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News & Views of Phillips Since 1976
Wednesday June 12th 2024

What Democracy Looks Like

by Peter Molenaar

From the November/December issue of “Teamster” magazine:

Did you know that more than 750 Teamster women recently marched through downtown Minneapolis, coloring the city in a sea of pink and black rally signs? The chant “We”'re Teamsters! We fight! We fight for workers”' rights!” was amplified by sky-scraper acoustics. The refrain “Workers ”˜Yes”', Wall Street ”˜No”'” echoed”¦

The photo-journalist who covered the 2010 Teamsters Women”'s Conference depicted the event with a multi-racial/multi-national collage. One beaming face was adorned by the Muslim hajib. Message: no order of prejudicial exclusion is to be tolerated by our union movement.

Did you know that some 600 Teamsters National Black Caucus members recently walked gallantly through the streets of Washington, D.C.? “Civil rights and workers”' rights go hand-in hand” was the theme. The 47th anniversary of Martin Luther King”'s “I Have A Dream” speech was commemorated.

Truthfully, every page of the “Teamster” depicts the face of democracy.

In his lead article “Corporations Vs. Working Americans”, General President James P. Hoffa states:

“The central political battle today is between the corporations on one side and the little guy on the other”¦ The fight is about whether the government should protect corporate power to enrich a few billionaires, or restrict corporate power to protect the liberty and property of the average American. I”'ll tell you who is winning: It isn”'t the little guy.”

“Corporate power explains why the U.S. hasn”'t made the transformation to renewable energy. It”'s why we can”'t trust our food, drugs or toys to be safe”¦ It”'s why workers”' wages have stagnated or fallen over the past decade and why so many families are losing their homes. It”'s why so many jobs moved offshore so quickly”¦”

“Corporations have been wily about disguising their plans to further concentrate their wealth and influence. They”'re adept at creating phony populist groups that claim to support individual freedom”¦ I have a message for you. Concentration of wealth in too few hands will lead to extraordinary abuses of power and the destruction of your property and liberty. It”'s the many of us vs. the few of them.”

Some strong and meaningful words have been issued. To which I will add: 1.) the class struggle and the struggle for democracy are intertwined 2.) democracy can never be fully secured under capitalism 3.) socialism is the answer.

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