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Friday, February 25, 2011

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My wife and I just came back from a rally to support labor in general/the Madison action specifically on the steps of the capitol building in Harrisburg. It turns out there was a larger demonstration (from what I hear) right here in Philadelphia at the same time. Probably should have just gone to that and saved a lot of time and effort.

I certainly hope it was larger... we had maybe several hundred in Harrisburg. I had the impression big numbers were going to turn out but the union showing was anemic and the non-union showing was maybe 50 of us (they asked for a show of hands). My wife is a unionized teacher, the Great Satan of Fox News. I'm a lumpenprole.

Very frustrating event for a number of reasons. 1) Low turnout made it in my mind a show of weakness, 2) Low media coverage (which all things considered might be for the best) 3) the 20 or so Tea Party counterdemonstrators became the focus of most of the speakers and will no doubt get equal or better coverage 4) in many ways it became a "vote Democrat" rally.

One speaker, a PA state rep, stated that there was a "30 year war on labor" (true) except for "the 1990s [Clinton]" and "the past two years in Washington" [Obama].

I reminded people around me - wearing my 2000, 2004, and '08 Nader buttons - that fast-tracked NAFTA was passed by Clinton over the objections of labor and that Obama has been arguably worse than Bush.

One rally leader was still wearing a Kerry/Edwards button. Seriously? The less said about the latter the better, but how many times did Kerry vote against a minumum wage raise in the Senate? It's about 15 times, and the man's worth half a billion dollars. Why not wear a Gore/Lieberman button? Why ol' Joe's a friend of the working man and true blue Dem alike... no..?

Despite repeated statements for the public labor sector that this wasn't just about their own contracts (but the general "middle class" standard of living), on the way home the more I thought about it the more I thought that for 30 years it really just has been about their own contracts, caring fuck all whether the Dems they back unquestioningly lift a finger against Taft-Hartley so that others could organize.

More than one speaker addressed the Tea Party chumps stating that they had the right to organize, and that the fight to "maintain" the right to organize. How can even union activists get this this wrong? Most people have zero right to organize in the US. Most people can't join a union. The public sector - and more power to them - is playing with a different set of rules which in some states allows unions to exist. Most of the rest of us have what even Truman called a "slave labor bill" which prevents this from happening.

At least on the way back I was able to scream in a few Tea Party faces that they were f-ing fascists who should go f themselves, which got me congrats from a few union members once we were a half block away. When did union members, once feared at this sort of event, become such wusses?

One speaker, a PA state rep, stated that there was a "30 year war on labor" (true) except for "the 1990s [Clinton]" and "the past two years in Washington" [Obama].

...when it was only a "police action" against labor.

Good lord. Thanks for writing that up, as discouraging as it is.

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