Workers in the United States and Canada are in a class war declared by big business and we're losing, Ken Georgetti, president of the Canadian Labour Congress, told delegates. "It is a war that we must win if the labor movement is to survive," he said.
"Why this war has been declared is simple – and it goes well beyond the usual reasons of simple corporate greed," Georgetti said. "This is a diversionary war. It's a tactic to confuse us, divide us and then to conquer us."
When the right wing factions tell us our countries are broke, they are lying, Georgetti said. "Our countries aren't broke; it's simply that the rich are breaking us."
The problem lies on Wall Street not Main Street, he said.
"Tell me, do you remember when Steelworkers crashed the stock market, or when we took billions in bonuses, killed millions of jobs, trashed the world economy and at the same time paid no taxes? I don't"
Just 400 rich Americans own as much combined wealth as 155 million Americans, half of the country, while the top 1 percent of Canadians got one third of all that nation's income gains from 1997 to 2007.
"In Canada, as in the United States, those responsible for the economic crisis are trying to blame the victims," Georgetti added.
"We can't as a society, especially as a labor movement, tell our kids that they don't deserve the same standard of living that we have enjoyed for ourselves.
"What kind of a world would that be if we accepted such a terrible notion? And yet that is what big business and right-wing governments are telling us. I say nonsense to them.
"We have to Stand Up, Fight Back and when we do, we will change our countries for the better."
usw.org, Thurs Aug 18 2011