HAN DONGFANG, TIANANMEN SQUARE, COLLECTIVE BARGAINING and the PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC of WISCONSIN

This is the spirit [behind] all the great struggles of the workers to improve their working conditions: Liberty and freedom for collective bargaining is what they want and what they must have.
Mary Anderson (August 27, 1872-1964)

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker wants to crush collective bargaining in that state. In 1949, Mao Tse-tung crushed any ideas of collective bargaining and independent unions in China. For my liking, that’s way too similar—and a spit in the face to all American workers over the last 120 years. Maybe Governor Walker and Chairman Mao have similar ‘five-year-plans,’ too.

Whatever one thinks of labour unions, it is self-evident that to destroy the right of workers to engage in collective bargaining with the employer is to set back the rights of workers (ie almost all of us) to the turn of the century. And I mean 1900.

Last summer I interviewed the courageous and articulate Chinese trade unionist Han Dongfang at the ITUC World Congress in Vancouver. He was adamant about the absolute necessity for workers to have the right to collective bargaining in China and all over the world. Indeed, at Tiananmen Square in 1989, he risked his life for it.

Without collective bargaining, he said, human rights downgrade to animal rights, where all the employee can do is hope he or she is treated like a human being. All over the world, the result is often a working hell.

Check out this piece, as Han talks passionately about collective bargaining, workers rights, opposing the regime at Tiananmen Square, globalization, and being one of the “top ten luckiest” people in the world.

Wishing everybody more discernment, more justice, more love—and the right of workers to have a dignified say in their working conditions,

Pete x

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2 Responses to “HAN DONGFANG, TIANANMEN SQUARE, COLLECTIVE BARGAINING and the PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC of WISCONSIN”

  1. Nice job Pete. What a great piece on a beautiful human being. Han inspires.

  2. Thanks, Jess. He really was gracious and humble and realistic. As for the piece, I learn my archive editing tricks from the best.

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