Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Bath, Maine, United States

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

HOW DO WE CREATE JOBS?


I love this tire photo. To me it represents the collapsing U.S. economy. The solution to the problem is close at hand - so close it cannot be seen.

That's the way it is today when people talk about jobs for example. I watched a long video yesterday produced by some union activists about folks who have lost their jobs. They talk about "fighting" to get their jobs back but never did the words "war" or "military spending" cross their lips. Somehow these good people think that the government is going to create new jobs for them if they just push hard enough.

But let's face the facts. The right-wing is pushing just as hard to cut government spending and a growing number of people in the country have been made to think that slashing spending and lowering taxes on the rich will bring the economy back - the business model. But that is not going to work. In truth, this will only increase joblessness as the government lays off teachers, janitors, and the like.

These good union folks don't want to talk about military spending because many unions (particularly the Machinists Union and the United Autoworkers Union) represent workers inside the military production process. (By the way I am a member of the National Writers Union which is part of the UAW.) So they block this important connection from being offered as a real solution to our national economic flat tire.

Jobs have left this country by the millions in recent years. The corporations are maximizing their profits internationally and I don't see these jobs coming back to the U.S. at all. So where will the economic recovery come from? Where will the investment in job creation come from? For me the answer is clear as a bell. Massively cut military spending....stop funding the Afghanistan war at the tune of $7 billion a month. Then use those funds to build public transit, wind turbines, a solar society, weatherize homes, fix roads and bridges, and more.

There will be a big rally in Washington DC on October 2 being organized by unions and the NAACP. It is being billed as One Nation Working Together and I believe the principal purpose of the event is to have a big turnout rally before the November elections to help swell support for the desperate Democrats. In the call to action they state: "We are One Nation, born from many, determined to build a more united America – with jobs, justice and education for all." The only mention of the military issue is one weak phrase: "We are families who pray every day – for peace and prosperity".

Peace groups supporting the October 2 event have had to create their own web site in order to flesh out the anti-war message but you won't find a link to it at the primary One Nation web site. So the message is, sure we want the peace movement to turn their folks out for this event but the primary drivers - the unions and NAACP - don't want to get too close to those calling for an end to wars. It's the basic half-stepping Democratic party position. Thus it is evident to me that the October 2 event is largely a Democratic party event.

I had long ago been invited to speak in Washington on October 1 at the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker House so I will stay and attend the October 2 event. I will take along the Bring Our War $$ Home banner and join the march.

But I will have no illusions that this event is the coming of a grand coalition that will finally lift the veil on war spending. As long as large blocs in the progressive movement refuse to deal with Pentagon spending there will be little hope for true economic recovery and job creation.

Sadly the peace movement is once again treated like the black sheep in the family.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Sherrie Williamson said...

This is an excellent blog. One of our readers left a comment with this included as an excerpt so I took a few seconds to drop by and I'm glad I have. I've enjoyed the interesting and unique perspective.

9/2/10, 9:19 AM  
Anonymous Sherrie Williamson said...

P.S. the comment was left under our blog titled "Call To Action For Jobs"

9/2/10, 9:21 AM  

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