I would like to apologize to those at the general assembly who voted for the joint labor march and rally this Saturday if what I said helped convince you to support it.
I was one of the two people who presented the proposal and was the main defender of it against certain criticisms. These criticisms were, in effect, that we would be joining with the union bureaucracy instead of the rank and file. My response was that if the bureaucracy helped build this event, that we could use their support of it to turn out more rank and file members and we would present our revolutionary politics to that rank and file. I raised the idea that we could use this event to help rank and file members start to organize to take their unions back and to transform them into unions that really fought for the members. This means presenting the ideas of mass defiance, of opposition to the unions supporting the Democrats, of opposition to the “team concept” under which the unions and the employer are on the same “team” and the unions must accept austerity, etc. I also thought that we would be presenting an open anti-capitalist point of view – not in the abstract or with some vague catch phrase, but with a clear, concrete explanation of what that means and why it is necessary.
I thought that we – Occupy Oakland – would be using this event to present these ideas and to help rank and file members start to organize for them in their unions.
The fact that the union hierarchy has accepted that no Democrats will be speaking is meaningless, by the way. The union hierarchy will still be supporting them. In fact, this entire event will be used to channel support to the more liberal wing of the Democrats.
It is now clear from the leaflet Occupy Oakland has developed as well as from the speakers who will be speaking on Occupy Oakland’s behalf that this will not happen. I should have known better, and if anybody was swayed to vote for this proposal based on my arguments, then I apologize to you. I hope that we can discuss how and why this has happened and how we can move forward from here.
expelled member, Carpenters Union
member, Industrial Workers of the World