Don't Stop Striking about Tomorrow

Don't Stop Striking about Tomorrow


WOID #XIV-19. Narrow Road to the Deep South

Ewyorknay est in omnia way ivisaday in artespay restay: the heroes, the whiners and the smilers, but in the third day of The New York City Transit Strike the relationships of parts have shifted.

Heroes lose. For a few days the media was happy showing brave New Yorkers, Mayor at the head, charging over the Brooklyn Bridge, but as Donald Rumsfeld would say, "They show the same bridge over and over again." Mayor Mike started out in his bomber jacket, now he's morphed into Tweetie Bird, whom he curiously resembles: "Ooh, dose big bad thtwikers!"

The Times has shifted front-page coverage to the whiners, and suddenly there's great concern for the sufferings of the working class, that's what they call Compassionate Conservatism. One moans that her maid can't get to her job because of the strikers. Another sighs that this strike is hurting "the homeless" - don't ask me, I still can't figure
it out.

Frances Fox Piven, the sociologist, once wrote about a social class she called the Whiney Whites. This time as well the Whiner profile is consistent: house in Remotest, Queens; union family; hates all mass transit and hates the strikers, personally. These are the remnants of the white flight Democrats, the folks who have to live within the City limits to keep their City jobs, the folks who used to have their own subway line - you thought the Train to the Plane was to get you the airport, didn't you? It was actually a private train so the Whiners could avoid the A-train, commonly known as the African Queen.

Whiners don't play the race card, they *are* the race card in New York City politics, and they're being played as usual by the Republican elite. Words like "Rats" and "Thugs" are thrown at the strikers, and it's a matter of time before the papers run pictures of transit workers looting a Wal-Mart. Forbes Magazine ran a front-page article titled: "Transit Pigs From Outer Space," meaning the strikers, of course, and that's ironic because Forbes used to describe itself as the journal of "Capitalist Pigs." I guess it's okay to be a pig so long as you're a pig of the right color. Sure sounds like the historical structure of American racism...

And then the smilers, and there's plenty of folks who don't mind walking for the Union. The polls give public opinion going for the Union by a tad. For the second day in a row the letters to the editor at the New York Times are overwhelmingly supportive of the strikers.

I can't say we're "winning" because "winning" is a concept of the Ruling Class, the ones who brought us the class struggle to begin with. But the striker's smile is Sphinx-like, now, and the bosses must be asking themselves one question: "Am I feeling lucky today?"