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General Strike Against The War

Don't go to work on the day the war starts. If you're already there when you first hear about it, walk out.
Don't Go to Work

It looks as though the Bush Administration will not be deterred in their drive for war by the huge, unprecedented rallies and marches held all over the nation and the world. They have total confidence in the military power at their disposal and the sycophantic corporate media. This all reminds me of what Gen Al Haig, Ronald Reagan's National Security Advisor, said of the popular anti-nuclear movement of the 1980's:

"Let them march all they want, just so long as they continue to pay their taxes."

Gen Haig was reminding us that the basis of power in capitalist society is economic. It is our own productive capacities that are turned against us. Our sweat and blood built this society, and recreates it every day.

But the ones in the driver's seat steer our society to destroy the environment and people's lives, rather than direct its amazing productive capacities toward feeding people, clothing people, tending sick people, healing the environment. Our major domestic industry is prisons, our major export is violence. For this, we import the wealth of the world.

But what if the engine of that machine stopped? Refused to move without a change of direction? The work we do, paid and unpaid, taxable or not, recreates this monstrous machine every day. If we stop, it stops. We have the most powerful tool in the world in our hip pockets, if we dare to use it.

We have the power to stop this war. We have the power to remake the world according to our priorities.

Don't go to work on the day the war starts. If you're already there, walk out.

Call in sick. Call in tired. Call in outraged. Call in fed up. Take some vacation time to save the world. Some personal time to save yourself. Give up the day's pay (however much it is, it isn't enough). Whatever you have to do. Don't go to work.

Don't bother about all the people who will continue with business as usual. You have no control over them. Anyway, to be successful a General Strike doesn't need total compliance - 25% will start a society reeling, 30-40% will shake it to its foundations.

What if it's just us? If Portland alone shut down it people around the country and the world would respond. The Seattle General Strike of 1919 reverberated around the planet. What? You've never heard of the Seattle General Strike of 1919? What about the San Francisco General Strike of 1934? The Argentine General Strike of 1999? The General Strike in Spain a few months ago? What a surprise that the public schools and the corporate media don't want you to hear about them.

Probably the only "General Strike" that you've seen in the US media was the one in Venezuela last December. That was more of a General Lockout since it was organized by corporate executives and the US government. The only "General Strike" that the corporate media aren't afraid to report is one that's endorsed by the local Chamber of Commerce.

Don't wait for your AFL union local to endorse a walkout either. Union bureaucrats hate strikes because they shift power to the rank and file. General Strikes are particularly unsettling to them. These people have jobs that pay $100,000, $200,000, or more, overseeing the decline of the labor movement. They don't want anything to mess that up. In Seattle and San Francisco AFL union officials fought against the General Strike every step of the way.

We'll have to do this ourselves. So meet me on the street corner the day the war starts. We'll walk downtown together, show them there won't be business as usual, and tell them, "No peace, no work!"

Another world is possible,

Josef Schneider

monday sick out 10.Mar.2003 12:30

dude

monday sick out till were through this thing....

what do you think?

I AGREE WHOLEHEARTEDLY 10.Mar.2003 14:12

Jim B. Olshevic

This(THE GENERAL STRIKE)is the absolute STARTING POINT for ANY other attempt or attempts to bring this threat against the innocent people of Iraq to a HALT! As has been so amply demonstrated by literally thousands of 'peace marches' vigils demonstrations and such, Bush Inc. WILL NOT be even so much as slightly hindered in his predatory and murderous actions by such impotent methods of resistence. The General Strike will hit them where it REALLY hurts--thats on their profit line! Plus, it will bring this rotten gang of evil-doers down because their corpo masters in the ruling class will realize that they will HAVE TO be replaced in order to commence exploitation anew. Therefore, the NATION-WIDE strike must last untill Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Ashcroft, Powell and their close advisors and collaborators are ALL OUT! Don't worry about class war and overthrowing the government--we have NO government right now--only a gang of criminal impostors--let's get rid of em!!
Everyone out for the NATION-WIDE, OPEN-ENDED GENERAL STRIKE!!

feature pic 10.Mar.2003 23:47

volunteer-bot 2000

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who should refrain from striking? 11.Mar.2003 02:50

social service worker x

i whole heartedly agree with the theory of a general strike but i work in a crisis shelter for homeless youth- so i can't really partake. i'm sure there are others in the same boat. how does it work for people who provide essential services but want to support or show solidarity? just curious.

Count me in 11.Mar.2003 09:44

CatWoman

I'll be there with you, Josef. See you on the streets. Even if it's just you and me, we'll be doing the right thing and that's what matters.

Let me be clear 11.Mar.2003 13:01

Josef Schneider

I usually leave something I write overnight, and look at it again the next day before I publish it anywhere. For some reason the next day I can see awkward sentences and spelling errors that were invisible to me the day before.

But yesterday I was in a hurry to get out a call for a General Strike before the war actually started. So I didn't wait to edit it.

I got two separate ideas mixed up in one sentence and it came out wrong. Union Locals (especially the more democratic ones) often support General Strikes. And they then play vital roles in organizing to make sure that people's needs are met during the strike.

However, endorsing doing so they take tremendous risks because

It is the labor bureaucrats who oppose strikes, most especially the one's at the very top of the national hierarchy. I was thinking of Teamsters Hoffa, UAW's Douglas Frasier, or Gerald MacEntee of AFSCME.

I was NOT thinking of the dedicated and overworked local union leaders who are committed to union democracy and the interests of the fellow workers, such as Richard Beetle and Troy Hogeland of Laborers 483, Madelyn Elder of CWA, the Teamster's Tom Leedham, or ILWU Local 5's Mary Winzig. Winzig knows me well enough that she knew not to be offended. She even forwarded the thing around.

But not everyone knows me so well, and I didn't want to leave any ambiguity. I'm sorry if I carelessly insulting the principled, democratic local union leaders. You know who you are. (Sit down there, Mr Sweeney).

In Solidarity,

Josef Schneider

<<

Union strength comes from members 11.Mar.2003 18:25

stop war

Joseph, you are very clear. Don't sweat it.

Workers of the world unite. You have nothing to lose but the chains that bind you.

Throw off the shackles that your leaders have placed on you. They are not your leaders, they are the union bureaucracy that has no idea of what work means. They shed crocodile tears when their members go on strike, because they lose some of their paycheque. It means they failed their masters. Union members and union leaders are two different classes.

Blacks had black slave masters to oversee them. Workers have union leaders who oversee them. Their loyalty is to the system, not to the workers.

General Wildcat strike pass the word along. Fuck the union leaders. They are not the workers. They have not the power to shut down the system. The workers do.

General strikes and strikers councils 12.Mar.2003 01:35

Not a medic

Josef's points are a good starting point for discussion and, more importantly, for action.

Any union leader who is offended by them probably deserves to be offended more often.

All general strikes that have lasted more than a day have elected strikers councils. These councils, as in Seattle in 1919, have allowed essential work to continue. In Seattle at that time they allowed milk wagons to deliver, since they reasoned that children needed milk, and they allowed hospitals to continue to function.

The essential point is not merely the shutting down of services and production, which can be done by a natural disaster, but the creation of an alternate force in society which begins to show how that society could run without exploitation.

Almost any action to stop this war is justified. But some are more effective than others. Shutting down highways may be easy and feel good, but shutting down recruiting stations and Federal buildings and military bases actually hinders the war effort.

And almost anything is better than walking in circles or standing around listening to speeches.

take back your time 12.Mar.2003 05:02

mamansita

we all got to work to live- our bodies require daily maintenance. and the kids- whew!

the question is who you gonna work for and doing what.

i propose we all start working for our daily basic needs rather than a paycheck. hey lady who works in social services- how about you just go to that shelter- dont ok it with your boss- and just open the doors up. you and you the kids cook up a whole mess of potatos, remeber to clean up afterwaords, someone bring a guitar and some drums, and you could have a fine time.
fuck the profession and professionality. just care for eachother enough to take care of eachother. but i maybe over simplify in my quest for simplification.
what happens if there comes a time when we cant cash the damn thing in or the money aint worth the paper its printed on? it may seem farfetched- but

it could be sudden, too.

kickass collectives sprouting all over portland at this time and there is much kickass discussion of this currently on their imc. check it out.

i'd rather in vest my work in learning some basic skills-

building
planting
cookind
preserving
finding
fixing