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One Day We Will All Strike for More Than One Day

An international one-day strike by fast-food workers is something new, and also something old.  People without a union are organizing and acting in solidarity.  Others are joining in support of their moral demand for a living wage.  They're holding rallies.  They're shutting down restaurants.  They're using Occupy's people's microphone.  They're targeting the one-percenter CEO of McDonald's who apparently is paid $9,002 per hour for the public service of ruining our health with horrible tasting processed imitation food.

Jeremy Brecher has released a revised, expanded, and updated edition of his 40-year-old book, Strike, that includes the origins of these fast-food worker strikes and puts them in the context of a history of the strike in the United States dating back to 1877. This opening passage of Chapter 1 sets the context beautifully:

"In the centers of many American cities are positioned huge armories, grim nineteenth-century edifices of brick or stone. They are fortresses complete with massive walls and loopholes for guns. You may have wondered why they are there, but it has probably never occurred to you that they were built to protect America not against invasion from abroad but against popular revolt at home."

And what revolts there have been! Brecher's book should be read for inspiration.  The most marginalized of workers have repeatedly taken matters into their own hands and won radical changes for the better.  Success has followed selfless acts of solidarity.  Failure has followed strategic calculation and compromise.  The potential for greater victories has been frustrated time and again by the decision not to press working people's advantage forward -- a decision generally made by labor unions.

The vision of replacing capitalism has driven the efforts that have reformed it.  A century ago, World War I provided the excuse to beat back workers. But their demands exploded upon the war's conclusion.  Workers took over Seattle and ran the city, effectively replacing the government.  In the 1930s, coal miners opened their own coal mines. Unemployed workers during the great depression joined picket lines in support of striking workers rather than competing with them.  Workers at a rubber factory in Akron developed the sit-down strike, which spread like wildfire and might work well in McDonald's restaurants all over the world today. Customers could join workers by sitting in at tables and not eating.  We could bring our own food; McDonald's has internet.

Brecher's book brings the story of strikes, including general strikes, up to the present.  The lessons it teaches open up possibilities not usually considered. Brecher sums up what we're up against:

"The ideology of the existing society exercises a powerful hold on workers' minds. The longing to escape from subordination to the boss is often expressed in the dream of going into business for yourself, even though the odds against success are overwhelming. The civics book cliché that the American government represents the will of the people and is therefore legitimate survives even in those who find the government directly opposing their own needs in the interests of their employers. The desire to own a house, a car, or perhaps an independent business supports a belief in private property that makes expropriation of the great corporations seem to many a personal threat. The idea that everybody is really out for themselves, that it can be no other way, and that therefore the solution to one's problems must come from beating other people rather than cooperating with them is inculcated over and over by the very structure of life in a competitive society."

One day we will all strike, and we will strike for more than a day. We will strike until we replace the "very structure of life" with different ones.  We'll strike forever, occupy everything, and never give it back.

Talk Nation Radio: Portland Oregon Supports Its Teachers and Students

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-portland

Portland Oregon is sitting on a budget surplus while overworking and undersupporting its teachers. And it's not just the teachers who aren't going to take it anymore.

Eric MacCartney is a member of the Portland Association of Teachers (PAT). He has been teaching for over six years, and now teaches fifth grade at Kelly Elementary, a Title I school in Portland's Lents neighborhood. Before that he taught as a substitute all over the district. MacCartney is also a parent of an eighth grader who is attending da Vinci Arts Middle School.

Meredith Reese is a long-time community activist and a member of the Portland Teacher Solidarity Campaign, which is a grassroots group of students, parents, teachers, and community members who have come together to stand in solidarity with the teachers in their struggle for a fair contract and for the schools Portland students deserve.

See also:
http://pdxteachers.org
http://teachersandparentstogether.com

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Music by Duke Ellington.

Download from Archive or LetsTryDemocracy.

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Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

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Past Talk Nation Radio shows are all available free and complete at
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Switzerland Shows U.S. How to Handle CEOs

In Switzerland a petition from 100,000 people, or about 1.25% of the population, creates a public referendum.  By this means, last March, Swiss voters created strict limits on executive pay.

On November 24, the Swiss will vote on whether to take a further step -- limiting executive pay to no more than 12 times the lowest salary in the company. Such a maximum wage policy allows the CEO pay increases, but only if workers get at least a twelfth as much.

A movement in the U.S. is asking: If Switzerland can do it, why can't we?

The Swiss are also set to vote, on a date yet to be set, to create a guaranteed basic income of $2,800 (2,500 Swiss francs) per month for every adult. That's about $16 per hour for a full-time worker, but it's guaranteed even for those who can't find work.

You know what country can afford such a measure even more easily, given its vast supplies of wealth? The United States of America.

Here in the United States, had the minimum wage kept pace with productivity since the 1960s it would now be $21.72 an hour, or $3,722 a month. The Congressional proposal of $10.10 an hour, which President Obama now says he supports, equals $1,751 a month for a fulltime job. The actual U.S. minimum wage of $7.25, which does not apply to all workers, makes $1,242 a month. But only if you can find work.

That's less than half what the Swiss are voting on, and Swiss workers also have their healthcare paid for, public transportation widely available, quality education and higher education free or affordable, 14 weeks paid parental leave, and a nearly endless list of other advantages provided by the government.

A basic income guarantee, currently practiced in Alaska and once supported by President Richard Nixon and the U.S. House of Representatives, would be far more efficient than targeted support programs, because every individual would receive the exact same check, with no stigma attached to it; and, yes -- believe it or not -- people who could find work would still work.

Switzerland has a greater percentage of its population made up by immigrants than the United States does. Switzerland has four national languages.  What allows Switzerland to practice democracy so much more effectively?

Two major parts of the answer are obvious. Switzerland doesn't fight wars, and it doesn't redistribute its wealth upward creating an overclass of multibillionaires.

Perhaps its time to begin moving our own country in a peaceful, prosperous direction. A growing number of people have decided to try.

Blowing the Whistle on the TPP in Harrisonburg VA

Free Trade Pact or Corporate Coup?

Presentation & Discussion with Author & Activist David Swanson

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is the most highly secret trade agreement in the history of the United States.   It is massive in scope, and is being pushed by the U.S. government at the behest of transnational corporations.  It is bad for jobs, bad for democracy, and bad for our national sovereignty.  President Obama is expected to try to "fast-track" the TPP as soon as this month.  Fast-tracking means that the TPP would be pushed through without adequate congressional and public examination and input.  The TPP is being packaged as a “trade pact” when in reality it is all about establishing a system of global corporate governance.

The TPP will:

  • Prevent effective regulation of Wall Street
  • Trade good-paying careers for sweatshop labor
  • Destroy family farms
  • Accelerate global warming in the name of profits
  • Keep the public in the dark
  • Place corporate rights above our national sovereignty
  • Crush our ability to support local economies
  • Weaken and undermine democracy at home and abroad

Do any of these things matter to you?   Please Join Us!

WHERE:  Community Mennonite Church, 70 South High Street, Harrisonburg

WHEN:   Sunday, July 21, 7:00 - 9:00 PM

Sponsored by Occupy Harrisonburg

For more info: citizenstrade.org

Talk Nation Radio: Gar Alperovitz Points to Worker Ownership as Fix for Broken Democracy

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-gar

Gar Alperovitz discusses his new book, What Then Must We Do: Straight Talk About the Next American Revolution.  Alperovitz points to long-term trends in wealth and income inequality, environmental destruction, civil liberties loss, incarceration rates, and others, to argue that ordinary political change is not enough, that systemic changes in the distribution of power are badly needed.  See http://www.garalperovitz.com

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Music by Duke Ellington.

Download or get embed code from Archive or  AudioPort or LetsTryDemocracy.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

Please encourage your local radio stations to carry this program every week!

Past Talk Nation Radio shows are all available free and complete at
http://davidswanson.org/talknationradio

It's the Ownership

If you're like me you've read several books that list inspiring examples of worker owned businesses and co-ops, suggesting that expanding on such models might begin to right the wrongs of an incredibly unequal society that is growing even more unequal by the day.

The best such collection I've found is in a new book by Gar Alperovitz called What Then Must We Do?  This book also offers a powerful argument that radical change is needed, albeit an argument with some possible flaws.  First the inspiring examples:

Talk Nation Radio: Carl Gibson on Shutting Down the U.S. Chamber of Commerce

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-carl-gibson

Carl Gibson is currently engaged in a Green Jobs March from Philadelphia to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C., as part of a campaign called ShutTheChamber.org.  You can join the march virtually by uploading a photo on their website, or you can join in reality at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce across from the White House at 10 a.m. Friday, May 24th.  Gibson is lead organizer of ShutTheChamber and cofounder of USUncut.  He discusses the damage the U.S. Chamber does to our political system pushing environmental destruction, wars, and the plutocratic concentration of wealth.  Gibson says that small businesses paying dues to local chambers that themselves have little in common with the U.S. Chamber end up funding assaults on small businesses, as the local chambers fund the state chambers which fund the U.S. Chamber -- an institution that also serves to funnel vast quantities of unaccountable corporate money into politics.

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Music by Duke Ellington.

Download or get embed code from Archive or  AudioPort or LetsTryDemocracy.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

Please encourage your local radio stations to carry this program every week!

Past Talk Nation Radio shows are all available free and complete at
http://davidswanson.org/talknationradio

Talk Nation Radio: Here Comes Corporate Nationhood

And you thought corporate personhood was bad enough!  Lacey Kohlmoos, Senior Field Organizer, Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch, tells us that the TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership) will create corporate nationhood by empowering corporations to sue and overrule real nations, as well as incentivizing the offshoring of jobs, hurting food safety, damaging environmental protections, enriching drug companies at the expense of human health, banning some generic drugs, further deregulating banks, forbidding the breaking up of too-big-to-fail financial firms, and creating SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) despite its failure in Congress as a result of strong public opposition.

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Music by Duke Ellington.

Download or get embed code from Archive or  AudioPort or LetsTryDemocracy.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

Please encourage your local radio stations to carry this program every week!

Past Talk Nation Radio shows are all available free and complete at
http://davidswanson.org/talknationradio

Chained CPI Humbug on Maggie's Farm

Maggie was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The streets of Britain celebrated. Barack watched on CNN. And Barack's name was good upon 'Change, for anything he chose to put his hand to. Old Maggie was as dead as a door-nail.

Hopenchange knew she was dead? Of course he did. How could it be otherwise? Barack and she were partners, as it were, albeit removed by I don't know how many years. Barack was her sole executor, her sole administrator, her sole assign, her sole residuary legatee, her sole friend, and sole mourner. And even Capnpeaceprize was not so dreadfully cut up by the sad event, but that he was an excellent man of business on the very day of the funeral, and solemnised it with an undoubted bargain and a couple of drone strikes.

Talk Nation Radio: Richard Wolff on Putting Workers in Charge at Work

Richard Wolff is a professor of economics emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the author of Democracy at Work.  See http://democracyatwork.info

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Music by Duke Ellington.

Download or get embed code from Archive or  AudioPort or LetsTryDemocracy.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

Please encourage your local radio stations to carry this program every week!

Past Talk Nation Radio shows are all available free and complete at
http://davidswanson.org/talknationradio