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,