I couldn't sleep on the night before the October 15 march in solidarity with OccupyDallas, so I lay in bed and listened to the BBC news. I was pleased, but not surprised to hear that the Occupy Wall Street movement has inspired similar demonstrations in Taipei, Manila, Tokyo, Auckland, and Sydney. The inspiration that these brave Americans have given the world is immeasurable.
Yesterday evening at Pioneer Park, when I dropped off some books and games collected by UAW Local 848 retirees, I noticed that Brother Lewis Fulbright of the Postal Clerks union was addressing about 50 young people sitting cross-legged on the grass. I assume he was telling them about important upcoming demonstrations against closing the Dallas post office and other facilities. As I drew near, I heard him mention my own name. When he saw me behind him, he introduced me. Then Reverend Peter Johnson introduced me again, so I tried to share from my tiny trove of information gathered in forty-something years of organizing activities.
The only topic I could think of was labor history, so I gave a 5-minute description of developments leading up to the unprecedented endorsements that major labor institutions have given to the protest movement in the last few days. I told them that labor began a period of somnolent isolation in 1947 when American prosperity seemed to smother all dissent. I told them that the easy days of 3% annual wage increases turned to extreme difficulties as other industrial nations began to challenge American manufacturing and financial supremacy in the 1970s. I told them that the new coalition of reactionaries assembled by Ronald Reagan in 1979, with a big role for Dallas, clearly put an end to easy times for unions. However, I went on, unions were slow to adapt to the new period of betrayal and naked aggression from corporations and politicians.
In 1987, a handful of the most progressive unions created Jobs with Justice to increase solidarity and militancy in the workers movement. In 1995, after an overthrow of AFL-CIO leadership, Jobs with Justice and other militant solidarity organizations were embraced by the top union leadership. Not every union and every union leader was quick to adapt. Not every individual union member agrees with the changes sweeping the nation. But when President Richard Trumpka of the AFL-CIO endorsed the Occupy Wall Street movement at its inception, and when international unions and individual locals began to follow suit, it had become clear that a new day has dawned in the workers' struggle. It is American and it is international.
Occupy Wall Street has inspired the workers struggle to new heights, and for that I thanked those young people in the grass. From the bottom of my heart, I thanked them!
Assemble 12:30AM at Pioneer Park
Saturday, October 15
525 Griffin at Young Streets
Around 1:30 PM, Expect a moderately long cross-town march for those able
A list of new needs has been received from Steelworker staffer Stephen Benavides, who is encamped with the protest movement: He writes:
Dallas Young Workers Council
Education Committee Needs
#OccupyDallas has formally created an Education Committee to direct and organize classes and teach ins on various subjects. I am part of that committee for very important reasons, namely ensuring and maintaining a labor presence during the Occupy Movement. This is a truly grassroots movement comprised of working class individuals. While progressive organizations like Moveon.org are getting push back nationally, labor has been openly accepted and encouraged. I attribute part if this to my continued presence and raising of specific Local and National Labor Issues on behalf of USW Local 9479.
Below is a list that will allow for the Education Committee to be a dominant force within #OccupyDallas.
Additionally, I plan to start a Young Workers Council in response to the Young Workers Summit request put forth by the AFL-CIO in Minneapolis, MN. This Young Workers Council will be organized out of the Education Committee at #OccupyDallas. In this manner we can embed ourselves and begin making real connections to younger workers and help rebuild the foundation of Labor in the United States.
2 Large (10-20) Person Tents-"Coleman Brand" $225 x 2
1 Small gas powered generator $150
2 Folding Tables $45 x 2
10 Folding Chairs $20 x 10
2 Camping Lights $50 x 2
1 Laser Printer w 10 paper Reams $200
1 Large White Board with Dry Erase $100
1 Extension Cable $40
2-3 Power Supplies $50
1 Coffee Maker $40
1 Projector $300
1 Stand Up Projector Screen $80
Approximate Total: $1,700
This is a wish list. Tents, Table, Chairs, printer and generator are all TOP priority.