Bill Fletcher Jr.

The last thing we need is another symbolic candidacy that, while touching our hearts and minds, brings us no closer to clobbering the political right and winning power for the dispossessed and the disengaged.

I received the news when I was getting ready to eat.

I was prepared, intellectually, for a not-guilty verdict. I was not ready in my gut.

As a radical, I am quite aware of the injustices that regularly and historically have happened to people of color and to the poor. I am aware of how the system regularly justifies the murder of black people.

Yet I am nothing but sickened. And sitting here listening to these so-called defense attorneys gloat over their victory and place the blame for Trayvon Martin's death on Trayvon is actually more than I can take.

On a cold day in March, I was sitting in the Blackburn Center at Howard University for a rare meeting. The buzz in the room as the students entered largely concerned the special guest who was about to address the audience. Yet the importance of the gathering actually had less to do with this guest than with the nature of the event itself.

By Bill Fletcher Jr.

As the Trayvon Martin case illustrates, we still have a hard time dealing with issues of race in this country. In the years ahead, the issue of racial injustice, coupled with economic injustice, is not likely to fade away.

The Census Bureau estimates that by 2042, the population will no longer be majority white. Many believe that this demographic shift will automatically bring with it a qualitative improvement in the situation for people of color.

It would be a mistake to dismiss, out of hand, any participation in electoral policy. The Occupy Wall Street movement can serve as a mass base for multilevel social activism.

The killing of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden provides an opportunity for the United States to make a much-needed change in its policy toward Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The labor battle in Wisconsin is part of a well-orchestrated effort on the part of the Republicans to wipe out unions as an effective force in the United States.

Union split could be turned into opportunity for labor movement
Bill Fletcher Jr.

August 2, 2005

The dramatic split in the AFL-CIO is a symptom of a larger problem. And the split itself will not resolve that problem.


Subscribe to Bill Fletcher Jr.


Subscribe to The Progressive

We need to improve the condition of workers this Thanksgiving weekend. Here's what you can do.

“Climate change isn’t an ‘issue’ to add to the list of things to worry about, next to healthcare and taxes,” Klein...

Real leaders need to lead a push back against the firestorm of fear about Muslims—not fan the flames.

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

Public School Shakedown

Progressive Media Project