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Creating a Workers' Resistance Movement

We have to view our work—organizing work—as a means of resisting corporate control, with the belief that at some point a critical mass will exist and we’ll topple it.

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Now imagine that scenario if we had filed an unfair labor practice. Not only would nothing have happened, you can be sure the workers would never have heard a boss tell them “you win.”

Things rarely go as smoothly as this strike did, but if we learned anything from those crazy kids who decided that the way to fight Wall Street was to go camping, it is that when we put things in motion, things can change.

And if we don’t put things in motion, then things don’t change. Direct action organizing is what we need. Direct resistance to power using the power that we have—ourselves.

Each union or group within the resistance movement can pick an arm of corporate power to go after—one industry, one company, one festering sore within the corporate complex—and make fighting it and organizing it a cause of its own.

Plan on spending years doing it. Become experts on that piece of the enemy. Make them your hobby. Expose them. Ridicule them. Occupy them. Use stealth and upfront attacks. Whether it’s picking an industry to organize, or a bank to torture, or agribusiness to expose, pick one and have at ’em. Fight what they do. Fight who they are.

We all know that this isn’t going to turn around the corporate onslaught and it isn’t going to turn 7 percent union density into even 17 percent. Nothing here even touches on the corporate plan to deprive our movement of resources so that we can’t fight, or the repression of voting rights, or all of the other depressing developments.

We need a broad and exciting people’s education program, we need non-majority unions, and much more. But if we are going to maintain our optimism and energy, we have to view our movement differently. We have to see each thing we do as an opportunity to hit the chinks in the armor of our adversary.

Our enemy is big, rich, and bad. But we can go at it like David goes after Goliath. Not like “big labor” taking on “big corporate” but like resistance fighters slinging a shot between their eyes.

It’s fun, it’s angry, it’s true, and it’s a hell of a lot better to take joy beating up on the enemy than to be miserable about the beatings we receive.

 

 

Hetty Rosenstein is the director of New Jersey CWA.

 
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