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Job Action and Legislation

For example, as workers and as members of communities, we want oil storage and chemical plants kept to safe places, away from where we and our fellow workers live. One method is to try to get laws passed, and then try to have them enforced.

Much simpler, much more reliable, and certainly much more helpful in developing our capacity to solve our own problems, would be for us to refuse to build in what we consider unsafe places, and for us to refuse to work in plants that endanger any community. Laws are usually based on actual practice. It is best for labor to concern itself with controlling actual practice; that makes good lawmaking easy and bad lawmaking hard. The lawmakers are mindful of the powerful ones in society.

One Big Union makes labor all powerful. Once labor is properly organized, the lawmakers will be duly mindful of it. If they aren't, it will not matter, for what happens from then on is what the organized working class decides to make happen.

To unite the working class industrially, it is of course necessary to avoid such practices as high union dues, closed books, racial, religious, or political discrimination. What is needed is One Big Union of all workers no matter what their language, what their beliefs, or what the color of their skin may be. In the union all are equal because we are all equally used by the same system. What the majority decides about any industrial question is the decision by which all must abide. For that reason it is out of order to attempt to reach decisions about questions not related to industry.

Next page: Efficient Unionism