|Today I went to "school" and participated in a learning experience
that measured far beyond any lesson I could have found in a classroom
on Wayne State University's campus. You see, today, my classroom
was the picket line of the Flint GM workers; and the material wasn't presented
by various professors who held numerous degrees from prestigious universities.
The material used for this class hasn't been printed by the billion
dollar textbook publishing industry; but instead, was presented by real
people who worked in the Flint GM plant, or had family and friends who
have worked there.
Upon arriving at the entrance of the plant, I was met by my professor and three other supporters who had taken time out of their Saturday morning routine, to lend support for a cause that effects us all. There were approximately 15 - 20 other picketers at each of the two gates. Perhaps it was naive of me to ask, but I did inquire as to why there was not a greater number of picketers at each gate. The reply was always the same, "The Workers have to put in two hours, in order to receive their strike compensation....it has been said that the strike may even be illegal." Call me stupid, but considering the gravity of the implications of this strike and the impact it will leave on the future relationships between workers, unions, and corporations (as well as governmental agencies), I would think that outrage, not a check, would propel most workers to the line. Have we become a people so void of spirit and fight, that we find ourselves without a cause in which we are willing to sacrifice and risk our "comfort zones" for, in order to receive that which is equitable and just? Have we become a nation of consumers so engulfed in mass consumption that our only real concerns are superficial and materialistic? Are we so blinded in our misconception that there is a "them" and a "us" that we fail to recognize that the reality is about "WE."
I spoke to a 70 year old widow who was on the picket line. She informed me that she has volunteered her time several times a week to the strike. Her husband worked for GM for 30 years and her son has just completed 25 ears at the same plant (his job has been "red-circled" for elimination, therefore, that job will no longer be in existence when he retires). She stated that she grew up in the Depression and remembers when "everyone had nothing" and fought tooth and nail to become unionized. She went on to say, that people are had nothing and therefore nothing to lose, and showed support in mass numbers.
It is my hope that everyone will come to recognize that this isn't
just the Flint GM workers' strike, but everyone's strike; and that it is
a representation of this country's socio-economic framework. It is time
to think outside of that framework which exploits the workers. It
is my hope that we will not have to reach the stage of having nothing,
before people rise up and say, "Enough is enough."