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September 01, 2004

In the Tank

Ah, breathing free here at The Tank, where I've met a bunch of the street bloggers hiding from RNC delegates :) It's fun meeting the whole crew of Kos, Atrios, Joe Tribbi and other folks. I just got back from the Take Back America labor rally- 10-15,000 labor folks from around the city gathered on 8th Avenue determined to see Bush gone on Election Day.

When Guiliani talked about the heroes of 911, here they were: the emergency workers who responded to the sick and dying, the Ironworkers and other construction trades who sifted through the debris looking for survivors, and the nurses who cared for those who breathed the toxic air.

These were the refugees from Bush's America: the outsourced, the downsized, those who will lose overtime pay, and those having their unions attacked with the support of the federal government.

And they were pissed.

There is an energy I've never seen during elections. Most unions always do turnout for elections in the last couple of weeks before November, but this kind of energy is outside anything in my memory. Folks know this is literally a do-or-die election. If Bush wins, he plans to move beyond the hundreds of thousands of government workers stripped of their union rights, move beyond the repeal of ergonomics rules and of Project Labor Agreements, move beyond his NLRB stripping union after union of recognition. No, we can expect a full-out assault to destroy the labor movement.

They won't succeed even if they win, but they can do damage that will undermine wages and work conditions for tens of millions of workers here at home, and literally billions around the world through trade agreements designed to undermine labor rights.

Which is why you had thousands of unionists on the streets this afternoon, claiming New York for New York working people. You know the media will highlight the tiny handful of labor members -- note no national unions -- endorsing Bush, but this should be a reminder to the press that the hardhats and hippies are united this year in wanting Bush gone.

Posted by Nathan at September 1, 2004 07:10 PM