Building the Solidarity Economy in Vermont

This is the first in what we hope will be a series of blog posts contributed by members. To submit your own, please check out our guidelines here.

One of the key foundations for us as members of the DSA is the importance of democracy. In a capitalist system, kleptocratic domination is the prevailing law of the land at the expense of the working class, and our liberal representative democracy is shaped and tied to this kleptocracy. The profit motive that propels and is promoted by capitalism makes profits valued over fundamental human rights, including the right to democracy. Democracy, in the sense of the people’s (dêmos) power (kratía), is thwarted for the benefit of capital, as the workers must surrender their livelihoods and power to the whims of their capitalist superiors. Instead of this undemocratic model of the capitalist enterprise, power could be directly in the hands of the workers. It is important that we expand the role of democracy to achieve societal transformation.

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Protecting Pensions: From Defense to Offense

The words “class struggle” may not have been uttered at the two-hour April 3rd rally at the VT Statehouse, but few can doubt the far-reaching import of the words of the mostly female speakers. In the first half, testimonies focused on the themes of the legislature’s betrayal; more burdensome economic futures for teachers, nurses, and other state employees; and the apportionment of moral and fiscal responsibility.

But these gradually developed into an more outraged and energized platform calling for 1) a new social blueprint based on serving human need through meaningful work; 2) the replacement of politicians with leaders rooted in the working class; 3) the rejection of the notion that wealthy elites execute any positive social function in this state or elsewhere; 4) intimations that behind Gov. Scott and other anti-pension voices stand anti–public sector ghouls like billionaire John Arnold and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

Crucially, the organizers of this rally and fightback—declared just a first step—were rank-and-file members of both VSEA and VT NEA, and its members were exhorted to rely on themselves and to organize independently of union officialdom and elected officials (most of them Democrats). In solidarity were Vermont AFL–CIO members & leaders, including Vice President Omar Fernandez (APWU) and AFSCME 1674 officers Dan Peyser (Local President) and Katie Harris (Local VP) . 

In the end, “Tax the Rich” grew into a mantra shouted by a crowd of hundreds.

Continue reading “Protecting Pensions: From Defense to Offense”

Links for VT Renews and AFL-CIO

At our last meeting, guest speakers shared some links that we wanted to make available for ongoing and easy reference, so here they are:

The Vermont Renews Convergence, Sunday, March 28, 1 – 3:30pm EDT

The AFL-CIO “Pass Majority Card Check” letter you can sign & send

The AFL-CIO “Contact a Union Organizer” page for people looking to start unionizing

Let us know if you have any questions about these!