FIGHTING WORDS (MAY DAY EDITION)

Barbara Ehrenreich: “U-VA’s president could have defused the protest with time-honored delaying tactics, like promising to form a committee. Or he could have done the honorable thing and agreed to go with the students to the state legislature to demand more funds for wages. But no, he had to go and make national news by treating his most idealistic, morally responsible, students like common criminals.”

Charles McCollester: “The union has the right to accompany inspectors and provide documentation and testimony. The heart of the union presence, the local Mine Committee, meets monthly, receives additional training, has the right to inspect any part of the mine including its access, and must perform full inspections at least every two months. Critically, workers in a union mine are not afraid to speak.”

Nelson Lichtenstein: “These May Day demonstrations and boycotts return the American protest tradition to its turn-of-the-20th-century ethnic proletarian origins—a time when, in the United States as well as in much of Europe, the quest for citizenship and equal rights was inherent in the fight for higher wages, stronger unions, and more political power for the working class.”

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