Sunday, April 20, 2014

Jefferson Airplane - Easter?

May Day celebration and history in Wichita


In early 1886 unions throughout the country fought for an eight hour work day. Work days could be 10 to 12 hours a day. By 1889 the various unions had won the fight for an eight hour day and a holiday had been established to celebrate this labor victory. Since that time workers around the world celebrate May 1 as an expression of their international solidarity and shared political aspirations for the freedom of working people.
In Wichita, Kansas the Peace & Social Justice Center will celebrate this holiday and its history with speeches, stories, music and a pot luck dinner. The event will be on May 1, from 5 pm to 7:30 pm, at 1407 N. Topeka, Wichita, KS. This 
May Day celebration has been a tradition for the PSJ Center for several years now.
This holiday is celebrated the world over in many different ways. They include marches and events by labor organizations as well as communist, anarchist and socialist parties. Many older people will remember the military marches held on May Day in the Soviet Union. But what most people didn’t realize is that the holiday started here in the US.
Our government was not content to let the May 1 labor holiday to be celebrated along with Marxists and anarchists, so they changed it to the present day fall holiday we now know as Labor Day. May 1 was turned into Law Day. So the holiday that US labor unions inspired has been turned into a simple celebration of work, with none of the history of the sacrifices and struggles of workers for a just work place.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

In weakening teachers— the state has gone too far

The author of this is a teacher and I work as one as well. I’m posting this because we need to focus all the attention possible to Gov. Sam Brownback’s neglect and gutting of education in this state. He has cut education to the bone and now his phony political ads have him bragging about money he’s putting back in education as if he is the new “education” candidate. Let’s remind people Brownback has gut education for almost four years. -សតិវ អតុ

From F5

First a disclaimer: I am a teacher. Forty-five years worth of teaching at the high school and community college levels. Teaching is also my family's curse. All of my sisters work in education. My mother and two aunts taught. Also a grandparent. I like teachers. This is why I am incensed (pissed off if you will) by the Repbulican war on education in general and teachers in particular.
As a retired public school teacher, it has bothered me for a long time that the state legislature has not bothered itself to fully fund the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System. My pension comes from this fund. Money came out of my paycheck to go into the KPERS system and the school district also contributed. The state did not do its part.
KPERS has enough money for the rest of my life, but others may be cheated. More likely, the legislature will change the program from a defined benefit pension plan to some sort of 401k plan. The fallacy with this is that it would require the state to continue to pay those already vested in KPERS while diverting future teachers' contributions into the 401k. That means money going out but none coming in.
Other attempts made to weaken education and the teaching profession include moves to ease the process of certification. The announced purpose of this is to get qualified individuals to teach STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) classes. That way, you could plug unemployed aerospace folks into the classroom. Make sense?
Did it ever occur to them that dramatically raising teacher pay would be the market solution to shortages? These supposedly open-market Republicans should go in that direction first. Labor flows to wages. Most universities have programs for provisional certification and fast lane accreditation. What these folks are not telling you is that the lower the bar for certification, the easier it is to get rid of a high priced tech teacher and bring in an unemployed aeronautical engineer at a lower wage.
For the rest click here.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Central American solidarity work—spied on by the FBI


By Otto 

“Surely, no government can be expected to foster its own subversion, but in a democracy such a right is vested in the people (i.e. in the majority of the people). This means that the ways should not be blocked on which a subversive majority could develop, and if they are blocked by organized repression and indoctrination, their reopening may require apparently undemocratic means.” - Herbert Marcuse[1]

For most of the 1980 decade peace groups were involved in Central American solidarity work. Most of that work focused on defending the revolution in Nicaragua and the armed struggles in El Salvador and Guatemala. Activists were able to get large crowds together from around the country to oppose President Ronald Reagan’s repressive policies in Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua.
So it was really not surprising when political activists discovered that the FBI had spied on the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES). CISPES did solidarity work supporting the  Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) in El Salvador. The FMLN was a coalition of five Marxist guerrilla organizations, the Fuerzas Populares de Liberación Farabundo Martí (FPL),
By the mid 1980s I was the president of the Wichita State University chapter of CISPES. By the time I was elected president, the group had shrunk to about five people. We wrote articles in the campus newspaper, put up leaflets about US intervention in Central America and we occasionally showed films on that issue.  
After I graduated from WSU, I went to work for some newspapers in Western Missouri. I was working for the Clinton Daily Democrat for almost two years when the newspaper decided they weren’t making enough money from my department, “small county towns,” so I was laid off. I decided to move back to Wichita, along with my wife Cam Gentry. We had been there a short time when I got a call from a reporter from The Wichita Eagle telling me there was a nation-wide FBI national surveillance of campus CISPES groups during the fall of 1983. I had been named the target of an FBI investigation. I was shocked.
“We just couldn’t imagine that the FBI would really take our little group so seriously,” I told a reporter from The Clinton Daily Democrat.[2]
I made similar statements to a reporter from The Wichita Eagle:[3]
“It is kind of funny they would send agents down to spy on people who were really not doing very much.” 
The Center for Constitutional Rights was the group that had discovered the spying. They used the Freedom of Information Act and found that the FBI’s harassment of CISPES included surveillance from 1981 through 1984 of CISPES chapters on college campuses across the country.
At the time the news broke there were actually members of congress who complained that the spying was nothing more than harassment of legal political groups who simply disagreed with Reagan’s foreign policies.
US Representative Dan Glickman said: “I think that this is the kind of thing that the FBI shouldn’t do, because it absolutely destroys their credibility to do important things…It’s an outrage, and reminds me both of the McCarthy-era activities, as well as what used to happen in the ‘60s.”[4]
 Glickman was a representative from the Wichita area at the time. Since then he has been replaced by Mike Pompeo who is extremely positive about government surveillance of political groups in the name of “national security.”
Pompeo has shown contempt for anyone who opposes surveillance of US citizens and has condemned Edward Snowden for trying to expose government spying on innocent citizens:
“The overwhelming majority of the materials stolen had nothing to do with the privacy of U.S. persons.
Only a tiny sliver of the materials stolen by Mr. Snowden had anything to do with United States telecommunications or the privacy rights of Americans. Rather, the majority of the material taken, now in the hands of other countries, provides detailed information about America’s intelligence sources and methods. By divulging this information, Mr. Snowden has put the lives of our soldiers, sailors and airmen at risk.”[5]
Pompeo is typical of today’s politicians who show no interest in protecting the privacy of US citizens from government abuse and that includes our present President Barack Obama.
The FBI used several tactics to harass us including taking a leaflet down of a bulletin board that gave notice for a meeting Jan. 17 1984. According to FBI records, the leaflet was copied and sent to other offices for further investigation.
One document said an agent noticed a Jan. 17 1984 announcement of a CISPES meeting, took the leaflet down off of the bulletin board and tracked down my home address through the WSU and Wichita telephone directories, said Marylou Grahamm a spokesperson for the Center of Constitutional Rights. 
The FBI then visited our apartment complex and talked to neighbors to try and determine whether CISPES meetings were taking place there.
There were probably a dozen ways to find out where our meetings were, including calling us on the phone and asking us outright. We would have told them since we were doing nothing illegal. Also talking to our neighbors left the impression we were some kind of terrorist and our neighbors treated us very strange at a few of the apartment get-togethers. They gave us strange looks. That was probably the most harassing thing the FBI did to us. 
The FBI also sent informants to our meetings. I remember two young men, neither one taller than me, one with dark black hair and the other with short sandy colored hair, who claimed to be students. One kept asking us to “lend him” our pamphlets and informational materials. The other actually asked us if we send guns to the guerrillas in El Salvador. I thought that was strange. Today I just think it was really stupid.
“Most of us had known each other a year or more,” I said to The Wichita Eagle. “We had no way of Knowing if any of us were spies.”
When I finally got the copy of my FBI file through Freedom of Information, about half of it was blacked out. The FBI claimed they blacked out information that was sensitive to national security, but it looked clear to me that they had blacked out things there were embarrassing to them. One thing they were probably not proud of was their spying on us in our bedroom. They had actually taken pictures of us in that room late at night and other times. I’m sure they didn’t want people to know what perverts they were. The file was probably about a hundred pages long and looked like a small book.
In one publication, The Wichita State University Sunflower, I was proud to tell a reporter: “My beliefs haven’t changed much since. I think it says something about our government when it spies on its own people. I really wonder if the loss of individual privacy in this country might not be worse than a few random acts of terrorism. It also makes me believe that probably a large number of people in America have been spied on who don’t even know it.”[6]

DEVO-Secret Agent Man





[1]Herbert Marcuse, "Repressive Tolerance," http://www.marcuse.org/herbert/pubs/60spubs/65repressivetolerance.htm
[2] Brian Hanney, “Former Clintonian investigated by FBI,” The Clinton Daily Democrat,February 1, 1988, pp. 1, 12.
[3] Gardner Selby and John Jenks, Angelia Herrin, “WSU Couple investigated,” The Wichita Eagle, January 28, 1989, pp. 1A, 6A.
[4] Ibid.
[5] Mike Pompeo’s home page, http://pompeo.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=372133
[6] Tim Pouncey, “Alumnus recalls year under surveillance,” The Wichita State University Sunflower, January 29, 1988.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Spain: call it a dictatorship and they throw you in prison

14 April 2014.


 A Spanish high court sentenced the 25-year-old rapper "Pablo Hasel" (Pablo Rivadulla Duro) to two years in prison for "glorifying terrorism" on 1 April.  Several years ago, this "anti-system rapper," as he calls himself, declared, "If they put me in prison, that will prove I'm right" right that almost 40 years after the end of the fascist regime of Francisco Franco, despite economic, social and political changes, the Spanish state is still the enemy of the majority of Spanish people and the people of the world and "the critical spirit".


Hasel was arrested in November 2011, during a time of upsurge in the country's streets, when the police raided his home in the night and confiscated his digital devices, papers and books as evidence. At his trial before the high court for political cases, the judge ruled that the only question was whether or not Hasel was the author of the dozens of videos uploaded on YouTube and elsewhere on the Net. Since Hasel unhesitatingly stated that he was, the conviction was all but automatic. Hasel argued that he had the right to freedom of speech, but the judge ruled that while that freedom exists in Spain for some speech, Hasel's rap constitutes "hate speech," prohibited by law, and further, that "terrorism is the worst violation of human rights", so no one has the right to defend it. (El Pais, 1 April 2014)

This is the standard legal double-talk that is the hallmark of the Spanish state: "terrorism" is an affront to "democracy", so those accused of it have no rights, those who defend those accused of it have no rights, those who argue for those people's rights are "apologists for terrorists" and so on in a widening spiral. But in sentencing an artist to prison for nothing but his words, this is a further step in demonstrating the truth of his words, that in capitalist countries "freedom of expression is nothing but freedom to lie or shut up, and like democracy, freedom of expression is one of history's greatest swindles."

What does it mean, Hasel says, to talk about freedom in a country where six million people have been robbed of their jobs, half a million people have been kicked out of their homes, "and if you protest you get beaten or killed?" One of his videos shows him in a June 2011 march of "Los Indignados" (the Outraged) in Valencia. The police attacked it viciously, as they did protests in other cities in Spain in those months. They sought not just to stop it but to break the heads, faces and arms of as many young women and men as possible, as the footage clearly and indisputably shows. Another rap video,  "El reino de los torturadores" (The kingdom of torturers), features the battered and crushed faces and bodies of young women and men arrested at mass demonstrations defending Basque nationalist "terrorists" and then beaten and tortured while in custody in the name of defending "democracy".
How can Hasel be convicted of "hate speech" and being a threat to "democracy" when Franco-era torturers are considered respectable citizens, protected from arrest by law, even when clearly identified by their victims; Franco regime political figures are still prominent in public life; the main monument to fascism is untouched and untouchable; and it is perfectly legal and respectable to publicly praise Franco and seek to continue his work?

Franco came to power through a military uprising against an elected government in 1936 and an exterminating civil war, with the backing of Nazi Germany and Mussolini's Italy, and the complicity of all the Western powers. His regime, which today could be called a Catholic jihad in its religious zeal and enforced cultural purity, targeted secular forces and workers and labourers, imprisoned all known opponents and executed many thousands. As was recently revealed, it stole thousands of babies from their mothers to ensure that they would have a proper conservative Catholic upbringing. Despite Franco's alliance with the defeated Axis powers in World War 2, his regime survived by becoming a key American ally afterwards. Why today is it allowed to praise Franco but not groups that fought his regime? How can the upholders of the Spanish state accuse anyone else of "hate speech"? In fact, how can they label the political violence of their opponents as terrorism when they murdered people and broke lives on a vast scale for their political ends?

Perhaps Hasel's greatest "crime" and his greatest merit is that since his 2005 breakthrough album "Eso No Es Paraiso" (This isn't heaven) he raps about Spain as still a capitalist dictatorship. He says that brutal repression on the one hand, and elections and illusions about "freedom of expression", the post-Franco regime's supposedly greatest achievements on the other, are two sides of the same coin, and combine with a media-cultivated "dictatorship of stupidity" that encourages a "Stockholm syndrome" where the masses of people identify with the capitalist system that exploits and oppresses them. He is very clear that not only is the currently-governing Popular Party the political successor party to the fascist regime, but that the Socialist Party "is worse or at least as bad", and that the parliamentary "left" is just a tail on the Socialists.

The Socialists (Hasel spells the party's initials P$OE) made it possible for the Spanish ruling class to switch over from a fascist to a bourgeois democratic (electoral) form of rule almost painlessly, by protecting the continuity of persons and institutions and the bulk of the state apparatus, and agreeing to what some people call "the law of silence" protecting fascist personalities from legal consequences for their terrorist rule. The mass graves were kept secret and the killers given new jobs or allowed to keep up their work.

The Spanish Socialists led its own terrorist campaign against Basque nationalists when they came to govern. In the "dirty war", Spanish death squads in France assassinated exiled Basque nationalists, ordinary Basques and French and other revolutionaries and bombed taverns and other public places. Neither ruling party has a right to call anyone else terrorists.

As a Socialist party MP shamelessly explained in commenting on a new case where the courts refused to hear the complaints of a former student activist against the official who tortured him in 1975, "I just don't think it would be good for the country. We don't know where it starts and where it finishes. If we take someone who was a torturer in 1970, why aren't we going to go after some ministers in Franco's government who are still alive? Why not the courts? Where do we set the limits?" (The New York Times, 8 April 2014). Yes what if we went after the same courts once led by Franco that have now sentenced a young rapper to prison? Might that not imperil the repressive efficiency and  legitimacy of the state itself?
No wonder the Spanish ruling class, despite its current democratic finery, zealously maintains the monarchy that smoothed the transition from open fascism to parliamentary democracy and still serves as the guarantor of the continuity of the Spanish state. Hasel's hatred of the monarchy (one of his videos is called "Muerte a los borbones Death to the Bourbons", the royal family) takes its political meaning from this context, and is made all the more forbidden by the fact that he is not just attacking a cultural relic.

When Hasel raps about "democracy you mother-fucker" and talks about Spain's and other "capitalist terrorists taking over the world", rampaging through the Middle East and bringing misery everywhere, he connects with the truth. But when he raps about the alternative, which he sees as a society like Cuba or Venezuela, there is a disconnect with truth. As fierce as his critique of capitalism may be, it's not thorough enough.

Despite their opposition to the U.S., these countries have not broken with the framework of the world imperialist system. The profit motive still rules the organization of the economy and society despite the existence of state enterprises and social welfare programmes. Their fate hangs on the imperialist world economy and even simply the price of oil or sugar on the world market. They have not liberated their people from imperialist domination in the most profound sense of enabling them to take the road of overcoming all capitalist economic relations and institutions, all the enslaving social relations and the ideas, customs and habits born of exploitation.

Hasel does not even try to paint Cuba as a liberating society, but simply points out that Cuba puts Spain to shame when it comes to homelessness, illiteracy and other social ills. This is true, but has more in common with the revisionist (pseudo-Marxist) idea of socialism as a welfare state than a conception of a liberating revolution in social relations on the road to communism, where human beings are no longer enslaved by the division of society into classes.

This is linked to Hasel's tendency to praise all armed struggles against what he calls imperialism, as though opposing the U.S. and one's own ruling class were sufficient, without caring enough about the social and political content of those struggles, their ultimate goals. And when, as Hasel does, someone calls themselves a communist, and wears a USSR t-shirt, they need to be clear on the difference between the kind of non-liberating and dismal society that the Soviet Union became with the overthrow of socialism after Stalin's death (even while socialist forms were retained for several decades, as in Cuba), and the revolutionary transformations of the previous period, which were taken much further in Mao's China. These are not just old questions; they have everything to do with whether a total social revolution is possible, how, and what that would mean today. When Hasel calls for young people to wage "war for the future", what is that future?

As strong as Hasel's exposure of capitalist rule in Spain, it would be much stronger and his stand even more powerfully attractive if based on a more complete understanding of the basic problem and solution.

The timing of Hasel's initial arrest, on the heels of system-defying protest by massive numbers of Spanish youth and others in those months of 2011, signals something about the fears of the Spanish ruling class. It is also important that hundreds of youth rallied in his defence in his home town of Lerida immediately after. More than a few youth are "looking beyond their own bellybuttons and their personal horizons," as he says, and looking for radical answers.
      (See the PabloHaselOfficial channel on YouTube, including the interview "Entrevista con rapero revolucionario", and the transcribed version on kaosenlared.net, in Spanish only.)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

National - Fascist Ukraine Government unleashes war against the people

From Ukrainian Communist Party, and Fraccion Roja;
This was translated from Russian to Spanish by S. Josaphat Comín. It was translated to English by Google, and adjusted by -សតិវ អតុ.

They have christened the anti-terrorist operation, being implemented in the south and east, as nothing more that a war against our own people. These are statements of the Ukrainian Communist leader and head of the parliamentary group of the Ukrainian Communist Party Rada, Piotr Simonenko.
Piotr Simonenko said that for the first time in the history of independent Ukraine, the government uses military units against Ukrainian citizens, who live in the east and southeast, who from the very beginning of independence, demanded the recognition of Russian as a co-official language.
"The government has launched against its own citizens, manifested by holding a referendum on federalization, and extending the powers of regional government bodies, the use of tanks and armor. The Communist Party strongly condemns the use of violence, "said the leader of the PCU.
Piotr Simonenko said the use of weapons against citizens of Ukraine, who defend their legitimate rights, has been possible as a result of the Ukraine government being taken over by national - fascists.
"From the earliest days of the administration, the oligarchic - national regime has done nothing to ensure peace, stability and order in the country. On the contrary, all acts have been directed only to incite national discord, frighten dissidents, unleash terror, fire, and beating people.
As a result of this policy of betrayal, and the implementation of the ideology of neo-Nazism, Ukraine has lost Crimea, and has dramatically worsened the situation in the east and southeast of the country."
At the same time, Piotr Simonenko has called all healthy political forces and society at large to support the initiative of the Communist Party on the need to hold a referendum as soon as possible to define the Ukraine administrative and territorial organization and granting extensive rights to local governing bodies.
" Only then can we preserve the integrity and unity of the country," said Piotr Simonenko.

For Fraccion Roja and the article in Spanish, click here.


Monday, April 14, 2014

May Day celebration in Wichita

In the late 1800s workers won the right to an eight hour work week. Since then leftist around the world have celebrated May Day. While the political holiday started in Chicago Illinois, it soon spread to the rest of the world. Now there are May Day celebrations all over the world and they are all celebrated as differently as the factions and trends that celebrate the day.
I am lucky enough that I can celebrate this holiday in Wichita, Kansas this year. The Peace & Social Justice Center will have an event on May 1, from 5 pm to 7:30 pm, at 1407 N. Topeka, Wichita, KS.

 

The event will include a Potluck.
According to the Peace & Social Justice Center:
Join the celebration of May 1st International Workers' Day. Bring a dish and bring your friends and compañeros! News and updates on workers' struggles in our community and around the world. Come and celebrate and show your solidarity! 316 263-5886 for more info.
-សតិវ អតុ

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Journals of a lumpen-proletariat—The Stokely-Van Camp Strike of 1980


This is part of the series “Journals of a lumpen-proletariat.” The idea is to relate real working class experiences for the benefit of Marxists and Maoists who are studying the theories, but may not be familiar with the actual people these theories were intended to improve the lives of. Most of my 20s I spent as a member of the lumpen-proletariat class. I worked full or part-time jobs that paid only minimum wage. I tried to sell drugs to help stretch my money and to get drugs cheap or free. One year I landed a job working at the Stokely-Van Camp’s pork and bean factory in Lawrence, KS. It was one of the few times when I actually earned enough money to live comfortable. For that one half a year I was a member of the actual proletariat. (Real names are not used here and some details may be fuzzy as I am writing this from memory, mostly.)

I also joined the Teamsters Union while I was at the plant and it gave me an opportunity to experience actual class struggle through union activities.  By December of 1979, the Union and its members were tired of their contract coming up for approval right before Christmas. There was an issue of pay, but every union member agreed that the main reason talks broke down between the union and the company was a union demand for changing the negotiation date.
“No one wants to go on strike before Christmas,” a tall elderly man said at a union meeting I attended. “The company knows we can’t afford to go on strike before then and they use it as leverage to keep us from pushing our demands on them.”
There was real anger among the union members of the plant. The local newspaper, the Lawrence Journal World said the strike was divisive to the town. At one point a woman in the union complained that company official’s referred to us as monkeys. For people as myself it was a real eye opener to see these corporate rulers exposed as the creeps they are.
One thing that is probably not the usual for such a strike was the Marxist workers in the factory who came there because Lawrence is college town and the new communist movement was moving into the University of Kansas, as it did universities across the country. The Progressive Labor Party and the Revolutionary Communist Party occasionally made their appearance at KU. Also the Socialist Workers Party showed up a few times a month. There were local groups that dealt with a lot of foreign policy issues such as the North American Club, which I belong to. It was an umbrella group for Latin American issues. Many of those in the group were pro-Castro. There were also the Friends of the Iranian People, of which I was also a member. The last group was aligned with the Iranian Student Association, which was made up mostly of Maoist Iranians.
Most of these groups took part in the various university activities related to the Stokely Strike. Movies were shown and panel discussions were held. Some people involved in the strike attended these activities and one was a labor organizer called Sam.  
Sam was involved with the new communist groups and activities. He was a tall blond man who wore a red earring. I heard him arguing against the draft and US actions against the USSR for its involvement in Afghanistan.
“I don’t have anything against the Afghanistan people and their government,” I once heard him say.
The strike was a good opportunity for the both of us to get involved in class struggle right here in the USA. Sam used the opportunity to take a leadership role in the strike. One day I was discussing politics with Sam and he realized I had a lot of political experience.
As we talked, we both realized we were getting a unique experience that some Marxists never get. And later I would realize I might never get such a chance again.
Some of the tactics being used my certain union members and leaders involved vandalism. A thin red haired girl name Betty said she needed the money too bad and crossed the picket line. Her and some other scabs were parking their cars at a cab company and using cabs to get to work. Some union people found out and slashed their tires at the cab parking lot. Betty went as far as walking down railroad tracks, though a wooded area, to go to the plant in the back way so no one would see here. It didn’t help. When she returned to her car, her tires were slashed.
This one foreman was an old nasty redneck who tried to run the picketers over when he crossed in to work each day. He drove a big red pickup truck. It was brand new. One night some union people put grease and oil all over the inside of his pickup cab, making it impossible for him to drive to work the next morning. I thought that was funny at the time, especially since he was such a right-wing ass hole—Hell!—I still think it was funny. There were some people who didn’t approve of such tactics. Both Sam and I had no problem with them.
“Should we really use tactics like that?” asked a 20 something union man.
“If someone broke in and raped you mom, would you fight them?” he asked. “We are fighting to save our jobs. It is the same things.”
As the strike ground on, the union decided to spread the strike to two other plants. The plan would really hit the company in their bankrolls. Sam invited me to go with him to another plant in another state to help spreading the strike. Since I was taking a class at KU at the time I couldn’t go.
Stokely had been relying on union busting layers to try and break the union. When we spread the strike they flipped out. Sam told me their representatives were clearly pissed. They finally made an offer for a very tiny raise and they moved the negotiation date. The raise was a tiny fraction of what we asked for.
I had learned a lot from the experience. As the strike drug on, I went to a dog food company and told the guy I needed the money and would quit at the other place if he would hire me at his plant. I was wearing down and living on the strike benefits of $40 a week. It was getting hard for me to get buy all this time.
“I can’t do that,” the balding old bastard told me. “If you’re lying then I would be helping another company to break a strike and I can’t have that. What if we had a strike here? We all have to work together to prevent strikes.”
So there it was. The guy had taught me that businesses know how to stick together and crush working people, while we had a hard time convincing some workers that sticking together was the only way to defend our rights as workers.
Right before the end of the strike I got a call from someone at Stokely’s asking me to come back to work. I told them I would not go back until the strike was over. They were polite, but when the strike ended, they didn’t hire me back.
I had a friend named Boz who worked with me at Stokely. I had known him before the strike. He lived as a lumpen-proletariat, just as I had.  He was biker and a vet and was a fanatic about bicker wear and customs as some bikers are. He was short and dressed kind of plain and was proud of his long-black scraggly hair.
Boz was on the grave yard shift cleaning tanks. He liked working on the grave yard shift so he could sit in bars all night and go to work about the time the bars began to close. He had it timed just right.
No one ever complained about his drinking until after the strike. He had been a solid union member and spent time on the picket line. So they fired him for drinking right after he went back to work.
Sam also got fired after another employee started a fight with him.
Another union member I knew was Barb, a young woman about my age who had long dark hair. She was the one who got me on at Stokely’s. We dated briefly but stayed friends. One day Boz and I were at her home visiting. Another friend of hers, a young man, came over and he said;
“I heard that Stokely has been firing all the people who were hard core supporters of the union.”
“You’re in a room full of them,” Boz said.
Today the plant is closed down. I moved to Wichita shortly after that. But I haven’t forgotten the days of that strike. It was a great learning experience.


-សតិវ អតុ

Pete Seeger & Arlo Guthrie - Union Maid

 

Argentina - Unions Halt Transport to Protest Inflation, Crime


Argentina’s biggest unions paralyzed metro, train and bus services today and blocked the main entrances into the capital to protest rising prices and crime. Trash started to pile up in downtown Buenos Aires as garbage collection was suspended and union members blocked Corrientes, one of the main thoroughfares with a sign that read “enough economic adjustments,” a reference to a 19 percent devaluation in January and a sharp increase in interest rates.
Posted on April 11.