Labor could shut down the shutdown

Union activists rally in Dallas Jan. 10, 2019. PHOTO: AFGE on Flickr
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Reality seems stranger by the minute as we tick off the weeks of the partial government shutdown.

The hyper-narcissist in the White House throws a temper tantrum to get his “big beautiful wall” at the southern border, and suddenly the twin parties of the plutocrats can’t manage to keep the capitalist state going.

Governmental chaos happens on the heels of wild fluctuations in the stock market — a political instability reflecting the economic volatility of global capitalism.

Meanwhile, federal workers — the folks who actually do their jobs — are going without paychecks. This irony is not lost on any working person, and certainly not on the unions representing federal personnel. The biggest, the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), has filed a lawsuit and organized small rallies around the country.

The low-paid airport screeners, who are AFGE members, are calling in sick to protest. If AFGE called a national strike, all air travel would grind to a halt. When the hundreds of thousands of other federal workers followed suit, it would prevent retaliation.

Unionists would receive plenty of support from a sympathetic public. And the display of labor’s strategic economic strength would put an end to this shutdown.

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