A Program for Rank-and-File Mobilization
1) The growth of retail and service sectors in the US over the past few decades has meant for non-skilled workers a greater chance of lower wages, fewer protections, and shorter periods of stable employment. Workers are atomized, bear all consequences on an individual basis, and do not demand the protections due to them. The very precariousness, transience, and degradation of their labor means workers do not conceive of themselves as such, and do not experience their daily work conditions as a class whose long-term interest are common.
2) Young workers without families are often accelerated into the workforce by the burden of massive student debts; they feel trapped within their circumstances, yet exactly the opposite is true. The high turnover and degree of horizontal mobility inevitable in the retail and service industries already anticipates the risks workers face when challenging their employer, while those with union protection have an especially unique opportunity to set a series of precedents in the normalized relations of their employment.
3) Furthermore, de-industrialized cities with large populations of student and graduate workers are highly visible to both consumers and media locally and internationally. Actions taken by workers to improve their lot and that of their colleagues are thus more amplified than they would otherwise be. The form of collective public action reflects the content of workers demands.
4) Our immediate task is to advance upon all opportunities to solidify a culture of community and mutual aid among workers. On the one hand, solidarity takes the positive form of diligently maintaining common consciousness of each other’s needs, on the other hand the negative form of staging collective demonstrations of power and resistance when transgressions occur against us. These two forms function complementary as the necessary conditions for each other’s development.
5) Therefore, we seek to construct a network of otherwise precarious workers, the ends of whom are: firstly, the reinforcement of the union’s power to protect basic workers rights, and secondly, to create an organized system of mutual aid and protection on every shop floor we inhabit, reliant entirely upon the workers’ independent initiative to maintain a constant intensity of solidarity through action.
We already have power within the institutions we inhabit;
the point is to exercise it.