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Skidmore Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-22-05 08:40 AM
Original message
This morning my husband looked at me and said
"We all need to stay home from work for a week--everyone".

I was amazed to hear him say that; he's very strongly work oriented. I've been saying a general strike will bring the corporations to their knees quickly. They need consumers. It would take huge organization, but at some point, the citizinry will have to exercise the one power it has remaining. Other peoples have brought change about in this way--Poland, Iran, France, to name a few. We no longer make products and shutting down factories has been accomplished by the corporations themselves.
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Alpharetta Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-22-05 08:45 AM
Response to Original message
1. I completely agree

The most dramatic political victory of commoners in the past century, in my opinion, was the fall of the Warsaw Pact and the Berlin Wall caused by Lech Walesa and the Solidarity strikes.
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Tandalayo_Scheisskopf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-22-05 08:45 AM
Response to Original message
2. The concept of a General Strike...
Has a lot of value.
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napi21 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-22-05 08:54 AM
Response to Original message
3. I love the idea, but you'd never get that much cooperation.
The same could be accomplished if all the american people didn't buy ANYTHING for a week too. Believe me, my husband has tried a similar tactic on a very small scale in one department where he worked. There were only 8 people, and the best he could get was cooperation of 2. All the others were just too intimidated with a potential job loss to even try.

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Ellen Forradalom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-22-05 08:58 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. That's the source of its difficulty and promise
When enough people are angered and emboldened at the same time, they can move mountains. It's the getting them on the same page part that's the bitch.
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Skidmore Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-22-05 09:03 AM
Response to Reply #4
7. Exactly. The question becomes what overreach will be so
egregious that the average citizen will be able to stand up and say "No more".

I've been past that point for quite a while now. Apparently, there's not enough pain yet and the religious right seems to revel in their delusions of persecution right now.
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merh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-22-05 11:47 AM
Response to Reply #7
26. The Mission NOT Accomplished Day - May 2, 2005
Edited on Tue Mar-22-05 11:48 AM by merh
is being organized:


(snip)

"A National Day of Remembrance, Relaxation, Re-creation, & Redemption" on May 2, 2005 -- Mission Accomplished NOT Day -- in contravention of George Bush's "Mission Accomplished" pronouncement on that day, two years ago.

And what would be the significance of this day? While we are relaxing and remembering, we are not participating in supporting the corporate structure which feeds the regime currently squatting in the White House, for starters. No Walmart shopping, no eating at McDonalds, in fact, no shopping at all, except for absolute necessities. We buy our food at a local farm stand, cook it at home, and ask our neighbors over. What a subversive concept!

To counter the "No's" in that last paragraph, what would we do with ourselves? We would like to propose that people of good conscience use that day to visit Veterans' Hospitals, take flowers, gifts, carrot cake, poetry to the people who have given their health and future wellbeing, in many cases, to what they believed was a good cause but turned out to be a lie. Even those who do not see it that way deserve our compassion, our love, and our practical assistance.

UL from this point forward) proposed this idea, that we travel in groups, by bus, bicycle, whatever means is most "restful" (i.e., contributes the least to corporate interests), take our children out of school for this enriching experience, and remember our own humanity in the process. And if 50,000 of us are visiting Veterans' hospitals, we might cause a bit of a stir.

(snip)

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...
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Ravenseye Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-22-05 11:49 AM
Response to Reply #3
27. Americans are Too Chicken to have a General Strike
Maybe someday they might have enough guts to do it, but not currently.

People dont' want to lose their jobs, they don't want to lose the money that they would make that week, and so on.

Most simply can't afford to lose one weeks pay. It would really really harm them. Look at teachers unions that aren't in right to work states. They often won't strike and accept the best offer they can get, simply because the majority of the teachers vote not to strike? Why? Well certainly there are some that think they should be in there teaching and care about the kids, but alot will vote against a strike because they simply wouldn't be able to pay rent if they did.

Americans don't have universal health care, they don't have good bankruptcy protection anymore, their rights have been either systematically withheld, or taken way for the past 50 years or so. There has been much progress in civil rights, but in workers rights not so much. Little dabbles here and there.

Today even if most americans were even fracking informed of the benefits of a general strike, they wouldn't do it, simply because they'd be afraid they'd be unable to put food on the table.

The light at the end of the tunnel is that if you keep taking things away from Americans then eventually they'll have so little that it won't matter to them whether they strike or not. Sadly I think that's what it would take to get people to do it.
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AntiCoup2K4 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-22-05 09:02 AM
Response to Original message
5. Shut it Down!!
GENERAL STRIKE (D.O.A.)

shut it down!
we're tired, yeah,
tired of workin'.
yeah, workin' for nothin'.
we all want, what we got comin'.
all we need is a break,
come on take a break.
everything is not all right
and there's no end in sight.

you can call it, whatcha like.
come on, stand up for your rights.
stand up, stand and unite.
it's time for a general strike.

we been out, breakin' our backs.
been out workin' gettin' no slack.
all week long, payin' those bills.
that's just the people, that still got a job.
what about the rest of us, on the soupline.

stand up, stand, stand and unite.
it's time for a general strike.
stand up, stand and unite.
it's time!!!
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progressoid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-22-05 09:03 AM
Response to Original message
6. Yep - that would be great
But we are too addicted to being a consumer society. A sort of consumption codependency.

I'd be shocked if you could find 5% willing to do it. I'd be equally shocked if you could even get half of Americans to grasp the concept.

Sorry - bad morning today.

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Skidmore Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-22-05 09:06 AM
Response to Reply #6
8. We need to get behind a new labor movement.
Edited on Tue Mar-22-05 09:07 AM by Skidmore
Reforming and forming unions is a good place to begin. I quit a union years ago because I felt they didn't represent me and appeared to be a good old boy's drinking club. I'm in the process of joining an organizing effort here. It is important to have strong representation for workers.
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welshTerrier2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-22-05 09:06 AM
Response to Original message
9. the missing ingredient
Edited on Tue Mar-22-05 09:09 AM by welshTerrier2
while a general strike would be a very effective tool to get the corporate state to bend to our will, the option is not available to us right now ... to bring about an action like this on a grand scale, a majority of the population would have to have a clear understanding that we are living in a corporate state ... Americans would need to fully understand the degree to which their government is being exploited for corporate greed ... they would need to know that government policies are made for the exclusive benefit of corporations and their wealthiest shareholders ... they would need to know that their government has been bought and paid for and that we no longer live in a democracy (or a republic either) ...

that's the missing ingredient ... we do not have an informed electorate ... or first job is education, not general strikes ... the sad truth is that the Democratic Party has become increasingly complicit in this corporate conspiracy ... how many Democrats have you heard speaking out against the tyranny of the corporate state??? i'm not sure they believe it's an issue and if they do, i'm not sure they have the courage to speak out against it ... worse yet, they may even be enjoying the perks and bribes furnished by the corporate elite that keep them in power ...

so job one is education ... and we might just have to toss out a lot of treasonous Democrats and replace them with people who will truly fight for our democratic ideals ... a general strike might indeed be a powerful tactic, but it's time is unfortunately a long way off ... in these times of neo-con-trolled media and complicit Democrats, our mission is to find avenues to speak directly to the American people with our message of renewed democracy and hope ...
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napi21 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-22-05 10:12 AM
Response to Reply #9
17. I really hate to have to admit this, but, in order for any candidate
to run a competative race, they need more and more money each time! Unfortunately, most of that money comes from corporate wealth. The Dem candidates would be committing political suicide if they fought against the Corporations, thus eliminating most contributions, and having to rely completely on individual Dems for donations. I think most Dems are pissed off enough at Pub control that they would be willing to contribute, but simply have very limited resources.

I don't know how to cure that situation. George Soros helps, but he's not going to do it alone.
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lostnfound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-22-05 02:18 PM
Response to Reply #17
32. "Build it and they will come"
If more of them had faith the size of a mustard seed -- to together step out of the corp. cash line -- would voters step up to support them?

Only if it is perceived as having a chance of success.

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Skidmore Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-22-05 03:12 PM
Response to Reply #17
34. If the existing Dem candidates would quit enabling
corporate abuse and do what Dean did--appeal to the individual citizen and represent their interests, they would meet with success. In the absence of willingness to do just that, we need to create a movement. Funding will follow. $10 contributions across many people has just as much power as 1 large contributor, and many more votes. Do not dismiss the little guy--that is the mistake those in office are making now. The old labor movement was a cooperative movement among many types of workers. We need to revive a populist message for workers--blue and white collar. I think white collar workers would be receptive now that their jobs are also being outsourced and they have become part of downsizing too.

It takes work--lots of it--within the workplace and community. It also takes a willingness to really stand up for what you believe.
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napi21 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-22-05 05:36 PM
Response to Reply #34
37. If we could get enough average americans to send $10 each to
one candidate, you're right, we wouldn't need Corp donations! I don't know if it's possible to make that happen without upfront $$ to make a very convincing case! I'm afraid this is another case of "you need money to make money".

Hell, look at what's happened to the unions. They'be been trying for years to get into Walmart, and you sure can't say the employees there don't have a reason to ignore them, but they can't get enough people to revolt all at once to be able to force the companies hand.

I'm with ya on the idea, and I'll do everything I can to make it happen, but I don't see a lot of hope on the horizon.
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bear425 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-22-05 09:07 AM
Response to Original message
10. Mission Not Accomplished Day! Participate in it!
Edited on Tue Mar-22-05 09:08 AM by bear425
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DesEtoiles Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-22-05 09:29 AM
Response to Original message
11. I agree. How do we do this? I mean REALLY do this.
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Skidmore Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-22-05 09:30 AM
Response to Reply #11
12. See my reply in post #8.
I think this is a good place to begin. A concerted effort might take a year or two, but we need to organize as workers.
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Discord Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-22-05 09:46 AM
Response to Original message
13. an excellent idea but it would be
nearly impossible to motivate that many people and organize such a grand scale event. Undoubtedly, it would be a very effective tool against corporate America, but would require what we don't have available... a way to reach the masses.

One thing I had been thinking about was a National Labor Union. One labor union who would fight for ALL American workers rights, and that would not affect membership in local or job specific unions, but would act on along side already existing unions. If indeed the idea of a National Labor Union were to take off. Then actions like this would indeed be possible and much easier to execute with already designed organization from a union database.
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Skidmore Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-22-05 09:48 AM
Response to Reply #13
14. I agree. In the absence of that, how about some sort
of congress or council of labor unions and cooperative efforts in organizing.
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lostnfound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-22-05 02:11 PM
Response to Reply #13
31. Some leaders (SEIU?) are working to organize along industry rather than
along trade lines, to give more power to the group as a whole in bargaining with the corporate leaders, and to address industry-specific issues.

Seems like a baby step towards what you are talking about.

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Skidmore Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-22-05 04:02 PM
Response to Reply #31
36. I just spoke to someone who knows about this and is involved
with working with SEIU. He said some of the other unions are resistant. I don't understand why working together is so threatening. It needs to happen or the plight of the worker will deteriorate further.
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BrklynLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-22-05 10:09 AM
Response to Original message
15. Didn't they close down the docks on the West coast so they could attend
the war protests? Guess the unions could do it.
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eek Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-22-05 10:10 AM
Response to Original message
16. I think we are missing the "take home message" of Skidmore's post

which is: things are so rotten now that even the non-vehements are expressing their digust with what is going on.

We may or may not be able to do something vast as a masive shut-down however we *can* encourage and cultivate the 'mainstream" outrage.*

(I really really hope we can get all of our butts out on the street waving orange flags, though.)



*I don't have anything particular in mind - not enough coffee yet- but
if the reg-lar folks are po'd then we have a powerful bulwark provided we are focused and organized!

Thanks for the encouraging post!!
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Skidmore Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-22-05 10:18 AM
Response to Reply #16
18. Thanks, eek. Think globally, act locally.
Edited on Tue Mar-22-05 10:18 AM by Skidmore
Part of the problem of the past decade has been that labor unions were seen as being as corrupt as the corporations. If we can front candidates for local offices which speak to issues we value, then why not join unions and effect change there too? The unions are in need of reform to. So much of the leadership forgot why the union exists. It doesn't exist to provide its officers with perks but to serve as a voice for the worker. I recently read an article on DU about a union that had started cleaning house. Membership provides you with a VOTE and a voice. Enough likeminded people can effect change. This is basic grassroots stuff. We've gone back to the era of the robber barons in spades, so lets take back the weapons our forefathers used to battle them.
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nolabels Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-22-05 10:30 AM
Response to Original message
19. What about the people who are one paycheck away from being homeless?
It might of worked in European countries because mostly their populations, on average, is more educated and has less poverty
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ClassWarrior Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-22-05 10:33 AM
Response to Original message
20. Okay, let's start beating the drums... right now... right here...
GENERAL STRIKE... GENERAL STRIKE... GENERAL STRIKE... GENERAL STRIKE... GENERAL STRIKE... GENERAL STRIKE... GENERAL STRIKE... GENERAL STRIKE... GENERAL STRIKE... GENERAL STRIKE...

It's gotta be a number of months off so people can quietly plan. Let's pick a week, a day, a handful of days, and go for it.

NGU.


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Skidmore Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-22-05 10:43 AM
Response to Reply #20
21. You are missing my point.
A general strike is a tool of an organized group. I'm saying encourage organization and that becomes an option.
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ebayfool Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-23-05 03:37 AM
Response to Reply #20
44. If the public needs training, it could start small - one day a month for @
Edited on Wed Mar-23-05 03:55 AM by djmaddox1
3 months. Get people used to the discipline it would take them to plan & prepare (mental & otherwise), meanwhile bring in more w/whatever means available - beating the drum (the way repubs do, over & over & over) GENERAL STRIKE... GENERAL STRIKE... GENERAL STRIKE... ! As the awareness of how badly the economy, war, etc is deteriorating - more will be drawn to join in those 24 'blue flus'. Culminating in a well advanced & advertised 1 week general strike. How, dunno - smart peeps here can come up w/many ideas, that I know! Flyers anywhere & everywhere - markets, laundromats, schools, churches, anywhere people gather or visit. I think key would be allowing time to allow the public to become aware & then reinforced ... 'here's an action you can participate in'!

We can't just shrug & dismiss such a great idea by saying 'they'll never do it. Look at the long term, as people begin to be aware - we make sure that they have a place to turn. No one ever accused the American public of being afraid to join in anything that they think might be a popular movement. If there are numbers, building incrementally, they WILL want to get in on it (esp when they finally see they've been screwed royal & get pissed!). Americans (help us!) LOVE a bandwagon ... we have to have it parked where it can't be missed!

on edit:
I don't think that strictly 'buying blue' or not spending money is enough to get the message across. That was done after the election, & was distorted by spin from the top making excuses as to the reasons why - a general strike (blue flu or whatever you'd call it) is much harder for the *ushies to try to spin away. It has to be done in a firm, no nonsense, no mistaking the message way.

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adigal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-22-05 10:54 AM
Response to Original message
22. I have started my boycott
I have been trying and trying to get people to do this, but most cannot live without their Starbuck lattes, and their clothes shopping, and buying all of the nonsense that makes a full life for many.

So. I am doing my own personal boycott for the next month. No shopping for anything but absolute necessities. And I am going to try to buy locally as much as I can for anything necessary.

Care to join me anyone?? Maybe we can start a club here.
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samplegirl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-22-05 11:33 AM
Response to Reply #22
24. I heard on the radio yesterday
that 80% of Americans go to work sick. In fear of losing there jobs.
Or they have to go to work sick in the case of there child being
sick.
Fewer and fewer companines support sick time without Dr. excuses.
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raccoon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-22-05 01:15 PM
Response to Reply #24
29. Fewer and fewer employers
pay employees for time taken off for sick or personal leave.
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Skidmore Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-22-05 01:16 PM
Response to Reply #29
30. Which is why a labor movement is important to sustain.
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Discord Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-22-05 10:58 AM
Response to Original message
23. Well, before anyone starts considering something
like this as an option. remember one thing. without being a member of a recognized union, there would be no protection for the workers. they COULD be fired for an unexcused absence from work. it would hit the corporations hard, that goes without saying, but a few million people suddenly unemployed will not feed, house, or care for these people who lose their jobs. in order for the people to be protected from retaliatory actions from employers, there has to be a organized union in place to represent them.

also, what about people who like their employers? what about the mom and pops businesses? should they participate as well? what about people who work for companies who are socially conscious and look out for their employee's? should they participate as well? just some real life issues people need to think about before running off and going on a massive strike.

institution a Nation Labor Union WOULD provide the some of necessary protections for employees and enable them to boycott with representation and protection from retaliatory action.
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Skidmore Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-22-05 11:41 AM
Response to Reply #23
25. So, organizing is important and
with a recognized union. The original labor movement did not have a ready-made organizational structure to use. We do.
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Discord Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-22-05 11:55 AM
Response to Reply #25
28. exactly, we have the foundation for unions and union
workers rights already established. this would be a merging of all existing unions as well as making sure that ALL American workers are in a union. The National Labor Union would work with all existing unions as well as give union protection to all Amercian workers who work in companies not currently enrolled in an already existing union. If you work, you are eligible.
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No Exit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-22-05 03:03 PM
Response to Original message
33. How funny. A similar thought crossed my mind recently.
But before we do it--if we can do it--we need to have our demands ready. Can't have too many, it would just confuse the message.

I think ONE simple demand might just do it: "We will remain idle for a week, and we will continue to do that periodically until GEORGE BUSH AND DICK CHENEY RESIGN FROM THE GOVERNMENT, AND UNTIL THEIR RESIGNATION IS MADE FINAL AND IRREVOCABLE."
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roguevalley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-22-05 03:27 PM
Response to Original message
35. I would like to see everyone hold their money from buying ANYTHING
one day a month, say, the end of the month. I agree with your husband one hundred percent. I also think it needs be reinforced by a money boycott once a month until things change.
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Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-22-05 06:33 PM
Response to Original message
38. Americans are isolated from one another
and even when they talk with their co-workers, it's usually (in my experience) about what was on TV last night or how the local sports teams are doing.

In societies where people live, work, and shop in the same small neighborhoods and live there for generations, it's easy to organize. For one thing, everyone knows whom to trust. Everyone is used to sitting around in taverns and coffee houses discussing current events. If a respected member of the community decides that there needs to be a protest, people tend to follow along.

That's why you get mass protests in France, Italy, Poland, the Middle East, and other places that have a long-standing culture of hanging out with the neighbors in public places. Even though Japan is much less civic minded, the old public baths used to serve as the organizing points for neighborhood activism.

Contrast this with the American situation. It's no coincidence that the labor movement reached the height of its influence in the days of ethnic neighborhoods growing up around factories.

Now what do we have? The shopping mall surrounded by subdivisions of houses where no one is home all day. The fundamentalist megachurches have taken advantage of the loss of community and hurried to create their own closed society, where people can be brainwashed into a right-wing political agenda and an anti-scientific attitude.

If I were a Dem strategist in the suburbs, I would organize social communities by precinct, inviting all the registered Dems to meet somewhere for pizza or a picnic. Once the social group was established, activities could be expanded to include education, participation in political activism, and outreach to unaffiliated neighbors.
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shance Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-22-05 06:57 PM
Response to Reply #38
39. Why don't you become a Dem strategist?
Edited on Tue Mar-22-05 06:57 PM by shance
We need more like you.

I always enjoy reading what you post at DU.

Your post Im replying to has wonderful suggestions on how to come together and dismantle these walls of isolation that have been built around us.

You identified probably the largest source of our problem right now: isolation from each other. And with that comes the challenge of relearning to integrate more. But it can be done. Its the way humans are supposed to live and thrive.

It will take time and patience, however I think its vital if we're going to be around for the long haul.

Thanks for bringing up such a good point. I hope you'll think about strategizing :)

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DearAbby Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-22-05 07:37 PM
Response to Reply #39
40. Point is if you get enough support the companies can not fire EVERYONE
they still need to get their product out there. IF there is enough Support for this, they cant do anything about it.

I remember as an April Fools day joke, we organized the entire afternoon shift to call in sick, with bogus excuses...these people were in a tizzy on how they were going to keep the doors open. We showed up on time to see the results.

It can be done, with a huge support.
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shance Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-23-05 02:17 AM
Response to Reply #40
42. Exactly. That takes unity and people coming together.
That would without a shred of doubt salvage our Democracy in no time flat. The challenge is reaching out in our communities and making it happen.

It can happen. Its been done before.
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Discord Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-22-05 10:09 PM
Response to Reply #38
41. I've been considering doing something
along those lines as well. fortunately, it wouldn't be as difficult to organize a community after moving to Vermont in a few months. The communities are small, and most are fairly politically active and aware. the problem would be people in red states. the impact wouldn't nearly be as bad with a much lower participation level. Many southern rural areas may have no trouble at all keeping enough employees on to keep thier offices open.
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missouri dem 2 Donating Member (308 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-23-05 02:37 AM
Response to Reply #38
43. Excellent post.
In our area there are pockets of liberals but for some reason there is very little interaction between the groups. I am planing to have a social party to get them all together. Building a sense of community is very important to creating change.
I think this is the reason for the success of the mega churches. Americans are increasingly isolated from each other and their neighbors.
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Skidmore Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-23-05 05:13 AM
Response to Reply #38
45. I think it would be a good idea to contact labor unions
in the area too to see if they would be willing to coordinate with such an endeavor.
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