In light of my recent post expressing disgust at the lack of social consciousness and basic human decency in a group of petit-bourgeois and proletariat with whom I spent a social evening I feel compelled to write a short piece contradicting myself. The current actions of the workers in the "Republic Windows" plant in Chicago were an earth shattering event for my own stereotypes of the American working class.
I am both shocked and pleased. I believe that I have underestimated the ability of the humans. Their ability both to act, and to surprise me. I wish I could know what set these workers apart from so many others who would have taken their layoff and walked away instead of taking over the plant.
I still believe that the power of theory is important in determining the actions of these workers...but the power and actions of an individual theorist?
I stand humbled that such a strong display of collective action should occur so shortly after I condemned the ability of the American working people and questioned their basic education. This does not change that people (including myself) are capable of horrible thought and action but clearly I have missed a crucial point. Solidarity is not just something that people used to talk about before the Reagan administration.
I repeat I stand humbled by this display, but hopeful that it is just a starting point of many more like it. Regardless of future outcome I salute the employees of Republic Window and only hope that they realize since they are locked in the factory waiting for what is owed to them there is nothing (except the law and 100's of years of American tradition) stopping them from starting production back up and making windows without the capitalist.