Jack’s Wednesday guest post reverts to tradition and appears on Thursday –
OK – I’m going to dive in!
As an ex-teacher I’ve obviously been following the battle waged by my WV colleagues and it reminded me very much of the situation in Scotland at the height of Maggie Thatcher’s reign as Prime Minister.
The Scottish teachers were the only group to actually win a strike against her and it was partly through the same solidarity that the brave and solidly united teachers of WV have shown.
But something else I’ve begun to see – that’s the young folk all over this country who are emerging and aren’t intimidated. Right now it’s about gun control but that’s sure to lead to other things. I wonder if there’s just the possibility that we might see a revival of the movements of the 60s and 70s that would bring about some change?
It’s so tiring and frustrating to be continuing all the time to fight back and it mostly means going out there either on the street or into hostile territory. Many people have paid a terrible price for doing that and many more likely will!
But here’s the really scary thing. In the US and the UK there’s effectively a two party system and that makes it so easy for the vested interests and the big corporations to simply pay them both off. That seems to be exactly what’s happening. Of course the argument is always to get elected on a party ticket and then change things from within. All I can say is that there are hardly any examples of full-time professional politicians that I see who haven’t been bought – either with brown envelopes or ermine cloaks – or both.
Things appear to work better in those European countries that use voting systems that promote multi-party coalitions but I don’t see any likelihood of the folk benefiting from the existing system ever agreeing to that.
So, for now, there doesn’t seem to be much alternative than to be inspired by the WV teachers and the young folk around the country! Of course you can also visit your local bookstore and find lots of great books about community activism – such as Randy Shaw’s excellent ‘The Activist’s Handbook’!