Vision: How Organizing Is the Real Antidote to Fox News Propaganda
Continued from previous page
Ironically, the only organizational security issue that should be taken up urgently by the labor movement has produced yet another circular firing squad: the carefully constructed hate campaign against public-sector unions. The bruising attack being waged on "government unions" from the heart of blue states like New Jersey is a three-pronged jihad against everything the right hates most: the idea of redistribution of any resources to the poor; African-Americans and people of color, who are disproportionately represented in the government workforce; and unions in general (the biggest unionized bloc of Americans work for the government). You can bet this third goal is high on the butcher paper covering the walls in conservative war rooms. Watching private-sector unions abandon this fight and willingly serve up government unions for destruction shows just how easy it is to divide and conquer. The longer we allow the right to name the public sector as anything other than one essential component of the economy, the longer we allow the right to dismantle the only real base of unions and the only real source of good jobs left for many people of color and women.
It's time to empower people to get into motion. We know people learn best from action—it's not rocket science or something we need a poll about. For years we have known that the best issues are those that are widely and deeply felt and that we can reasonably come up with solutions for. Unions would see that these issues are staring them in the face if only they'd listen to workers instead of pollsters.
Jane McAlevey, a PhD student at the CUNY Graduate Center, spent two decades as an organizer in the labor and environmental justice movements.