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June, 2006

Vision and the Fight for a New World
This column is a place for revolutionaries to debate why a cooperative society is a practical solution to the problems people are fighting out. We welcome your thoughts about the articles we are running and we welcome your articles. You can view all articles at here. E-mail info@peoplestribune.org or write: People's Tribune, P.O. Box 3524, Chicago, IL 60654

Can’t wait for tomorrow

By Robert Kurtycz UAW members and supporters rally in Lansing, Mich., at the “March for the American Dream” April 29. PHOTO/DONATED TO THE PEOPLE’S TRIBUNE

Their Message

There has been a longstanding message conveyed to the working and poor people of this county: "Wait for Tomorrow." They tell us to just wait for tomorrow and they'll find a solution. Of course, they never do. Somehow they have convinced us to just wait for tomorrow and we can elect somebody new. So that's what we do, hoping that they will finally solve the problems that we struggle with everyday. Of course, they never do. Every night we fall asleep dreaming that our struggles will be gone when we awake. Of course, they never are.

What does the word "affordable" really mean in America today? Absolutely nothing! This word is used to deceive and divide us. If we could somehow just work a little harder, or find a little bit better job, maybe we could afford more. In reality, nothing is affordable; either you have it or you don't.

Their Attacks

They want the child in Detroit to wait for the ambulance to arrive to save his mother's life, but he will have to wait for tomorrow when it's too late. What about the 4,000 children in Chattanooga, Tennessee who never made it to school because they couldn't afford gas for the buses. I guess they can wait for tomorrow, too.

I watched as my grandmother passed away, thinking about how many years she split her pills in half waiting for "affordable" health care. She was waiting for tomorrow 10 years ago. How did our lives become linked to profitability? I never read that in any of the historical documents upon which our country was founded.

When will "our" children come home from an unjust war? What happened to the billions of our dollars that disappeared in Iraq and New Orleans? Why did the Oil Companies make $120 billion last year and we can't afford a tank of gas? They will have an answer for us tomorrow.

By far their largest attack on workers is the attack on our brothers and sisters, the immigrant workers. When will they have fundamental rights as promised by our immigrant forefathers? When will the curtain of fear be lifted off our fellow workers so that they can fully join us in our struggles against the powerful corporations? Can we afford to wait for tomorrow?

Our Response

Earlier this year I had the opportunity to travel to Venezuela for two weeks. In just seven years Venezuela has made a shift towards social justice for the people. I visited some of the poorest neighborhoods in the country, and was astounded at what I saw. Everyone had free universal health care. They make sure that no one is hungry. And every child is entitled to unlimited education, even if they choose to become a doctor, for free!

I was very impressed, to say the least, that all this had come about in just seven years. But as I talked to the Venezuelan people they were very critical of the government. They did not feel that things were progressing as fast as they should be. At first I was confused at this criticism of a government that had provided all these things in only seven years of leadership. Then it hit me, of course, that this was not enough, there was still progress to be made. The Venezuelan people had been waiting for so long and they are not going to wait for tomorrow ever again, not for anything!

There is no doubt that this shift in thinking has made its way north. Even as you read this article there are people taking to the streets somewhere in our country. Tens of millions of people marching in the streets to end the war, to secure health care for all, to stop the corporate greed that is devastating our families, to fight for the rights of our people, including the immigrant workers.

We must not let them fool us into believing that these are just individual battles, because we know that they are not. The new vision for America is starting to take shape, and it is being created deep in the hearts and minds of the working class of America. The same place every great vision for our country has ever come from.

While the topics I have talked about are critical to all of our futures, they are not the driving force behind what is happening today. We are making the shift in the way that we think. We are no longer willing to wait for tomorrow on any of our issues! That is the true change that is taking place in every city across the country.

As I finish writing this article I can't help but think back to the title, "Can't Wait for Tomorrow." That title is more reflective of how we thought yesterday. Today a new idea is being chanted in streets from coast to coast, "We Won't Wait for Tomorrow!"

This article originated in the People's Tribune
PO Box 3524, Chicago, IL 60654, 773-486-3551, info@peoplestribune.org.
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