Governor, right wing seek to undermine workers’ unions

What can students do in the special election? First, CSU students are numerous enough that if they would show up to vote, they could actually make a difference in the election. It matters if you vote, so please do and if some friendly advice would help – VOTE NO ON PROPOSITION 75 it is my mantra these days – say NO, say NO, just say NO.

Vote no on Proposition 75 because union members are not the ruling class of California, no matter what Gov. Schwarzenegger, the right wing zealots behind his agenda and other political operatives they pay off say on television. First and foremost, I am writing to encourage you to vote in the forthcoming special election and in the process to fight back against the greedy corporate interests behind this governor and his right wing nut backers. Recent attack ads by the Governor and others against unions have filled the airwaves with half truths, filled them full of lies, and passed along outright and deliberate distortions of the power dynamics in California. Now, just in time for the special election, an election these same ideological forces forced on California at a cost of tens of millions of your tax dollars, they blame unions for the problems that they could not cure themselves – they do not blame this failing governor, not their corporate greed, not their hateful agendas.

Many of us do not appreciate their spending our tax money for an unnecessary election nor do we appreciate their attacks against the integrity of union members and against the important work of so many of the unionized faculty, staff and others on the CSUN campus. They are trying to insure their individual and collective futures, and are the same people who work for the students, and the same folk who try to fulfill the promise of this institution – a peoples university where everyone can get an education. We are in union against such radical conservative social forces and they are strong and united in their zeal to crush anyone who opposes their power grab. Which side should you be on? If you do not support the corporate greed among us and do not support the right wing nuts who back this governor. Vote no on Prop. 75.

The governor, the large corporate interests behind him, and the political zealots behind both are counting on you, yes counting on the fact that the students of CSUN will stay away on Nov. 8 and be silent. That’s why they called a special election where people do not normally vote as readily as regular elections and that is why they are using the badgering tone in their campaign ads – both are geared toward making people not feel like voting at all. Rest assured that student votes do matter and Scwarzenegger knows and fears this fact. Also, please note that there are real stakes for the CSU in general and CSUN students especially, in this election – for example what about funding for enough classes, more student fee hikes, will we have enough teachers and will they stay around to teach these classes? These are a few examples of why this election is important. A no on Proposition 75 vote sends a clear message – I am student/faculty/staff – hear me roar against your corporate agenda, against your political backers, against you Mr. Governor.

So when you listen to the attacks ads, remember that they misstate the facts and in their politically inspired zeal forget/fail to recognize what is at risk in this election: faculty and staff, student access to education, public funding for education, and the many other things unions stand up for in their daily work. We as union members see this as the first stage in a coordinated attack against students, faculty and staff – this is not an isolated event where it is just OK to turn a blind eye to the future. That is why we focus on defeating Propositions 75 – it is a critical issue – it is the first shot in a war. We understand this and will fight back. Once again, just say No to the greedy corporate interests and No to the zealots behind the governor – Vote NO on Proposition 75. They are not the friends of unions, not the friends of students, and they are not friends of the public at large. They do not hold our interests in their hearts; they hold greed and avarice as their special interest. One thing is clear – this is class warfare from the rich and against working folks, against those who will not engage the political process, warfare against you and me.

Do we want a Wal-Mart-like public service economy where we all would qualify for food stamps, have no health insurance, and face a future with the half-empty promise of Social Security as our only means to live out our golden years. That is what faculty, staff, and the students who will someday replace us as professors at this institution would envision as a future for California – Just Vote NO on Proposition 75.

It is a fact of modern life that public employees need to lobby the legislators to pay attention to their needs. Unlike the customers and stock holders of multinational corporations, if union members are angry, they can opt out of the voluntary dues portion of their paycheck deduction. Read that again, we can opt out and the commercials are not telling the truth when they state otherwise. Maybe corporations should be required to publish a truth in lying document detailing their advocacy work in the political arena. Until that happens, hampering unions is unfair and not in the interests of the public. Vote no on Proposition 75.

If the large multinational corporations and fanatical conservative voices behind the governor are the answer then I do not want that future: a workingman’s and workingwoman’s Wal-Mart inspired nightmare in my opinion. I want my union as strong as possible to help fight the governor in his zeal for power, in his lust to take away everyone’s rights, in his zest to turn all of us into extras in his movie fantasy world. Just say no to him, just vote no on Proposition 75.

These are some of the reasons why it is critical to vote against Proposition 75 and Propositions 73, 74, 76, 77, 78 – to stop the abuse of power of this governor, greedy corporations and his backers, the right wing zealots. Vote no on Proposition 75 and tell this impostor of a governor that he lied to us. He is really one of them, and he turned out to be in their back pocket. Get out your vote and those of your family and friends to counteract this power grab – say no by voting no – VOTE ON NOV. 8. Tell those greedy corporations and class warmongers that they are a scourge on society, not the unions of hard working people who they attack. Tell them no on Proposition 75.

James David Ballard is an associate professor in the Sociology Department and president of the CSUN chapter of the California Faculty Association.