Fwd: thoughts on the convention

Jonupstny at aol.com Jonupstny at aol.com
Fri Jun 14 12:39:34 MDT 1996


In a message dated 96-06-14 03:19:22 EDT, V567XYK9 at ubvms.cc.buffalo.edu
writes:

>Subj:	thoughts on the convention
>Date:	96-06-14 03:19:22 EDT
>From:	V567XYK9 at ubvms.cc.buffalo.edu
>Reply-to:	labr.party at conf.igc.apc.org (Conference labr.party)
>To:	labr.party at conf.igc.apc.org (Recipients of conference)
>
>From: LESLIE <V567XYK9 at ubvms.cc.buffalo.edu>
>
>Leslie Rockenbach 	Thoughts on the Founding of the Labor Party
>GSEU/CWA 1188
>Buffalo staff organizer	
>
>	Coming home was a difficult process for me. Five hours in the back of a
>car trying to remember details, voices, faces - trying to resalvage some of
>the
>enthusiasm that I had lost along the way. After reading some substantial
>debate
>on the success and failure of the founding convention, I thought I would
>offer
>a more personal account of my experience with a commitment to transform my
>anger and disappointment into possibility for a working peopleUs party.
>	 Arriving in Cleveland on Thursday seemed more of a chance to be with
>friends and colleagues than the beginning of a weekend dedicated to founding
>a
>labor party.  But, I realized very quickly that while I was looking forward
>to
>the swimming pool, important decisions and choices were about to change
>politics for working people and that I had better get involved if my voice
>was
>to be heard.
>	  As an activist and labor organizer, attachment to a cause or movement
>can often cloud the work that must be done.  I became aware very early on
how
>attached I had become to a Rlabor party.S This awareness was a result of my
>participation as a delegate, but more profoundly it is a result of being
>neglected, bought and sold, and utterly unrepresented by the Democrats and
>Republicans.  I once paid close attention to ClintonUs promises for gay and
>lesbian people, only to be lied to again and again.  Gays in the military -
>sold out;  Gay marriages - sold out; domestic partnership laws - sold out.
>Perhaps, I came to Cleveland with my work, my sexual orientation, my
>life...in
>my hands - needing to be represented in politics, not just as a worker, but
>as
>a woman and lesbian.  I say this knowing that others may find my social
>concerns irrelevant to their labor movement.  Yet I know that I can not
>survive
>without you and perhaps soon all working people will realize that we can not
>fight this battle isolated from each other.
>	My attachment was deeper than many I presume, or perhaps others came to
>Cleveland with their livelihoods.  Some have called me naive to expect
>progressive social politics from the union movement. And I have been
reminded
>that the oppressed must always educate the oppressor, and I must, if I am to
>live in safety with my partner and family, continue this struggle for my
>human
>rights.  I can not say enough that this will always come before unionism.
>Human rights always have.  This is why the Labor Party must incorporate the
>womenUs movement, the anti-racism movement, the gay and lesbian movement --
>so
>many others - but all with the commitment for dignity, recognition and
>respect.
>We know that the Democrats and Republicans represent so few people.
>Combined,
>we can reclaim our power - separated we can only  mimic what has come
before.
>
>	I stood up publicly against the labor party for its refusal to
>recognize the danger in ambiguous language regarding the right to choose
when
>and if a woman wants a family.   But what I could not express was the anger
>at
>having to fight for everything in the same trickle down philosophy as all
>other
>big politics.  To continually be unrepresented takes a large toll on a
>personUs
>dignity.  To fight for a clear stance on abortion seems to backtrack on what
>we
>have already won as women and as committed men.  To be asked not to divide
>RusS, to remember the Rcause,S to not argue over RpettyS differences, has
>been
>the rallying cry of those who continually demand concessions from others
with
>less power.  It has always been my hope, that working people could be
reached
>on issues of representation and power, because so often working people are
>shat
>upon by corporations who care nothing about them or their families.  Is
there
>no similarity between a worker laid off by a multinational and a woman
>fighting
>for control over her body?  Is there no commonality between people who
demand
>dignity, power, and respect?
>	It has been argued that the working class becomes more xenophobic and
>racist in times of crisis than in times of plenty.  Even RprogressiveS
people
>will try to maintain any possible advantage, whether through privileges of
>skin
>color and/or gender.  And this is why I say that the union movement is not a
>movement  until we can commit to altering this mentality.  Until the labor
>party can represent all workers - but especially those who are unrepresented
>by
>their race, class, or gender - unionism will only benefit the privileged and
>the few.
> 	I witnessed unionism for the few at our founding convention.  I donUt
>want to patronize anyone by saying that I expected more, because the lack of
>democracy and the fear of diversity needs to be clear to everyone.  And I am
>thankful that it was so clearly demonstrated,  at least I know that my anger
>and disappointment were not  singular emotions.  Unionism for the few
>represents the truth of the union movement.  As a labor organizer, I must
>face
>this reality everyday - I must stratigize on how to counter it, and I must
>find
>a way how to communicate above it.
>	I often wonder if I am in the right profession. At times, union
>organizing seems like a contradiction in terms.  What is unionism - if not
>people standing up for what they believe in?  Collective action means just
>that
>- collective action.  So why am I so often left to defend myself alone?
 When
>can I trust the union movement to move with me?
>	I left the convention very saddened that once again it will be an
>uphill struggle to get full representation from a party that says it stands
>for
>all working people.  I am not satisfied with concessions or compromise
>language.  I stand for much more than that.   I am only one of many standing
>at
>the bottom demanding a voice in a workers party.  Yet, this is my strength -
>that there are others who are with me, who understand that movement means
>movement and change means stepping outside of what we know is familiar.
>Solidarity can be ours if we do!
>
>


---------------------
Forwarded message:
From:	V567XYK9 at ubvms.cc.buffalo.edu
Reply-to:	labr.party at conf.igc.apc.org (Conference labr.party)
To:	labr.party at conf.igc.apc.org (Recipients of conference)
Date: 96-06-14 03:19:22 EDT

From: LESLIE <V567XYK9 at ubvms.cc.buffalo.edu>

Leslie Rockenbach 	Thoughts on the Founding of the Labor Party
GSEU/CWA 1188
Buffalo staff organizer	

	Coming home was a difficult process for me. Five hours in the back of a
car trying to remember details, voices, faces - trying to resalvage some of
the
enthusiasm that I had lost along the way. After reading some substantial
debate
on the success and failure of the founding convention, I thought I would
offer
a more personal account of my experience with a commitment to transform my
anger and disappointment into possibility for a working peopleUs party.
	 Arriving in Cleveland on Thursday seemed more of a chance to be with
friends and colleagues than the beginning of a weekend dedicated to founding
a
labor party.  But, I realized very quickly that while I was looking forward
to
the swimming pool, important decisions and choices were about to change
politics for working people and that I had better get involved if my voice
was
to be heard.
	  As an activist and labor organizer, attachment to a cause or movement
can often cloud the work that must be done.  I became aware very early on how
attached I had become to a Rlabor party.S This awareness was a result of my
participation as a delegate, but more profoundly it is a result of being
neglected, bought and sold, and utterly unrepresented by the Democrats and
Republicans.  I once paid close attention to ClintonUs promises for gay and
lesbian people, only to be lied to again and again.  Gays in the military -
sold out;  Gay marriages - sold out; domestic partnership laws - sold out.
Perhaps, I came to Cleveland with my work, my sexual orientation, my
life...in
my hands - needing to be represented in politics, not just as a worker, but
as
a woman and lesbian.  I say this knowing that others may find my social
concerns irrelevant to their labor movement.  Yet I know that I can not
survive
without you and perhaps soon all working people will realize that we can not
fight this battle isolated from each other.
	My attachment was deeper than many I presume, or perhaps others came to
Cleveland with their livelihoods.  Some have called me naive to expect
progressive social politics from the union movement. And I have been reminded
that the oppressed must always educate the oppressor, and I must, if I am to
live in safety with my partner and family, continue this struggle for my
human
rights.  I can not say enough that this will always come before unionism.
Human rights always have.  This is why the Labor Party must incorporate the
womenUs movement, the anti-racism movement, the gay and lesbian movement --
so
many others - but all with the commitment for dignity, recognition and
respect.
We know that the Democrats and Republicans represent so few people.
 Combined,
we can reclaim our power - separated we can only  mimic what has come before.

	I stood up publicly against the labor party for its refusal to
recognize the danger in ambiguous language regarding the right to choose when
and if a woman wants a family.   But what I could not express was the anger
at
having to fight for everything in the same trickle down philosophy as all
other
big politics.  To continually be unrepresented takes a large toll on a
personUs
dignity.  To fight for a clear stance on abortion seems to backtrack on what
we
have already won as women and as committed men.  To be asked not to divide
RusS, to remember the Rcause,S to not argue over RpettyS differences, has
been
the rallying cry of those who continually demand concessions from others with
less power.  It has always been my hope, that working people could be reached
on issues of representation and power, because so often working people are
shat
upon by corporations who care nothing about them or their families.  Is there
no similarity between a worker laid off by a multinational and a woman
fighting
for control over her body?  Is there no commonality between people who demand
dignity, power, and respect?
	It has been argued that the working class becomes more xenophobic and
racist in times of crisis than in times of plenty.  Even RprogressiveS people
will try to maintain any possible advantage, whether through privileges of
skin
color and/or gender.  And this is why I say that the union movement is not a
movement  until we can commit to altering this mentality.  Until the labor
party can represent all workers - but especially those who are unrepresented
by
their race, class, or gender - unionism will only benefit the privileged and
the few.
 	I witnessed unionism for the few at our founding convention.  I donUt
want to patronize anyone by saying that I expected more, because the lack of
democracy and the fear of diversity needs to be clear to everyone.  And I am
thankful that it was so clearly demonstrated,  at least I know that my anger
and disappointment were not  singular emotions.  Unionism for the few
represents the truth of the union movement.  As a labor organizer, I must
face
this reality everyday - I must stratigize on how to counter it, and I must
find
a way how to communicate above it.
	I often wonder if I am in the right profession. At times, union
organizing seems like a contradiction in terms.  What is unionism - if not
people standing up for what they believe in?  Collective action means just
that
- collective action.  So why am I so often left to defend myself alone?  When
can I trust the union movement to move with me?
	I left the convention very saddened that once again it will be an
uphill struggle to get full representation from a party that says it stands
for
all working people.  I am not satisfied with concessions or compromise
language.  I stand for much more than that.   I am only one of many standing
at
the bottom demanding a voice in a workers party.  Yet, this is my strength -
that there are others who are with me, who understand that movement means
movement and change means stepping outside of what we know is familiar.
Solidarity can be ours if we do!





     --- from list marxism at lists.village.virginia.edu ---




More information about the Marxism mailing list