Organizing Upgrade

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This article is a shortened adaptation of an on-going discussion within the 99% Power/99% Spring group, known for mobilizing the largest number of shareholder actions in recent history in the spring of 2012.

Organizing around the transformation of the economy means organizing around the transformation of work. And that necessarily means organizing workers into new forms of collective bargaining. Worker organizing updated to the 21st century means winning rights, respect, and a contract from the 1%.

Corporations, the vehicles of wealth generation in this country, are just that: vehicles. It’s the people who run them we need to contend with to shift power in this country. Fewer people than ever before are controlling the lives of more workers than ever before. Our slogan should be “we are the 99.9%”—it’s the 0.1% that control workers’ lives and the economy.

Published in Labor

2011-11-01-ap-occupy-unionsjpg-24a2901bcd67e371This piece is reposted with permission from New Poltiics, Summer 2012.

There isn't a working person alive today who hasn’t idly fantasized about taking control of their lives at work. For many, this is probably just a fantasy about tossing their boss out a window or poisoning their coffee, but others have a more expansive vision of challenging the system of control that gives you an arrogant, unqualified stooge to squeeze the life out of you in the first place.

Militants and radicals in the unions are the ones who take it upon themselves to find the path between those idle dreams and reality. Not so much on the murder front (I hope) but more how to edge forward in the battle for self-control over the course of our work and our lives. The path is rough. It dead-ends, and goes over cliffs. It goes through unexpected terrain where the tools you brought are useless and improvisation is a survival skill. Sometimes the way goes pitch-black and you muddle forward by sense of smell.

Published in Leftist at Work
In this piece, reposted from Alternet, Stephen Lerner learns from Brazil to show how we can grow stronger, more creative, and help people trapped in unhealthy relationships free themselves from those who have power over them.
Photo Credit: Sindicato dos Bancários SP

I was raised in a country where tradition, custom, and economics often define who is on top, who is in charge and who is powerless. My world was turned upside down in a recent trip to Brazil. Maybe it was the all-night plane flight, and the late nights driven by that powerful Brazilian drink Cachaca. Maybe it was the heat and the passionate people from CONTRAF and the Sindicato dos Bancários de São Paulo (more on who they are later) who taught me so much.

They shared something with me that could alter the lives of Americans who aren't afraid to have their system and world rocked. I witnessed and experienced role reversals, energy and passion that would shock most people in the United States. Through their experiences and vision they convinced me a better world is possible. 

Published in Labor

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Organizing Upgrade 2012 / Built by Union Labor

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