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Why not stage a series of national strikes?

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bigtree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-22-06 09:47 PM
Original message
Why not stage a series of national strikes?
I think we need a series of national strikes or massive boycotts that should be put at the front of any of our protests. It completely unnerves the party in power to be jumped by their money source, hammering them to give the people what they want so they can get back to taking our money. We actually have more control in that than we realize.

If we can't organize something like this then we really have no hope of actually getting their attention. I march and I march. My wife marches. My children march. We faithfully engage in small protests. We lend ourselves to the large ones. But, I think they lack the punch in the gut of the Establishment that we need to get their attention. There are other ways to protest which involve sacrificing ourselves to the consequences of whatever law we may choose to disregard, but that lets them peel us off one at a time. We need a massive insurrection. A series of announced national strikes would seem to be the best way to get the ruling party's attention.

We need a worldwide boycott of corrupt offices and individuals who threaten to dominate us for greed and power. We need to sacrifice and sustain the boycott until we regain control over our own destinies, free from the corruption and destruction of the new militarization. We should turn our backs on those institutions that disregard our intentions, cut off their access to our contributions and bleed them dry.

IF a series of national strikes were possible, I wonder what the reaction of the government would be? I imagine they'd get ugly, or uglier. I can't imagine them sitting still. Ringleaders to Gitmo and all that . . . On the other hand, there might not be enough of a following to make a difference. I'd like to think there would be. Initially, at least, we'd be insulated from overt retaliation by the novelty of it all. It would wear thin on industry pretty quickly.

There's such a diversity of industry in the country, not centralized like many of the other countries who exercise national strikes. It might be easy to pick off followers at the edges. Small business would suffer first and most from a strike. But that's also the only arena we have a chance at having the moneychangers take us seriously. One day at a time. No gas. No phone calls. No grocery store. One day at a time until we are recognized.
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G2099 Donating Member (500 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-22-06 09:50 PM
Response to Original message
1. strikes or massive boycotts of what?
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bigtree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-22-06 09:57 PM
Response to Reply #1
6. we could target industries or just stage a general strike
general is better, I think, hurtful like I say from the bottom up, but the effect may have a shock effect on our skiddish representatives and senators. Everything important, gas, communications, computers, are tied to major sources. It would take some thought for certain, and sacrifice.
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bryant69 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-22-06 09:50 PM
Response to Original message
2. It would be interesting if it would work
The tricky part is getting everybody to agree to do it - and by everybody, i mean enough people to make it matter.

Bryant
Check it out --> http://politicalcomment.blogspot.com
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Deja Q Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-22-06 09:51 PM
Response to Original message
3. Convince the people to do it
Edited on Sun Jan-22-06 09:51 PM by HypnoToad
Most don't give a frig about politics, don't understand, or are so down by everything in general.

Apart from the fact that we need to drive to work, et al.

Quite frankly, the repukes want everybody dead - it'll save rather handsomely on the resources being consumed.
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Caution Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-22-06 09:51 PM
Response to Original message
4. Who's going to organize it?
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Silverhair Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-22-06 09:56 PM
Response to Original message
5. Because very few would participate. NT
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Gman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-22-06 09:58 PM
Response to Original message
7. If we didn't do it in 1981 when Reagan fired the air traffic controllers
we damn sure can't pull it off now. We lost that opportunity indefinitely in 1981.
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spindrifter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-22-06 09:58 PM
Response to Original message
8. I think the boycotts are the more effective
technique. As to who should be at the forefront of organizing, I think there should be a coalition with the emphasis on organizations that have an internet community already in place, such as DU, moveon, etc.
What to boycott--oil, oil, oil. That is the most obvious thing. Products that are bankrolling conservative think tanks. There are tons of them.

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bigtree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-22-06 10:35 PM
Response to Reply #8
17. I like boycotts, but do you realize even the ones that are on now?
pretty convoluted, confusing, not well known or advertised.

Stil, it would be good to see more calls for boycotts of certain industries. Hard to manage. Who chooses? I like a general spending ban for a day on all goods and most services, in an announced series.
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leeroysphitz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-22-06 10:02 PM
Response to Original message
9. No offense but what do you mean "Why not ...."
Why not? You make it sound as if such a thing were a few phone calls and fliers away. How do you get the word out and convince vast, VAST numbers of citizens to walk off the job in protest? People who would not necessarily be striking under the auspices of protected unionized activity and could and very possibly would lose their jobs? (good jobs no longer grow on trees around here.)

This isn't France, our labor movement is and has been in tragic decline, and without it how could such a thing ever be organized in this country? It isn't fair, it isn't right, it isn't JUST but it is reality.

I love the energy and commitment of those who continue to call for this type of action but I think it's time for a new strategy, the days of national strikes are over in this country... At least for now.
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bigtree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-22-06 10:11 PM
Response to Reply #9
11. If we are at the point where our leaders will only respond to their money
Edited on Sun Jan-22-06 10:26 PM by bigtree
sources, what other recourse with any reasonable chance of success is available to us? There has to be a point where we take our own destiny in hand. It's our government. Why do these folks in other countries, with arguably more to lose than most Americans from such an action, continue to challenge their system in this way. It's will. I wonder when we will decide we've had enough of slavery to the military industry and stand up for our priorities like the free people we imagine ourselves to be. I think the notion of a national strike is a strategy yet to come as our political, economic, and social destinies slip from our leader's money clutching hands.
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leeroysphitz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-22-06 10:22 PM
Response to Reply #11
15. You believe in it so I won't continue to discourage you.
Who knows, when things get bad enough and people have HAD enough I may be thankful that people like you stuck it out to make a difference.

I guess what I'm saying is that I don't think your idea could work but I'm at least intelligent enough to know that I could be wrong. I have been wrong before... :)
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DanCa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-22-06 10:03 PM
Response to Original message
10. I wonder what would happen if the Dem Senators would strike
Before they vote on Alito.
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bigtree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-22-06 10:13 PM
Response to Reply #10
12. I like that idea. They have nothing to lose from a 'nuclear option'
they should sit on their hands until the opposition comes to some equitable order.
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Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-22-06 10:17 PM
Response to Reply #10
14. Yeah, like they are going to give up their health plans,
Edited on Sun Jan-22-06 10:19 PM by Cleita
pensions and other perks.
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Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-22-06 10:16 PM
Response to Original message
13. A day late and a dollar short.
Edited on Sun Jan-22-06 10:18 PM by Cleita
It's sort of like hunger strikes. They once made news and could even be effective but not anymore.

There is a stealth economy that can be employed though. It needs some brainstorming because I don't think anyone knows exactly how to to it.

Resisting the smart way is what is needed.
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bigtree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-22-06 10:23 PM
Response to Reply #13
16. you know everything needs some brainstorming
with a low chance of success, high risk, but worth trying perhaps. I don't think we would really expect to unseat the money structure, or even tickle it. What we might accomplish is a ripple. A ripple could be all we need to get the attention of these spooky legislators. That's where you want to effect change I take it? One tug on their purse strings is all it usually takes our leaders to drag themselves out of bed to put in the midnight money vote.
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bigtree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-22-06 11:53 PM
Response to Original message
18. Israel was shut down by general strike
30 April, 2003

Israeli public sector workers striking
The strike is set to paralyse Israel

About 700,000 public sector workers in Israel have begun an indefinite strike in protest at government plans to cut jobs and wages.

As the strike was ending its first day, Israel's parliament approved the 11bn shekel ($2.4bn; 1.5bn) cutback plan that sparked the dispute.

The industrial action has shut down almost all public services, with the closure of ports, airports, schools and universities, the stock exchange and government offices.

Long queues formed outside banks, as fears grew that cash dispensers would soon run out of money, and chaos broke out at Ben Gurion international airport in the morning as travellers fought to board earlier flights ahead of the closure.

National parks and public cultural sites also closed their doors.

CLOSED
Ben Gurion international airport
All ports and border crossings
Hospitals and emergency services working weekend shifts
Tel Aviv Stock Exchange
Banks, and ATMs will not be refilled
All government offices
No rubbish collections
No parking tickets to be issued
Radio Reshet Gimmel and IBA television off air
Telephone call centres closed

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/2987479.stm

related:

Israel prepares for shutdown
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/2985241.stm
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readmoreoften Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-23-06 12:10 AM
Response to Original message
19. Nobody is going to do anything.
I'm not being pessimistic. I've been on strike for three months in one of the most liberal cities in America (Manhattan), one of the most labor friendly cities in America (25% of all workers in a union), in one of the most supposedly left-leaning industries around (academia) and we are on strike for the right to simply be represented by a labor union. That's it. We're not asking for more benefits, more pay. Nothing. Just to be represented by a union, which will give us the ability to have a fair grievance process.

The truth is that we have gotten very little real support outside the established labor movement, which is at a nadir in the U.S. And, in fact, most of the support we're getting from the labor movement is verbal. The faculty-- including many who have made their careers on writing about humanism, feminism, and marxism-- have done almost nothing to help us and many are *actively attacking us*. Why would people who've made their lives writing about Marxism attack people involved in a labor strike? Well, because their boss is telling them to. Because they've got theirs and they're keeping it. Don't get me wrong, many many academics across the country have rallied to support us. But the academics who actually have something to risk because they work at NYU are mostly keeping silent. So these people literally cross a picket line every day to teach liberal virtues. There is a grave lesson here, I'm afraid. This is going to sound very harsh. But I have learned that most people, at the core, are absolute cowards and will not do "the right thing" if "doing the right thing" means losing status or going against the grain. Worse, they will not even admit to cowardice. I've seen people change their whole ethical sensibilities simply to justify their decisions to go on strike. Every single person I know who is opposing the strike is a Democrat, if not a progressive Democrat. Yet they rally behind neo-conservative economic talking points to validate their decision to strikebreak (labor unions interfere with a free market, labor unions are run by the mafia, etc., I'm an individual I can fend for myself in the marketplace...)

We're a nation of convenience now. Pure convenience. It's all we care about. And it's going to take *profound discomfort* to overthrow the Bush regime. I'm more than concerned about America's future. We need to learn to be uncomfortable if we're going to survive.
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bigtree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-23-06 12:54 AM
Response to Reply #19
20. It does seem to be a near breakdown of government and widespread poverty
that compels other countries to action. I identify with the proposition that we're a 'nation of convenience', and comfort as well. American will need to be 'uncomfortable' before they identify with any calls for a general shutdown. But, I do think such a migration to a general strike- if our political situation continues to tear at the fabric of our society so much that we can't bear any more- won't happen unless there is some broaching of it while we still feel we have other alternatives. And that's what makes us sanguine. The hope that events will turn, that some sense and order will prevail, that apathy hasn't already turned folks away from believing in even their own power to effect change. It has a tranquilizing effect. We wake up and the reality of our lives hits us, where do we find work, money, food, shelter? The elitist prattling of some privleged 'activist' has to be dismissed. But, not out of hand. Desperation produces heroic actions, Americans are no exception to this.

I'm mezmerized by hope. I don't have to settle in and accept that my government that I sponsor and tolerate is determined to be an obstacle and a danger. It may yet come to past that Americans will cast aside our hope that our representatives and leaders will realize our dreams for our lives and society and take our country back with our own hands. We are the fuel that enables these pretenders to continue in power. We have the ability to stop enabling their false reign, their manufactured military mandate. That may come to be the only comfort left us.
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readmoreoften Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-23-06 02:10 AM
Response to Reply #20
26. Oh believe me, I agree.
I'm not trying to be defeatist. I'm saying that there will have to be a cataclysmic shift in consciousness for a general strike to occur.

And I'll be the first in line if the sentiment for a general strike begins to take root. But the incrementalism of this conservative government makes it difficult to fight with one fell revolutionary swoop. What will be the event that produces such a reaction? I mean, we've already had *our elections stolen* and we haven't taken to the streets. All indicators are that we no longer actually live in democracy, but people seem to think it's all gonna be okay-- we'll get it back somehow. Maybe the 'pendulum will swing'. (I know that the 'pendulum swings' from conservative to liberal, but does it swing from fascism to democracy?) I think that the only thing that could save us might be something as severe as a general strike. I'm all for it. But I don't see people doing it. It's HARD to go on strike. It's hard to watch someone just come in and take over your job. It's hard to have faith that everyone else will stay in solidarity with you, that you won't be the one who gets screwed. It's a mental and physical endurance test.

I'm on strike right now and we can't even get the TEAMSTERS to respect our picket line! We have a letter of support from the head of the teamsters, and individual teamsters are still crossing our picket line. How on earth are we going to get from there to wildcat strike?

I guess what I'm saying is that there is a major problem in the United States right now and it's a problem of consciousness. We don't need hope. We need resolve, determination, and a willingness to get out in the streets to fight. Then we'll have something to hope for.
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bigtree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-23-06 02:25 AM
Response to Reply #26
27. You've got a lot of heart
There in your response is a reflection of the humanity that has to be motivated, driven perhaps beyond sustinence, into action by events, or by sympathy and conviction. A sober consideration of the consequences of a strike deserves great sensitivity to the effect on the most vulnerable. Hard to start a bottom up movement without sacrifice though. Thanks for the thoughtful response. Best wishes.
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Selatius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-23-06 02:36 AM
Response to Reply #26
28. Our Ukrainian, Georgian, and Venezuelan friends have an answer:
They fought because they had nothing left to lose. Many of them lived in abject poverty before their respective revolutions. In Venezuela, upwards of 60 percent of the population lived below that nation's poverty line before Chavez.

I guess the lesson is this: People don't do desperate things unless forced to live in desperate conditions. It seems crushing poverty makes a population "lean and fit." It burns away the laziness and the fat, and it forces an individual to fight for survival. Comfortable people don't do things beyond their comfort zone, but an uncomfortable populace suffering excruciating pain will take to the streets. They would do anything to try to escape the pain. I hate to say it, but crushing poverty, at least in my mind, is the true motivator for change whether it be poverty as a result of discrimination or as a result of lack of investment in the people. (No social programs or debilitated social programs)

We can look at the Black community here if not our foreign neighbors abroad for an example of a people driven so desperate that the only thing left was to take a stand and risk it all against the institution of segregation and the irrationality of hatred.

We can stop things if we collectively decide to stop it. It doesn't have to come after everything people have fought for in the last century has been undone, destroyed by greed and the lust for power and control.
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bigtree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-23-06 02:44 AM
Response to Reply #28
30. very well said
nice breeze of optimism to conclude, 'We can stop things if we collectively decide to'.

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bigtree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-23-06 01:24 AM
Response to Original message
21. Nationwide strike brings Bangladesh to a halt
Nationwide strike brings Bangladesh to a halt

Sun Jan 22, 3:31 AM ET
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20060122/wl_asia_afp/bangla...

DHAKA (AFP) - Bangladesh was paralysed by a nationwide general strike called by the main opposition alliance to demand the removal of what they claimed were "partisan" election commissioners.

Cars and buses were off the roads and schools, shops and private offices in major cities except the southern port of Chittagong were closed, police said.

Passenger and freight transport was also severely disrupted as no inter-regional buses or trucks took to the roads on Sunday, which is normally a working day in the Muslim-majority country.

The general strike was called by a 14-party alliance, led by the main opposition Awami League, to press for the removal of the newly-appointed chief election commissioner and two of his colleagues.

Last year the Awami League and its allies called 18 nationwide shutdowns despite pleas from aid donors and business groups who say the strikes cost the impoverished nation's economy tens of millions of dollars annually.

article: http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20060122/wl_asia_afp/bangla...


related:

Bangladesh police baton-charge protesters amid general strike
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20060122/ts_afp/bangladeshp...

Unaffordable strike
http://www.godubai.com/gulftoday/article.asp?AID=27&Sec...


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yellowdogmi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-23-06 01:29 AM
Response to Original message
22. Thanks Big Tree
I think this is a great idea and deserves our attention. K&R
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bigtree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-23-06 01:58 AM
Response to Reply #22
25. I don't have much U.S. history to flesh this one out
Edited on Mon Jan-23-06 01:59 AM by bigtree
not for an economy with the majority living out of poverty.

There's the convenience factor, or the comfort factor as readmoreoften cited in the response above. It definitely deserves attention, especially when we agree that most of our representatives and leaders are hopelessly obsessed with the money interests which help keep them in their positions of power and increasingly disinterested in sacrificing any of their precious reputation to stand in the way of the republican assault on our democracy.

There just may come a time when . . .
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yellowdogmi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-23-06 02:41 AM
Response to Reply #25
29. Several weeks ago I had
a similiar conversation with a friend and we remarked on how in Europe they will strike and shut things down. I attempted to start a thread to drum up union support for such an endeavor. No one really wanted to help carry the water. I still believe that it is a good plan. If I can help you let me know.
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radio4progressives Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-23-06 01:33 AM
Response to Original message
23. National General Strikes are an Excellent idea
there's another thread calling for a national strike in gd politics..

check it out...
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bigtree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-23-06 01:43 AM
Response to Reply #23
24. STRIKE AT WALL STREET
Edited on Mon Jan-23-06 01:49 AM by bigtree
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Selatius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-23-06 02:49 AM
Response to Original message
31. You need work stoppages, marches, and rallies in combination to work
You need to use acts of civil disobedience as well from sit-ins to factory/business occupations. These are lessons taught to me from other desperate people the world over in recent years. You have to use everything in the book of civil disobedience. Worker strikes alone won't do it, but if you combined it with marches, rallies, and acts of civil disobedience at the same time, it stands a far better chance of success. It has to be on a mass scale. If enough people threw themselves into the gears and cogs of the machine, then the machine will grind to a stop, and if the machine cannot be turned to a good cause, for the better of all, then it is a principle obligation to see that the machine is ultimately destroyed.

Of course, people have to collectively choose to do such a desperate thing.
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bigtree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-23-06 02:57 AM
Response to Reply #31
32. 'You have to use everything in the book of civil disobedience.'
that's it, all except the part where we're so destitute and desperate that protesting is our only relief. Don't want that at all. But, a ripple in the markets might be just enough to turn the shallow oligarchist's attention our way. Baby steps.
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Dover Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-23-06 04:11 AM
Response to Original message
33. I think we need a small army or previously undeclared young voters
Edited on Mon Jan-23-06 04:13 AM by Dover
to declare GOP loyalty and infiltrate their ranks...hehehe

They would need a stomach of iron...
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grasswire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-23-06 04:17 AM
Response to Original message
34. getting out of the system would help
And by that I mean withdrawing from the banking system, buying locally or bartering when possible, cutting way back on purchases, etc.

It is perfectly possible to live without giving much business to corporations. I've been out of the banking system for ten years now.
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bigtree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-23-06 10:33 AM
Response to Reply #34
35. I like ideas along that line. Divestiture would certainly hurt where it
counts.
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newportdadde Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-23-06 10:53 AM
Response to Original message
36. It will never happen.
Not that I don't hear your passion for it and not that I don't think it would be effective. The thing is most union jobs are going or gone, people are no longer protected, they are afraid.

FEAR: If you strike/walkoff your job then your fired its that simple. So fear keeps the general public inline. Anyone making a decent wage with somekind of health benefit will never leave it voluntarily given the world we are in right now because they know the odds of them ending up at a subpar job are high.

Lack of Trust: How many of us can count on one hand the number of people we can trust with our lives? Probably many of us, so how can you trust other strangers to strike with you, how can you trust them not to take over your job and take a cut in pay all at the same time?

Most of us aren't desperate enough yet.
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