Friday, October 21, 2005

Picket Day

I was on picket duty from 8am-12 noon. We walked up and down the sidewalk in front of the arena. Pat and Emira from Pappagallo's gave us two big airpots of free coffee to help us stay warm. They are good people.

Spencer had to work because the ice plant in the arena needs constant monitoring, what with the deadly ammonia and all. He let us use the bathroom if we needed it. The picket captain said we could go to the rally at the Coliseum as long as some of us stayed outside the arena. Sherrard and I went to the rally. A few others went to join some teachers at a nearby school. Some of the high school picketers came around the block to walk with us. The morning crept slowly until we left for the rally.

The rally was fun but pretty low key. Jinny Sims spoke, along with the national and provincial CUPE Heads and someone from the HEU. I think people are pretty hopeful that the teachers will vote to go back to work. It was encouraging to see a show of solidarity among the teachers, CUPE and HEU. I saw a lot of teachers who I know, including Janice and Liz from Coquitlam School District. There were students there too, which was very cool, and university and college faculty and staff.

It made me remember the Solidarity General Strike in November 1983. I was a student teacher, just finishing up PDP at SFU. We closed down the province to all unionized work for a few days. The Lower Mainland's Solidarity Rally was at Empire Stadium. I remember that I was worried that I'd have to repeat the semester in January to get my teachers' certificate. The strike went on for a few days but at the end the university said we could still graduate. Bill VanderZalm was Premier then.

I've been thinking about the social and economic conditions that lie at the root of the struggles between business and labour, government and public service. What we're doing now is working on one of the symptoms of something much bigger. Something has to change drastically in the world or this deterioration will continue. It seems like there is abundant wealth, but it's concentrated in mostly bad hands and is making hardly anyone really safe of happy - not even the people who control it. My family is lucky to be relatively affluent and reasonably protected, but I know that the price for this is paid by many other families who are not so lucky, so I have a responsibility to do what I can to make a positive change.

I don't know the answers, but the question is becoming more and more clear, and the problem more obvious. I am paying attention.

question: do you remember Bill and Lill? are we still in Fantasyland?

mompoet - paying attention

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