On Saturday night, the final plenary of the US Social Forum 2007 was a plenary on workers’ rights in the global economy. Stewart Acuff, AFL-CIO Director of Organizing (who spoke at the Burlington Labor Day parade last year), eloquently detailed the class war being waged against workers by corporations and the wealthy, and suggested that “we give them some class war in return.” The panel also featured speakers from SEIU, the National Day Labor Organizing Network, and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. Stealing the show was Ai-jen Poo of Domestic Workers United in New York City, who described the struggles of domestic workers in New York and DWU’s successes in organizing these “unorganizable” workers. She recalled a little-known strike by African-American domestic workers in Atlanta in the 1880s, which shut down the city as the wealthy found themselves unable to keep their households going without this labor, and announced at, at the USSF, DWU and other groups had formed a new national domestic workers’ association, the first such national organization in several decades. Asked what her vision of the labor movement was, she said that her vision of the labor movement was one where “when we call a strike of domestic workers, we will be calling a strike not just for the rights of domestic workers, but for the rights of all workers, for an end to the war in Iraq, for an end to oppression, and for the interests of the whole working class.”

The photo at the top of this post is by Ruby Sinreich