$15 and a Union!

By Jake S.

Thousands of workers strike for $15 across the US / Fightfor15.org

If you are able to duck out of work today, I hope you'll be able to join the thousands of American workers who are taking to the streets to demand a living wage. If you're in the US, you can find the nearest protest to you by entering your zip (protests are planned in various cities around the world).

According to a recent article in the New York Times, three-quarters of families on public assistance are headed by a worker. That someone could work full time and not earn enough to feed their family is disgraceful, particularly in such a wealthy country. It is time for the American rich to stop hoarding our wealth. We demand a living wage, $15 an hour at the very least.

But legislating a new minimum wage is not enough. Listen to Sandra Roman, a 34 year old mother of four from Oakland, CA:

“I’m joining the fight for $15 and a union. I want everyone to know that when the minimum wage went up [in Oakland, it went up to $12.25 from $9 in March of this year], they took away many of my co-workers’ hours. If I get sick and call in, I get suspended. That’s why I want to join the union. I want to be protected.”

Capitalists will always try to reverse any gains made by the people. They dismantled much of the Great Society welfare system in the nineties; what remains is constantly under threat. Any legislative victory will be fleeting if the people remain unorganized. If you work, there may be a union you can join. If not, you can form one.

Today's protests may mark the rejuvenation of American labor. The protests could also be a grand, carefully orchestrated display of rage which pressures nobody and starts nothing, fading instead into irrelevance. To prevent the latter, we must find ways to challenge the forces which are eviscerating unions and empower the workers who toil for poverty wages in big box stores and fast food franchises across the world.

Jake Schenberg is the editor of The Activist and co-chair of the University of Georgia Young Democratic Socialists.


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Revolution at the Crossroads: Igniting the Socialist Resistance Against Trump

February 17, 2017 · $20.00 USD

Location: MayDay Space
Where: 176 St Nicholas Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11237
When: Friday, February 17th at 6 PM to Sunday, February 19th to 4 PM

Political Context

This Presidents’ Day weekend, the Young Democratic Socialists will gather for our annual winter conference in New York City titled Revolution at the Crossroads: Igniting the Socialist Resistance Against Trump. We did not choose the name lightly. In doing so, we call for leftists to collectively confront Trump and Trumpism at every possible opportunity. When a Trump administration attempts mass deportations of undocumented workers, when it attempts to register Muslims or roll back worker protections, when it attempts to take away reproductive, LGTBQ, civil, or any other rights, then we must militantly resist to prevent such measures.

To succeed, this must be explicitly socialist resistance. With liberalism having repeatedly shown itself incapable of combating the far right, it is now the time for socialists to openly declare our place in building the mass, multi-racial, and working class movement necessary for defeating the Trump administration. In this struggle, millennials will play an outsized role. That is why this conference comes at such a critical time—together we must create spaces for democratic and strategic discussion, spaces to gain organizing skills, and most importantly, spaces to form networks of young radicals for the future struggles ahead. These spaces will only come together if socialists come together. Join us this Presidents Weekend and help ignite the movement to defeat the Trump administration, continue the political revolution, and build the socialist alternative.

Key Deadlines

  • January 8th: Travel Scholarship for Air Travel (for application see below)
  • January 15th: Travel Scholarship for Non-Air Travel (ex: bus, car, train, etc.)
  • February 3rd: Early Bird Registration Ends - Tickets prices go up from $5 to $10
  • February 10th: Free Housing - We have limited free housing. You need to first register, then you will be sent an application for free housing.

Apply for a travel scholarship here! (First Deadline January 8, 2017)

Check out the working program (subject to change)