Last Thursday, nearly a thousand union members and supporters gathered inside the Michigan capitol building in Lansing to protest lawmakers' decision to ram through "right to work" legislation...
“In our glorious fight for civil rights, we must guard against being fooled by false slogans, such as ‘right to work.’ It is a law to rob us of our civil rights and job rights. Its purpose is to destroy labor unions and the freedom of collective bargaining by which unions have improved wages and working conditions of everyone…Wherever these laws have been passed, wages are lower, job opportunities are fewer and there are no civil rights. We do not intend to let them do this to us. We demand this fraud be stopped.” —Martin Luther King
Last Thursday, nearly a thousand union members and supporters gathered inside the Michigan capitol building in Lansing to protest lawmakers' decision to ram through "right to work" legislation. The day ended abruptly when police began assaulting and pepper-spraying protesters, provoking an evacuation and lockdown of the capitol building. The protests have continued, and at least eight people have been arrested. This Tuesday, thousands more will descend upon Lansing to protest the 1%-backed "right to work" legislation, the most extreme anti-union law Michigan has ever seen. Nurses, teachers, autoworkers, service sector employees, iron-workers, and many other workers (including the unemployed), plus their families, allies, and communities, have already spoken out. Many have also received training and are preparing for nonviolent civil disobedience.
Occupy stands staunchly in solidarity with these days of action. The unfolding events in Michigan are the latest assault on workers' rights in the U.S. and across the globe. Government policies such as the cynically-named "right to work" legislation will lower living standards for the 99% and benefit the elite who profit from our labor. In the face of these blatant attacks on low-income and working people, we must show sustained and escalating resistance. Together, we can defeat the Wall Street, corporate agenda of consolidating wealth in the hands of the few at the expense of the many.
Therefore, we call on all Occupiers in Michigan, the Midwest, and beyond, to join in solidarity and Occupy the Capitol. Now is the time to activate the networks we've created and begin organizing for mass action. The lesson of Wisconsin's failed recall vote was that election politics are not enough — we need to put everything on the table: sustained physical occupation, mass civil disobedience, even the option of general strike. From the Flint Sit-Down Strike of 1936-37, to the West Coast Port Shutdowns of 2011-12, history has shown time and time again: direct action gets the goods.