Letter to the Editor: Solidarity Between Labor and Student Protests Can Make Us Unstoppable

Originally published in Labor Today

Dear Editors,

Some fifty years ago, a major failure of the anti-war movement was that it never successfully connected student and organized labor opposition to the war in Vietnam. This failure made both movements weaker.

Fast forward to now and many graduate students have been organized into unions, for example by the very innovative work the UAW has been doing for some 20 years. That means that when the police attack student protesters at encampments in support of the people of Gaza, they’re effectively attacking labor’s legally recognized rights to free speech and expression in the workplace. This complicates efforts to squash dissent because Unfair Labor Practices (ULPs) can be filed with the NLRB, which can result in big trouble for repressive school administrations.

This shift in power, based on shop-floor organizing, offers a glimpse of an exciting paradigm shift. This kind of unity among working people is our only real basis of power, under current conditions, and if it sticks and grows, it may well become unstoppable.

Daniel From Oregon