< HOME  Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Slave labor or jail - you're ‘free’ to choose

What, you say? That's not a REAL choice. Well, New York State thinks it is . . .
[Toussaint] began serving a 10-day sentence for leading last year‘s transit strike, turning himself in at a Manhattan courthouse after marching across the Brooklyn Bridge with a boisterous group of supporters.

* * *

"I stand here today because a judge has found me guilty of contempt of court," Toussaint said outside the courthouse. "The truth of the matter is that I have nothing but contempt for a system that gives employers free rein to abuse workers."

The Bob Marley song "Get Up, Stand Up" and cheers from a crowd of dozens greeted Toussaint as he arrived at the rally in Brooklyn before the march across the bridge.

Union leaders addressed the crowd, hailing Toussaint as a working-class hero who stood up for the rights of the common man by demanding fair treatment on pensions, health care and wages.

Sharpton, who called the punishment an immoral attempt to intimidate workers, promised to hold a vigil on the union boss‘ first night in jail. He said he would stay in a tent outside the jail to protest.
What did Pataki have to say?
"I would prefer that the people of New York think and pray of the firefighter who has gone through many operations and faces many more before he can walk, instead of someone who actually provoked this illegal action"[.]
His conduct was illegal because the law is immoral, not to mention unconstitutional.
When the transit workers struck, they were exercising their most basic labor right: the right to quit work. Nobody denies that this right is guaranteed by the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which prohibits slavery and involuntary servitude.

But employers argue that the Amendment guarantees only the individual right to quit in isolation from other workers. This argument misses the whole point of the right to quit, which is, according to the Supreme Court, to give workers the "power below" and employers the "incentive above to relieve a harsh overlordship or unwholesome conditions of work."
Where is the so-called freedom our soldiers are dying for when our government can throw us in jail for together refusing to work?

It's time to take a cold hard look at the government that claims legal authority over us and realize that, somewhere along the way, the moral justification for that authority - to provide for the General Welfare - evaporated. It no longer exists.

It therefore bears repeating that. . .
. . . whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
It's time to exercise our right, indeed our duty as a free people, to alter this government and if it cannot be altered to abolish it and institute a new one that protects the rights endowed to us by our Creator.


At Tuesday, April 25, 2006, Blogger Red Tulips said...

I want to start off by saying that I am sorry for getting very emotional about Israel, but I tend to get very passionate about the subject. Now onto this subject at hand, which I completely agree with you about.

I was outraged that Roger Toussaint should be jailed simply for standing up for basic human rights. I believe the Taylor Law in NYS is unconstitutional, in that it violates the 14th amendment - due process of the law, and equal protection under the law.

This issue has been litigated on the federal level, and federal judges very incorrectly, in my opinion, stated the Taylor Law is constitutional.

What Toussaint did was admirable, for sure, however, ultimately, it did not lead to any real change on a societal or even statewide level. The *only* way to accomplish *anything* is to follow the example of the labor movement of the 1920s and 1930s, whereupon there were actual general strikes, and whole sectors would shut down until progress was sought.

The problem with the Roger Toussaint was that the corrupt and feckless AFL-CIO and parent TWU unions all derided the strike, and provided ZERO support to the local. NOT ONLY was there no sympathy strike elsewhere - which is the only real way to accomplish anything - but in the midst of the troubles, the parent TWU union sought to sever ties with the local 210 union headed by Roger Toussaint. The president of the TWU actually went on a public relations tour against the Local 210.

How is anything to be accomplished when a local union cannot even rely upon its international for SILENCE, let alone support?

The issue here is one on a broad, societal level. In order for any change to occur, a mass purging of those in charge of labor unions needs to occur. I would never say everyone has to go, but those like the president of the TWU international are killing the labor movement from the inside.

This is why there was recently a massive schism within the AFL-CIO, and at least a third of the member unions left - they saw the corruption within the AFL-CIO, and saw the need to form their own organization.

If one were to ask what the problem with Democrats are, I would answer that the problem with Democrats is twofold. One, is that some of their main constituencies are often told that they will accomplish their ends solely through support of the Democratic party, and independent vigilence is borderline passe. TWO, because various constiuences often do blindly support the Democratic party, rather than ALSO engaging in independent action, their cause is often ignored in the media - which makes their cause of a lesser importance on a national level - which makes it a lower priority for the Democrats. I do not see any of this as necessarily a reason to not support the Democrats, but I do see this as a reason to do more than support Democrats, but rather to support independent action and that Big Labor actually put people on the ground and DO SOMETHING, rather than rest on its laurels, which, for the most part, it has been doing for fifty years - to disastrous consequences. I would say the same to other Dem constiuencies such as environmental groups and civil rights groups. GO OUT THERE. MAKE YOUR CASE. FLOOD THE AIRWAVES. SHOW THE SUFFERING THAT EXISTS DUE TO YEARS OF COMPLACENCY.

Anyway, that's just my opinion.

At Tuesday, April 25, 2006, Blogger qrswave said...

Well, I'm glad we agree that the Taylor Law is unconstitutional. I differ a bit with you re: the dems.

But, I certainly agree that nothing short of massive general strikes will enable us to turn this disastrous trend around.

At Tuesday, April 25, 2006, Blogger Ancient Clown said...

Just passing by...thought your site was very interesting reading. Think mine might be the same for you. Be warned beforehand: "Just because I say it doesn't mean it's true and just because you don't believe it doesn't mean it's not.
I don't think I know...I just know I'm thinking.
your humble servant,
Ancient Clown


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