Video: Union power erupts in Indiana

INDIANAPOLIS – Tens of thousands of union members and their supporters flooded into this city, Indiana’s state capital, March 10, in defense of union rights. (Video below.) Official estimates ranged between 20,000 and 32,000. United Steelworkers District 7 alone brought 50 buses from around the state and from Illinois.

The crowd was electric with excitement and militancy. As one steelworker retiree put it, “If the speakers had called on us to take over the Statehouse, we would have done it. And cold as it is if they had said ‘lets march on Washington,’ we would have done that too.

The mood was also festive. Electrical workers and teachers danced and sang to the music from the stage before the speakers began. All kinds of chants broke out: “One day longer!” and “This is what democracy looks like!” and “Hell no, we won’t go,” in solidarity with union rights supporters occupying the Wisconsin Statehouse.

At one point a lone tea-bagger made his way to the front of the crowd and tried to heckle the speakers. Unlike last years tea bag events there was no violence and no nasty name-calling. They did, however, drown him out with chants of “Union, union.”

Led by a veteran teacher to begin the program the crowd sang a rousing “America the Beautiful.” It very much reflected a theme of the rally that workers’ rights are democratic rights and the country does not belong to the rich, the powerful and the corporations. Summing up the rally program a steelworker in the crowd was heard saying he thought the speeches were great and he thought the speakers were all trying to outdo Eugene Debs, the legendary labor leader (from Terre Haute, Ind.) and socialist.

Indy Rally March 10-2011 from Scott Marshall on Vimeo.





Scott Marshall
Scott Marshall

Scott Marshall is chair of the Communist Party's Labor Commission. Scott grew up in Virginia where he first became active in the civil rights movement in high school, working on voter registration and anti-Klan projects in rural Southern Virginia and Tennessee. He was also active against the war in Vietnam. Scott has been a life long trade unionist and was active in rank and file reform movements in the Teamsters, Machinists and Steelworkers unions in the 1970s and '80s. He was co-chair of the Save Our Jobs committee of USWA local 1834 at Pullman Standard in Chicago and active in nationwide organizing against plant shutdowns and layoffs. He was a founder of the unemployed organization Jobs or Income Now (Join), in Chicago, and the National Congress of Unemployed Organizations in the 1980s. Scott remains active in SOAR (Steelworkers Active Organized Retirees). He lives in Chicago.