The Call for a General Strike
By Richard Cucarese, USW Rapid Response Coordinator L.U.4889
It’s been only a few weeks since Labor pushed back against the longest, most punishing government shutdown in recent history, but sadly, over the jubilant cheers of victory, the ominous drumbeats of Congress warring in the trenches could be heard again, leaving 800,000 AFGE members pondering if they’ll be furloughed once more.
President Trump’s decided that the ‘Wall to Nowhere’ will be the hill to die on in this inane battle of attrition, government workers livelihoods be damned. Keeping this in mind, the ominous question should be how much longer will it be before Trump and the entitled imperialists of D.C. realpolitik turn their sights towards millions of American workers, over 40% of whom, according to CBS News data, are one missed paycheck away from poverty?
As we suffer under the grim reality of decades-long wage stagnation, no calls for a realistic minimum wage increase to keep the One Percent’s vulture bankers from our doors, nor a social program of Medicare For All, easing the burden of burgeoning medical costs overrunning the populous meager discretionary incomes, the powers that be seem more than willing to shutter government again, leaving scores unemployed, airport safety and security in perilous shape and costing the taxpayers $3 billion to do so.
And while Congress apparently shows no guilt spending an inconceivable $1.45 trillion dollars for 2018/19, to voluntarily spill blood in every conceivable corner of the globe promoting crony capitalism, strong-armed acquisition of natural resources and the continuation of imperialistic follies, the long-suffering American worker is left sifting through the rubble, limping through countless miles of crumbling infrastructure, closed factories, failing schools, bankrupting college loan payments, mass shootings and scores of broken dreams, leading to shortened life expectancy, drug overdoses, and suicides.
These sobering statistics of malaise should have students and workers massing in unity, vociferously protesting for the freedoms and rights we’re allowed from our supposedly representative Republic, which instead parades around as a despotic Aristocracy, yet we seldom utter a whisper.
The time has finally arrived for the whisper to become a primal scream.
A General Strike, which should include the closure of America’s halls of higher learning by educators and students alike, and massive walkouts of the American workforce (led by Organized Labor, in concert with activist groups who are both veterans and leaders of such movements), thus impeding the flow of commerce through blockades of America’s ports, airports, bus, rail, subway and highways systems is a major step in the right direction, finally showing our lackluster policymakers that we’ll no longer study nor labor in silence, nor succumb to the threat of a life just steps away from abject poverty; conditions under which a staggering 40 million Americans already reside, whether it be on the unforgiving streets of major metropolises, tent cities, ramshackle squats or the squalor of rat-infested tenements.
Organized Labor can no longer stand on the sidelines, but instead must be innovative, vigilant, and most importantly return to our grassroots militancy by endorsing this movement.
The foundations of the Capitol’s Rotunda need to be shaken by the weight of our stirred, angered and impassioned voices. It’s time for Labor’s weight to lead the charge, bring American’s of all walks of life together under the banner of solidarity and call for a nationwide, General Strike.
Rich can be contacted on Twitter @stlwrkr4889
USW Rapid Response Coordinator, Local 4889, Philadelphia, PA