Friday, December 30, 2011

75-Year Anniversary of Flint, Michigan Shutdown

Here's Michael Moore on the Flint, Michigan 1936 shutdown, which he characterizes as the birth of the middle class (excerpted):

On this day, December 30th, in 1936 -- 75 years ago today -- hundreds of workers at the General Motors factories in Flint, Michigan, took over the facilities and occupied them for 44 days. My uncle was one of them.

The workers couldn't take the abuse from the corporation any longer. Their working conditions, the slave wages, no vacation, no health care, no overtime -- it was do as you're told or get tossed onto the curb.

So on the day before New Year's Eve, emboldened by the recent re-election of Franklin Roosevelt, they sat down on the job and refused to leave.

They began their Occupation in the dead of winter. GM cut off the heat and water to the buildings. The police tried to raid the factories several times, to no avail. Even the National Guard was called in.

But the workers held their ground, and after 44 days, the corporation gave in and recognized the UAW as the representative of the workers.... In Flint, Michigan, on this day in 1936, the middle class was born.

But 75 years later, the owners and elites have regained all power and control. I can think of no better way for us to honor the original Occupiers than by all of us participating in the Occupy Wall Street movement in whatever form that takes in each of our towns....

Do something, anything, but don't remain silent. Not now. This is the moment. It won't come again.

75 years ago today, in Flint, Michigan, the people said they'd had enough and occupied the factories until they won. What is stopping us now? The rich have one plan: bleed everyone dry. Can anyone, in good conscience, be a bystander to this?

My uncle wasn't, and because of what he and others did, I got to grow up without having to worry about a roof over my heads or medical bills or a decent life. And all that was provided by my dad who built spark plugs on a GM assembly line.

Let's each of us double our efforts to raise a ruckus, Occupy Everywhere, and get creative as we throw a major nonviolent wrench into this system of Greed. Let's make the politicians running for office in 2012 quake in their boots if they refuse to tax the rich, regulate Wall Street and do whatever we the people tell them to do.

Happy 75th!


  1. Those sit-down strikes were so effective it took Congress about 2 heartbeats to make them illegal. But even that short window gave labor enough clout to create a middle-class that lasted 2 generations.

    The biggest lie of them all is that there is no class war. That's really the only important reality.

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