Here is a song for this day when we remember workers killed on the job.
Here is a song for this day when we remember workers killed on the job.
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.
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)
“You know as well as I do,” said Mickey to Moe “that there is a stool Pigeon in every bunch of workers. They come in all shapes, sizes, colors, sexes and anything else you can imagine. But they have one thing in common they all have that brown on the end of their nose.” “Yeah,” said Moe, “we got one at work that we never expected to be like that. Always on the left side of liberal, seen it all, can call out whats happening in this country with the best of us but loves that boss so much that you can smell the poop if you get too close.” He’s been stooling around, finking and ratting to the boss about us trying hard to form a union, which we as workers so desperately need. We are talking among ourselves about why we would benefit from a union and all the checks are in the box marked YES.
Hey Stoolie this one is for you and anyone else thinking about loving the boss and sticking with his bull.
We will tell you right up front, at the job we are at now, we lost our vacations, 2, 3, 4 weeks it doesn’t matter, the new company doesn’t even use that word. But wait hasn’t the boss promised that he will make a deal with the new company so we can retain that benefit? Yeah but you know bosses come and bosses go and if there is money coming out of someone’s pocket book pretty soon they are going to squeal, Too Much!, we gotta cut back. We need real protection not singing and dancing to the song Promises, Promises.
Let’s talk about pay rates. You start at anywhere from minimum wage in your state, or maybe get $10.00 per hour, here a person starts at $12.00 and generally gets 25 cents a year. The union is offering $14.00 per hour. We say give us $20.00! Do the math folks and any one who is coming from a privileged position and argues against is a part of the problem and probably is playing kiss kiss with the boss and doesn’t even know it. Another tool of the ruling class.
We have no personal days, and holidays with pay forget it if you don’t work you don’t get paid. But how about this one, the boss wants his friends and former colleagues in positions here and hasn’t a qualm about saying it out loud. Who will be the first to go? Who will stand up for us? Who will stand up as each one of us are picked off one by one? How about insurance? Well with the union we get free insurance for the worker their spouse and dependents. Take that $68.00 a week fee for insurance that the company has to offer and shove it. You know that is the price for you only, shit how much for the wife, husband and kids. Up Up Up. Yeah shove it, Yeah real deep. (more…)
For our weekend music enjoyment is the song Pastures of Plenty written by Woody Gutherie in 1941. This version is sung by Holly Near and Ronnie Gilbert.
In a recent television interview, featuring Baldemar Velasquez – a vigorous farm worker organizer – Bill Moyers summarized the period since the movie Harvest of Shame: “Believe it or not, more than fifty years later, the life of a migrant laborer is still an ordeal. And not just for adults. Perhaps as many as half a million children, some as young as seven years old, are out in the fields and orchards working nine to ten hour days under brutal conditions.” (See the full interview here.)
Among the conditions Moyers was referring to are the daily exposures to pesticides, fertilizers and the resulting chemical-related injuries and sicknesses. Far more of these pesticides end up in the workers’ bodies than are found in our food. President of Farmworker Justice, Bruce Goldstein writes: “Short-term effects include stinging eyes, rashes, blisters, blindness, nausea, dizziness, headache, coma and even death. Pesticides also cause infertility, neurological disorders and cancer.”
¡Viva La Huelga! ¡Viva La Huelga!
For readers who would like to know the battles that United Farm Workers are still fighting check out the Home Page which is found HERE. On their site is an excellent history of the United Farm Workers. The fight for decent living wages, decent housing, and for the right to be represented by a union continue. Today a bill to expand overtime rules for farm workers has been resurrected in the California legislature. Hear this from one campaign of the United Farm Workers. Hear this and shake your heads and get up and help in this fight against may we saw greedy capitalism. Today in 2016 there should be no need for even having to introduce this bill anywhere in the U.S.
“We currently have a new bill, AB1066, which is in the CA Senate. As bill author Rep. Lorena Gonzalez said,“Tens of thousands of farm workers are toiling in the fields without the same overtime protections that other hourly workers in our state receive. They deserve better. California can do better. That’s why we amended #AB1066 — to once again try to get an eight hour day for farm workers. We won’t stop until this bill passes.”
Go to HERE to support the Phase in Overtime for Agricultural Act of 2016. (We will support this bill but have to say, this should not be a phase in. These workers deserve overtime now not in any type of phase in. Most american workers would not allow this if it was happening to them.
The Fight is far from over for the agricultural workers and their supporters. Join them.
The Paris Commune, the first successful worker’s revolution, existed from March 18 to May 30, 1871.
Eugene Pottier 1871
*The original French words were written in June 1871 by Eugène Pottier (1816–1887, previously a member of the (Paris Commune) and were originally intended to be sung to the tune of “La Marseillaise“. Pierre De Geyter (1848–1932) set the poem to music in 1888. His melody was first publicly performed in July 1888 and became widely used soon after.
“The proletarians of Paris,” said the Central Committee in its manifesto of March 18, “amidst the failures and treason’s of the ruling classes, have understood that the hour has struck for them to save the situation by taking into their own hands the direction of public affairs…. They have understood that it is their imperious duty, and their absolute right, to render themselves masters of their own destinies, by seizing upon the governmental power.” (1)
Defending the Paris Commune
“It was 140 years ago that the French bourgeoisie put an end to the proletariat’s first great revolutionary experience, with a massacre of some 20,000 workers. The Paris Commune was the first time that the working class had appeared in such strength on the stage of history. For the first time, the workers showed that they were capable of destroying the bourgeois state apparatus, and so stood out as the only revolutionary class in society. Today, the ruling class is trying at all costs to convince the workers that humanity has no perspective for any society other than capitalism, and to infect them with a feeling of impotence in the face of the terrible barbarity and misery of the modern world. Today then, it is necessary that the working class examine its own past, to regain confidence in itself, in its own strength, and in the future that its struggles contain. The formidable experience of the Paris Commune is there to bear witness that even then, despite the immaturity of the conditions for communist revolution at the time, the proletariat showed that it is the only force able to call the capitalist order into question.” (2)