When Occupy Philadelphia showed up at the corporate headquarters of Presby's Inspired Life to mic check the CEO of a union busting nursing home company this week, it wasn't an action that could be narrowly defined as a "union" action. Sure, the African American and immigrant workers of color that have been struggling for the last two years to organize a union and bargain a contract for better working conditions and living conditions for their residents have been doing it as a union. However, what solidarity is really about, is the coming together of workers to demand that, at work, at home, and in every aspect of our lives, direct democracy and the power to make collective decisions together knows no boundaries.
At the start of the last decade, Argentine horizontalism sprung up in response to their economic crisis, in much of the same way the Occupy movement is doing here. After years of developing this movement, we can see what lessons they have learned from their fall. Please take the time to read this article, and have conversations about it. You'll find critiques of negotiating with and including parties in the movement, dehibilitating discussions about ideologies, and the tricky relationship the movement built with the government.
It was only 11 years ago when we took on the Republican convention here in Philadelphia. We spent weeks preparing, some weekends acting, and many months making sure our solidarity and support kept folks who participated in direct action, out of jail. Being one of the 420 protestors arrested for taking the streets in defiance of the city's hosting of the convention that spawned 8 long scary years of the Bush regime, it transformed all of my assumptions about what it means to take action to make change in the world, and in my own mind. Beyond shouting slogans against assaults on women's health and the growth of the prison industrial complex, I found myself suddenly in the midst of a struggle that did more than show opposition for the GOP, we were demanding a new way to make decisions in our country and the world. This meant more than Broad Street or Wall Street, it meant a shift in everything. The actions in August of 2000 were a part of wave of insurrections in the U.S. and internationally, crying foul about the concentration of wealth and power in the hands of the ruling class. From union labor to tree sitting eco-warriors, we locked arms and demanded a revolution. Until September 11th, 2001, the anti-globalization movement seemed practically unstoppable.