Stay In Touch!

From Tom Laney
November 11, 2003

[Tom Laney retired recently after 31 years at Ford. Here is a message from him about what he did on his last day at the plant in St. Paul as he said his good-byes to his fellow members of UAW Local 879. Tom is an editor and frequent writer for New Democracy.]

My eight-year-old granddaughter, Laney Erin Henehan, walked around our plant today with me on my last day of work. She took some pictures and helped me pass out these flyers:

Stay in touch!

October 29, 2003

Dear Friends,

The past 31 years have been interesting! Our country and union have changed radically. We've watched the strikes and struggles of many friends broken inside and outside our plant. 35 million Americans now live in poverty as a result of a traitorous, provincial, dog eat dog "labor movement." The politicians go to war to cover their ass and the 20 million jobs they've stolen from us. And all the union rules others won for us and that so many of us defended, are now in serious jeopardy.

In spite of all this, hundreds of ordinary workers  in our plant continue to fight for what is fair, and have never stopped supporting each other. The real rules of our work place: don't ask for favors, back each other up, fight for fair jobs, draw a line between dog eat dog and solidarity....those rules -  more important than any contract  - are rules which came out of generations of ordinary autoworkers and ran the shop floor when I started here in 1972. We may not run the floor anymore but those rules continue to be defended by heroic people in our local union. Those local heroes and heroines have been called many names: commies, socialists, plant closers and old fashioned radicals.

I just call them my friends. Because of them I get to retire today.

I would like to stay in touch with all my good solidarity friends. I think retirement is an opportunity to start a revolution and we need all the help we can get. I believe we must start an entirely new and independent solidarity movement and I will be working for New Democracy (ND)  in that direction. (Our principles are on the back side.) This quote sums up the ND view of what's needed: "I believe that the basis for a truly democratic society can be found in the values and relationships of ordinary working people. I maintain that the people who do the productive labor of society - who mine its coal, build its cars, care for its sick, teach its children - have goals and values which fundamentally conflict with the goals and values of the class of people who control the society and reap the rewards of this labor. Most people believe in equality and in commitment to each other. Revolutionary democracy means changing all the relationships and institutions in society to reflect the values of solidarity and equality." - (We CAN Change the World by Dave Stratman)

I will also be working on a meeting of ordinary workers after the first of the year. Everyone who believes in solidarity is invited to help form a planning committee for this meeting. We would like to talk about what's happening to us and how we can begin a new democratic, solidarity movement along the lines of the Civil Rights and Populist Movements.

Please help form this meeting if you can possibly spare the time. Email me at: or call (715) 962-4365 or write me at E6304 866th Ave., Colfax, WI 54730.

Many thanks for 31 years of solidarity. Whatever happens, let's stay in touch.

Go Packers!

Tom Laney

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