deciding to refrain from doing whatever it is they normally would do (no business as usual), that is not a strike as that term has been historically and customarily used.
If, on the other hand, Code Pink is calling for everyone to walk off their jobs (collectively withhold their labor) in order to participate in its protest activity, then my objection is different - that it is completely disconnected from reality.
If the use of the term is in the sense of "striking a blow" for peace, then I suppose it is appropriate (although those committed to non-violence would see that as contradictory).
There are just some words that are rooted in historical experience and are culturally and socially specific.  Strike is one.  Lynch is another.
The call issued by Code Pink uses the term but does not specify what meaning you intend to give it.
michael  please, decide it means whatever you need to in order to join us and END WAR NOW for god's sake. we all know that without organized labor support, we have to work so much harder and are not as strong as we could be.

i don't think you are saying that the "us" that has put their livelihoods on the line - let alone their lives - are solely union members when the union has called for a strike.

you have ALWAYS contended that a real strike - i.e. #2 the collective withholding of labor - to END WAR is "disconnected from reality".

well then michael, i say please disconnect from whatever that particular reality is that you are so invested in and call for a STRIKE and strike with us.

because michael, what you are really saying is that the "reality" is most people in this country care more about making money to MAINTAIN their LIFESTYLE, than about who is getting KILLED in order for us to maintain our lifestyles.

i say give people a chance to also disconnect from that 'reality'. you might be surprised what people will do when given the opportunity to work for change instead of money.

was that a joke about nonviolence and striking a blow? i take everything seriously, maybe too seriously, and i don't know you that well, so i'll just give you the benefit of doubt and accept you're making a joke.

i think it is pretty specific what we are calling for. we are using the historic - and now herstoric - meaning of STRIKE and broadening it - walk off your jobs, walk out of your classrooms, walk out of your homes, STOP your life as usual, spend as much time as you possibly can marching to Sacramento, occupying the capitol, working together to END WAR NOW, to END RULE of the rich and their corporations.

historically speaking michael, if not now, when? if not you and me, who?

in struggle, xan