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Harvey: Working class people unite to help each other

By Sean O'Torain - Facts for Working People, September 6, 2017

Harvey. Trade unionists and working people unite to help each other. 

Hundreds of thousands of people are facing terrible hardship due to the storm in Texas and Louisiana. These are mainly working class people like ourselves. We the organizers of the Blog Facts For Working People appeal to all to recognize the following reality and take the following concrete steps. 

We must recognize that the manner in which the working class people in the Texas/Louisiana area are working together is an inspiration and an example to all. This must be recognized by all working people and conclusions drawn. There is no thinking about should somebody be helped or not helped because of the color of their skin or their gender. The united effort of the Texas/Louisiana working people shows that not only is working class unity possible but that it actually exists in the struggle to handle the Texas/Louisiana catastrophe. This example must be recognized and built upon. 

Concrete organizational steps to be taken:

  • If it has not already been done all trade union halls and  properties in the affected area must be opened for shelters. 
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  • There are over half a million trade unionists in Texas and Louisiana. A rank and file delegate conference of all these trade unionists must be called immediately.
  • At this a Texas/Louisiana Trade Union Help Center T/L TUHC)  must be set up. 
  • From this conference meetings of trade unionists in the two states must be called, meetings at the workplaces and the locals and from these organizing committees be set up.
  • From this mobilization the trade union movement in Texas/Louisiana must act to help all the victims of the disaster. 
  • The Texas/Louisiana trade union help center T/LTUHC must reach out to the fourteen million trade union members in the US and appeal for them to take action to help.
  • The Texas/Louisiana trade union help center (T/LTUHC must also reach out to the trade union movement internationally for help.  
  • Reaching out to trade unionists outside the Texas/Louisiana area the call must be to organize rank and file meetings of all locals and labor councils and raise help, both material and personnel and send this help to Texas/Louisiana, all to be coordinated through the Texas/Louisiana trade union help center. T/LTUHC
  • The trade union movement must act to give leadership in this crisis. So far, because of the role of the union leadership it is absent as a movement from the effort to help the Texas/Louisiana people. This, to put it mildly, is not acceptable.
  • Not only must trade union activists take action but all who are not in trade unions but have relatives in unions, neighbors in trade unions must link up with these trade unionists and encourage them go to their union brothers and sisters and get them to act, get them to coordinate the help for our sisters and brothers and their families in Texas and Louisiana. 
  • It is unlikely the official trade union leadership will take such action. They have not done so up to this point. However if they do this is to be welcomed. But under no conditions must it be relied upon. The record of the trade union leadership gives no reason to do so.
  • This must be a rank and file bottom up effort. 

Such action, such a mobilization would achieve a number of results. It would put the organized working class movement at the center of the effort to help the victims of the storm. This would transform the trade union movement in the eyes of all working people. It would be seen to have acted in this terrible crisis. This would make it much more attractive to all workers union and non union and make it easier to activate the existing union membership and to organize the unorganized. Such a mobilization would also help to build rank and file bodies in the unions which could be made permanent and this would help to move aside the existing union leadership who have refused to to mobilize the movement on the Texas/Louisiana catastrophe and who refuse to organize the working class to fight the bosses offensive on wages, jobs conditions. Such a mobilization would also begin to transform the consciousness of the US working class to where it would begin to see itself as a class and begin to see that it could  take action independently as a class.  

Finally such an effort by the trade union rank and file movement must refuse to go along with the bosses media and politicians in their refusal to identify the cause of the catastrophe in Texas/Louisiana. This catastrophe is caused by climate change, by global warming. See the huge fire now taking place in Los Angeles. See the floods in places like Bangladesh, and African and European countries and world wide. Another storm is presently building in the Atlantic.

The attitude of the bosses' media and politicians has to be seen in this way. An arsonist sets fire to a row of houses. The bosses media and politicians gush non stop about the wonderful resilience of the people whose homes are burnt down. But they never make mention of who was the arsonist or make any effort to catch and stop the arsonist. The reason is clear. The arsonist is capitalism, the arsonist is the capitalist class themselves. It is the addiction of the capitalist class to profit and to hell with all other considerations which is burning upon the planet. It is capitalism that is driving climate change and global warming. As long as capitalism lasts catastrophes such as that in Texas/Louisiana will only multiply.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.