Archive for the ‘Workers Unite!’ Category

Years ago the Imperialist Uncle Scam, the U.S led by George Bush invaded Iraq and destroyed a civilization based on a pack of lies. A group of us Queers were at a antiwar demonstration, passing out leaflets denouncing the war, waving the rainbow flag and chanting along with the best of them. This was nothing new for some of us since we had been demonstrating against war since the invasion of Vietnam by the U.S. A leftist who for the life of me I can’t remember her name came up to us and said, “I thought you gays were only interested in marriage.” This was said to us almost as a put down by one of the organizers of the rally where speaker after speaker never once mentioned the LGBTQ community. A couple of times of course in the apporiate place I had to yell out, something like, “that affects the Queer Community also,” or “you’re forgetting the LGBT community”, or “Queers too!” I think many in the audience listening to the speakers were a bit taken back as you know that those who are chosen to speak, know their subject that is why they are standing up there, telling all of us what is and what isn’t. ( a topic for a whole other article) “Leaders”, as May Riley says, “Oh what do we do with those who call themselves Leader?”) Whenever Queers Without Borders held an event, Frank would bring along his speaker system, Timmy or Richard would decorate their pull along shopping cart, and a open speak out would be held. We wanted to hear what everyone had to say, not just the chosen few. You know that one idea pushes another idea? Well a lot of ideas push a lot of ideas and we always thought we ended up in a much better place.

Below is one of the antiwar leaflets that Queers Without Borders passed out a demo’s in Hartford.

I got to thinking about this again over the past few months when Jerimarie Liesegang, the mother of the Ct. Transgender movement, and I have been doing a lot of research on the LGBTQI+ communities using a timeline that I did for the exhibition Challenging and Changing America The Struggle for LGBT Civil Rights 1900-1999 among other items of research. We now are on the 3rd video in our collaboration a look at the LGBT movement, The Radicals vrs. the Reformists. (soon to be released) I got to thinking again about unions, the work place, and the struggle for basic civil rights. I got to thinking again that most of us, yes I would say a good percentage of us are working class queers and what did the struggle for human rights in the workplace mean for us, how do we approach unions and how do unions approach the LGBTQI+ communties. I remembered a few sections of the timeline that I wanted to explore more fully so began this posting for Furbirdsqueerly.

This work is gleaned from many sources and put together as a collage in the service of the people.

The cause of labor should be the cause of every LGBT person. Our shared struggle is one of the most critical movements in America today. In this the age of trump and the rise of the right-wing gun toting fascists’, the right to work, get paid a living wage, and share in the fruits of your labor is being eroded week by week. Collective bargaining is one of the only tools in our tool belt that allows us to push back against this tide of income inequality and demand our fair share of the economic pie. Not crumbs mind you, never crumbs shaken from the rich man’s table, and even not a piece of the pie, but honest pay and then some. I think of the line from Solidarity Forever, Without Us Not A Single Wheel Would Turn. Pay that every worker can live on. Honest pay that is ours not the bosses, not the owners, and not the wealthy. Not $15 per hour as some unions say, (in Part 2 we will tell you why and do the math.) Nope we are not bowing and scraping and enjoying those table cloth crumbs. We do not live for pie in the sky.  But in this struggle we must be aware from union-busting corporations, to state legislative all out efforts to dismantle workers’ rights, America’s unions have never faced attacks from so many angles at once. As we know and Jerimarie and I have proven in our research, far too often, the LGBT community of today turns a blind eye to these struggles. The elite leadership of the LGBT movement is drunk with their own wins of marriage and “gays” in the military, yeah folks go kill brown people all over the world in the name of equality, and their one issue agenda of and for the elite among our community. (more on that later) But first we demand unity with the workers of the world and the workers of the world demand the same from us.

WORKERS OF THE WORLD UNITE, YOU HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE BUT YOUR CHAINS!     (1)

Let us start this essay using a few dates and information from the original timeline of 1999 and other postings from this site. Here are some of the LGBT people who were activists in support of workers and show that the LGBTQ common struggle is with the labor movement.

From Challenging and Changing America: The Struggle for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Civil Rights 1900-1999.

Emma Goldman

Emma Goldman a Russian born Feminist, and Anarchist, though not a Lesbian or Bisexual according to most historians was a strong supporter of our people. When asked in 1900 when living in the U.S how could she dare to come out in support of Oscar Wilde she replied, “Nonsense no daring is needed to protest great injustice.”  ( 2 ) Goldman spoke out in support of freedom of expression, women’s equality, birth control, sexual freedom, workers rights and was a champion of the rights of homosexuals’ and those who were bisexual or transgender. (more…)

Nov. 19, 1915: Labor Organizer Joe Hill Is Executed

Workers of the world, awaken!

Break your chains, demand your rights.
All the wealth you make is taken
B y exploiting parasites.
Shall you kneel in deep submission
From your cradles to your graves?
Is the height of your ambition
To be good and willing slaves?
Arise, ye prisoners of starvation!
Fight for your own emancipation;
Arise, ye slaves of ev’ry nation, in One Union Grand.
Our little ones for bread are crying;
And millions are from hunger dying;
The end the means is justifying,
‘Tis the final stand.
If the workers take a notion,
They can stop all speeding trains;
Every ship upon the ocean
They can tie with mighty chains;
Every wheel in the creation,
Every mine and every mill,
Fleets and armies of the nation,
Will at their command stand still.
-Chorus-
Join the union, fellow workers,
Men and women, side by side;
We will crush the greedy shirkers
Like a sweeping, surging tide;
For united we are standing,
But divided we will fall;
Let this be our understanding-
“All for one and one for all.”
-Chorus-
Workers of the world, awaken!
Rise in all your splendid might;
Take the wealth that you are making —
It belongs to you by right.
No one for bread will be crying,
We’ll have freedom, love and health,
When the grand red flag is flying
In the Worker’s commonwealth.

We republish this piece written last year on this date. For Victor Jara and all of the victims of the Military Junta in Chile.

Plegaria a un labrador

Public Prayer for a worker.

Public Prayer to a Worker

Stand up, look at the mountains
Source of the wind, the sun, the water
You, who change the course of rivers,
Who, with the seed, sow the flight of your soul,
Stand up, look at your hands,
Give to your hand to your brother so you can grow.
We’ll go together, united by blood,
Today is the day
We can make the future.
Deliver us from the master
who keeps us in misery.
The kingdom of justice and equality come.
Blow, like the wind blows
the wild flowers of the mountain pass.

Clean the barrel of my gun like fire
They will be done at last on earth
Give us your strength and courage to struggle.
Blow, like the wind blows
the wild flowers of the mountain pas

Clean the barrel of my gun like fire
Stand up, look at your hands,
Give to your hand to your brother so you can grow.
We’ll go together, united by blood,
Now and in the hour of our death.
Amen.

The following is a beautiful poem written by Adrian Mitchell and set to music by Arlo Guthrie about the life of Victor Jara.

read up on Victor in the following essay:

The Life of Victor Jara, from Marxism Leninism Today.

Victor Jara was machine-gunned to death. His body, and four other victims, were later found dumped near a railroad track outside a cemetery (one of the victims remains unidentified).

According to the autopsy report, he had been shot 44 times.

The special military unit who massacred Jara and many other political activists became known as the “Caravan of Death” and flew across the country in helicopters executing trade unionists, leftists and members of the Communist Party of Chile, and many other progressives like liberation theology priests.  More than 3,000 people were killed or went missing during the US-supported military dictatorship in Chile, from 1973 to 1990.

“With that same strength our collective fist / Will strike again some day.”..Victor Jara (more…)

and that old union song,

and today the fight is for

Hardly enough when one does the math, but okay we will go along with it meanwhile we demand $20.00 minimum wage.

and remember this:

 

 

~ HOLLY NEAR AND RONNIE GILBERT ~ “Beloved Comrade / Two Good Arms”

“Ferdinando Nicola Sacco (April 1891 – August 23, 1927) and Bartlomeo Vanzetti (June 11 1888 – August 23, 1927) were “anarchists” who were convicted of murdering two men during a 1920 armed robbery in South Braintree Massachusetts. After a controversial trial and a series of appeals, the two Italian immigrants were executed on August 23, 1927.”

Well us old gals are at it again. Traveling in search of a new home. This should be our last trip. We have contacts who have contacts who are in the know of where to live and where to go. Where to stay away from and where to check out.  Someone told us Vermont is full of cows, well we said even if we don’t drink milk, eat cheese or ice cream we love cows. Bonnie said with giggles, “you should see the place during rush hour, cows here, cows there, cows everywhere.” Yeah okay we will be in the city where we are sure there are very few cows. We’ll see some cows from the train give them a moo moo and be glad we don’t have to clean the barn. We love cows even if they do a job on the ozone. “I have to wonder,” said Bessy Marie, “do cows ever escape the field and come and stand on the train tracks?” I really hope they don’t as the train has no cow catcher in the front of it and if we hit such a creature it would be all over for the cow and cause delays. ( 1 ) Let’s hope not said Olga, lets hope the cows know where they at suppose to be and if they go anywhere else they will not hear the dinner bell. Here is a little song to start us on our way.

I am Cow, by Arrogant Worms.

Rush Hour In Vermont.

 

Lots of these on our trip. No worry the train is only 5 cars long. We were happy we weren’t waiting to cross the road or go on through to the other side of the tracks in Springfield as there was a freight train with almost 75 cars passing by.

The train route

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We know that by the time the train gets to us the bathrooms can be and usually are very smelly. Olga is the smart one in the bunch always brings a mask to wear when she is in the toilet. I just can’t sit there and smell that horrid smell, do my business and not have vomited all over the floor. Then the train folks would have another mess to clean up. So I get one of those masks fold it up keep in in my pocket along with a Lysol wipe or two. No telling what germs lurk around in the train. Germs are a funny thing can’t see them but if they get into you man can they do a job. Both of us gals are too old for that and thank our lucky stars we haven’t contracted anything this past winter on top of what either one of us have all ready. We take our Elderberry syrup each and every day. Getting old, now that is a whole other story. We don’t know too many old folks to sit around with and talk about getting old. I wish we did as then we would say, “Hey we don’t have it all that bad.” At the very least we would know what this getting old is all about and if this or that pain is worth complaining about. Maybe it will go away in a couple of days.

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Gals like us love the train. Having never learned to drive we take it all the time. You know the things you see on the train are much different than what you see in a car whizzing by at 60 miles per hour. These highways leave a lot to be desired as far as good scenery is concerned. Trees, cars, trees, cars. We love the train we get to see the backside of the cities, usually the older part, the graffiti along the tracks is always something to marvel at, an art show caught out of the corner of our eyes and then it retreats into the distant. Last time we were amazed at all of the mullein patches along the tracks. Huge Mullein plants, skunk cabbage, and ferns, ferns, ferns all along the tracks edge and into the woods. Something we very rarely see around these parts are white birch trees. The white lines among the green and brown, lovely. We came home last year in October and what a site to see out the windows of the trees changing colors. Never saw such beauty. What will we see in the spring time wondered Bessy Marie, of course we will be north and hopefully the gardens of tulips near the State Capitol will be in bloom. (more…)

Here is a song for this day when we remember workers killed on the job.

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Mike Alewitz artist, revolutionary, teacher posted today on his facebook page this for the upcoming International Women’s Day Strike Action. Many thanks to Mike for this revolutionary work of art.

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Mike has this to say about this his work and the women he has painted.

STREET FIGHTING WOMEN

Some gave their lives, Most went to jail. All understood that change only comes when we take it to the street.

In support of the upcoming actions for International Women’s Day, some of the amazing, militant women that I’ve had the honor to paint:

Frida Kahlo (Activist Artist), Elizabeth Gurley Flynn (IWW Agitator), Harriet Tubman (Armed Abolitionist), Louise Michele (Commune Insurrectionist)

Emma Goldman (Anarchist), Mother Jones (Mine Workers Organizer), Rosa Luxemburg (Socialist Revolutionary), Sojourner Truth (Abolitionist/ Feminist)

Clara Lemlich (Strike Leader), Lucy Parsons (Labor Organizer), Lucille Thornburg (CIO Organizer), Rachel Corrie (Solidarity Activist)

Audre Lorde (Feminist/ Poet), Grace Lee Boggs (Marxist Philosopher), Karen Silkwood (Union Activist), Coretta Scott King (Civil Rights Leader)

STRIKE MARCH 8/ INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY