Ross Barkan with the Observer just pissed me off. So, either grab some popcorn and hold on – or move on to another story.
I support Working Families Party – and it was Bill Franklin (who is way smarter than I am by a long shot) who guided me to the organization and encouraged me to contact them and find out what they were all about. I’m glad he did – it amazed me when I finally got to talk to some of the actual people in New York who had been in the movement since 1998 and heard their passion for ACTUAL WORKING CLASS people.
As a nation, we’ve gotten too “hung up” on political labels – like right-wing v. left-wing, progressive v. conservative. It’s as though those labels define us – but they don’t, not by a long shot. We’ve gotten used to a preconceived notion of what those terms (and the people we picture in our head when we think of those terms) tell us – we shut down our brain and stop listening.
Let’s talk about unions for a moment.
I grew up in North Carolina – and I heard adults say that unions were bad when I was young. This was during the 1970s when eastern NC was full of manufacturing plants and there was a push to unionize the workers. (See Norma Rae)
It got ugly.
I also know how my mom was treated when she took one of the flyers someone handed her outside of the gate where she worked. All week-long, there were meetings inside the plant and the employees were told not to take any flyers or talk to any of the union organizers. They were threatened with their jobs and told to not go to any of the outside meetings the groups were having.
One afternoon, my mom took one of those flyers, out of courtesy more than anything else – a supervisor of the plant saw it and he made my mom’s life hell at work for many months – even after the organizers left town.
She was taken off the sewing line and put on a production platform. It nearly killed her. And, to this day – I think it took some years off her life working under those conditions at that plant.
My mom raised me by herself – it was just me and her. She did it by working a minimum wage job in a small poor southern town back in the 70s – and believe me, there weren’t any advocacy groups beating down our door to help her out or defend her place in the world.
In fact, it was the opposite – Jimmy Carter was pushing ERA and for women like my mom, with limited resources, it actually made things worse for her.
So, yes, I support Working Families and the Working Families Party. I support unions too.
It’s not a “liberal” idea or a “progressive” ideology when you’re poor and all you’re doing is trying to keep a roof over your family’s head and food on the table.