Stewart Acuff

Feb 14

British Columbia

British Columbia will be the place to be this April and May as the New Democratic Party makes a very strong run in Canada’s elections. The NDP is a real workers’ and progressive party to its core. They have had their first successes in Quebec and now they aim to win in British Columbia.

I am determined to find a way to get back up here with my West Tennessee twang that still sounds like Jerry Lee Lewis on a bad day, and help with the street level grassroots effort. I’d love to help train precinct walkers and door knockers. And I’d love to help recruit union member volunteers. What a great example we would have in the United States if Canada were to elect a truly progressive workers’ party – and what a great message and example that would be for our Democratic Party.

Yesterday here in British Columbia was great. The day started in our organizing course with the president of the BC Federation of Labour doing a very compelling presentation on the decline of private sector union membership and union density. While Canada’s overall union density has remained about 30% which sounds great, if you go inside the numbers, the decline in private sector membership is very troubling.

Canada has not been spared the assault on workers and unions by rightwing governments and multinational corporations that plagues now so much of the world.

There is such an obscene irony in those who continue to accumulate vast amounts of the world’s wealth lecturing those of us suffering loss of our standard of living that workers must accept austerity and must be disciplined to accept a continuing decline in our quality of life.

I read from Playing Bigger Than You Are: A Life in Organizing last night and spoke. I got a wonderful reaction from my brothers and sisters. There is remarkable power in reminding trade unionists why we do what we do, the values we share of compassion, justice, love, and acceptance of all people. These values have animated and inspired the best of us throughout human history and these values must be reasserted in the face of the assaults by the huge and bloated banks, the rapacious corporations and the anti-democratic, anti-human freedom rightwing political parties and governments.


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Stewart Acuff is the former organizing Director of the AFL-CIO. Acuff has also written two books: Playing Bigger Than You Are: A Life in Organizing, and Getting America Back to Work.

Playing Bigger Than You Are - A Life in OrganizingGet the e-book edition of Playing Bigger Than You Are by clicking here!

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  1. Peter

    February 14, 2013


    I think your absolutely right. I’m with you all the way.

  2. Karen

    February 14, 2013


    Right on Brother! We’re forever committed to protecting the rights and dignity of working people in this province.

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