Yellow vests and general strikes

Richard Cucarese Rapid Response Coordinator, USW Local 4889

“The enemies of the country, and of freedom of the people, have always denounced as bandits those who sacrifice themselves for the noble causes of the people.” ~ Emiliano Zapata

In November of 2018, the rallying cries of the proletariat emerged. Protesters demanded that those in power address the grievances of the working class, the working poor and the forgotten masses, who carry the burden of funding the ventures of capitalist corporatists and their special interests.

This is not American streets exploding into rage against the powers that be not seen since 1968. It is, instead, the “Yellow Vest” movement of France, and now Belgium as well. It has taken over the mantle of dissent, which used to exist on our shores.

Americans have bee lulled into a false sense of security that our government would always have our best interests at heart. In the meantime, that government has beaten down workers with Free Trade deals promoting outsourcing, union-busting laws, and civil and voting rights restrictions. All of this has suppressed wages and pitted classes, genders and races against each other.

After decades of stagnant wages, nearly 48% of working Americans are one to two paychecks away from poverty or homelessness, and close to 40% of homeless adults work, but do not make enough to pay the exorbitant rents to allow themselves or their families shelter.

That being the case, it’s a wonder that America is not the vanguard the Yellow Vest movement. 

Why would Americans not amass in the streets when they’re confronted by failing infrastructure, forced to pay trillions for never ending wars that feed young people to the meat grinder of the Military Industrial Complex; lack the security of a national healthcare and see their inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness stripped away by the powerful.

Americans must put aside irrelevant differences and march as one. Organized labor should be the vanguard of such a movement.  We know how to organize, how to bring people of different viewpoints to the table and work collectively to achieve a common goal.

Labor, throughout its history in America, has been able to galvanize the proletariat, take to the streets and aid in the airing of the public’s grievances.

This is organized labor’s time to propose a general strike.  This is our Yellow Vest moment, our 1968, our chance to show the world that we’ve not forgotten how to speak up for common decency, fair wages, an end to a failing educational system, and many other roadblocks to Americans experiencing the true freedoms they fought to secure hundreds of years ago.  It’s our chance to show the government, corporations and their controlled media that we can bring their system of desolation to a grinding halt.

It’s our chance to show we will sacrifice for the noble causes of the people. The time for a general strike, unparalleled in American history, is now.  



Rich can be contacted on Twitter @stlwrkr4889.


You can contact Richard on Twitter @stlwrkr4889.

Posted In: Union Matters

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