2008 turned out to be a year of crisis for working people in the United States and around the world. By the end of the year we found ourselves in the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression – skyrocketing unemployment, foreclosed homes, lifetime savings wiped out, industries on the verge of collapse. But we have all heard by now the old adage that with crisis comes opportunity. We have witnessed the collapse of the reigning economic ideology of the last 30+ years, neo-liberalism and free market fundamentalism. In its wake, calls for radical economic and social transformation are entering the mainstream political discourse in this country for the first time in many decades. This crisis offers the labor movement the best opportunity it has had since the New Deal to make its case to the working people of the nation of the need for organization and a mass movement for economic justice.
Here at Labor Express we have sought to examine in depth the financial crisis that erupted in the second half of the past year. We have discussed the Wall Street bailout and what it means for working people. We have analyzed the root causes of the economic collapse and attempted to determine what the next year will bring for the working class. And perhaps most importantly, we have covered the first attempts of workers to fight back against those who have brought our nation and the world into this mess.
Within the next few weeks, we will be posting online our analysis of the most important developments in the labor movement in 2008. But on this first day of the New Year, we want to remind you that you can listen to archived programs of Labor Express from the past year, covering these historic developments. We already know what the two most important labor news stories will be in our end of year analysis. On the national level, clearly the ever deepening economic crisis will be the defining issue of the past year. But on the local level it will be a shining example of a worker’s response to the crisis that will take first place. The workers at Republic Windows & Doors in Chicago challenged not only their employers but Wall Street itself, in the form of Bank of America, when they took almost unprecedented direct action – one of the few factory occupations to take place in this country since the late 1930’s. And they won!
Listen to Labor Express Radio’s coverage of these two top stories for 2008 at our audio archive on Archive.org.
Republic Windows & Doors Occupation:
And don’t forget to tune in to this Sunday’s episode of Labor Express for a look at the auto industry bailout. That’s this Sunday – 7:00 PM on WLUW, 88.7 FM or listen to the live web stream at… www.wluw.org