Fellow workers, Here is the Op Ed piece I worked up. I would appreciate comments, suggestions and discussion and if I get three yeas I will send it off to Missoulian with suggested edits.
While the global economic meltdown and resulting recession will undoubtedly be a time of challenge and hardship for working citizens all around the world, it also presents opportunities for deep, lasting change not seen for generations. Due to it’s spectacular failure,the very logic of neo-liberalism is being questioned and new models discussed. Issues like fairness and sustainability are rising to the forefront. Here in the US, the country with the most responsibility for precipitating this collapse, the working class also carries a responsibility. It is incumbent on us to see that solutions for recovery go beyond mere re-regulation and involve a fundamental re-ordering of relative power in society. The larger political questions we face are: what form will a rescue take and who will pay for it?
Because the burden for any rescue will fall, as it always does, on the backs of the workers, it is time to make three demands in return. The first is single payer health care for all citizens. For too long the US has lagged behind the rest of the developed world in providing comprehensive care for all its citizens. The second is a public pension system for all. A dignified, secure retirement with defined benefits should await each worker who has contributed. The third demand should be for a jobs creation program directed at building public infrastructure. Creating a green energy system, localized food systems and carbon free methods of transport will both provide jobs and be an investment in the future.
Of course taking advantage of this opportunity for change will depend on citizens’ ability to correctly identify their interests as workers and to mobilize with a unified voice. This is why we see such an aggressive attack on unions by Big Business and the media which serves them as this crisis unfolds. Only through solidarity will we see not just a bailout for financial markets but a re-invigoration of true democracy and a society which works for all of its citizens. Instead of top-down decrees we call for public discussion. It is time for workers to have a say.
Two Rivers Branch IWW