Stories about working-class organizing. Do you have a story? About rank-and-file organizing in the unions? Organizing the unorganized? Working-class community organizing? Organizing in working-class schools? Please comment on this post with your contact information if you do have such a story. Ken Epstein https://www.oaklandxings.com and I are editing an anthology of such stories called Solidarity Forever. So far we have stories from Walter Riley (Boots dad) about organizing in the auto and steel industry, from a Black Panther Party community organizer, from a leader of last year’s West Virginia teachers strike, from a leader of the Teamsters for a Democratic […]

Revitalizing the union movement

Do you have a story of rank-and-file union organizing? Clearly the union movement needs some revitalizing. My friend Ken Epstein and I are compiling  an anthology of labor organizing stories, breezy enough to appeal to young people who need to pick up the torch. Please PM me or leave a comment if you have a story you’d like to tell. Not just successes. We can learn from failures too. I went into teaching in order to forge a parent-teacher alliance as part of the movement for revolution. In the process I got involved with the teacher’s union, where with a […]

Can the tech nerds lead us?

Can the tech nerds lead us? The most uplifting event of the last week wasn’t the election, which was a wash, some good, some bad. Government will be slightly less evil for it. But the strike by Google workers was thrilling. Supporting the Marriott workers? Not wanting the military to use their creations? Against sexual harassment? Pro immigration? These tech workers may be the autoworkers of today, the ones whose sit-down strikes gave us the weekend and much much more. They are in a position to shut this country down. They can taste their power. You like disruptive paradigms? We […]

Support the Prisoners Strike!

I’m trying to put together a press conference/rally to support the National Prisoners Strike. I shouldn’t need to convince you that ending prison slavery and mass incarceration is the key struggle in the U. S. right now and the strikers are on the front lines of this fight. THEY NEED OUR SUPPORT. Tentative plans for rally: Friday, September 8, 5 PM Oscar Grant (Frank Ogawa) Plaza, Oakland, CA. Please get back to me if you can endorse and/or help with this effort. If you know of any similar efforts, please let me know so we can combine forces. [I just […]

The Rise of Classes

One of Lanchester’s points in his New Yorker article, “The Case Against Civilization” that I wrote about in my last blog  is that it took 4000 years for hunter-gatherer societies to settle down and adopt an agricultural system. They were reluctant because hunting and gathering worked just fine for them, thank you very much. He doesn’t say it, but one can surmise that ultimately force was involved, because once agriculture predominates, you also get taxation, writing – originally developed to keep track of taxes – and the State, with the development of classes, one of the oppressor and one of […]

Revitalizing the union movement

The concentration of wealth at the top and the increasing level of poverty at the bottom are directly related to the weakness of the trade union movement. Any revolutionary or even serious reform movement will not succeed without revitalizing the unions. It’s true that many of what unions remain are corrupt and tend to support the status quo by in large, or the right wing of the Democratic Party. But that can be changed. In the 1970s, I was a part of a rank-and-file caucus in the San Francisco teachers’ union. My comrades in the ultraleft were shrill and sectarian […]

Don’t mourn. Organize.

Don’t mourn. Organize. The words of Joe Hill, a working-class martyr, executed by firing squad in 1915. Electoral politics are important, but not as important as organizing. Most importantly: at the point of production, meaning in the workplace, schools, or neighborhoods. This concept has been understood by all leftists since Marx himself. At this point, the nature of the organization that you organize people into is not that important. The connections you make with people are what matters. But, damn it people, we need unions. We need community organizing campaigns. Find an issue that touches a nerve and organize people around […]