Because war criminals go on book tours while their victims’ corpses rot. Because financial crooks hedge their funds and shield their income from taxes and play games with the global economy.
Because poor people have to pay large fees to cash their small paychecks. Because women do so much emotional labor, mostly unpaid and unthanked. Because 22-yr-olds leave college with heavy loads of debt and few job prospects. Because men & women (& yes, even children) roll themselves in blankets and sleep in doorways, night after night.
Because my friend the professor got a police baton in the chest when she tried to protect UC students from violent cops. Because “there aren’t enough funds” for Head Start or state parks or childcare or shelters, but there are ALWAYS enough funds for wars, the pentagon, the increasingly militarized police.
Because November 2’s General Strike in Oakland was one of the most free and joyous days of my life. Because December 12’s West Coast Port Shutdown was filled wtih solidarity and love. Because people are counting on me to show up and speak out with them. Because I know I’ll have a good time. Because I know we’ll make a difference. Because I want to.
Because I can. Because I am healthy enough, able-bodied enough, privileged enough, strong enough, well-informed enough. Because I’m ready.
Because I am part of the 99%. Because I’m not waiting any longer for someone else to do something to “save” us. Because the 1% need to see us in action, and I am part of that.
Because of Mary “Mother” Jones the widowed, childless, brilliant labor organizer. Because of Malallai Joya, the Afghan woman leader. Because of women everywhere who risk their lives to go on strike, to support their men on strike, to refuse sex to men in their own form of strikes that aren’t in history books (yet). Because of women everywhere who CAN’T yet go on strike.
Because of my son. Because of my young friends and colleagues. Because of children. Because of the grandchild I hope someday to hold in my arms.
Because I’m sick of the way things are, and because I know we can make another way, many other ways forward.
Onward to May Day, the People’s Day. General Strike!