Letters: UAW Dissidents Stand Up

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A very exciting and interesting situation occurred recently with the ratification vote taking place for the new Chrysler contract. It was a wonderful opportunity to observe democracy in action. Sadly enough, the contract passed, but not without resistance – especially from those that were willing to be recognized in their opposition. For those that publicly voiced that opposition to the contract, were labeled as dissidents.

The word dissident surfaced as it has many times before when certain individuals stand firm against oppressive authority and speak the thoughts and feelings of the oppressed and exploited masses. Throughout history, dissidents have always challenged tyrannical and dictatorial powers that have performed actions of injustice and vicious violations towards those that only wish to have a harmonious existence.

Many are completely unaware of the role that dissidents have played in their lives and much of what they have acquired through the dissidence of others. There are many that have played this role, going as far back as Jesus and Socrates, to more modern times with Eugene Debs, Mary Jones, Martin Luther King and Cesar Chavez. The world is all the much better because of those that stand in opposition against greed and corruption.

I am a member of Soldiers Of Solidarity – a rank-and-file dissident group of UAW members frustrated not only with corrupt corporate greed, but also with the oligarchic, bureaucratic union officials that are obviously more interested in corporate profits than their obligation to protect the interests of the workers. Soldiers Of Solidarity is also very critical of our government that simply seems to ignore the people and their sufferings, while they, our government, submit to the corporations that appear to own them!

It is truly a tragedy that the working class has become so disillusioned and envious of each other, resulting in our failure to unite together. It is also very unfortunate that there are those of us that want this working class unification but are entangled in a struggle to keep what was once obtained by the sacrifice and struggle of our predecessors that it has become difficult if not impossible to create this solidarity by all workers.

As those that are organized continue to lose, they continue to lose in their efforts to organize the unorganized. We fail when we do not apply “An Injury to One Is an Injury to All!” Regardless if you are unionized or non-unionized, we fail because we fail to unite!

I used to state that the working class should stop fighting over the crumbs that fall from the table, that we should unite and realize that there is a place for us at the table. I now make the statement: “Take over the table. We made it and all the provisions that go with it!”

Fellow dissidents, I tip my hat to you! You make all the difference in the world! You are the voice of the exploited and oppressed! Whenever you are called a dissident, be proud and hold your head high! I am a dissident and proud of it!

Chris Ryan/UAW Local 685
Kokomo, IN

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