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December 22, 2005


Static Island

If you do anything at all, please call the MTA the governor and let them know what side you are on!

MTA - 212-878-7274

Governor Pataki - 518-474-7516

T. Del G.

Much love for all fam on the line.

Thano Paris

Great peice on the transit strike! It would be great if you could get up the debate from the 2changetheworld site over STORM with Fellow Traveller up on this borad now that 2change... is down.



the burningman

Thano -- I should have saved it. If I remember correctly, it got right up to the meat of it and then I got too busy to take it to where it needed to go.

There was a short reprise of that discussion over at the website. If you dig around a bit you can find it.


I feel demoralized by the outcome of this strike, especially by the fact that so many white New Yorkers pretty much told the transit workers to "drop dead".

But I also feel that we on the left should have been more prepared to respond better. I realize that people like Bill O'Reilly and David Horowitz would count the support of people like myself as something to use to bash the unions with, but since Bloomberg had already called them thugs, what more was there to lose.

I get the sense that in Europe with established social democratic parties, unions, and anti-war movements connected to the labor movement, there would have been more support for the strike.

It was actually the perfect time for other unions to walk out in solidarity and for the anti-war movement/left to take to the streets in support. But it didn't happen. We need to learn to react faster.


How to you feel about Roger Toussaint now? After the judge in the case implied that the union leaders may go to jail, Toussaint caved and sent the strikers back to work without a contact. The TWU had been the only municipal union that stood by the concept of "no contract - no work". Now that Tousaint has caved they are just like every other weak municapal union in the city.

the burningman

I saw a general strike in Spain, which happened simulataneously with an EU summit. The strike was near total, with some staggering because of regional autonomy issues (in the Basque country).

There was more mass propaganda critical of the strike in Spain (from the left) than there was pro-strike propaganda here in New York. Meaning: every political faction in the country kicked into geat and did their damndest to take the strike in the direction they wanted. Here, there was open treachery from the head of TWU's "international" and quiet from the Democrats.

Among the left, it was the Trotskyites who propagandized all over the strike lines, WWP and affiliates who set up pickets, and a "community-based organization" coalition of supporters that includes many familiar faces from the activist left that kicked into gear when the strike happened.


In terms of what has happened with the strike here in NYC: I don't know yet, and until we see the terms of the state mediation, it won't be clear.

My suspicion is that there will be no clear winners or losers, but that alone will make the workers victorious. They fought against insane threats and are still standing.

Whatever I think of the union leadership (and general model), which is sharply critical, the idea that Toussaint and the other union officers were "afraid" of jail strikes me as ridiculous. They do not fear jail. The issue is the survival of their union institution, and that is as much in danger as it was before the strike, if not more so.

Toussaint didn't want to strike. He choked during the last contract, and from the account of those close to the early contract negotiations, the MTA forced this strike. They assumed that the consensus in the circles they traveled applied much more broadly than it did. The support the TWU received from everyday New Yorkers, outside the ranting hysteria of the Daily News, etc. must have caught them completely off guard.

The capitalist power establishment thinks they've already won everything. They are not prepared for real resistance.


This is the current position of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement on working class organizing in imperialist countries.

"From the Declaration of RIM:

"In between these two sections of the workers there is a large number, sometimes even a majority, of workers who, while not benefiting from imperialism in the manner of the labour aristocracy, have been greatly influenced by a long period of relative prosperity and who are not, in ordinary times, in a revolutionary mood. The fight for the allegiance of the broad masses of these workers as they are propelled into motion by deepening crisis and especially as a revolutionary situation develops, will be an important element in the struggle between the revolutionary, class conscious proletarians led by the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist party and the reactionary labour aristocracy and its political expressions. While not neglecting to carry out work among the bourgeoisified sections of the working class the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist party in the imperialist countries should principally base its work on the most potentially revolutionary sections of the workers."

"It is not possible to build the revolutionary movement and lead it to victory without paying attention to the battles for daily existence of the working class and masses of other strata. While the party must not direct its own or the masses attention mainly to such struggle nor foster the dissipation of its own and the masses forces and energies on them, neither can the party fail to do work in relation to them. Leading economic struggles is not the same thing as economism. The proletarian party should take these struggles, especially those with the potential to go beyond conventional bounds, seriously into account. This means conducting work in relation to these struggles in such a way as to facilitate the moving of the masses to revolutionary positions, especially as the conditions for revolution ripen."

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