It was just last week at a party in Sunset Park, Brooklyn where I was railing drunk that the chance of a strike was "zero."  I railed about the sell-out union leaderships and their habits of business unionism. I joked about Transit Workers Union, Local 100 leader Roger Touissant's historical admiration of Enver Hoxja, and the sorry path even earnest militants take after getting digested by the labor bureaucracy. Decades of defeat have earned a healthy cynicism about the leadership of a labor movement that doesn't move, and the dominant union model of reducing workers' struggles to the nickels and dimes of contract arbitration.

Let me eat my shoe in shame. I was wrong -- there is a line the transit workers won't cross. They are on the line right now -- and every communist worth their salt will be doing whatever is in their power to help this strike win.

The workers of Local 100 refused to back down. They are courageously facing New York's draconian Taylor Law that makes any strike by public sector workers illegal. Fines are being levied against Local 100 of $1 million a day. The TWU's international leader, and scab labor-faker Mike O'Brien tried to sabotage the strike. He was duly ignored. The Local is drawing a line against a two-tier system for pensions and health care. And they are also striking over the right to strike.

They are the most proletarian of major industrial unions in the country. The majority of workers are from oppressed nationalities, do not tend to have higher education, and have earned a bottom-line standard of living through decades of militant struggle. TWU long set the standard of what a strike can do with their ability to shut the world's most powerful city down through strike action.

16,000 citations are issued to workers a year for infractions of all kinds. This is harassment, and the issue of respect on the job is a huge part of this. Support and opposition to the strike is neatly breaking down along race and class lines, with the Sex in the City crowd appalled at their inconveniences, the tabloids howling bloody murder and the working people of the city overwhelmingly of the sentiment that "this is our strike."

NYC Indymedia is on top of the strike with up-to-the-minute reports, commentary and photography.

Whatever our beliefs about the structure and ideology of North American unionism, this is a turning point for the working class struggle in New York, and even nationally. A defeat will be the final nail in the coffin of organized labor as a social force. Victory could literally overturn the legacy of PATCO.

The TWU cannot be broken. They are the only force in the city capable of literally shutting it all down, standing up the racist political structure that spits on working people -- and breaking the culture of passivity that is deeply entrenched not just in the union halls, but in the hearts of the masses of people. Direct action gets the goods, and we should all do our part.

It's easy to put up signs of support in our own neighborhoods, and to advocate for the workers everywhere we go. All traffic is heading over the bridges, which gives a unique opportunity for outreach (of all kinds) while those who are still working head in. A few banners well-placed, a little painting, a few random support mini-marches do wonders to turn what appears at first as a simple matter of a 3% raise versus more money into a what it in fact is: class struggle.

Let's all be able to say we did our part, whatever that may be.

Some communists, to say nothing of the larger activist milieu, have expressed skepticism about working class action to the point of abstention. There is a famous quote by Lenin that the model for our movement should be a "tribune of the people" and not a shop steward. If ever there was a need for a tribune to tie the strike to the underlying social issues -- THAT TIME IS NOW.