The Fierce Urgency of Now


Some of the 1.7 million workers who went out during the U.K.'s 1926 General Strike.

Oh, the gobsmackingly tone-deaf claptrap issuing from the mouths of court clowns and grifters. Following in the tawdry tracks of Lara Trump's "little bit of pain" came corrupt billionaire and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross saying he can’t understand why federal workers are going to food banks to feed their kids when they're just going through a mere "liquidity crisis" - from one prol: "Rich people have liquidity crises. The rest of us be broke" - so why don't they get a loan at 9% interest by using their 2008 pick-up as collateral, or maybe dip into their portfolio or sell some of their art or rent out one of their flippable properties, and anyway there's only a few hundred thousand of them which won't make a dent in the all-important-when-they're-turning-off-your-water gross domestic product, "so it's not like it's a gigantic number overall."

Next up was Larry Kudlow, head of the White House National Economic Council, who bested his former dismissal of the widely devastating shutdown as a "glitch" by boasting that federal workers were "volunteering" because of "their love for the country" and "presumably their allegiance to President Trump." Then he got all prickly when a reporter pointed out that coerced working without pay is not in fact volunteering, sneering about "semantics" and maintaining he had made himself perfectly clear, which, alas, he had. Best commentary on the subject, initially about Ross but equally, abominably applicable to Kudlow and all the other corrupt miscreants of this regime: "When these government workers run out of food, I hope they start to eat the rich."

Other proposals for ending the shutdown focus on an aviation industry that gets the country from here to there, especially after last week's grim warning fromits unions that,"We cannot even calculate the level of risk currently at play, nor predict the point at which the entire system will break.” While TSA, air traffic controllers and other FAA employees are under tough legal strictures, many cite the clout of pilots and flight attendants - "aviation’s first responders and last line of defense," in the words of Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants, who last week accepted the 2019 AFL-CIO MLK Drum Major for Justice Award and called for a general strike to help "real people facing real consequences."


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In a scorching speech, Nelson summoned the declaration of Dr. King that our destinies are inter-twined and "We cannot walk alone.” Calling on diverse sectors of workers to "stand up," she urged the audience to "think big." "Dr. King rallied us by reaching for the mountain top," she said, quoting King's call "to  work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together.”  Of the shutdown and its malaise, she said, "The country sees no solution in sight, but Labor can lead the way." She ended with, "Go back with the Fierce Urgency of NOW to talk with your Locals and International unions about all workers joining together - To End this Shutdown with a General Strike. We can do this. Together. Si se puede. Every gender, race, culture, and creed. The American Labor Movement. We have the power."

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