The Other Inauguration Day
While we dined on schadenfreude and syrupy nationalism yesterday, another inauguration had happened last Sunday in the Bronx. Local 202 Teamsters voted to strike for more pay and better health care.
On Tuesday’s Inauguration Day, we were all basking in the glow left behind as Donald Trump’s shit was being washed off everything, and all the old lies that had been replaced by the new lies were back again as the new new lies.
As we know from the Cold Bernie memes that have exploded on the net, it was brisk in the Northeast that day, and strikers were freezing their asses off on the picket line.
Bernie tweeted his support of Local 202 from the Biden inauguration.
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, on the other hand, was delivering coffee, hot chocolate, hand warmers, and supportive words to the strikers.
And I’m not cracking on Bernie. He is still the leader of the social democratic insurgency on the legislative front, and now he’s the Senate Budget Chair. Good stuff, but this is about the strike and AOC.
Why would I bother writing about this when its already making the rounds?
Well, it’s not that news itself that this missive addresses, but the fact that AOC has a following . . . millions, in fact, on Twitter alone. When AOC shows up to support Local 202, she tweets about it (I assume she did . . . I myself stay away from Twitter for the most part). If she asks followers to support the strike financially, she’s using her position to strengthen a social movement.
That, in some circles, is called leadership. and that leadership was exercised in a tactical, not strategic, way. (Some of you know that I think 99 percent of strategies suck, and that we should avoid them at all costs.) Tactics is going where the action is as the action emerges. This is the relation our elected officials need to nourish between on-the-ground struggles and the governance of the state.
There was inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, which was a mixture of relief and redirected dread. Now Trump has moved on (ever nearer to the loving arms of the Southern District of New York), and what’s left behind is just that redirected dread.
Then there was the other inauguration day where workers drank coffee in the cold; and one of our paladins connected them to an emergency base. This inauguration day filled me with hope.
We need a lot more paladins (and a lot more strikes) by 2022.
It ain’t all good, but it ain’t all bad either.