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For Unity of Direct Action and Rank and File of labor

For Unity between the Direct Action youth and the activists and rank and file of labor.
For Unity between the Direct Action youth and the activists and rand and file of labor.

At Seattle the audacity of the youth won over large sections of the rank and file of the labor contingent to their militant direct action and the WTO meeting was shut down. An important victory was achieved. Since then the labor leaders have been very careful to keep the rank and file of the labor
movement away from the youth and any direct action. If the union leaders mobilize to protest global capitalism’s gatherings they do so in such a way as to keep their members separated from the youth and under their own control.

This was shown in Quebec where we had the shameful spectacle of union leaders keeping their march miles away from where the youth were being attacked by the cops. This is a betrayal of the youth and of the struggle against global capitalism. In Detroit at the Labor Notes conference we had a similar
process. The leaders of Labor Notes instructed their stewards at their march to stop any direct action and if any youth carried out direct action they were to be left behind and there would be no bail or legal help.

Along with their effort to isolate the direct action youth the labor leaders are trying to tame the youth movement, to turn it away from militant direct action and its opposition to Global Capitalism. They use organizations they control such as Jobs With Justice and in some places the anti-sweat shop movement as well some of their younger staff members to introduce non-militant non-direct action peaceful protest picketing as an alternative to direct action. And they try to replace opposition to global capitalism with opposition to corporate greed. Many of the younger full time staff
members of the unions are now being pressed by the union leaders to help tame the youth movement. They are finding their union full-time position is preventing them from becoming involved in the direct action opposition to
global capitalism.

At the same time as the more conservative sections of the union movement are moving to isolate the members of the unions from the militant youth movement the state forces of global capitalism internationally are stepping up their
efforts to crush the youth. This must not be allowed to happen. Those of us active in the unions or with a base in the unions must take action to unite the rank and file of the union movement with the militant youth.

As a start in our work places and union meetings we should initiate discussions and move resolutions opposing the efforts of the union leaders to split the unity of youth and labor and to isolate the youth. At the same time using our workplace and union base we should invite activists from the youth movement into our workplaces and union meetings to put their case and explain their ideas and plans. And from these actions we should seek in every area to build united youth and labor activist unity. The best way is for the union
activists to join the direct action movement. But it is also possible that gains can be made by setting up union rank and file and youth activist coalitions to build this unity.

#For unity between the direct action youth and the labor activists against Global Capitalism.

#Do not allow Global Capitalism and its state forces to isolate and defeat the youth.

#Do not let the utopian demand to end to corporate greed replace Opposition to Global Capitalism.

#Do not let the Labor leaders and their allies separate the union movement from the youth.

#At all future mobilizations organize squads of the youth and union activists to intervene directly in the union contingent and bring them to the Direct Action youth mobilization.

By Sean O'Torain
Chicago DAN and Labors Militant Voice.
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