Comments From Participants at the National Welfare Rights Union Convention
Maureen Taylor and Marian Kramer; Kathy Slay; Warrington Bryant.
PHOTO /ANN RALL AND SYLVIA ORDUÑO
WILLIE BAPTIST: "At every beginning stage of the effort by a society to solve its problems, there is a period when people don't believe that change can be done.We must understand that things develop in stages. . . . we're at the very beginning of the stages of this movement we have to build."
KATHY SLAY: "We need to figure out a way to say to people that we don't have to stay powerless!"
KAREN SCHAUMANN: "We've got to quit fighting amongst ourselves for a better seat on the Titanic.
MAUREEN TAYLOR: "The enemy is the corporate animal. This corporate beast is in position to make maximum profits at all cost. And they're very, very smart. Because of technology in production they don't need you any more. Electronic production has produced radically new means of how to produce things. It doesn't only destroy the current stage of this system we call capitalism. It creates the possibility of a break. . . . . we could continue to die slowly or we could say That's enough! The question we all have to answer is, 'What are you prepared to do about it?'"
WILLIE BAPTIST: "The forces we're up against are very sophisticated.Somehow we have to use our collective brain power to develop the kind of knowledge that can be the basis of effective strateg. Your description of a problem determines nine-tenths of the solution. If what's coming at us is a grizzly bear, and your assessment is that it's a teddy bear, then you're in trouble. We have a grizzly bear coming at us and we've got to understand what where its weak points are, what are our strengths, and how we can strike a blow at their weak points. This is strategy and tactics. This is intelligence. This is knowledge. We have to incorporate in all our work an educational process so that we can educate others. Slavery was first ended in people's thinking before it was ended in fact. I've been black a long time. . . . it's clear to me that these forces have us is so preoccupied with black and white and black and brown and these color things - and the only color they're concerned with is green and everything that they do is to manipulate us into these questions.
GENERAL BAKER: "This fundamental crisis is not going to change. Every day they're making new robots. It's a different world. Some tell me it's not about the robots, it's because they sent the plant overseas, but that's a damn lie Workers are on strike in Brazil, in Germany, in Morocco, in Australia, in Mexico - all of them are catching Hell. The plant they sent to Mexico has robots in it too. We're in a permanent fix, and we've got to do battle. The auto companies have plans for the elections.They're pushing for bllions to rebuild this auto industry that they wasted. The unions got a plan. Their plan is to get a Democratic President and Congress elected. Then, they're going to pass a card check bill.We sign up 50% of the cards, and we got a union in there.That's all they want? What about the people at American Axle that lost their jobs? What about all the others that used to work somewhere that don't have a job? They got a plan going into the elections, and we ought to have a plan going into the elections about what we want."
Kathy Slay, Maureen Taylor, Lisa Richards and Dottie Stevens.
PHOTO /ANN RALL AND SYLVIA ORDUÑO
MARIAN KRAMER: "If they can put Reverend Pinkney in jail for just quoting the Bible, it's a different time. We've been on with the NAACP, Congressman Conyers, Jesse Jackson, and Al Sharpton. They are so tied up in the corporations, they will not step forward. The Governor, she's in their back pockets. She was in the forefront of fighting for Whirlpool to obtain the beach site in Benton Harbor. Rev. Pinkney and BANCO have been a thorn in their side.This is not the civil rights movement.They don't even have to tell you why they're arresting you today. That is why we have to get the young people out and old folks too. Let them get the knowledge and know what they're about to get into.
ANDREA GRIMMETT: "When we talk to young people, we have to make them understand that this man is in prison because of his beliefs .The thing that's missing in these young people is hope. Reverend Pinkney gives them hope."
QUINTIN WILLIAMS: It's true enough that more Blacks are going into prison, but it's all people who are going into prison, and there needs to be a movement where people stand up."
Special thanks to Ann Rall and Sylvia Orduño for providing text and photos for the welfare rights pages.
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