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Striking Black Sanitation Workers in ATL

Started by Kazi Pamoja, April 27, 2007, 03:55:51 am

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Kazi Pamoja

This historical article by Jason Schultz is outstanding.  Often times in our fight for direct democracy and workers self-management and against racism and the trade union bureaucracy we tend to forget something.

In the post civil rights era, management and union hierarchies are not just led by "the man" anymore.  In fact for thirty years people of color led urban regimes have been smashing the labor actions of people of color.  In Washington DC, Detroit, and Atlanta among other places this is common for decades now.  The author's analysis, nuanced and vibrant, underscores in particular why labor action against state and labor bureaucracies led by people of color can be so difficult to forge, and the type of understanding needed for future victories.  It is far more significant than a history of one strike in 1977!  

"A Disgrace Before God": Striking Black Sanitation Workers vs. Black Officialdom in 1977 Atlanta

By Jason Schultz


Roland Sheppard

From my article: "The Rise and Fall of the Civil Rights Movement"


"At the time of Martin Luther King's was assassination, he was willing to risk jail and to organize a mass demonstration in defiance of a court injunction to help the striking Memphis municipal garbage workers.  These workers ultimately won their union contract, and thousands of ordinary working families in that city got living wages that allowed them to educate their children, buy houses, live decent and dignified lives, and even retire.
"In contrast, Maynard Jackson quickly demonstrated that he was not beholden to or a leader of the Black population that elected him, but beholden to those who financed his election campaign and who helped his personal political and financial advancement. In Atlanta, Jackson, instead of helping city sanitation workers, fired more than a thousand city employees to crush their strike. In this, he had the support of white business leaders and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution."

Roland Sheppard