This flyer was distributed at the 100,000 strong "Action!Motown" national mass march in Detroit called by the AFL-CIO at the end of the Newspaper Strike there in July 1997. The flyer was one of the few interventions by Love & Rage Revolutionary Anarchist Federation into strikes or the labor movement. It also caused controversy within Love & Rage, and was attempted censored by the NYC-based L&R newspaper editorial group who were rapidly moving away from anarchism and objected to the explicit revolutionary approach of the Detroit intervention.
for a revolutionary labor movement
This march is a year and a half or more overdue. Now it happens with the strike called off and the majority of unionists locked-out. Those accepted back are working with no rights amidst scabs and turncoats.
A misguided commitment to legality and refusal to unleash working-class power has brought us to this sorry state. A failure to develop and maintain a decidedly multi-racial character to the support movement in this majority Black city has helped isolate the strike. The strike needed to be connected to fights around the crisis in education, redevelopment, and the general 30 years of racist corporate and suburban neglect of Detroit.
Only direct action on a mass scale could turn this thing around and win justice for our sisters and brothers. A tri-county general strike in their support is needed. All labor organizations in the area should strike until all union members are returned to work.
The Detroit News Agency has waged a class war. From jump, strikers and their supporters courageously answered the DNA’s violence. But the union leaders chose to use their authority to pull people back from militant struggle. They retreated in the face of court injunctions, threats of racketeering charges and fear of losing the sympathies of “influential” figures.
The lesson of the Detroit newspaper strike is that of the Staley, CAT, Hormel and other struggles: The labor movement must become self-consciously revolutionary if it is to advance.
By this we mean:
-A refusal to submit to the capitalists’ labor laws. Virtually all the tactics that built the unions – shop floor action, secondary boycotts, plant occupations, and general strikes- are illegal. The government is not neutral, but an ally of the bosses. We must not only break with the Democrats but refuse to collaborate with the capitalists’ whole sham “democracy”. Participation in their political institutions breeds corruption, weakness and defeat. To defend our interests we need independent combat, power, and organization.
- Class struggle not business unionism. We must throw off the straight jacket of company-by-company collective bargaining. We cannot win against the capitalist class, the courts, and cops by fighting on an employer-by-employer basis. We need neighborhood, district, and city-wide assemblies/councils that unite people from different workplaces, both employed and unemployed, younger and older. Such class organizations need to fight in a revolutionary manner for the billions in funds (and control over their use) needed to rebuild our cities and communities. We must demand reparations from the corporations for decades of exploitation. We need daycare, health care, quality education, transportation and jobs under real democratic control of the people, not stadiums, casinos, and Hard Rock Cafes controlled by the rich.
Ultimately working and poor people need to take full control of society’s resources and dismantle once and for all the government that serves only the privileged few. We can reorganize the economy and social life on a cooperative, democratic and decentralized basis instilled with the values of freedom, equality, and mutual aid.
Love & Rage Revolutionary Anarchist Federation – Detroit Local
Love & Rage Detroit is a small collective that wants some big things. We struggle against sexism, racism, homophobia, capitalism and the state. We dream of and build towards the day when we can join with the masses of our sisters and brothers in a revolutionary uprising against our oppressors. We seek the construction of a great Detroit Commune, liberated from oppression and under the direct democratic control of the people.
thanks for posting this
thanks for posting this historical piece kdog!