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Pictures of MWM

If you weren't at the Lincoln Memorial, here's a glimpse
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News: Anti-War/War/Peace / Elections/Legislation/Government / Foreign Policy/Empire/Imperialism / Globalization/Anti-Globalization / Labor/Economics/Business
MWM Video Hilites: When is a march NOT a march? Current rating: 0
by Mike Flugennock
Email: flugennock (at) sinkers.org (unverified!) 18 Oct 2004
Anarchists, Greens, Wobblies, Cheerleaders add pep to MWM, avert certain snoozer!
RealVideo, 08min 33sec


When IS a march NOT a march?

When the organizers get nervous about the numbers (This has always been the problem with naming your event "the Million Something March")?

When the cops divert busloads of people heading into the city for the rally to RFK Stadium, on the other end of town, forcing them to pile onto the Metro for the long ride downtown?

When the first organizing efforts for the event were met with threats and authoritarian diktats against the event from none other than the AFL-CIO? Imagine that, the AFL-CIO trying to put the kibosh on a pro-workers' event!

While there wasn't a million -- or even a march -- the good news is that folks like the Anarchist workers' contingent and the IWW and the Radical Cheerleaders combined with the large militant anti-war union presence at the Memorial to keep the joint jumpin'. Not a whole lotta' shuckin' for Kerry in THIS crowd.

See also:
note: if the pictures didn't show, go to www.millionworkermarch.org

a photo from the march 19.Oct.2004 11:44


Another Perspective 19.Oct.2004 15:40


MARCH TO IRRELEVANCE...the Million Worker March and the decline of the left in
the American labor movement

By Gregory A. Butler, local 608 carpenter

The "Million Worker March" [MWM] came in about 990,000 short on Sunday, October

The event, which cribbed it's name from Minister Louis Farrakhan's Black
nationalist Washington DC rally 10 years ago (which actually live up to it's
name, attendance-wise), had been billed by many left wing labor activists as a
great turning point for militant US unionists...kinda like a latter-day Flint
Sit Down Strike crossed with the Selma to Montgomery march....

However, it didn't work out like that....

According to news accounts by the Washington Post, Washington Times and ABC
News, only 10,000 people showed up at the rally....far less than the organizers
had expected..

Nobody, not even the MWM organizers, actually expected a Farrakhan-scale
event...but, the MWM's Communications Chair, Kennedy Assassination conspiracy
theorist Ralph Schoenman, had predicted in the Washington Times on Friday,
October 15 that the rally at the Lincoln Memorial would have at least 100,000
people in attendance....

That didn't happen....

Instead, only a handfull of folks bothered to turn out....and the organizers are
already playing the blame game, claiming, bizarrely, that the DC police caused
the low turnout, because a handfull of busses were not allowed to unload their
passengers at the Lincoln Memorial, and instead had to let the folks off at RFK
Stadium, which is just a few subway stops away from the Memorial on the
Washington Metro....

Of course, those bus reroutings delayed, at most, about 1,000 people...WHO WERE

The far more important question is, why did so many workers not attend this

On the face of it, a REAL mass movement, aimed at mobilizing the working class,
should have attracted far more than 1 million workers....

There are many abuses faced by the working class in America today....

Millions of workers have seen their jobs "downsized" - that is, they were laid
off and either replaced by a machine, or their remaining co-workers have to work
longer and harder for the same pay, or the job was "outsourced" to a lower
paying subcontractor, or their job went to Mexico or India...

Millions of workers have lost their pensions, and are being forced to pay
through the nose for insurance coverage that was once paid for by their

Millions of Black and Latino workers are being stripped of affirmative action
protections, with employers going back to the Jim Crow days of racist job

Millions of low income workers have been kicked off welfare, or have lost their
Section 8 housing assistance, plunging them even deeper into poverty...

Millions of Latino illegal immigrant workers are forced to work for substandard
pay, subject to rampant abuses and discrimination...and can be deported at a
moment's notice...

Millions of workers are denied their right to union representation, and 20,000
workers a year get fired and blacklisted if they try to organize their

Millions of H-1B and H-2A immigrant "guest workers" are held in a form of modern
day indentured servitude...they are bonded to a particular employer, who can cut
their pay, reduce their benefits, and even sexually harass and assault them
without penalty...but, if they dare to complain, or if they displease their
employer in any way, they can instantly be deported to their homeland..

Millions of women workers are subject to sexual harassment and pregnancy
discrimination on the job..and also have to pay out of pocket for often sub-par
child care services..and their health insurance coverage frequently refuses to
cover abortion and birth control....and, they're paid less than male workers
with less experience and education....

Millions of union members have union leaders who are more interested in "class
peace" with Corporate America than they are in fighting for workers rights..and
they retreat and surrender to the bosses at every turn, and preside over a
declining union movement that today barely represents 10% of the US private
sector labor force....

And, if that wasn't bad enough, the nation is locked up in three interolocking
Middle Eastern imperialistic oil wars, in Afghanistan, Iraq and against the
shadowy Saudi Arabian terrorist group < al-Qaeda > ...these wars have led to the
lost of over 1,200 young American soldiers lives, and have put somewhere in the
neighborhood of 12,000+ soldiers in the hospital...(not to mention the 17,000+
Iraqis, and 10,000+ Afghans, who've perished, and the tens of thousand of Iraqis
and Afghans who've been maimed)...

Any one of these issues, on their own, would be legitimate cause for intense
rage among the workers of America....and we're facing all of them at once....as
well as the everyday abuses that the capitalistic system carries out against the
working class...

Why didn't the Million Worker March tap into that class rage???

Very simple...the actual purpose of the Million Worker March was to convince
militant union workers, in particular militant Black workers, to "vote against
Bush" on Election Day...that is, to vote FOR John Kerry..

Basically, the Million Worker March was nothing more than a Get Out The Vote
[GOTV] event for the Democratic Party..and MWM keynote speaker Martin Luther
King III's speech made that VERY clear, when he called for workers to set up
telephone trees to call 20 people and get them to vote "against Bush" (that is,
FOR KERRY) and for them to get each one of those 20 people to call 20 people to
vote "against Bush" and so on and so on and so on....basically, King called for
setting up telephone trees for the Democratic Party..

King's sentiment was echoed by another major speaker at the rally, comedian and
1960's activist Dick Gregory..

And, long before the march happened, the MWM's two top leaders, Teamsters local
808 President F. Christopher "Chris" Silvera and International Longshore and
Warehouse Union local 10 BA Clarence Thomas had stated that this event was
intended as a GOTV event for the Democrats (Silvera even went so far as to write
a letter to the AFL-CIO top leadership, urging them to support the MWM because
it was the most "cost effective" Democratic Party GOTV event that the unions
could possibly set up)

Now, if the rally had been HONEST about it's intent as a Democratic Party
campaign event, that would have been one thing....but, the MWM has been wrapped
up in all sorts of leftist rhetoric about political independence for the working
class and "Marching in our own name"....

The reason for this deception is simple...if the event was openly billed as a
Democratic Party GOTV event, many of the leftist activists and militant
unionists the rally organizers wanted to woo would not attend...the radicals
would only come if the MWM pretended to be for political indepencence.....

Of course, that kind of dishonesty and hypocracy alienates regular workers...who
might have come to the rally in larger numbers if the MWM leaders had possessed
the intestinal fortitude to OPENLY support the Kerry-Edwards campaign...or at
least to be openly for "Anybody But Bush"....

Beyond that, the MWM's literature stood out for it's lack of anger and militancy
for the abuses that workers have suffered in this country...the MWM's leaflets
read like labor-oriented Democratic Party literature...they dealt with the
problems of our class in a mild and liberal way...and posed no real
solutions...and totally left out the only way we can achieve our demands, that
is...class struggle...

Considering the fact that almost all of the rally's leaders are African
American, the MWM's literature was dead silent on the demands of Black workers
in this country...it had nothing to say on affirmative action, welfare reform,
racial profiling and the mass incarceration of 1 million Black Americans, all
burning issues for African American workers...

Perhaps the rally organizers were pandering to the liberal racism of many White
activists, who basically don't care about the horrible persecution that Black
Americans suffer every day in this country...and many of whom are basically
uncomfortable around Black people...

In the end, the bulk of the 10,000 folks who attended the rally were from the
American far left...with very very few ordinary non-leftist workers showing

This isn't that surprising...due to the fact that, since the 1940's, almost all
of the various socialist, communist and anarchist groups in America have
relentlessly isolated themselves from the American working class, preferring to
build their social base of support among upscale college students and

In particular, for the past 60 years, almost all of the left in the USA have
avoided the most militant of American workers, that is, Black workers, like the

There are some exceptions, of course...during the 1960's, the Black Panther
Party, the League of Revolutionary Black Workers and the Progressive Labor Party
built militant (and often armed) revolutionary unionist organizations among
Black workers in the automobile industry, the post office, the health care
industry and the construction trades....

But today, the left is almost absent from the working class...and further, the
left is de facto racially segregated..and, even among the Black left, with few
exceptions, they're almost absent from the working class, and are mainly
concentrated among upscale African American college students and professionals..

By and large, the American left are oriented towards the middle class...and are
mainly interested in preserving the declining priviliges and incomes of that
social class by reforming the capitalist system....

Due to that middle class orientation, the left in this country have no interest
in the problems of the working class for the crudely simple reason that,
ultimately, the only way the working class' problems can be solved is by
ABOLISHING the capitalistic system, and replacing it with a communistic system
where workers control the society, the economy and the government....and all
social priviliges are abolished...

The middle class orientation of the American far left is clearly reflected in
the kind of tactics of struggle they embrace - specifically, peaceful rallies on
non working days, that involve picketing empty buildings,and listening to
speeches from reform capitalist-oriented leaders in city parks....tactics which,
at the end of the day are about begging the rulers to change by peacefully
petitioning them...

These tactics quite clearly DO NOT WORK...as the mass rallies before the
invasion of Iraq showed quite clearly....millions of folks marched, and begged
the corporate rulers of America and England to not invade Iraq...but the rulers
launched the invasions anyway....

Beyond that, these tactics are clearly unsuited for the working class, for they
do not put our social power on display....

What I mean is...the power of the working class comes from the fact that we do
all of the productive labor of the society....without our labor, no goods get
produced or transported and no services get provided....


And, if we withdraw our labor, everything comes to a screeching halt....

Remember, the greatest victories the American working class ever won came from
strikes...and in particular strikes coupled with insurrections and riots in the

The times in American history when workers have advanced (1870's, 1880's, during
World War I, 1930's, during World War II, 1960's) were times when millions of
workers were on strike..and those strikes were often coupled with rioting in the

And this is doubly true for African American workers...our greatest victories
came from strikes in the 1930's, the threat of a nationwide general strike of
Black workers in 1941 (Black socialist railroad union leader A. Phillip
Randolph's "March On Washington Movement" of December 1941), and the 1960's
rioting by jobless Black workers and workplace occupations and wildcat strikes
by Black autoworkers and construction workers)...

As a class, we've never gained a God-damned thing from parading in front of
empty office buildings on a Sunday afternoon....those tactics are
irrelevant.....and don't even work for the middle class and the students...

Workers power comes from the fact that we are the creators of all wealth in
society...and, if we choose to, we can toss aside the rulers who ride atop us
and profit from our labor....

As the leftists listened to Democratic Party Get Out The Vote speeches in front
of empty Washington DC office buildings Sunday, there were workers locked in
REAL struggles....

Like the casino workers an hour and a half up I-95 from the rally site in
Atlantic City....

10,000 of them are on strike..as part of a move by their union, the awkwardly
named Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees - Hotel Employees
and Restaurant Employees (UNITE - HERE), to have the union contracts of Las
Vegas, Detroit and Atlantic City to expire at the same time 3 years from now...

This is part of a broader move by UNITE HERE to have hotel worker contracts in
San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York City expire at the same time 2 years
from now....

Unfortunately, UNITE HERE's corporate unionist leaders (who are as racist and
sexist as they are pro corporate - the AC casino workforce is largely female and
mostly Black, Latino or South Asian Muslim - the union leaders are White males)
are terrified of the social power of their members, and have hobbled the
strikers from day one...bending to every court injunction (including the one
that barred strikers from using swear words on the picketline) and doing nothing
to stop guests from being bussed into the casinos by union drivers, and union
workers scabbing behind the picket line....

Those workers need the assistance of the entire labor movement, to help them
break from their sellout leaders, and to help them use their social power to
bring the hospitality corporations to their knees..

But, even with UNITE HERE's misleadership, these workers still have their social
power on display, and their rallies, backed up by that social power, easily
attract 10,000+ workers, in a small city with less than 200,000 workers...

Even unorganized workers deep in the belly of US imperialism's war machine have
the social power to fight (and, ultimately, overturn) this system...a fact
illustrated about 10,000 miles due East of the boardwalk of Atlantic City...

At Tallil Air Base, in Nasiryah, Iraq, 19 US Army reservists of the 343rd
Quartermaster Company, 13th Corps Support Command staged a mutiny....

They were assigned to what they characterized as a "suicide mission"...to drive
unarmored trucks full of helicopter fuel, with no mechanized infantry escort, to
an Army air base further north in the "Sunni Triangle" where they felt it was
almost certain that Iraqi insurgents would ambush them...

The soldiers, mostly working class Blacks from the South, refused the
order...and are now facing court martial on mutiny charges, and are being held
in detention, under conditions almost as abusive as those Iraqi detainees have
been subject too....

Be that as it may, those 19 enlisted people and non commissioned officers did
more to disrupt the war effort than any one of those anti-war protests last

Again proving the point...the social power of the working class,and our
potential strength, is best displayed by strikes and uprisings than by parading
past empty office buildings on a weekend...

The American left needs to understand this..and to reorient itself away from the
middle class and reforming the capitalist system,and towards the working class
and overturning capitalism, and replacing that social system with a
worker-controlled communistic one, where those who do the productive labor of
society will also rule...

One major step towards that social revolution would involve reorienting the
American trade unions away from business unionism (the ideology, dominant in
every union in this country today, that falsely claims that bosses and workers
have a common interest, and the purpose of unions and union leaders is to build
"class partnership" between workers and bosses) and to reorient those unions
towards something I call "revolutionary unionism"...

I've explained the ideology of revolutionary unionism on the GANGBOX website
before, at :




and on the GANGBOX listserv, at:






















Revolutionary unions are oriented towards class struggle...and recongnize the
fundamental truth that capitalists and workers are enemies, that the very nature
of capitalist economics makes us enemies (that is, our wages are far less than
the economic value we create, and the bulk of the value we create goes into the
pockets of the capitalists who employ us) and that, until that day when our
class is strong enough to overthrow the capitalistic system, and establish a
worker-controlled communistic system, the job of unions is to fight the
capitalists and gain the highest wages, best benefits and best working
conditions we possibly can under this system...

And, of course, all of those gains can only be achieved by withdrawing our
labor, or otherwise disrupting the capitalistic system (riots, prisoner
uprisings, mutinies by enlisted personnnel in the armed forces ect)....

The cold hard reality is, parading in front of empty office buildings on a
Sunday afternoon, listening to speeches by leaders who belive in reforming
KERRY...are NOT going to lead us to any of those gains...

In fact, they actually impede our class struggling against this system....

The sooner that the American left understands that reality, the sooner they
really will be able to mobilize millions of American workers....

Thats it for now.

Be union, work safe.