Occupy Wall Street and the Return of Worker Solidarity in America

As the global Occupy movement gets ready to celebrate its first official birthday, many will attempt to summarize and quantify its accomplishments. Some will say the protests, marches, sit-ins and arrests have achieved nothing. They’ll say that because many of the original public encampments have disappeared (many illegally forced to disperse by violent police raids) the movement was defeated.

Some will say that because there has been no formal attempt to reclaim political seats or mount an armed rebellion, Occupy Wall Street has been merely symbolic and that the wheels of corporate welfare and middle class suppression will continue.

Most of this criticism comes from those who expected the Occupy movement to solve the problems of corruption and inequality that plague our nation. Instead of providing the answer to these problems, I believe OWS illuminated their existence. The initial occupations were a ringing alarm clock for millions of us who were formerly unconscious, lulled to sleep by wealth, security and the myth of the American dream. Finally, a year after OWS began, the 99% has begun to wake up.

Solidarity, a word that’s been absent from our lexicon since FDR and the New Deal, now lingers on the lips of blue collar workers from Buffalo to Oakland. The American worker has begun to remember her value in our economic system. Groups formerly divided by the 1%’s politics, the police officer, the solider and the protester, have begun to recognize that they are all members of the 99%. Our fates connected, whether we’re the ones holding the tear gas or the ones being violated by it.

Unions, a vehicle of worker protection against corporate misconduct, have been an integral part of the Occupy movement. Regardless of uniform or pay scale, workers have begun to band together, taking to the streets to assert their rights and demand a voice in our government. A general strike on May Day 2012 saw thousands of workers participate in organized actions with local unions in hundreds of cities across the U.S. And it didn’t stop there. Students in Quebec staged a strike to protest unfair tuition hikes; mental health professionals and patients occupied community clinics closed by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel; and recently, bakery workers occupied a store in New York to protest its closure due to retaliation against the union.

As you recover from the three-day Labor Day weekend, take a moment to consider the hard fought union battles that paved the way for many privileges we now take for granted: the eight hour work day, five day work week, lunch breaks, the end of child labor and minimum wage. Next time you’re aggravated about the lies and scandals that emerge from Washington everyday, remember that YOU alone hold the keys to true change. Remember that standing in solidarity with the millions of other hard working Americans that keep this country operating is our first and most powerful form of recourse against government corruption.

We are the nurses, police officers, teachers, moms, dads, coaches, small business owners and citizens that foot the bill for the 1%’s expensive mistakes. We are the People, and our voices, united, will never be defeated.


Related Reading:

The Corporate Media’s Attempt To Kill The Occupy Movement

New York Workers Unite To Occupy May Day [Video]

Strong Unions And Labor Laws Protect Foxconn Factory Workers


Image via Warm Sleepy/Flickr


Jack Smith
Jack Smith5 years ago

Wake up across the Nation OCCUPY - Our country needs what you do. No matter how Cold it gets, OCCUPY is a very important non-government, non-corporate, non-media Voice that speaks Truth.

Sandra C.
Past Member 5 years ago

Thank you Occupy! It is good what you do. Many who cannot be physically be active in the marches gives 100% support to you. Don't stop, even if they think you'll go away if no one keeps you on the front burner of the news. Keep up the good work, OWS !!!

(Forget the Tea Party)

Wendy Schroeder
Wendy Schroeder6 years ago

I hope America is waking up and will not make Romney POTUS.

Sue H.
Sue H6 years ago

Solidarity would be a good thing.

june t.
reft h6 years ago

thanks for the post

Charles S.
Charles S6 years ago

Elaine A , may be right about unions not being what they used to be. But you can bet that American workers of all types are going to unite against the tyranny that is being imposed on them. I think it will be sooner , rather than later, and you can bet whatever is left of unions will be involved.
Berny p says
If you can't make your political stand peacefully, respectfully and lawfully then you have FAILED.
Does Berny p think the American Revolution was peacful , respectful or lawful at the time.? Does he think all the sit ins , and civil rights marches were respectful and lawful. They certainly weren't very peaceful either with policemen beating and using fire hoses on the people.
It's a shame but changes for the better have not come about , by carrying signs and slogans and singing songs. People have to stand up to the tyranny done to them.

Charles S.
Charles S6 years ago

I have put a comment on this article in at least 4 times in 2 days , and it has yet to be printed. there was nothing offensive in it I don't know why because an earlier comment was printed.
thank you

Linda L.
Linda L6 years ago

Occupy The Earth

Michael G.
Michael T6 years ago

The lower participation in labor unions in Europe has also been a dismay. We need, and have needed them back for some time. Their efforts brought about needed change. When the change was made present people thought that the things the union had stood for were no longer needed. With corporatism on the top of capitalism it is patently obvious that we shall always need them. It is the only way to keep the balance between greed and doing the right thing.

Michael G.
Michael T6 years ago

How quaint the usual conservative gang

Dead C Trolls

are about in force trying to cover over truth and substance yet again.

You folks are humorous and pathetic. I sure do hope you are well paid for the clap trap you deliver.