Defending 'Our Democracy'http://solidarity-us.org/atc/194/editorial-defending-democracy/
Publisher: Against the Current
Date Written: 01/05/2018
Year Published: 2018
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX23335
Despite the onsought of attacks on American democracy, groups like the teachers in West Virginia, Oklahoma and Kentucky and the Parkland surviors through their activism are defending America's democracy.
Even more important is how democracy is being defended, and hopefully extended - by teachers in West Virginia, Oklahoma and Kentucky, by the magnificent youth upsurge in the wake of the Parkland massacre; by the resistance against Trump's brutal immigration policies; by the new movement fighting back against sexual harassment and rape culture.
The victorious strike of the West Virginia teachers erupted in a state where they don't have legal collective bargaining rights, where their union leadership was essentially swept up in the tide of militant action organized at the rank-and-file base, and where the teachers stayed out against the leadership's wishes until their five percent pay raise (for all state employees) was delivered and signed into law.
It may be premature to proclaim the much-awaited dawn of a "new labor upsurge." But we might be seeing the future of public sector worker activism in the face of an anticipated Supreme Court's Janus decision to cripple their unions by outlawing the collection of non-member "agency fees" for services that unions are required to provide. West Virginia teachers, like many public sector workers across the country, are at the mercy of their state legislature -- which is how they wound up close to the national bottom in wages and benefits.