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Monday, September 04, 2006 

On defining the vision for an oppressed peoples' movement

You might think that a Labor Day post would be a no-brainer for a rank and file trade union activist. Well it wasn't. So instead of something new and insightful I'll stick to echoing views already made by minds far greater than my own.

We need a working people's movement with a real political vision, this is obvious. In a fundamental way this vision must start from the point of recognition that the rule of an employing class is the enemey. It's not just bad bosses or those corporations "still run by the 1950s Organization Man." Our vision must recognize that struggles against patriarchy and white-supremacist national oppression are not supplementary, they are leading fronts in the great narrative of human liberation (and yes, it has best to recognize that there are still great narratives).

This political vision must have the creation of an oppressed peoples' movement as its primary goal. Essentially such a movement must be one of labor and its coalition partners. But here's the rub, those of us who have currently defined "labor" have got a number of things all ass-backwards. We don't need a narrow trade union movement any more than
we need a return to economic relations that accompanied the days when +30 percent union density meant millions of white patriarchs in AFL-CIO bargaining units enjoying all the benefits of "cheap bear and overtime."

W
e also need workers' centers, community coalitions and proletarian control of school boards. We need spaces that advance the leadership of working class people of color while placing "sisters at the center." We need a real labor movement whose vision is defined by folks who don't just look like me.

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