Dear Premier Notley,
I think it was 2 years ago that I got a chance to meet you. The first occasion I met you was over a few beers at an NDP event in the Kensington Rd. area where you sold me a membership in the party. I don't usually buy memberships with the NDP, but I thought I would give some money to the party, who at the time were in opposition, and I knew membership would allow me to go to conventions which are places to meet new people. The second time I met you that year was at the Calgary Pride Parade. I was dressed up in drag and got a nice picture with you.
I am not a die hard NDPer although when I choose to vote ( part of democracy is about real choice) I tend to vote NDP if there is not a more left wing progressive anti-capitalist option on the ballot. I do not vote NDP because I believe the NDP will follow through on any of their promises, I vote NDP as a tactic in a broader struggle for working class emancipation from discrimination, exploitation and oppression. The cool thing about people voting a workers bourgeois party like the NDP into power here in Alberta is that it became a litmus test for the rising class conciseness within the Albertan body politic. I think the working class consciousness is at a level not seen in a long time and we have an opportunity to further galvanize the working class of this province.
One of the ways that we can see a continued rising of workers making demands that are in our interest is to have a 15 dollar an hour minimum wage now. Not next year or in 2018 but now. We are seeing one of the largest workers movements in decades with the "Fight For 15" movement across the U.S and to a lesser degree, here in Canada. Thousand of fast food workers, hotel workers, wal-mart workers,etc. have mobilized over the past few years and are making history by winning demands and showing all workers that when workers organize together, not only can we make demands together but we can win together.
When workers democratize their workplaces, a job that can often be onerous becomes a nexus of community building and solidarity building. Because workers have little control of what we produce and how we produce it, decisions about production are often made for the sake of profit, rather than for the needs of workers and the communities they live in.
When it comes to workers having more power in their work places, I have read about how workers organized in the early 1800's for the 10 hour work day and how they succeeded in getting it. I have also read about how workers fought for the 8 hour work day in the late 1800's and got that too. I have read about how in the mid to late 1930's, workers fought for the 30 hour work week here in Canada and the U.S and I also read how the state smashed that movement by creating the red scare and calling all the effective organizers in all the different unions, communists and anarchists and scaring all workers into silence. It was a sad time when a lot of anarchist and communist workers were harassed, beaten, jailed and deported. It was also a time when, through the states PR campaign, the state convinced everyone to see organizing in the work place as a job that only dirty communist and anarchists did and that communists and anarchist only wanted to have control and create chaos
Premier Notley, you often say your government is a friend of the workers. I believe that you are also saddened by the knowledge that democratizing of workplaces by workers was stunted in the mid to late 1930's onwards as a result of a reign of terror against working class organizers by the state and their capitalist allies. Even though I am saddened with this knowledge about our living memory of war against the workers, I am happy in knowing that workers will eventually get back up to fight another day after they have been pushed down.
Workers in Alberta have recently been pushed down as a result of low oil prices and the cyclical boom/bust nature of Capitalism. That being said, workers in this province are getting back on their feet, brushing themselves off and getting prepared to go back to work. We workers want to get back to work but we do not want the same old dirty jobs. With the rising of class consciousness and the awareness of the power that is in our hands, namely a power greater than their horded gold, greater then the might of armies magnified a thousand fold, we realize that that power is a power that we can use to build a better world for our children and our children's' children.
Many of the roughnecks who participated in poking tens of thousand of holes in the earth here in Alberta are aware of the ecological costs of that activity. Many of these roughnecks also know how to clean up the damage done by these wells that have been left abandonedby the multinational corporations. Many of these roughnecks know that more pipelines will just perpetuate the devastation of our environment. We have the ability to organize a strong force that will have the 1% demanding that you, the government appease us so we do not completely seize the means of production. Give us clean jobs and we will be satisfied, for now. The Choice is yours, will you show that you are a friend of all those workers who want clean jobs or will you continue to placate the right until that is who you and the NDP become?
Aaron Doncaster, a worker and Member of Calgary Fight For15 Coalition
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