Let’s build a multiracial, multigendered working class movement to fight for union rights for all workers, for a 15/hour minimum wage, for Medicare for all, for full funding for our schools, for jobs for our youth, for democratic community control of police!
We need a real political alternative!
As long as power remains in the hands of business-backed politicians and the business-backed Democratic Party establishment, there will be no meaningful change. There will be more racist police harassment, brutality, and killings.
Building a political alternative is possible. Socialist Alternative has twice elected Kshama Sawant to City Council in Seattle, despite the all-out efforts by big business to defeat us. Kshama Sawant and Socialist Alternative built an energized mass base of support by taking an uncompromising approach to workers’ rights and racial equity.
The time is now to organize against this racist, oppressive political and economic system that is killing us and destroying our planet!
It’s time to fight for an egalitarian socialist future!
We have a world to win!
Let’s Get to 150,000!
Defend Union Rights:
Fight for Public Control of Utilities
Build A Party Of The 99%!
Communication Workers of America (CWA) and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) have called a strike against Verizon in the middle of the most hotly contested Democratic Party primary in decades. 40,000 Verizon workers from Virginia to Massachusetts walked off the job last Wednesday morning. The same day Bernie Sanders was on the picket line with Verizon workers in New York. His denunciation of Verizon’s “corporate greed” led to CEO Lowell McAdam calling his comments “contemptible.” Sanders shot back: “I welcome their contempt.”
The Communications Workers of America (CWA) has spent 10 months bargaining fruitlessly with a company determined to force its union workers into “parity” with the labor market. The outrageous concessions that Verizon is demanding are par for the course in today’s environment: destruction of job security and pensions, increased medical costs, increased use of term and temp workers, offshoring more and more work, and a whole shopping list of changes to work rules to “improve efficiency” – including the right to “loan” workers out of their home state for four months a year. Verizon is a highly profitable company – that pays next to no taxes – that is leveraging new technology and changes in public policy to take back the hard fought gains in basic living standards that telecom workers won from “Ma Bell” over the past 75 years.
Verizon’s economic demands are based on its agenda to separate itself from its legacy as a regulated public utility that provides universal access to an integrated telecommunications network. Verizon wants to transform itself into a home entertainment, wireless communications, and internet data services provider. In the build-out of its new FIOS network, Verizon is redlining entire communities it deems “unprofitable.” Let’s not forget that Verizon Wireless and FIOS were built on the profits generated over the years from the landline network – and without that network backbone none of the new technologies and services would work.
Telecom workers have a proud history of militant struggle, but, more and more, all effective tactics to wage an effective strike are restricted and illegal. Here is the scene played out at countless work locations across the Mid-Atlantic: mass pickets of Verizon workers surround the office, standing shoulder to shoulder with linked arms, the watching scabs unable to force their way through the peaceful but determined picket line. Sheriffs walk around the line reading out the court injunction limiting pickets to six per entrance. Slowly, resentfully, the arms drop and the police begin to escort the scabs into the building. Until the labor movement rebuilds the capacity to build effective picket lines and prevent scabbing we will be fighting with one hand tied behind our back.
The barrier to victory is not the willingness to fight, or any lack of courage and tenacity on the part of Verizon workers. It is the legal and political forces aligned against us. During the 2011 strike, Verizon fired many employees for ‘strike misconduct’, most of them on flimsy trumped up charges. While the union was able to return the majority of these workers to their jobs, it came at the price of a signed agreement with the company on future conduct on picket lines.
The Verizon strike needs to be turned into a broader fight against the bosses ongoing offensive against what is left of the labor movement. We need to broaden our fight beyond the traditional limitations of economic industrial struggle and challenge the corrupt corporate power structures that are destroying the lives of millions of working class families. We can seize this opportunity to strike back at the billionaires and go on the offensive by mounting a political challenge to the Democratic party establishment and uniting with the grass roots working class movement mobilizing around the Sanders campaign to begin building an independent party of the 99%.
Let’s not forget that telecom deregulation began with a Clinton in the White House. Instead of “Medicare for All,” the Democrats brought us the Affordable Care Act. Our so-called “Cadillac Health Plans” are a key target of Verizon bosses in the negotiations. Bill Clinton gave us NAFTA and Hillary gives us the TPP. The Employee Free Choice Act was left to die in Congress and no one is even whispering about repealing the tangled web of restrictive anti-union legislation that strangles all efforts to organize. Congress, the FCC, the courts, State Houses, and utility boards are flooded with corporate money and lobbyists that write and enforce the rules in favor of the huge communications corporations.
More than ever we need a national plan for implementation of new technologies into the telecommunications network so that they benefit all of us!
Socialist Alternative calls for an immediate halt to any further deregulation of telecom services. We need a national plan to upgrade the wireless, landline and broadband networks and bring these services to all our communities by bringing them back under public control. We Built it! We paid for it! For reliable and affordable universal service!
Chicago SA member Darletta throws down… Answer the question Neil!
Bernie has rallied millions of people for far-reaching change. Every vote won for Bernie is a vote for a national $15/hour minimum wage, free college tuition, Medicare For All and more. He polls higher than Clinton against Trump, yet the corporate media says he’s unelectable and the Democratic Party establishment has closed ranks around Clinton. Bernie won 75% of the caucus vote in Washington State, but all the state’s super delegates have said they will support Clinton. In Philly Mayor Kenny, Congressman Bob Brady, former Mayor and PA Gov. Ed Rendell, and the rest of the Democratic machine have endorsed Clinton, the candidate of war, Walmart and Wall St.
Pennsylvania is a battleground state and Bernie needs a big win to win a majority of pledged delegates. This is not impossible, but the big delegate deficit, the power of the corporate media, and Clinton’s ties to the democratic Party establishment makes it increasingly likely that Bernie’s campaign will be defeated in this rigged game.
We need Bernie on the ballot in November when even more people will pay attention. We need to keep fighting, but how can we make sure our movement for a political revolution does not end up imprisoned by the constraints of the Wall Street dominated democratic Party?
If the DNC and the Clinton machine steal this election, Bernie should break free from the narrow confines of the pro-corporate democratic Party and run as an independent as a step toward building a new party of the 99% which could organize the millions of people fed up with corporate politics as an independent political force.
But if Bernie accepts the results of the primaries and endorses Hillary Clinton, then the movement built by his campaign will be channeled into electing the same old corporate politics of the Democratic Party. Bernie should not allow the political revolution to die in the primaries. He should take the fight all the way to the General election in November, as an independent if necessary, or to develop a “Plan B” of supporting the strongest remaining left, anti-corporate challenger, Jill Stein of the Green Party. While Bernie’s campaign has vividly demonstrated how the DNC and the Democratic Party establishment have stacked the deck against us, the massive enthusiasm for Bernie has shown a new party is possible.
Lets use the structures we’ve built and leverage all our hard work to build independent working class politics. Bernie should call for a national conference of his grass roots supporters, unions and community organizations, and other Left and Progressive forces to discuss an independent challenge to Clinton and Trump, and begin making plans to run independent candidates on a pro-worker, anti-corporate platform.
Lets build a party of the 99%!