Points of Unity of the Queens Fast Food Coordinating Committee

Below are the Points of Unity of the Queens Fast Food Coordinating Committee, close comrades of ours from NYC. We find these points of unity helpful in our ongoing quest to build an intermediate level organization in Philly.

1. Capitalism has used the cheapening of food to lower the wages of all workers, fast food workers included. This one simple statement, shows that capitalism and workers are enemies. The less fast food workers are paid, the lower food can be priced. The lower the cost of food, the less bosses have to pay all workers to survive. Therefore, any attacks on fast food workers, are an attack on all workers.

2. To win serious gains in fast food, we must organize ourselves, and other workers. Those other workers are the poor, the unemployed, and the undocumented. They are Black, Latin@, White, Asian, Indigenous, Arab, West Indian. They are straight, gay, trans, and bi­sexual. We cannot win on our own.

We need to work together with all those who are part of fast food. This means high school students who come to hang out, mothers who feed their children, and workers who eat lunch. These are the people who hang out at the places we work. They are some of the first people affected by the actions we take. We are also for organizing with workers who bring the bread, the milk, and the meat to our restaurants. We are for organizing workers who pick the lettuce and tomatoes, in fields far away from New York City. We need their solidarity, as much as they need ours.

3. We are not for creating a union. We are not for joining the SIEU, but why? Unions in the U.S. no longer represent workers. They crush workers democracy. They work with the company destroying any chance of real victories for workers. They divide workers from each other. They are more interested in passing minimum wage legislation, than building the power of workers and communities, to determine the conditions of our labor and lives. We are for building organizations which unite all fast food workers, and the communities who depend on them.

4. We are for militant actions against all fast food corporations. This means strikes,occupations, workplace slow downs, and pickets. We are for building a democratic workers’ led movement. We are for taking control of our workplaces, and running them in a way that serves the needs of the workers and the community, not the bosses’ profits.

5. We are against working with the Democratic, or Republican parties. The two parties play the role of cops. One is the good cop and the other is the bad cop, but both work for the wealthy, ruling class. Anyone who has seen a movie knows, this is just a trick to divide and conquer. We are against third parties as well. Politics is something we must do together, and should not be something elected officials do for us.

6. We are for constantly understanding and developing ideas, and strategies to what is happening in the Fast Food industry. Workers who are educated about capitalism, fast food, and how they are exploited to work, are less likely to be defeated by the boss.

7. This struggle is not just about $15/ hour. It is much more. This is about how we work, and how we are treated. As long as we have managers and bosses, the best we can hope for is being treated better, but it always means we are not treated as full humans. This struggle is about the health of children and friends, it’s about what is happening to millions of people in the U.S. with low paying jobs, it’s about how miserable we are at work, as well as how corporations feed us low grade food (like animals), to keep everyone’s wages low. If we do not recognize our own importance and power, then who will?

We must see, that what we do together can change the world, even though we are only fast food workers.


Nuestros Puntos de Unidad

1. El capitalismo ha utilizado el abaratamiento de los alimentos para bajar los salarios de todos los trabajadores, incluidos los trabajadores de comida rápida. Esta simple declaración, demuestra que el capitalismo y los trabajadores son enemigos. Cuanto menos los jefes pagan a los trabajadores de comida rápida, más barata que pueden vender la comida que hacen. Cuanto menor es el costo de los alimentos, menos los jefes tienen que pagar a todos los trabajadores para sobrevivir. Por lo tanto, los ataques contra los trabajadores de comida rápida, son un ataque a todos los trabajadores.

2. Para lograr mejoras reales en la comida rápida, debemos organizarnos y otros trabajadores. Los otros trabajadores son los pobres, los desempleados y los indocumentados. Son Negro, Latin @, blancos, asiáticos, indígenas, árabes y del Caribe. Son heterosexuales, homosexuales, transexuales y bisexuales. No podemos ganar por nosotros mismos.

Tenemos que trabajar juntos con todos los que forman parte de la comida rápida. Esto significa que los estudiantes de secundaria que vienen a pasar el rato, a las madres que alimentan a sus hijos, y los trabajadores que comen el almuerzo. Estas son las personas que están por ahí en los lugares en los que trabajamos. Son algunas de las primeras personas afectadas por las acciones que tomamos. También a favor de la organización de los trabajadores que traen el pan, la leche y la carne de nuestros restaurantes nos. Estamos a favor de la organización de los trabajadores que cosechan las lechugas y tomates, en las granjas lejos de la ciudad de Nueva York. Necesitamos su solidaridad, tanto como la nuestra necesitan.

3. No estamos a favor de crear un sindicato. No estamos para unirse a la SIEU. ¿Por qué? Los sindicatos de los EE.UU. ya no representan a los trabajadores. Suprimen la democracia obrera. Colaboran con la corporación, destruyendo cualquier posibilidad de victorias reales de los trabajadores. Se dividen los trabajadores el uno del otro. Están más interesados ​​en pasar legislación sobre el salario mínimo, que la construcción del poder de los trabajadores y las comunidades, para determinar las condiciones de nuestro trabajo y de vida. Estamos a favor de la creación de organizaciones que unen a todos los trabajadores de comida rápida, y las comunidades que dependen de ellos.

4. Estamos a favor de acciones militantes en contra de todas las corporaciones de comida rápida. Esto significa huelgas, ocupaciones, ralentizaciones lugar de trabajo, y los piquetes. Estamos a favor de la construcción de un movimiento democrático liderado por los trabajadores. Estamos a favor de tomar el control de nuestros lugares de trabajo, y funcionando de una manera que sirva a las necesidades de los trabajadores y la comunidad, y no las ganancias de los jefes.

5. Estamos en contra de trabajar con los partidos Demócrata o Republicano. Las dos partes juegan el papel de policías. Uno de ellos es el poli bueno y el otro es el policía malo, pero ambos trabajan para la clase dominante. Cualquiera que haya visto una película sabe, esto es sólo un truco para dividir y conquistar. Estamos en contra de los “partidos terceros” también. La política es algo que debemos hacer juntos, y no debe ser algo que los funcionarios electos hacen por nosotros.

6. Estamos a favor de la constante desarrollo de nuevas ideas y estrategias sobre lo que está sucediendo en la industria de comida rápida. Los trabajadores que se eduquen sobre el capitalismo, la comida rápida, y la forma de su explotación, tienen menos probabilidades de ser derrotado por el jefe.

7. Esta lucha no es sólo alrededor de $ 15 / hora. Es mucho más. Esto es sobre cómo trabajamos y cómo nos tratan. Mientras existan gerentes y jefes, lo mejor que podemos esperar es que se está tratando mejor, pero nunca como seres humanos completos. Esta lucha es por la salud de los niños y amigos, se trata de lo que está sucediendo a millones de personas en los EE.UU. con trabajos mal pagados, se trata de lo miserable que estamos en el trabajo. Se trata de cómo algunas corporaciones nos alimentan mal (como animales), de modo que otras corporaciones pueden mantener los salarios bajos. Si no reconocemos nuestra propia importancia y poder, ¿quién lo hará?

Debemos ver que juntos podemos cambiar el mundo, a pesar de que somos sólo trabajadores de la alimentación rápidas.

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3 thoughts on “Points of Unity of the Queens Fast Food Coordinating Committee

  1. I am re-posting my thoughts on the QFFCC from their website:

    Comrades:

    Indeed the combativeness of this section of working class is refreshing and offers us as pro-revolutionary socialists a number of ways to participate in their struggle. We are against all attempts by the bosses and their allies–the labor bureaucrats–to defuse and deceive all workers from going beyond their reach. What are the bosses saying? But moreover, what are the workers saying? Answers to such questions demand acute attention, as they are beginning to organize for themselves. We must consider therefore why so many show up to the picket line, and yet are still are not always clear as to what the future may hold in store for them. Once we recognize the immediate reality, we can begin to draw up a concrete strategy that pushes workers a step further in their thinking, in their consciousness.

    What we might learn in talking with workers is that among them they possess often in the same moment, wildly antagonistic viewpoints with various shades of doubt. What’s up with that? Workers are born not into a vacuum-sealed world of working-class ideas, but of bourgeois ideas–of bourgeois consciousness. Upbringing, experience, geography…workers do not all possess the same level of determination and grit to fight the boss, and even those militants have times understanding the limitations of their struggle. Workers learn from action, but they also learn from each other while they participate in a strike, arguing, debating, and attempting to win each other to their own distinct position. But in class struggle, there are really only two sides: those which try to advance the struggle, and those who try to tone it down. It is why class consciousness then comes in what Lenin described as “layers”, because it takes into consideration the uneven development of different workers and their experiences.

    A further problem is that if socialism requires a mass movement of workers and the oppressed to overthrow capitalism and the state, it would would mean that socialists would have to bring on as many workers on board as possible. How one executes a program, how one organizes based on a layered and uneven level of class consciousness is perhaps the most important part of the kind of project to consider.

    But in handing this leaflet out, there will be workers who may or may not have voted for de Blasio, who may or may not be active in organizing a union, who may or may not be that mistrusting of their managers or supervisors–who in fact will fight against their coworkers in the final hour. You have indeed not led or organized this strike, but in fact have encountered it. To lay open program which rejects more than it approves, to assume that all are on board, fails to grasp the importance of trying to see where the tide is going, and right now, it seems, it is going in the direction of unionization.

    The challenge is as follows: You do not want to stand outside of this tide. At all. Rather, you want to actively fight for what the workers say they want, and at the same time, figure out how to push their thought process. Put it more concretely, you want to raise the banner of the union demands, because that is what they want, and then challenge the workers–what will you do when the union doesn’t come through with their promises? What will you do when the boss begins to fight back, and fight back hard, even after they have capitulated to $15/hr, to having a union in their shop?

    I leave you with those thoughts for now, and look forward to hearing your thoughts on anything written.

    Comradely,

    JD

    • JD, thanks for your thoughts. I am still thinking this through, but i’d argue that for considerable sections of the proletariat class, particularly for younger people in the old industrial cores, where unionization has long run its course, new union campaigns and the Fight for 15$ campaigns signal more of the same stultifying business and service unionism, and a spineless professional activism–it is already clear to many that these campaigns are not based in a method of autonomous workplace/community organization, but instead in one of lobbying the state to regulate capital. People might not use those exact words, but nonetheless, I’ve heard many young people express that these campaigns are bullshit for those basic reasons. Although some workers will still throw themselves into the strategy of trying to reform capital, others are quickly discarding it after having briefly tried it out, while many younger people have never counted on it.

      As you touch on, there are many contradictions and inconsistencies within working class consciousness. Nonetheless, no matter how inconsistent and confused at first, or trapped within trade union strategies and bourgeois hegemony, every act of rebellion against capitalist power can develop into a revolutionary movement. We can and should participate in trade union struggles, just as in other reformist struggles, for this reasons. Given the crisis of class struggle, we have no other choice but to participate in predominantly reformist struggles. That is the situation we face right now. There are no revolutionary struggles. However, we can participate in these reformist struggles while openly rejecting the dominant ideologies and strategies that hold them back, while offering a revolutionary perspective, strategy, and tactics derived from the self-activity of the most revolutionary layers of the class.

      The question is not one of whether to participate in unionization and other reformist campaigns or not; the question is one of what method and overall strategy to use. Are we contributing to the development, self-expression, and action of independent working class struggles? or are we contributing to their bureaucratization and co-optation? The role of revolutionaries in this process is not to simultaneously win over everyone all at once, at all costs, but instead, to identify and coalesce around a revolutionary layer, which can act as a vector for all other revolutionary layers. It has always been the most revolutionary sections of the oppressed which start the trouble, which then resounds among other sections. The struggle develops into a mass participatory movement as the vector transmits and generalizes the virus of social insubordination over the course of a protracted period.

      First take a pro-union, or pro-fight for 15 position in the beginning of a struggle, only to then renounce it when the campaign inevitably fails to satisfy the workers? Or critically support unionization, and Fight for 15 for now, and then say “I told you so” when it finally betrays the workers? It will be too late to raise more radical perspectives if we wait until the moment when the dominant reformist strategies and methods fail.

  2. Hi Arturo,

    Thanks for your considerate response, I think there are points where we agree, and some where we diverge, so I want to address on a few of them you’ve brought up:

    In New York City, thousands participated in what was an organizing strike action several times last year. One was located very close to where I live and the enthusiasm and zeal was quite evident. It was also evident during the earlier initiative of Hot n’ Crusty workers, who also gained a union out of fighting–with active socialist involvement on the part of the Internationalist Group. Now, class consciousness is varied and it can be reflected in different ways. There are militants and agitators from within the class who become impatient, and others who aren’t, regardless of their age. But it would be a mistake to assume that strikes or even riots are ways of challenging capital in a manner that is anything but revolutionary and does at least in this period of American labor struggle, lead to reformism. Most workers are at this level of consciousness, if not worse. And that’s why communist intervention must be both polemical, but also patient.

    …Which is why when it comes to strategy, those advanced layers of the class will instinctively know how to argue and (hopefully) win over other sections of the class from within a strike to advance the struggle. The problem with the QFFCC is the pre-figurative politics of socialism, where one abstracts their political struggle from the coordinates of the class struggle and advocating a heavy petit-bourgeois idealism and voluntarism. This is why their program will necessarily fail and chances are attract the more cynical elements of the strike that will unfortunately/ultimately reflect back to them as a lesson on the strength of reformism, which in turn will be articulated as “the irreversible degeneracy of trade unions”. Or something along those lines. It’s self-reinforcing politics that is in my mind not very helpful to understanding short-term and long-term tasks which need to be material gains and need to be simultaneously political reflections in order to push consciousness.

    That is why it is important to raise the banner of revolutionary socialism while at the same time recognizing the importance of backing attempts for workers to win material concessions. The opportunist method would be to, as you say, advocate for one position, and then when the circumstance is overcome, reject or deny it ex post facto. One could say something to the effect: “If you want this union, we will support and fight with you, but realize that this is not a panacea to all of your problems, it is only the beginning of a much-larger fight.”

    Comradely,

    JD

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