May: Labor and the Economy --
think of indigenous peoples, women, jobs, gays,
all minorities, laws that protect workers versus laws that protect
corporations, housing, education, sexual harassment and assault,
inequality, schools, desegregation, prejudice, AIDS, healthcare, GATT,
NAFTA, MAI and other fast-track legislation attempts, people with
disabilities, people with major mental illness, voting, participatory
democracy, proportional representation, children, free speech and
UNIONS... and on and on and on.
In his, "Letter from a Birmingham Jail," Martin Luther King said, "...the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Council or the Ku Klux Klan, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice..." Doesn't this concept account for Americans' tolerance for the growing discrepancies between the rich and the poor in the United States?
How can people have freedom without economic justice? Since the 1970's, virtually all income gains have gone to the highest-earning 20 percent of Americans. According to James Lardner in "The Washington Post", "Bill Gates alone is wealthier than half the American people put together, and from the halls of the Federal Reserve Board on down to your corner tavern, economic pundits treat the issue as a regrettable footnote in the glowing story of world-beating job creation, soaring corporate profits and all-but -invisible inflation,"
When the current low unemployment figures are analyzed, it quickly becomes apparent that all of these thousands of jobs are minimum wage, not "living-wage". They are part-time, so that employers can avoid paying for healthcare and other benefits. Because pay is so low, every adult in a family must work to try to make ends meet. Huge, new homes are built by workers who cannot afford to own even a modest home. Doesn't that strike you as unacceptable? Just extrapolate from these ideas to your own areas of concern: social, environmental or issues of justice and peace, and write, write, write about the connections.
Again, the idea of domination of people over others emerges, people accept these stark inequalities with the fleeting resignation of the person who hugs his wealth and family to himself, "I've got mine..." without finding these inequalities to be an agonizing crisis that must be rectified.
Let's rectify this crisis!
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