I am very thankful for the opportunity to share the spirit of Labor and Unions with so many people all over the country and all over the world today. My roots are in the working class. My dad was a worker and his was and so was my mom and here ancestors. I was the first among all our relatives to go to college. I went on and became a university professor, author, and scholar. I never lost touch with my roots. I help in Union organizing while on the Faculty at Harvard. I was active in our AAUP chapter at VCU and served as president for a while. I led in the movement of the 60s and spent time marching in the streets, organizing and fighting for what we believe in. I lived in Israel during my postdoctoral training and reaped the benefits of a Labor Party government including universal health care with no restrictions. In France my coworkers were often Communists. I saw their towns run by elected Communist party members. I saw how hard work was the bulwark of all they did at every level. I saw the Oligarchs succeed in crushing workers here again and again. In Poland when Solidarity was at it height many of the colleagues I was with when I taught there were in the movement's leadership. There is more but enough of the past. Read on below for my future with you will not be all that much longer and I want to share some thoughts.
My traveling days are probably over. We are comfortable with our retirement income but it does not stretch. In the old days I traveled because people wanted me to speak or teach or do research with them. Now things are different. My own work is so radical that it is not understood by many. I hope the new book Jim Coffman and I are writing will stir up interest. It has among those who read the drafts. My health is OK but due to peripheral neuropathy I don't get around very well.
So the internet has become a very important part of my life. I blog and share thoughts on facebook. Living where we do there is little opportunity to discuss anything with anyone. The Tea party is dominant and many people who share our ideas are effectively underground for their own well being. When many people around you are among groups contemplating armed revolution if Obama is reelected it is uncomfortable at best.
What is hardest for me is the realization that times I have lived through are forgotten already! I used to wonder why the history of labor and the massive genocide in this country can be so lost. Now I am old enough to watch the process. I am reading about the Nazi takeover in Austria right now because one of my favorite painters is Klimt and the book is about his painting of a Jewish woman.. The book gives me real feelings of apprehension. I see all the seeds of what happened there all over our nation. We get the publication from the Southern Poverty Law Center and it is really scary!
Reading about the 30s in Austria and how much the change was like global warming in its non-linear acceleration and the failure of people to anticipate the fact that change would accelerate makes me want to shout it from the roof tops..
So it is good to be able to communicate on the internet. I hope we can spark a fire under people before it is too late. That is if it is not already too late.