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A Great Day For A Revolution
Source labornet@labornet.org
Date 11/06/30/15:56

A GREAT DAY FOR A REVOLUTION.
J. Eric Cobb,
Executive Director Building Trades Council South Central Wisconsin
Presentation At Emergency Labor Conference Kent State Ohio
June 24, 2011

BROTHERS AND SISTERS. 3x

THIS IS WHO WE ARE. THIS IS WHAT WE ARE.

THIS IS WHY WE HAVE GATHERED HERE TODAY.

BECAUSE WE ARE BROTHERS AND SISTERS.

HENCE- WE ARE FAMILY. THIS IS HOW WE MUST SEE THIS.

BROTHERS AND SISTERS, OUR FAMILY IS UNDER ATTACK. THIS IS EXACTLY HOW WE MUST PERCEIVE WHAT IS HAPPENING TO OUR HOUSE OF LABOR.

OUR HOUSE.

WHO`S HOUSE?! OUR HOUSE! 3x

THIS IS OUR FAMILY HOME.

THIS FAMILY HOME-THE HOUSE OF LABOR-A PHRASE I LOVE AS DEEPLY AS I LOVE MY OWN BLOOD - IS ON FIRE.

IT IS ON FIRE BECAUSE IT IS UNDER ATTACK. IT HAS BEEN SET ABLAZE, UNFORTUNATELY BOTH FROM WITHIN AND FROM WITHOUT.

NOW I ASK YOU - WHEN YOUR FAMILY OR YOUR HOME IS UNDER ATTACK - DO YOU SIMPLY STAND BY AND WATCH THEM BURN?

HELL NO YOU DO NOT.

IF YOUR HOUSE IS ON FIRE, YOU INSTINCTIVELY RELINQUISH YOUR FEAR AND RUN THROUGH THE FLAMES TO SAVE WHAT IS YOURS - TO SAVE YOUR FAMILY - TO SAVE THOSE THINGS YOU VALUE MOST DEAR.

THIS IS EXACTLY HOW WE MUST REACT TO THIS ONSLAUGHT TO OUR WAY OF LIFE. THIS IS EXACTLY HOW WE MUST REACT TO THESE ATTACKS TO THE QUALITY OF OUR LIVES THAT WE HAVE FOUGHT FOR AND WORKED SO HARD TO ACHIEVE. WE MUST FIGHT TO PROTECT - BECAUSE THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT WE ARE HERE TO DO - PROTECT WHAT IS OURS. PROTECT THE FREEDOM OUR FATHERS AND MOTHERS HAVE DIED TO PROVIDE US, TO PROTECT THE FUTURE OF OUR CHILDREN AND THE FUTURE OF THE LABOR MOVEMENT.

BROTHERS AND SISTERS, I AM TIRED OF ASKING. IN FACT I REFUSE TO ASK ANYMORE. I AM NOT HERE TO ASK FOR MY FREEDOM. I AM HERE TO INSIST WE COLLECTIVELY BE AUDACIOUS IN OUR DEMANDS. WE MUST BE AUDACIOUS IN OUR DEMANDS TO OUR GOVERNMENT. WE MUST BE AUDACIOUS IN OUR DEMANDS TO OUR UNION LEADERSHIP AND WE MUST BE AUDACIOUS IN WHAT WE DEMAND OF OURSELVES.

THERE IS A CONFLICT INSIDE THE HOUSE OF LABOR. IT HAS BEEN INFECTED WITH A SEVERE CONSERVATISM. IT IS TIME FOR ALL OF US, UNION RANK AND FILE AND UNION LEADERSHIP ALIKE, TO TAKE A GOOD HARD LOOK IN THE MIRROR. OURS IS NOT A PERFECT UNION. IT IS NOT A PERFECT MOVEMENT. BUT TO CHANGE THIS WE MUST BE WILING TO ADMIT IT, TO OURSELVES AND THE OUTSIDE WORLD. ONLY THEN AS LEADERS CAN WE TRULY PROMOTE THE CHANGE WE SO DESPERATELY LONG FOR.

HOW ELSE CAN WE INSPIRE PEOPLE TO DESIRE MORE AND BETTER OF THIS MOVEMENT AND OF THEMSELVES WITHOUT A FOUNDATION OF TRUTH? HOW ELSE ARE WE TO GET THOSE THAT LOOK AT US WITH BROKEN PERCEPTIONS TO CHANGE THEIR MISGUIDED UNDERSTANDINGS?

HOW ELSE ARE WE TO BETTER INJECT GRAND VISIONS OF WHAT BEING WORKING CLASS COULD BE INTO THE CONSCIOUSNESS OF THE AVERAGE WORKER WITHOUT BRUTAL HONESTY TOWARD OURSELVES?

IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT WE BROADEN OUR AUDIENCE AND OUR OWN PERCEPTIONS OF THE MOVEMENT AND OF OURSELVES. THE PEOPLE MUST BE RE-EMPOWERED, AND ONCE THEY ARE RE-EMPOWERED, THEY WILL BE BETTER ABLE TO UTILIZE THEIR OUTRAGE. USING DICIPLINE, FOCUS AND PASSION IN THE FORM OF OUTRAGE TO CREATE TRUE AND LASTING SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC CHANGE.

THE THOUGHT THAT WE HAVE TO RESTORE DEMOCRACY IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA TRULY DISGUSTS ME AND SHOULD OUTRAGE EVERY PERSON IN THIS ROOM. THE THOUGHT THAT OUR OWN UNION LEADERSHIP HAS ASKED US TO ACCEPT FURTHER EVEN MORE SEVERE CUTS SHOULD OUTRAGE EVERY UNION MEMBER IN THIS STATE. THE THOUGHT THAT A MAN IN THIS COUNTRY FEELS COMPELLED TO ROB A BANK FOR A DOLLAR IN ORDER TO GET BASIC MEDICAL CARE SHOULD OUTRAGE THIS ENTIRE NATION.

THE TIME FOR PLEASANTRIES IS OVER. THE TIME FOR OUTRAGE IS HERE. IT IS TIME FOR WORKING PEOPLE TO STAND AND FIGHT TOGETHER ALL ACROSS THIS ONCE GREAT NATION AND OUR DEMANDS MUST BE ELEVATED. ELEVATED FOR THE BETTERMENT OF ALL WORKING PEOPLE. IT IS TIME FOR US ALL TO EMBRACE THE IMPERATIVE FOR COLLECTIVE ACTION. WE MUST FIGHT THIS BATTLE UNTIL IT IS TRULY WON.

THIS MUST ONCE AGAIN BECOME AN ACTIVE LABOR MOVEMENT. WE MUST INSIST THIS LABOR MOVEMENT BE PUSHED FORWARD, NEVER RELENTING, WITH A BRAND OF ENERGY UNLIKE WHAT HAS BEEN SEEN IN OUR LIFETIMES. ENFORCING NO MORE CUTS, NO MORE CONCESSIONS AND NO MORE PAYING FOR THE CRIMES OF OTHERS BANKRUPTING OUR CIVIL SOCIETY, ATTEMPTING TO FORCE PUNISHMENT UPON THE WORKING CLASS ONCE AGAIN, ALL THE WHILE LAUGHING AT OUR DESPAIR.

WHEN THEY WERE PUTTING TOGETHER THE TAFT-HARTLEY ACT THEY ASKED THEMSELVES A QUESTION: DO WE SLAM THE DEATH NAIL INTO THE WORKING CLASS NOW OR DO WE HOGTIE THE LABOR MOVEMENT AND LET IT DIE A LONG SLOW DEATH? WE ALL TOO CLEARLY KNOW THE ANSWER AND 60 YEARS LATER, HERE WE ARE - BUT THEY MISCALCULATED. WHAT THEY DIDNT REALIZE WAS THAT EITHER WAY THEY DECIDED THE WORKERS WOULD EVENTUALLY RISE UP AND STAND AGAINST THIS UNJUST TYRANNY AND FIGHT IT. AND THAT IS WHERE WE FIND OURSELVES TODAY.

OUR FEET ARE MIRED IN THE CONCRETE OF INJUSTICE AND FEAR. OUR ARMS ARE SHACKLED IN THE CHAINS OF AUSTERITY AND GREED.

BROTHERS AND SISTERS, IT IS TIME TO BREAK OUT THE JACKHAMMERS AND CHISELS. IT IS TIME TO BREAK OUT THE BOLT CUTTERS AND SAWS AND WELDING TORCHES AND BREAK THESE BONDS OF CORPORATE, GOVERNMENTAL AND OUR OWN UNION OPPRESSION AND TO STAND THERE IN THE FULL GLORY OF OUR FREEDOM AND SHOUT OUT AT THE TOP OF OUR LUNGS WHAT WE DEMAND IN THE NAME OF ALL WORKING PEOPLE.

WE DEMAND THE TOOLS OF THE WORKING PEOPLE BE RETURNED TO THEM. WE DEMAND THE PEOPLE`S BASIC HUMAN, CIVIL AND CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS BE RETURNED TO THEM. THERE IS NO COMPROMISE, THERE IS NO CONCESSION. ONLY WHAT IS RIGHT, JUST AND FAIR FOR ALL PEOPLES.

THIS IS WHAT WE DEMAND AND WE SHALL NOT BE MOVED UNTIL ALL WORKING PEOPLE ARE SATISFIED. PREVIOUS UNION LEADERSHIP BARGAINED AWAY THE GREATEST TOOL THE WORKING CLASS EVER HAD - UTILIZING OUR NUMBERS WITH THE POWER TO STRIKE. THE ABILITY TO STOP THE MACHINE OF COMMERCE WITH THE POWER OF OUR INACTION. STANDING ON THE LINE WITH OUR HANDS IN OUR POCKETS IN A DEAFENING SILENCE STATING ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. THE BUCK TRULY DOES STOP HERE.

AGAIN, WE MUSN`T ALLOW FEAR TO PREVENT US FROM ACCOMPLISHING THE GOALS OF THE WORKING CLASS. WE MUSN'T ALLOW THE FEARS OF OUR UNION LEADERSHIP; WHETHER IT BE LITIGATION, THE LOSS INCOME, JOB OR STATUS; TO PREVENT US FROM ACHIEVING OUR COLLECTIVE DEMANDS. AND WE MUST CERTAINLY NO LONGER ALLOW OUR GOVERNMENTS TO SUPPRESS OUR RIGHTS AS CITIZENS OF THIS ONCE GREAT NATION NOR CONTINUE TO OPPRESS US WITH THEIR CORPORATE AUSTERITY.

THE REAL MESSAGE IS TRUE SOLIDARITY. IT HAS BEEN A LONG TIME SINCE RANK AND FILE MEMBERS HAVE STOOD TOGETHER IN MASS PROTEST SUCH AS THIS. IT HAS BEEN FOREVER SINCE WE HAVE FELT AS EMPOWERED AS WE DO TODAY. WE MUST TAKE IT UPON OURSELVES, BROTHERS AND SISTERS, TO FORCE THE REAL LABOR MOVEMENT FORWARD - KICKING AND SCREAMING IF WE MUST - AS WE DID ON THE CAPITOL LAWN IN THE DEAD OF LAST WINTER - UNTIL WE ACHEIVE THE GOALS OF THE WORKING-CLASS. BECAUSE DESPITE OUR SO CALLED LEADERS, I WILL CONTINUE TO FIGHT FOR WHAT IS RIGHT, FOR WHAT IS JUST AND FOR THE BETTERMENT OF OUR FELLOW BROTHERS AND SISTERS UNTILTHEY BURY MY UNION BONES IN THE COLD HARD GROUND OF THE GREAT STATE OF WISCONSIN.

SOLIDARITY MY BROTHERS AND SISTERS.

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