Centers for Dissent Control Advisory: Protect Yourself from Wisconsin Fever!

Centers for Dissent Control ADVISORY:
Protect Yourself from Wisconsin Fever!

What is Wisconsin Fever?

Wisconsin Fever is a new epidemic spreading across the Midwestern states. Research suggests that it may be related to recent strains of Tunisian and Egypi an fever that have spread across the Middle East. Two subspecies (W. b. workingclassiense and W. b. studentacivis) are known to cause the infection. Its symptoms include:

* Restlessness; a refusal to stand by while human rights are stripped from workers
* An extreme hunger for solidarity, even if one is not personally affected by the attacks
* Nausea associated with tax breaks for the rich and pay cuts for workers
* Massive, uncontrollable outbreaks of demonstrations, strikes, and occupations against anti-worker legislation.

Its most severe cases have yet to be documented, but preliminary research suggests that Wisconsin Fever may be highly contagious and is in danger of breaking out in many other states across the nation.

What can I do to avoid getting Wisconsin Fever?

You should avoid being bitten by activism. To prevent potential contamination, avoid places where activists commonly breed: schools, universities, the workplace, the street.

Personal precautions

* Cultivate a cynical or fatalistic perspective in order to build immunity from the spreading sense of hope that workers can unite to defend their rights.
* Believe, against all evidence, that the only way to get out of a budget crisis is to savagely attack people’s standard of living. This can be done by taking an austerity suppository.
* Repeat the mantra “there is a silent majority supporting the Governor” (Note: mantras are alternative medicine techniques and thus are not held to the same standard as mainstream medicine).

Protect yourself when workers and students are present

* Activists, union members, students, independent journalists, public sector workers, and generally anyone who works to make a living are known to spread Wisconsin Fever—avoid them whenever possible.
* When you hear the inspiring sound of thousands of people chanting slogans of solidarity, immediately wash your ears out with a proper dose of Tea Party chemical solvents.
* If you must expose yourself to populations likely to spread Wisconsin Fever, always wear thought repellents, such as false budget figures propagated by the mass media and state government and discredited economic theories that correlate the decline of human rights with a healthy economy.

Public health measures to prevent Wisconsin Fever

State governments and political elites threatened with an outbreak of Wisconsin Fever should immediately respond in the following ways:

* Divide working people against each other by any means possible, including the exemption of some workers from anti-worker legislation
* Extensively cover Tea Party counter-rallies in the media, no matter how small
* Deploy the National Guard in an effort to intimidate demonstrators

Immediate action is necessary to prevent the spread of Wisconsin Fever to vulnerable populations across the United States, such as unemployed workers, students, public employees, and other working-class people!

Battle for Wisconsin, Part II

Another update from Andrew in Madison.

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Thursday night ended with lots of energy and momentum as Democratic senators fled the state to break quorum and block a vote, and Friday seems to be a difficult and contradictory day. Public schools remain closed and thousands of UW students walked out today to join workers at the capitol, so there remains important grassroots energy but the situation is changing quickly.

Major establishment leaders have taken to Madison, with a visit today from Trumpka and Jesse Jackson. Where until now there was a remarkable absence of bureaucratic control, Democrats, the AFL-CIO and WEAC have all jumped in suddenly. SEIU is sending a team of international staff organizers to take over operations at the capitol. Trumpka of course gave a rah rah speech this morning, and to say nothing about the obvious flaws with the AFL-CIO playbook and language of the “middle class”, the atmosphere has shifted from solidarity detachments of local unions networking, organizing bottom-up by bullhorn and passing messages to major sound-system rallies with prominent speakers calling the shots. Much more troubling is the relationship between Trumpka and the TAA (graduate student AFT affiliate), as Trumpka came to personally address the TAA who have erected a semi-permanent office in the capitol building. Throughout the week the TAA has been trying to keep to a strict lobbying strategy and have disapproved of sit-ins and other militant demonstrations, but with Trumpka’s arrival TAA leaders seem much more arrogant in their belief that they command activity and information inside the capitol; while most union members have been out conversing and talking about what’s next, they’ve mostly been holed up in their private office and have reserved a number of rooms that remain empty. Word is that TAA leaders already see this thing as a lose and are acting accordingly.

Democrats obviously made an excellent move fleeing the state to block the senate vote, but they’re taking all the credit for resistance to attacks and today they’re trying to scoop the movement into their party with chants like, “We Want Russ!” (Feingold), mass distributions of signs targeting Republicans and posting pictures of Democratic legislators in the capitol with slogans proclaiming their respect for workers. Of course, the reason we’re in this mess to begin with is because the Democratic majority legislature stalled unions and ultimately voted down state contracts in Decembers, obviously setting up Walker to complete the pass.

So as the labor bureaucracy and the Democrats step in to take over the movement internally, the state is also getting firmer. Until yesterday, it seemed as though there were more plain clothed police holding signs that read “Cops 4 Labor Rights” than actual uniformed cops on the street policing, but today dozens of state troopers are stationed in the capitol and they’ve blocked off the entrance to the Assembly and Senate rooms as they anticipate more sit-ins and/or anger over a potential vote on the bill. Remarkably, there has not been any violence nor any arrests to date.

But be that as it may, when the major AFL-CIO scheduled rallies conclude the grassroots energy remains. Life inside the capitol is very rowdy and a trend has taken over to plaster all the walls with hand drawn posters brought out for protests; its spectacular. Banners from the top floors all hang listing cities that have said they’re in solidarity with us in Madison: Boston, San Francisco, Columbus, Chicago–and more keep coming. Union members wearing jackets, hats and t-shirts with their local number on it are regularly thanked and held up as the heroes here. Madison Teachers Inc (MTI, local union) has taken up petitions to begin a recall of governor Walker. Some of us had an idea to solicit area businesses and tell them that if they didn’t have a sign in their window saying they support workers that we’d make sure their business wasn’t patronized–literally minutes later a group of teachers started talking about how no one should solicit businesses without union support signs. Close to 6pm Jesse Jackson began his speech that captured the sentiment here, “Wisconsin is the Superbowl of Workers’ Rights.” Well said. Jackson continued by pointing to struggles across the globe and talking about the history of struggle for public unions and the connection to civil rights, leading to a chant “When we fight, we win!” and then “Workers’ rights are human rights!”

News on the bill is that Assembly Republicans, who, unlike the Senate, do have quorum, were momentarily successful in a motion to have the bill be un-amendable, though that was turned around shortly thereafter. By early evening, they announced that the Assembly will adjourn until Tuesday, the same day that Walker is due to unveil his state budget.

The sense now is that the struggle is at a kind of stalemate. Walker and the legislature are stalling out the workers hoping to break them with time and discouragement and to also let the labor bureaucracy destabilize solidarities on the inside as the state starts to clamp down–Mayor Dave here in Madison sued MTI for their sick-outs and attempted to get an injunction, but was denied by a judge. Tomorrow a Tea Party counter-rally has also been called.

On the workers’ side more allies are finding their way to the demonstrations: MadWorC, the Madison Worker Cooperative association, is rallying their member cooperatives in support and will drive a line of cooperative taxis in a parade up in support. Thursday evening saw some municipal rebellions as cities, towns and districts tried to ram through contracts in anticipation of the bill. Reports of similar worker-student rallies in Ohio have also given workers here the cue that they’re doing what they should be doing. Its become well known that the budget deficit the bill says its out to fix was actually created by Walker, and the sense of injustice is carrying commitment to kill the bill. Walker inherited a surplus of about $120 million, which he promptly gave away to corporations and the rich as tax cuts, and now says that union-busting is the solution for the resulting manufactured deficit. Maybe most importantly, there are rumors of a strike of support staff at the university on Tuesday.

I really don’t think that the Tea Party is anything to worry about–their usual strengths are in demonstrating some kind of anger over the way things are going and grabbing white people who are angry there isn’t a fight going on while things are getting so horrible. They say they’re bringing cleaning supplies to restore the capitol from the “dirty hippies”, so they’re not gonna make any friends among the workers here. The bigger issue is going to be the cadre of international staffers and Democratic party feeders, who are already disturbing the alliance of workers who have without the capitalist parties. And even if our solidarity carries and we deflect the internal challenges, the sense of “real time” is coming back and fighting with “movement time”–that is to say that the pressures of everyday life are weighing down, there’s no imminent bill that could pass at any second as there has been for the last three days and probably many teachers will go back to work Monday.

But its too early to call and every day has had some kind of surprise that has pushed and taken this to another level. Just thinking about it from the perspective of the legislators, they’ve got to be making a calculation about whether its more important to make some concessions, secure workplaces and allow a victory for workers, which gives us all confidence to do more, or if its better to pass the bill, risk more militant resistance and try to smash the movement. Either way, we should look to what a symbol this has been for the entire country and the pride people have in their unions right now isn’t just going to go away if this thing passes.

Report from the Battle for Wisconsin

This is a report from a Madison comrade, Andrew, who has been heavily involved with the protests there. He makes great observations on the culture of the protests, how such movements are organized, contradictions between the labor bureaucracy and rank-and-file workers, and all kinds of other stuff you definitely won’t learn about in the mainstream media. This was written late Thursday, February 17.

* * * * *

First, I think we’re all shocked at what’s happening here. There’s obviously been a build-up to this point, a few test battles in union-busting public sector workers and of course the (democratic) legislature stalling out and then rejecting state contracts, but the pace at which things have proceeded this week is mindblowing. Walker introduced the bill on Friday with intent to get it passed Wednesday, which pissed people off even more than the contents of the bill already had.

Second, protests have definitely gone above and beyond what union leadership had planned. Monday’s action was called by the graduate student union (TAA) to deliver valentines to the governor, “I love my university, don’t break my heart”, followed by a strict lobbying plan. The day then kind of fizzled. Tuesday was intended to be the same but bigger, but things blew up when firefighters showed up despite being exempt from the cuts and high school students walked out of class as well. Then there was a community forum that encouraged militancy, and as rallies kept the capitol packed throughout the night, students and workers somewhat spontaneously decided to sleep in at the capitol and keep public testimonies going all night long. The TAA initially was against it because they want to appear as good partners to make things work, but have since embraced it and then called for another sleep-in the following night. Madison Teachers soft struck by sicking-out on Wednesday, though not an official union action, and it forced school closures in the city; shortly after WEAC (NEA affiliate for Wisconsin teachers) announced Wisconsin teachers would not show up to work Thursday and Friday to be part of demonstrations.

The union bureaucracy has been lagging behind workers here. The number of handmade signs are roughly equal to mass produced placards, with all kinds of witty takes on pop culture and Wisconsin traditions, but the actions workers are taking are definitely directing how things are shaping up here. The official program of speakers were the same two days in a row—which I think says that unions were expecting a different crowd of people to come for lobbying either day. In their meeting this morning, the AFL-CIO were prepared for a loss, but the mood of workers here is increasingly confident as private sector unions and skilled trades have stuck it out for the last few days. Now it seems like unions are ready to invest in this fight; presidents of the internationals of the NEA and AFSCME were in town today, and its rumored that Trumka and Jesse Jackson will be here tomorrow.

The mood is increasingly confident and the sense of solidarity here is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. Madison feels radically different and working class issues have hegemony for the moment–a few examples: two plumbers in the bathroom talking to each other, “This isn’t about parties, its about the working class,”; walking downtown people all over are watching tv reports in the streets and discussing what this means for working people while cars honk approvingly at AFSCME members crossing the walk. Firefighters in uniform led demonstrators by bagpipe to a municipal building to get support for a motion to ratify municipal contracts now should the bill pass; they were cheered the whole way through. At the capitol tonight, workers chanted “We are Wisconsin!” and “Union!”, and to me they’re speaking about the kind of unionism represented by the solidarity in the room, not just collective bargaining. Signs are everywhere in support of the public unions, and businesses that want solicitation have all catered to workers in one way or another. Even emails from liberal-progressive groups I get daily are taking a very different turn, coming out strongly for workers and looking for ways to empower the unions. WORT, the community station, has been covering the bill and the protests around the clock, airing testimonies of workers and most all of their music is labor or struggle themed.

Lastly, things are getting more militant day by day. Monday was sleepier, Tuesday was people finding each other and feeling it out, bolstered by students and firefighters, Wednesday more support (now from cops, too!) and experimentation and today chants are turning to calls for Walker’s removal, direct action and no compromises (“Kill the bill!”). Since legislators have fled the state and broken quorum, there is a little more wiggle room to plan something and we’re hoping to build confidence to keep things going and encourage strikes or other job actions if the bill makes it through—my sense is that workers are livid and they want this thing dead, period. Wednesday night there was an exchange outside the finance committee where someone came out to silence the chanting, “Be quiet so we can amend this thing for you,” which was countered with, “We don’t want an amendment, kill the bill!”

So that’s the gist of it. Who knows if we’ve hit the peak or if tonight’s sleep-in will have more networking among unionists, students and other workers that will lead to more militancy.

Education in the Crosshairs: Thoughts on the New Student Movement

A statement by the Solidarity student working group

An unprecedented assault on public education is underway. State governments are slashing public school and university budgets, while the White House and Congress push school competition, firing teachers and privatization as a “solution” to the crisis of funding. But students and teachers are fighting back—most visibly in California, but also at schools across the nation. The movement will likely grow as more and more states cut education funding. It’s a sign of a vital movement that vibrant debates are occurring over tactics and strategy. As a contribution to these debates, we offer these suggestions to orient the movement.

First, it’s important to understand that the current attack on public education is only the most recent phase of a long campaign. For our parents’ generation, public universities and community colleges were practically free, and public grade schools were far better funded than today. But with the economic crisis of the 1970s, American capitalism entered a long-term period of stagnation, prompting a political offensive on the part of the ruling class. In order to bolster their falling profit rates, corporations began a long-term campaign that continues today, smashing unions and cutting pay and benefits. As part of the same offensive, the government has cut taxes for the rich and slashed funding for social programs and education, destroying public school systems and forcing students to take on an enormous debt burden in order to go to college.

Now, the ruling class is trying to use the current economic crisis to drive the final nail into the coffin of public education. In higher education, state after state is dramatically raising tuition, laying off professors and entire departments, and increasing class sizes. Spaces for critical thinking and democracy in the universities are being eliminated, replaced with narrow technical training. Meanwhile, public grade schools are being privatized (through charter schools) and legislators and the media are preparing to deal a death blow to teachers’ unions, eliminating the strongest potential source of organized resistance to this restructuring. All these measures are designed to shift the burden of paying for education onto students, teachers, and workers—negating the very purpose of public education.

The fundamental problem, therefore, is far larger than our individual campuses. However, by beginning with organizing on our campuses, we can start to build a nationwide response to the ruling-class offensive. We think demands like these can help bridge that gap:

Tax the Rich. Our foremost demand must be that the funding to preserve public education come from the wealthy and from corporations, who pay less and less taxes every year. This must be our main target, since without it, victory is impossible.

Open the Books. At many of the schools where the cuts are most drastic, the basic facts of where our money is going are not transparent. We should demand that administrators, trustees, and regents make a detailed budget available to all. Administrative bureaucracies are not on our side, but they are not always our main enemy, either—and when they are, the best way to fight them is getting them in the line of fire between the movement and the demand to make the rich pay.

Money for education, not occupation. It’s a sign of our government’s twisted priorities that it is willing to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan—which destroy human lives, violate the right of those countries to self-rule, and put hundreds of thousands of young people in harm’s way—while cutting funding for education. The student movement can strengthen itself by allying with the anti-war movement, and by pointing out this obvious potential source of funding for education and other social goods.

No divide and conquer. Against the wealthy and powerful, our strength comes from organization and united action. We will face repeated attempts to divide the movement for public education—between teachers and students, workers and community, or along lines of race, class, or citizenship status. The movement needs to avoid these pitfalls by including demands of the most marginalized and vulnerable members of our coalitions along with broad demands.

Political independence. Our movement must remain independent of the major political parties. The Democrats are as committed as the Republicans to privatizing and cutting education, as illustrated by Obama’s appointment of Arne Duncan, who as CEO of the Chicago Public Schools worked to privatize many schools there, as education secretary. Democrats will back their rhetoric with action only to the extent that our movements force them to do so—we can’t afford to set aside our organizing in order to campaign for them.

In order to win concessions, we need to build a movement that includes everyone affected by the education crisis. Student organizers should reach out to activist teachers, unions, and local communities. Further, winning the fight for education requires that we challenge the very logic of cutbacks and privatization, not just the distribution of resources within an already privatized system. Getting more funding for higher education at the expense of prisoners, welfare recipients, or low-wage workers would be a Pyrrhic victory—we can’t fight over pieces of a shrinking pie when the point is to reorganize the bakery. Therefore, students have to ally with other groups who are exploited by neoliberal capitalism, including workers and communities of color. Even if such alliances are not immediately possible, we must see the movement against education cuts as a wedge which can open a space for a much broader movement, one which will have the power to overwhelm the rich. This has to be part of our strategy from the beginning, while we also pursue immediate gains.

Since the cuts to education are rooted in the structure of capitalism itself, we need to create an alternative vision of what society should look like, one based on the fulfillment of human needs and desires rather than fabulous profits for a tiny elite. Our demands should not stop at making education as it is more affordable—we should also present a vision of education for a truly free society, seeking solutions to social problems, fostering participatory democracy and community engagement, and developing human consciousness. The movement for public education—a matter of immediate self-interest for millions of students—can also be a bridge to creating new forms of education, possibilities that can only be dreamed of under capitalism.

Post-USSF: More Questions than Answers

The US Social Forum left me feeling, more than anything else, overwhelmed and confused. I don’t mean to be overly negative—of course, it was also inspiring to see so many radicals come together and to feel the energy that was present. But I was really struck the urgency of several questions for the left, none of which I have answers to.

One question is that of the relationship of the revolutionary left to the social movement or NGO left. Just from observing the contingents at the opening march and the forces responsible for most of the workshops at the USSF, it became clear to me that the left NGOs—workers’ centers, community organizations, etc.—are pretty big deal, much more important, in terms of their day-to-day work, than the Marxist left. While many socialists from other traditions as well as radicals who follow a horizontalist or intersectional analysis have made work in the so-called NGO world a priority, socialists in the Trotskyist tradition, including Solidarity, have often dismissed such organizations out of hand. I think we need to figure out a way of relating to this sector of the left that is critical but constructive. And, to the extent that the division between the social movement left and the socialist left is artificial (I’m not sure whether it is or not), we need to think about why it arose and how we can break it down.

Another, even more overwhelming question that the USSF brought out is that of strategy. Right now, this is a pretty crucial question—the economic, environmental, and political crises make the situation more urgent than ever and make many people are open to the message of revolutionary change, and yet left organizations and movements are disorganized and scattered. Determining the appropriate strategy or strategies for the revolutionary left is far too great a task for one person or group to accomplish singlehandedly. For this reason, I was disappointed that there was so little space for strategic discussion at the US Social Forum. It seemed to me that much of it was devoted to discussion of specific movements or organizations without much reference to the political situation in which we are immersed, or how our work relates to a long-term project. It would have been great if some people who saw the need for strategy had gotten together beforehand and thought about how to start discussion at the USSF about left strategy.

A good discussion that suggested what could have been occurred at FRSO/OSCL’s workshop “Presente!” featuring several venerable leftists debating the role and future of the left. The debate was wide-ranging, including discussion of the relationship between the left and Obama, what the movements of the last ten years indicate about the current political situation, whether the working class remains central to liberation, and what kind of left organization is necessary for rebuilding socialism as a political force, and the panelists often clashed. Although I didn’t always agree with the views that were being expressed, the discussion was refreshing and productive since it dealt with concrete strategic questions. I think this sort of discussion ought to happen more across groups within the broader left, as well as within Solidarity. How can we on the far left work together to promote strategic discussions that are both deep enough to seriously contribute to the struggle, and broad enough to engage new people?

Climate Imperialism and the Movement

The Copenhagen conference failed to produce anything remotely resembling a solution to the climate crisis, but it also failed from the perspective of the US ruling class. The US and other capitalist powers had planned to produce an agreement that would maintain their global dominance while undermining the development of their biggest competitors, pushing as much of the burden of emissions reduction as possible onto the neo-colonial world, and just generally forcing the rest of the world to clean up after their mess. They didn’t succeed—to the credit of the protestors outside the gates and especially of the bloc of poorer countries, who would not tolerate the US’s manipulations.

It’s no longer possible to ascribe the insufficiency of US climate policy to a lack of “political will” or ignorance of the dangers. There was plenty of “will” to go around, as seen in the now-infamous “Danish text”, the imperialist countries’ dream climate treaty, which would have imposed identical emissions targets on rich and poor countries and taken oversight of the carbon emissions accord out of the hands of the UN. In the refusal to do anything without China agreeing to binding emissions cuts, in the rejection of climate reparations by the US negotiator, and in the announcement of 10 Democratic senators that they would not vote for any climate treaty that would harm US business interests, the American ruling class aimed to impose its vision of a climate treaty on the world, and to sabotage any treaty that did not suit its needs.

In short, the failure of the Copenhagen conference was due to imperialism. Global warming is not just a side effect of capitalism; the climate crisis is clearly now an arena in which imperial conflict actively plays out. This means that the climate justice movement must, in order to be effective, take an anti-imperialist approach, and socialists must integrate climate justice into our anti-imperialist work. It appears that the movement is already moving in this direction, spurred by the resistance of poor countries to the eco-imperialist assault. Some observers of the Copenhagen protests drew parallels with the iconic Seattle WTO protests, as developing countries sporadically boycotted the talks and some delegates walked out to join the protesters. The comparison is apt: once again an international movement is arising at the intersection of imperialism, exploitation, and ecological destruction. The climate justice movement could be the next global justice movement—will the socialist left keep up?

Self-checkouts and other capitalist inconveniences

Anyone who’s been to a supermarket within the past couple of years is undoubtedly familiar with the horrible phenomenon of “self-checkout” machines. It seems grocery stores have given up all pretense of caring about their customers; they’ve fired the cashiers and baggers and are forcing you to scan and bag the groceries yourself as a computerized voice commands you every step of the way.

If you’ve used one, you know how extremely inconvenient this is. Because it’s a robot and not a person, you have to go through an extremely specific routine: scan item, place in bag, repeat. Any deviation from this, such as taking a purchase back out of the bag or shifting the items around so the milk doesn’t crush the tortilla chips, will cause the self-checkout station to say perplexing commands at you and possibly force the harried attendant, who has to watch over eight or ten of these things, to come over – after they’re done helping the three other people with the same problem – and make sure you aren’t trying to steal anything before you can scan your next item.

I like to bring my own cloth shopping bags, but the self-checkout machines make this very difficult. And then there’s the matter of payment. A worker can sort bills and coins into a cash register much faster than a customer can insert them, one by one, into a little slot that sometimes rejects them for unknowable reasons. Last time I went to the store it took me about five minutes to buy four items.

It’s striking how fast they’ve been able to essentially eliminate cashiers. The store I go to has been keeping only one or two normal checkout lanes open, even during peak grocery-shopping times, forcing almost everyone to use the self-checkout. It’s not much better with the regular checkout anyway, since they’ve already eliminated baggers.

This is a pretty common phenomenon these days. At a lot of stores, staff have been cut to the point that it’s nearly impossible to ask someone where to find something – instead you’re supposed to use little computers with search functions. Of course, if you enter the wrong name for a product, it won’t be able to tell you where it is. The telephone voice-recognition systems that everyone hates are another example of this trend. This kind of “labor-saving technology” eliminates jobs, but it doesn’t actually save any labor – it makes things more difficult, not less. The difference is that the labor is no longer done by workers, but is foisted onto customers, thus expanding the company’s profit margin while producing inconvenience for everybody else.

In a socialist society, we would presumably put such technology to its proper use – that of making life easier for workers and customers. Meanwhile, the UFCW would make a lot of friends if it mounted a campaign against those awful self-checkouts.

Mass action on the climate crisis?

I was happy to see the new front page on global warming. It’s quite correct in arguing out that a movement based on mass action is the only thing that stands a chance of solving the crisis, and that socialists must help build such a movement.

A number of activist forces seem to be coming together, and I predict that by the time of the Copenhagen summit in December we will be able to speak of a true climate movement, perhaps of comparable importance to the anti-globalization movement of the last decade. However, none of the forces currently involved are calling for mass action, as we understand it, as a sustained strategy. True, 350.org is calling for actions, carried out by masses of people, but that is not the same thing as mass action.

They’re calling for cute consciousness-raising activities on October 24th, the logic being that if enough people do something on the same day, the politicians will realize that we are right. The people associated with Powershift, the massive student conference on global warming, sometimes call demonstrations, but that organization is mainly focused on lobbying. The anarchists at Rising Tide are mobilizing for the demonstrations at the Copenhagen summit, which is important and good, but in general they are excessively oriented towards “direct action” (i.e. college kids getting themselves arrested at strip mines).

The tactical and political deficiencies in the movement (due to its domination by anarchists and liberals) make it all the more important that socialists get involved. We can and should help fill the mass-action vacuum by drawing on our ties with labor and community groups to build true mass actions against climate change. In particular, I think that socialists should organize local demonstrations on October 24th (the 350.org day of action) demanding climate legislation, “green jobs”, public transit, etc.. Even if they weren’t very large, such demonstrations could shift the tone of the day of action towards political struggle, demonstrating to the rest of the movement the potential of a mass-action approach, and laying the seeds for something much broader and more powerful.

Also, I highly recommend reading Tanuro’s USFI report on climate change. It contains very helpful analysis as well as concrete suggestions for integrating ecological demands into already existing movements.