United States

Where from Here?

By Richard Myers

The following comment was sent to the Soldiers Of Solidarity’s website.

Please forgive a comment from a distance. It seems to me that there may be some important considerations that are not being considered.

I may be among the most cynical when it comes to how frequently corporations have been riding roughshod over working people. I subscribe to close to a hundred email lists, many of which report the sorry state of affairs for working people throughout the global sweatshop, from China to Brazil, and from Florida to Flint.

But I still have an abiding faith in working people, and in their ultimate ability to set things right once they become sufficiently motivated and organized.

I believe that we must develop real democratic skills and understanding in our work groups, if we’re ever to rise above the deleterious effects of corporate domination and union bureaucracy. That means two things:


(1) Working people must discover that they can make even the most difficult decisions, so long as they stick together. Such confidence comes from a process of education, but also out of experiences, good or bad.

(2) If working people are to learn from their experiences and dare to act in their own interests (rather than simply following what they’re told to do by their corporate and union bosses,) then they must be allowed to make mistakes as a part of the learning experience.

I don’t think it helps to scold and shame fellow working folk who probably saw no good choices. This has been a sad and disappointing episode, to be sure. But considering that working people have been struggling for economic justice against a powerful and implacable foe for centuries, did anyone expect that it would be easy?

The sitdown strikers were lean and hungry. They knew well what they were up against, for they had been fighting all of their lives. Many working folk today will have to learn these lessons anew. (And it increasingly appears that they’ll have the opportunities.)

If this is a two-tiered system, as some have described it, then that is a state of affairs that must be rejected. Plant seeds of discontent and nurture them, for the battle is never over. The larger the lower tier becomes, the easier it will be to foster rejection of an inequitable situation.

I would counsel, also, with Joe Hill’s words: Don’t Mourn, Organize!

As I indicated, I’m on the list, but observing from a distance. But please know that my heart is with the Soldiers of Solidarity in this struggle.

Best wishes!