No More Saturday Marches

Roundup
tags: Trump, Trump protesters



Nelson Lichtenstein teaches history at the University of California, Santa Barbara where he directs the Center for the Study of Work, Labor, and Democracy.

... Writing in Elle, Sady Doyle argues, in effect, for more Saturday-like demonstrations, because an actual work stoppage will expose vulnerable waitresses, maids, home health care workers, and other women at the bottom of the labor market to employer retaliation and loss of income. Meanwhile, women “with a comfortable office job may be able to ‘strike’ simply by taking paid time off and feel confident that her job will be there when the strike is over.”

Doyle summons history to her side, noting that the famous 1970 Women’s Strike for Equality, a march down Fifth Avenue, began at 5 PM because organizers knew that many female office workers in New York would not be able to get the day off.

But this is an entirely defeatist outlook, which misses the potential for solidarity and power, and yes, even for collaboration in this hour of crisis, as people from across the economic and social spectrum face a xenophobic assault on our civil liberties, voting rights, health care, freedom of the press, and the physical and psychological security of millions of American workers whose documentation or skin color has brought them under governmental suspicion.

A strike — not calling in sick, not taking paid time off, but an actual work stoppage — will not only demonstrate a sense of inclusive solidarity but will have the potential to put enterprises and institutions that employ a cosmopolitan, multicultural and multinational workforce — the Hollywood studios, Silicon Valley, higher education, hospitals and clinics, ports and warehouses, municipal government, and even the world of fast food and retail trade — in at least symbolic opposition to the Trump regime.

It will demonstrate the meaning of solidarity to millions entirely unfamiliar with unions or any other form of collective action and make clear that employees themselves can have a loud and independent voice. Such a movement will demonstrate once again that work and politics are indistinguishable and inseparable.




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