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BOOK REVIEW

Mobilizing in Our Own Name by Clarence Thomas

In Mobilizing in Our Own Name, author Clarence Thomas (The Other Thomas), chronicles the organizing strategy behind the Million Worker March (MWM), held in Washington, DC in October 17, 2004. Spearheaded by Local 10, California’s longshoremen Union, the story details the efforts to stage this event. The tireless work of union activists and grass roots people, made possible a successful and distinctive event that shows the accomplishment of dedicated workers towards achieving an important goal. Through various articles and essays that demonstrate the commitment of a small group of engaged workers, the March symbolizes a stunning accomplishment in an era characterized by open hostility from powerful sectors of American society, towards working people’s goals and ambitions.

The interviews, articles and reports shared in this important book, go beyond the organization and successful execution of the March itself. Rather, it is a compilation of writings and reporting of radical labor activism as counter to the capitalistic society assault on workers and humanity in general. Maybe the most outstanding feature of this collection of articles and essays, is the open vows of internationalism that recognizes the connection between workers and other victims of systematic oppression of people everywhere in the world. Thus, this work emphasizes the need for solidarity with workers in countries that are normally not covered by mainstream media, except to illustrate the pitfalls of the countries that resist the capitalist model of societal organization.

The support for international worker solidarity, as noted in this book, reaches out and engages workers’ struggles in Afghanistan, Venezuela, Haiti, and Palestine, among regions of the world, where worker exploitation has always been the rule rather than the exemption. In this sense, the unending war in Afghanistan, the opportunistic attacks on the Bolivarian revolution in Venezuela, the historical racism and discrimination towards Haiti and Haitians, as well as ongoing genocide generated by the colonization of Palestine, are considered interrelated and subjects of labors’ concern for the well being of national and international workers.

Furthermore, author Clarence Thomas exposes readers to the abuses and murders conducted by the police in the United States towards individual and communities of African descendants, as well as other people of color. Black lives indeed matter, and the recognition of state sponsored violence as exhibited by the murder of George Floyd and others, has a direct impact for labor, in that by the live stream action of the police, the world was able to witness the extreme reach of oppressive forces run amok.

The Million Worker March in Washington signaled the start of a new wave of union activism distinct from the dominant big tent corporate unions that serve as accommodation for the need of bosses, instead of vigorously representing the working class. This anthology goes beyond a single March, it sheds light on the national and international work of labor activism and the need to force the agenda of trade unionism. Brutality against working people, coupled with unmitigated drive for profits, has created an atmosphere of doom and destruction that threatens the very existence of the human race. Fighting back against these bullies, require a united front by the most progressive of labor organizations, with an international agenda that places people ahead of profits. Local 10 and its allies have taken the lead, and show the way towards a more equitable future and the recognition that our local struggles have global reach. A must read for all of those interested in looking for the resurgence of labor as a force for change in these turbulent times.

Mobilizing in Our Own Name is published by Declare Publishing, and can be ordered from MillionWorkerMarch.com

M.E.L

August 2022

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