Hoe Occupy, Fight for $15, Black Lives Matter en MeToo samenvloeien tot de sterkste linkse beweging sinds de jaren 60

By 2014, Aldridge was a leader in the local minimum wage movement and building a network of contacts. Some of them were working in a nearby McDonald’s in Ferguson that was next to the Ferguson Market and Liquor store where Michael Brown, an 18-year-old who had graduated from high school eight days earlier, was shot dead by the police after leaving the store with an allegedly un-bought package of cigarillos. Aldridge heard the police cars rushing to the scene. The shooting led to months of unrest and, coming after the high-profile killing of other Black people, was a turning point for the Black Lives Matter movement. “I remember I was in high school and I was wearing a hoodie and said, ‘I’m Trayvon,’”, said Aldridge, referencing the 2012 killing of Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old shot dead by a neighborhood watch guard in Sanford, Florida. “I think after Ferguson, it really took off in a different way. I think the way we resisted in Ferguson was like no other”, said Aldridge. Aldridge became an early BLM organizer in Ferguson. “If it wasn’t for the Fight for $15, though, I’m not sure if I would have went out to Ferguson as quick as I did and would have been out there as long as I did.” For the freshman representative, Fight for $15 and BLM are the same fight. “You can’t really talk racial injustice without talking economic injustice”, he said. “You can’t forget that those same black workers still live in the same community that is oppressed, that is over-policed. Those workers were the same workers that also went to the streets of Ferguson, have protested, because they feel like Mike Brown could have been them, regardless if they was working at McDonald’s or if they was working at a healthcare facility,” said Aldridge. “It’s all connected.” (…) For labor historian Erik Loomis, a history professor at the University of Rhode Island and author of “A History of America in Ten Strikes”, the Fight for $15 is one of the most significant victories for workers in 50 years. Although he has caveats. “It has been a huge success in conjunction with other issues in reshaping narratives around economic equality in America”, he said. From Occupy Wall Street to the Fight for $15 to the #MeToo movement to BLM, Loomis sees a building movement for greater equality. “For the first time in a half-century we are beginning to move in the right direction on this, in a way that, forget about Republicans, did not exist not only under Obama but under Clinton or Carte,,” said Loomis. “This is the farthest left economic platform than anything you have seen since the 60s.” But, as he points out, the $15-an-hour wage Major and others were fighting for in 2012 is worth less than it was back then due to inflation, and will be worth even less in 2025, when a lot of states aim to hit that level. Nor has the campaign managed to establish unions in many fast-food outlets – at least not yet. “The answer is you just keep pressuring”, said Loomis. “In other words, don’t be satisfied with $15. It is time for 20.”

Dominic Rushe in ‘Hopefully it makes history’: Fight for $15 closes in on mighty win for US workers (Guardian)