The Dallas AFL-CIO is calling for people to volunteer. Click here to do it!
If you're not in Dallas County but still in Texas, volunteer to help the union movement here.
When elections come near, political parties and individual candidates start ringing our phones to ask for help. Nothing wrong with that, but we can't stretch ourselves to help all of them. At my house, the priority goes to the labor movement. Often as not, they are doing the same things I'd be doing on my own or with some of the progressive candidates or organizations like MoveOn or Organizing for America. But there is a distinct, and very important difference.
If your goal, like mine, is long-term improvement in the condition of ordinary people, then think it through and you may well come up with the same conclusion that I reached:
Only the force of educated and organized workers ever has, or ever will, make a long-term improvement in current society!
There have been some great candidates and office-holders. We've seen some magnificent political organizers and some fantastic moves made, to be sure. But, no matter what we win, we always have to win it over again. And again and again.
Take Social Security, for example. It was won by a gigantic upheaval of workers in the mid-1930s. This year, there's a strong right-wing movement to take it away again. Take our living standards, once the highest in the world, now below most industrialized nations! Take our right to organize that gave us the most historically militant and successful union movement in history, now attacked and diminished from all sides! Our wage gains can be eaten up with inflation, our pensions taken away by bankruptcy judges, our health care discarded in contract negotiations. In short, everything we win has to be fought for and won again.
Don't believe the bosses, unions are really good for workers! Furthermore, as the organized sector of the working class, they are the most powerful and most progressive organizations in American society.
You don't have to be a union member to help. In fact, you can actually join the union movement without organizing in your workplace. Just click on www.workingamerica.org and sign up! Once you do, you qualify for the best daily news summary in the state. Write firstname.lastname@example.org and tell Ed Sills you're a Working America member who wants to know what's happening.
Generally speaking, the 2010 elections are not going to make everything right in America. But they can take us further (or further backward) than any other pending form of activity. Let's get on the good side and push together!
--Gene Lantz, Organizer.