An interesting move here from AFL-CIO chief Richard Trumka, who is going out with an email to his list today strongly standing by the protesters who were evicted from Zuccotti Park:
They can take away the tarps and the tents. But they can’t slow down the Occupy Wall Street movement.
There have been police raids on Occupy Wall Street in Oakland, Calif.; Portland, Ore.; Denver; Albany, N.Y.; Burlington, Vt.; and Chapel Hill, N.C. — and now, last night in New York’s Zuccotti Park — orchestrated by politicians acting on behalf of the 1%.
But the 99% is undaunted. Occupy Wall Street’s message already has created a new day. This movement has created a seismic shift in our national debate — from austerity and cuts to jobs, inequality and our broken economic system.
Show your solidarity by attending a Nov. 17 bridge action near you.
And send a message of solidarity to the Occupy Wall Street protesters — which will be delivered by Working America this week.
The Occupy Wall Street movement has been committed to peaceful, nonviolent action from its inception. And it will keep spreading no matter what elected officials tell police to do. But that doesn’t mean these raids are acceptable. In fact, they are inexcusable.
As former Secretary of State Colin Powell put it, these protests are “as American as apple pie.” Americans must be allowed to speak out against pervasive inequality, even if the truth discomfits the 1%...
We are the 99%.
Richard L. Trumka
Conventional wisdom has it that mounting incidents of violence and outsized tactics will put pressure on institutional liberal groups and Dems to edge away from Occcupy Wall Street. Labor, in particular, has a long history of being riven by arguments over whether it should embrace such protests — during the Vietnam era, in particular, labor leaders fought bitterly over whether they should align themselves with the anti-Vietnam War protesters, which (some argued) subjected organized labor to a Communist taint. But Trumka is instead standing by the protests . Indeed, he’s going even farther than Dems such as Elizabeth Warren have — while Warren has sought to shift the focus to the larger issues raised by the protests, Trumka is directly condemning police raids on the protesters.
The question of whether organized labor can succeed in tying the protests to a larger working class constituency is still unanswered. But Trumka seems to be confident that the protesters’ message will continue to resonate among the working class rank and file, despite the mounting imagery of cops clashing with them across the country.