Herb Keener of Communications Workers Local 6215 taught a class on the book “Runaway Inequality” at 1408 N Washington in Dallas on September 17. We began with a long list of progressive movements over the centuries. Herb said that those movements have to find a way to work together if we are to succeed.
We then turned to the economics lessons in the book. We studied the horrendous inequalities that have been forced on Americans recently and particularly since the period around 1980, when the United States adopted a “business friendly” model of privatization, deregulation, corporate welfare, and attacks against working people and democracy.
A highlight of the presentation came with a 30-minute video, with intervals for discussion, from author Les Leopold. At the end, Herb presented an extra video for those who wanted to stay late.
The activists gathered together had a lot of their own ideas. As always, we were seeing whatever aspect of oppression was pushing our own buttons the most. We talked of civil rights, women’s rights, gay rights, democracy, and economic rights -- a wide spectrum of contentious issues. All of us had ideas about what were the most pressing issues, but we had few suggestions as to what to do about it.
Of course I had t o get on my soapbox. My idea of a partial solution is to start regular meetings expressly to facilitate solidarity and cooperation among the many activists and progressive organizations around. I’m not talking about another organization nor another coalition, but a process of facilitation.
Over the past month, CWA members like Herb Keener and Sherron Molina have been promoting this important book. Herb spoke about it twice during Labor Day weekend, and he talked about it on the "Workers Beat" radio show on KNON radio on the morning of the 17th. Keener has distinguished himself as an activist who goes far beyond the labor movement into environmental issues and, especially, electoral politics. Perhaps the strongest statement he made during the school came when he asked everyone to join him at 9:30 the next morning for a major voter registration effort.
Toward the end of the class, Rick, who isn’t a member of Herb’s union, said, “I appreciate so much what your union is doing on this.” He meant it, too! After we finished one extra video, those who had stayed posed for a quick photo. By then, people had begun to notice a certain aura of light around Herb's head.
--Gene Lantz, Press Secretary