Workers’ Rights Are Human Rights
ComFest has always been politically progressive, explicitly celebrating the struggle for social justice together with the wealth of local talent.
So when thousands of citizens were locked out of the Statehouse last winter during hearings on legislation to strip away the right of public employees to bargain for wages and safe working conditions, ComFest organizers had no hesitation answering the challenge, “Which side are you on.”
After all, Community Festival’s governing Statement of Principles says, “The basic necessities of life are a right and not a privilege. People have the collective right to control the conditions of their lives.”
That’s why everywhere you look this weekend (ComFest 2011), you’ll see volunteers in colorful T-Shirts emblazoned with this year’s theme, Workers’ Rights Are Human Rights, and why ComFest mugs urge a “Citizen Veto” to repeal SB5.
This summer, Ohio voters will be inundated by corporate-funded messages insisting that SB5 is necessary to balance the state’s budget, and portraying public employees as spoiled brats who don’t want to share sacrifice.
But Senate Bill 5 was never about money. It was always about power. Ohio is just one pawn in a national strategy to use state-level legislation to permanently cripple opposition to extreme free market crony capitalism. While at first glance it looks like the economic populism of the Tea Party, this national assault on workers’ rights actually draws direction and support from the Chamber of Commerce and billionaire David Koch’s group Americans for Prosperity. Workers in a half dozen other states are facing the same attempt to leverage new GOP majorities in state governments to finally destroy unions altogether.
The forces behind SB5 and its ilk want to bust the unions for the same reason as the original robber barons: because unions are the rock on which social progress is built. The collective power of unions won for all Americans minimum wage, health and safety laws, and the weekend.
Unions are the backbone of the Democratic Party. The union movement also provides the training and resources to sustain every other branch of social justice organizing.
It’s time to turn back the greed. Join the campaign against SB5. Stand up, speak out, organize!
2011 ComFest Program Guide