Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Massive protests against poverty led by unions around the globe

Across the globe, hundreds of thousands of people are revolting against the 1 percent that's looting every last penny from their wallets. They're marching in the streets, calling general strikes and toppling governments. They blockaded the central bank in Frankfurt on Friday. They set fires to cars in Sweden's suburbs last May. They've taken hundreds of arrests in North Carolina's Statehouse since April. They held a massive rally  before the G8 Summit in Northern Ireland a week and a half ago. One hundred thousand are protesting in Belo Horizante, Brazil, today. 

The 99 Percent has awakened to the reality that corporations will co-opt their governments and impoverish them all unless we stop them. 

Call it the global revolt against poverty. And labor unions are at the vanguard.

The mainstream media has been slow to connect the massive unrest that's roiled the globe over the past few years. You can draw a straight line from the Wisconsin uprising of 2011 to protests against No Rights At Work in Ohio, Indiana and Michigan, through the Occupy movement all the way to today's Moral Monday protests in North Carolina.

Few noticed on March 26, 2011 that 20,000 people marched in Los Angeles to protest the war on workers as a half-million people marched in London to protest austerity cuts. Even fewer would connect the campaign against the Trans-Pacific Partnership with the Chinese workers who took their American factory owner hostage when he came to lay them off. 

They are all part and parcel of the same discontent with billionaires and corporations that have grown too powerful and too predatory. And practically everywhere, unions are leading the fight.

In Europe, the 99 percent is fed up with cuts to education, health care and retirement pensions so governments can pay back the banks that cheated them. They want an end to the misery of high unemployment, inequality and a recession that never ends. In Spain, Portugal and France, the tens of thousands who marched in the streets on Friday call themselves the Citizen's Tide. Pravda reports:
The criticism of this "Citizen's Tide" against austerity cuts and bailout of banks joined together unions, associations and organizations fighting against evictions or the pressure on citizens exerted by the banks which have been rescued with public funds.
The next day, Italy's largest trade union confederations led 100,000 people in a Rome rally to protest the jobs crisis. Nine days before that, Greek unions called a 24-hour general strike to protest the dismantling of government-owned broadcast stations. 

The story is a little different in the United States, but only by degree. Unions are leading the battle against the unfair employment system that robs workers of wages, freedom and dignity. Sometimes that takes the form of a lobbying campaign against the TPP. Sometimes it takes shape as a massive protest against an anti-worker bill being rammed through a legislature. Sometimes it's a court battle over an abusive workplace practice. Sometimes it's the boots on the ground for a political campaign.

But wherever there's a fight for decent wages, for education for children, for retirement security for all, for fairness and freedom in the workplace, you will find a union member in the thick of it.