Editorial: Looking Back. Looking Ahead.December 9, 2019
Let’s celebrate our victories and prepare for next year’s challenges.
Here we are already at the end of 2019, and 2020, one the most consequential years of any of our lifetimes, is upon us. That was fast!
At this moment there are proceedings in Washington, D.C., that will alter the history of our nation and possibly determine the fate of the current administration. Around the country, autoworkers, teachers, airport workers, tech workers, musicians, journalists, and others have been in the streets and on strike lines demanding and winning fair wages, better conditions, and a voice on the job. Women are standing up and demanding equal treatment and respect. Young people in cities around the world are marching (sometimes in the hundreds of thousands), demanding change and accountability from their governments.
In short, despite the constant allegations of complacency, working people regularly demonstrate their collective power to reverse injustice and make strides once thought impossible. President Gresham reminds us in his column that this is our shared history and the power of unity writ large. Whether it’s at city hall or in the offices of management, it’s impossible to deny the power of united people moving toward one goal. Want more proof? Take a look at pages 10 through 14 of this magazine.
But too often, our differences are emphasized. We’re constantly reminded how we’re damaged and torn asunder, of the they and a we, of the ours and theirs. We’re told that children locked in cages are from there, not here; that they don’t deserve the same schools, housing, and quality of life as us; that helping them means less for us; that they are coming to take our jobs, etc. In short, whoever they are, they don’t speak, eat, pray, dress, love, or live like us.
We 1199ers know none of that is true. We don’t believe in an us and a them. Our belief is in the collective power of we. We confront management. We sit down at bargaining tables. We stand together on picket lines. We win elections. We help pass legislation. We press government to do the right thing. We stand in solidarity with our coalition partners. Our victories are proof that a mobilized we is greater than a weaponized they.
That’s why, after a holiday respite celebrating with loved ones, we must look ahead to 2020. The President of the United States, the U.S. House of Representatives, several state legislatures are up for re-election. A struggle for the very soul of our nation lies ahead of us. We must be united and we must be ready for the fight of our lives.