Labor and community supporters on October 23 joined members of the Machinists Union (IAM District 10) on strike at AstenJohnson in Appleton. Union supporters including from the Teamsters Local 344 and USW District 2 and members of the Wisconsin Bail Out The People Movement walked the line with their fellow workers. Food not Bombs – Fox Valley set up a “solidarity not charity” kitchen on the line offering hot food, beverages and snacks to the strikers and supporters. Support posters and leaflets were distributed on the line. Community support literature distribution is ongoing.
Machinists Union members at AstenJohnson have been on strike for a week and Teamster members in the facility are honoring the lines. The strikers have received solidarity from across the state with the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO and affiliated federations such as the Fox Valley Area Labor Council providing a variety of support.
Women activists and their organizations are the drivers of positive change worldwide—and the freedom to form unions and freely associate is key to their ability to do so, according to a landmark report released this week. “Celebrating Women in Civil Society and Activism,” prepared by Clément Voule, United Nations special rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, was released during an event featuring Voule, Netherlands Ambassador for Human Rights Bahia Tahzib-Lie and Solidarity Center Executive Director Shawna Bader-Blau. “Women around the world are building economic power by exercising freedom of association and assembly,” said Bader-Blau. “Unions and the right to collective bargaining is one way we fight back.” Find out more at the Solidarity Center.
A Call to Organize People’s Committees to Defend Democratic Rights
to Defeat Trump’s Plan to Steal the Election
Donald Trump is making it clearer every day that he will not peacefully give up the office of president. Trump may claim victory after instigating massive voter suppression, post office sabotage and attacks on absentee ballots. His right-wing supporters are being encouraged to prevent fair voting from proceeding. If Trump overturns the election, if he refuses to accept the will of the electorate or if his criminal interference is unacceptable to the people, how can he be removed from the Oval Office?
To expect the United States military to intervene should not be our plan. And the Supreme Court of the United States cannot be relied upon to deliver even a semblance of justice. To wait upon the military or the courts to act would be foolish and disastrous. Only the broadest mass movement of the working class and oppressed peoples can protect basic democracy in this period.
What is needed is to organize broad based People’s Committees to Defend Democratic Rights. This must be done very quickly. To be truly representative these committees must extend invitations to any and every progressive groups and labor organization in their locality. These must include churches, women’s groups, the LGBTQ community, immigrant rights groups, people with disabilities organizations, Black Lives Matter groups as well as traditional Civil Rights organizations, Native nations, Latinx associations, Asian & Pacific Islanders groups and all other progressive associations. Local labor unions must take this up as well as central labor councils and labor allies.
The aim of People’s Committees should be very clear. They must prepare to shut the entire country down if Trump tries to steal the election. They must popularize the idea of, and prepare for, a General Strike.
The largest labor organization in the country is the American Federation of Labor – Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) with 12.5 million members. The AFL-CIO should play an important role. The Constitution of the AFL-CIO mandates that it respond to the dangerous situation that is looming. The Preamble says in part:
“We will assemble a broad progressive coalition for social and economic justice. We will create a political force within the labor movement that will speak forcefully and persuasively on the public issues that affect our lives.” Article II, Objects and Principles, Section 12 instructs the federation:
“To protect the labor movement from any and all corrupt influences and from the undermining efforts of authoritarianism, totalitarianism, terrorism and all other forces that suppress individual liberties and freedom of association and oppose the basic principles of our democracy and of free and democratic unionism.”
This gives the AFL-CIO Executive Council, state and local central labor bodies and individual local unions the duty to assist in the formation of People’s Committees to Defend Democratic Rights. A general strike cannot just be called out of the blue. People’s Committees could call upon every union local, every organization and progressive group to discuss the idea and to conduct a vote of their membership asking them to authorize the calling of a general strike if and when it is deemed necessary.
Just imagine the terror felt on Wall Street among the big bankers and corporate bosses as word comes out of one union after another, one community group after another, one church after another, weighing in with a YES vote in favor of a general strike. Every day billionaire support for Donald Trump’s provocations would dry up and his mass right-wing base would become more and more isolated. It might very well be so effective that no actual work stoppage would even be needed.
How to Begin?
Circulate this call as widely as possible.
Take this call to your organization for discussion and endorsement.
Have your organization contact other local groups forming a People’s Committee to Defend Democratic Rights and participate in its meetings.
Plan to have your organization’s membership vote on authorizing and participating in a General Strike to stop Trump from stealing the election.
Center Court Sports Complex, 815 Northview Rd., Waukesha, WI – 7 P.M.
Please join us in voicing your opinion, as protected by the first amendment, in denouncing fascism. Trump will be speaking at the Waukesha County Airport on Saturday at 7pm. With Wisconsin Covid cases being some of the highest in the country, now is not the time to be bringing masses of people together for your own gain, President Trump.
Let’s remind Trump and his followers that Black Lives Matter, Brown lives, LGBT lives, and working class lives MATTER. Marginalized lives and votes MATTER, and we will NOT be silent. We will be meeting at the Center Court parking lot and likely heading over from there. We will have to see how close we can get to Trumps white supremacist rally. Please wear a mask, some warm clothing, and be safe.
Tonight, October 20, at the Common Council Public Hearing our community showed out and demanded that the Mayor and Common Council defend our communities and defund police!We demanded the Common Council strip money away from the historically racist system of police terror, instead of our communities. People called them out in this time of economic and social turmoil; demanded that they pay attention to how police have proved themselves to be brutalizers.
We made it known that the racial disparity in policing is apparent to Madisonians. We brought attention to global uprisings against police; that this is an issue igniting on a global scale. With our collective voices we demanded the Common Council do the jobs we elected them to do: INVEST in vital community resources. DEMAND the mayor DEFUND the Madison Police Department. We demanded they make the vital decision of defunding police to defend Black lives. Our community showed that we understand what accountability from our electeds look like. We interrupted their space and advocated for our most vulnerable communities and our futures.
Remember we have another opportunity to do this.
Please watch and register to speak at the next Public Hearing on October 26th at 4:30pm. Freedom Inc.
* This is a non-partisan event. We are not endorsing a party or candidate.*
Milwaukee is Uniting and turning out the vote!
Celebrate National Early Voting Day by being in our All City “Pack the Polls Parade” – One of over a dozen happening around Wisconsin.
Starting on the North Side and ending on the South Side! WE are Uniting and we will be Packing the Polls! Check out our Parade Schedule and join us for as much as you can:
Speakers & Early Voting at Most Stops 10:00 am – 11:00 am – Midtown Mall 5700 Capitol Dr.
11:15 – 12:30 pm – Washington Park
Corner of Lisbon Ave. & Lloyd St.12:45 pm – 1:30 pm- Clinton Rose Senior Center 3045 N. Dr. MLK Dr. Special Musical Performances by Curtis Eubanks!
2:00 pm – Burnham Park – Press Conference W. Burnham & S. 32nd St.
3:00 pm – Mitchell Park Domes, 524 S. Layton Blvd.
Parade End & Safely Distanced Celebration! With 10 days until the polls close, Make sure that you have a plan to vote safely and be a part of our big steps toward justice and unity. Step one: We vote for a more just and sustainable future. Vote for the children. Vote for our planet. Vote for change!