Wednesday, March 10, 2010

This is how you get shit done, son.

People's always sayin', "America's so great, it's the bestest country in the whole wide world. We always do the right thing."

For eight years, I heard "My country, right or wrong!"

Strangely, all that talk ended when a black man took office. Even when Obama's policies looked strangely like Bush's, the Republicans ignored that and went on screamin' and hollerin' like the rodeo had come to town.

But complaints about the powerful right-wing interests in this country aside, I find a lot more hope for the future among the working people in other countries. We can really take a page out of the Greek playbook, for example, where millions of people across all industries repeatedly walk off their job in what is called a "general strike."

Have you even heard about a general strike before? It's not something we talk about in A-MER-ica, because it is a concept that threatens the control of the rich, whose strength lies entirely in the fact that they get people to work for them.

But this tactic of resistance against the ruling rich is somehow omitted from our general history. There were general strikes in Seattle in 1919. There was a series of strikes in response to the Great Depression in 1934 in Minneapolis, Toledo, and among the West Coast longshoremen. These strikes shook up "business as usual" and had the fat cats shitting their pants. You can always tell how effective social movements are, how much they threaten those in power, by the response. So far the Teabaggers have no class character and so play an entirely right-wing reform role. Any effective strike in the past, however, has been attacked by anyone from corporate lackeys to the National Guard - or even the United States Army.

It takes a leftist force that knows its shit - one that has a consciousness of the economic class it represents - to coordinate an effective general strike for long. Or to get these strikes out in the streets again and again. The Greeks know it's the policies of the rich that got them in this ugly mess. Not the rich on the "left" or the rich on the "right" - where the ruling class is concerned, these terms are mere window-dressing.

The people of Greece see their interests as workers are opposed to the interests of the rich. If only we in the "land of the free" could see how nationalist rhetoric hems us in and keeps us blind. Anyone telling us today that we are free, that we are strong, that we are brave and that we are the most beautiful, special snowflakes in the world is our enemy. It is those telling us to rise up, to walk off the job, to fight back, that we should be listening to.

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