By James Thompson

HOUSTON – After a period of relative quiescence in the wake of the Bush anti-labor excesses, working people are waking up and smelling the coffee. They are becoming part of the mix of the Occupy Wall Street movement and will play an important role. Labor was definitely present in the Occupy Houston actions and we are poised to play a leading role in the near future.

Many pundits are opining that the Occupy Wall Street has no direction and is “leaderless.” Of course, such talking heads only are fulfilling their corporate dictated roles to disrupt, demean and disrespect any working class movement. The Occupy Wall Street movement is only in its initial stages, so no one can predict where it will go. As the song from the Grateful Dead goes, “I’m not sure where we’re going, but we’re going someplace for sure.”

As the right wing whines about “class warfare” many commentators have pointed out that the wealthy have been doing a bang up job of conducting class warfare for a long time. The wealthy are well funded, organized and have been employing sound tactics. When the working class responds, the wealthy cry foul because they know they are outnumbered.

Which leads us to one of the main points of the Occupy protests: “We are the 99%!” What do they mean by this? By 99% they are referring to the majority of the people who have no say so over decisions which affect our country as opposed to the 1% who control the vast majority of the wealth produced by working people. As long as we have vast resources under the control of the ultra-wealthy, we will have wars, and bail outs. Education, health care and all public services will be cut. Jobs will be cut to increase profits and homes will be seized and many people will be left penniless and on the street.

So what are the demands of the workers now? It is fairly clear to those who understand the condition of the working class. It is unfathomable to the wealthy owners of the corporations.

Working people are demanding an end to the greatest disparity in income ever seen in the history of this country. Working people are demanding jobs with benefits so that they can sustain their families. Working people are demanding dignity and respect on the job. Working people are demanding an end to the endless imperialistic wars in the middle East and Africa.

Working people are demanding the right to organize and collectively bargain. Working people around the world are fed up with austerity and cuts to programs which benefit the working class and their children. The working class is demanding on an international scale their fair share of the wealth they have created.

These demands are simple and direct and would result in an improvement in working conditions for U.S. workers.

Continuing to ignore these demands will only result in further alienation of the working class and none of us know where that might lead. It could lead to socialism and worker’s democracy. Wake up, Wall Street, the specter of a real working class movement is haunting the world!