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Organizing the Unemployed

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Organizing the Unemployed Empty Organizing the Unemployed

Post by USA Citizen Sun Jul 17, 2011 3:27 pm

Organizing the Unemployed

There is no organization that actually works for the unemployed. There are forums and information web sites that offer information and tips to the unemployed, but no organization will take a donation and promise to hire a lobbyist or staff an office for the sole purpose of helping the unemployed through legislative efforts or mass organizing. The unemployed need a politically and socially acceptable method of organizing for the purpose of getting employed. There are between 15-30 million unemployed Americans and there are soon to be millions more without any benefits. What have the unemployed done over the past few years on behalf of displaced workers? Is radicalism, militancy, and mass protest the way to get our cause recognized? Are the unions doing enough to help the unemployed?

Is there a way to mobilize the jobless for mass action? Is there an interest in community activism and volunteer charity work on behalf of the unemployed? Can we learn anything from the worker's movements of the 1930's? Are there leaders or people willing to become leaders on behalf of the unemployed?

Catherine Rampell explains why the unemployed have not politically organized, such as being geographically dispersed, having extended benefits that allow them to barely get by, and couch potato apathy:
"Are Jobless Benefits Keeping the Unemployed Complacent (and Invisible)?"
"In an article on Sunday, I wrote about why our unemployment crisis has been largely ignored by Washington. Among the major factors I cited were that unemployed workers are less likely to vote than their employed counterparts. Additionally, the jobless are not as politically organized as they once were because they are more geographically dispersed and because the institutions that organized them have become weaker."...
"While jobless workers today may not be living comfortably, they are at least able to get by, meaning that they have less need to resort to more radical organizing."

“I’ve been involved with the unemployed since the mid-’70s, and this is the least amount of organization we’ve seen,” said John Dodds, director of the Philadelphia Unemployment Project. [ ] “In every other recession it was a major struggle to extend unemployment benefits. This recession came on as we went into the 2008 elections, and everybody was bending over backwards to help the unemployed and offer benefits.”
Unemployed Workers Organizations
Posted in February 17, 2010 by stuartbramhall
"Organizing the Unemployed"
Jake Blumgart | May 21, 2009
"During past recessions, collective action among laid-off workers was common. Will this financial crisis foster a similar movement?"
“Before protest reaches the scale where it makes its way onto the political agenda, you’ve got to have a sense that this is a collective problem,” says Frances Fox Piven, a professor at the City University of New York and co-author of the book Poor People’s Movements, which documents instances of mass lower-class defiance. “There is a lot of small stuff happening, and I think, but I’m not sure, something like a nascent movement is developing. I hope so, because I think that is the way to get the Obama administration to act decisively.”
There are also a number of Meetup groups for the unemployed, but not a national organization.
"Unemployed Meetup Groups"
"Meet other local people who are currently unemployed, or who have been laid off, to exchange feedback on resumes, cover letters, interviews, and contact information. Give advice, network, and offer support."
QUESTION: Are meetups the way to organize the unemployed?
Are the unemployed simply going to just keep venting frustration on internet forums or will they organize?

The unemployed need to find someone to be our champion and form an organization that will promote our cause. We have the numbers and needs of a social movement, yet we continue to speak as individuals without a united voice.
USA Citizen
USA Citizen

Posts : 149
Join date : 2011-06-06

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Organizing the Unemployed Empty Re: Organizing the Unemployed

Post by USA Citizen Mon Jul 18, 2011 1:53 am

After posting "Organizing the Unemployed" I got an email (edited) from Connie Kaplan:
"I've been asked several times to lead this movement. I can't do this alone BUT for starters the idea of getting someone (we have a few connections) like a celebrity to sponsor a concert that would raise money for 99ers, use an attorney to manage escrow/trust fund (we have a 99er lawyer in our group), create a site or use an existing 99er site to have people send in their emergency requests for survival eg. food, cell phone bill, Metro card, etc. after the event.


No more bickering amongst ourselves will make this happen. We need small cells in each city to be made aware of a defined strategy by sharing this with everyone & their mother.

I'm sure we all vent on Twitter or Facebook but how about we use these resources to follow a plan of action. Let's create an WORKARMEGEDDON ("Armageddon" by some scholars means "Mountain of Assembly) event with celebs singing for our cause.

Let's consider getting SKYPE onto our computers so we can talk w/o cost.

I can't sit back & do nothing while politicians destroy us. Simply stated they are starving us, stealing from us, taking away our homes and making sure that 38.5 million Americans remain fragmented." - Connie

I then got an email from Kelly Wiedemer of the Denver Unemployment Examiner who added:

"I don't know if you're aware of the 'Rebuild the American Dream' movement that's being led by Van Jones:

"a national movement [ "Rebuild the Dream," ] aimed primarily at the thousands of middle class workers who have lost their jobs, their homes, and their livelihoods in the past few years."

[from June 24 HuffPost article:]

Yesterday I attended one of the 1500 'house meetings' that took place across the country. This is a movement that I absolutely believe the 99ers -

ALL unemployed - but especially the 99ers - need to be part of. There is going to be a 'National Day of Action' on Aug 10 when members of Congress are home in their districts. We MUST get people involved in this campaign.

There are '40 ideas' - [10 ideas in each of 4 major issue areas*] -that were submitted by average, every day Americans and have been selected (from among more than 25,000 ideas submitted). Right now, the campaign is asking for everyone to rate each of these ideas online and over the next few weeks the best/top-rated ideas will be used to form the 'contract' which will then be used to hammer Washington politicians on taking action on issues such as the following (among others):

Creating a strong jobs program
Closing tax loopholes
Ending corporate personhood
Taking Care of Veterans
Family Friendly Policies in the Workplace -"The US lags behind the rest of the developed world in family-friendly work policies. Paid family leave
and support for childcare should be part of the social safety net. Paid sick days and paid vacation should be the policy of every employer."
Fair & Equal Pay
Making Social Security solvent for decades

Also on the website (at beginning of ranking ideas) is this video which does nothing short of sell the public on what the labor movement & organized unions have done for American Workers by providing us with weekends off, maternity leave, paid sick time, worker's compensation, higher wages, overtime pay, outlawing discrimination, ending child labor, employer-based health coverage, protection for corporate whistle-blowers:

"If you need a little inspiration, click here to watch the new funny "What Have American Unions Ever Done for Us?" video about the role of unions in a working democracy."

I'm going to publish an article, but am hoping that you and the Unemployed Workers Union will 'endorse' this movement and get actively involved in creating the 'contract' and encouraging all of your members to participate in creating the contract and being part of the Aug 10 Day of Action.
I've never felt so strongly about the need to get the unemployed - and as many other American workers and organizations - involved in a campaign that makes sense and is driving at the very issues we have been fighting for (for how long now?).
*These are the 4 major groups with 10 great ideas in each group:
Good Jobs Now - How do we create good jobs and invest in a sustainable future for America and our kids?
We All Pay Our Share - How can we stop corporations and the rich from dodging taxes?
Strong Communities - How do we ensure good healthcare, quality education, a clean environment, and a retirement with dignity for all?
Here's some additional information:

HuffPost article written by Van Jones describing the movement:

2nd HuffPost article written by Van Jones with video (dated June 24,2011) with a video from Van Jones included:

I hope to bring the 99ers (American 99ers Union, UWAG) groups, along with members of Working America, U-Cubed , 9to5 National Association of Working Women and others into the American Dream movement and , hopefully, to participate in the Aug 10 National Day of Action.

Please share with other organizations and individuals who may be interested and willing to get involved -" - Kelly Wiedemer
Also check out the Universal Exchange Association (UXA) from the 1930's:

Note: If the debt ceiling is raised, the next day there will be 30 million jobs created in America. Just kidding!
If the debt ceiling is raised or not, there will be an austerity program that forces more millions of Americans into poverty without much government help. We must organize on a grass roots level and do what we must to survive, while our politicians fiddle.
If we don't try to help ourselves, then who is going to help us?
USA Citizen
USA Citizen

Posts : 149
Join date : 2011-06-06

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Post by TR11005 Mon Jul 18, 2011 3:18 am

They need to call this something like "D Day." We all know what that means.

Perhaps "This is it!" in memory of Michael Jackson.

We will not disappoint the politicians. Delivering dog poop to their residence might help. They all think it is cute to lie and treat us bad.

Something got to give and it is time to stand up and push back! mad


Posts : 541
Join date : 2011-02-17

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