Working New Yorkers Respond to Attempted Coup at Nation's Capitol
New York City Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO President Vincent Alvarez:
This week, working families across our city and nation were witness to one of the darkest days in our history, as a violent mob stormed the U.S. Capitol in an effort to overturn a free and fair election and prevent a peaceful and constitutional transfer of power. Freedom of speech is one of our most fundamental principles, and every American has the right to protest and to make their voices heard. But that's not what this was. Wednesday's events, instigated by Donald Trump and his enablers, constituted an unprecedented attack on our democracy from within our own borders. Not only were our members of Congress and their staffs threatened, so was the safety of the thousands of hard working men and women who keep our Capitol running. All Americans must come together to not only condemn these attacks, but to hold accountable those within our own government who poured fuel on the fire by spreading lies and inciting their followers to politically motivated violence.
What happened yesterday in Washington, D.C. was shocking and unacceptable. For hours, a nation watched white supremacy on display in an illegal attempt to overturn the will of the people and disenfranchise millions of voters in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Arizona and around the nation.
There must be consequences and there must be accountability, not just for those who recklessly stormed the Capitol and disrupted the transition, but for the politicians who have shamefully incited this behavior with a steady stream of disinformation and hate.
Actors’ Equity was proud to endorse and support Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in the 2020 election. Never has their work been more important. We look forward to having a president who will uphold his oath of office.
AFM Local 802 President Adam Krauthamer:
As musicians, our response to the violent riot this week at the U.S. Capitol building is direct and comes from our heart and soul. As Leonard Bernstein once said: ‘This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before.’ Local 802 condemns the hateful speech and lies of outgoing president Donald Trump and we agree with our ally Senator Chuck Schumer that Trump must go now. We appreciate the brave law enforcement officers who stood their ground and we call for justice for those who broke the law. Finally, we celebrate the incoming leadership of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, and we look forward to working with the new Democratic majority in Congress to help pass legislation that will benefit musicians and all working people.
Committee of Interns and Residents/SEIU President Dr. Keriann Shalvoy, Executive Vice-President Dr. Darshan Patel, and Secretary-Treasurer Dr. Greg Gabrellas:
On Wednesday, an armed crowd of pro-fascist rioters, galvanized by Donald Trump’s vitriol, raided the U.S. Capitol building in an attempt to silence our nation’s voice–a voice that has undeniably demanded change. At the time, our representatives were in the midst of upholding the election process that is a cornerstone of our democracy by certifying the results of the 2020 Presidential election.
The laws that exist to protect our rights to vote freely, maintain due process, organize unions, and much more have been born out of centuries of struggle against those in power who would rather continue to withhold these rights. Trump has knowingly aided and abetted this anti-democratic movement since he was a candidate for the Presidential office. After his election, he continued by installing anti-worker judges and agents, and yesterday it escalated to inciting an attempted coup of our democratically elected government in the service of maintaining his power. So we must ask, where will it stop?
We, as physicians and union members, must stand for democracy over authoritarian rule. Our desire and ability to enact policies for the greater good hang in the balance. We will not stand aside while our rights and our democracy are openly and violently threatened.
We call for Trump to be removed from office immediately.
Local 338 RWDSU/UFCW:
Our democracy is centered on a peaceful transition of power and the American people spoke loud and clear on November 3rd. We are horrified by today's events and condemn attempts to intimidate our public servants who were ready to certify the results of our election.
Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) President Stuart Appelbaum:
The events that occurred in our nation’s capital yesterday should have horrified all people living in our country. The very act of storming the U.S. Capitol in the name of overturning this election directly undermines our democracy. At the same time, we are dismayed by the wholly inadequate response from law enforcement officials.
Throughout the pandemic, we have seen a historic movement for racial justice grow in this country. Unfortunately, the response from the President, law enforcement, and the national guard at many Black Lives Matter rallies throughout our cities could not have been more different. It pains us to watch the security at the Capitol put up little to no resistance as they both let in and escorted out the people attempting this coup against our nation. We have to be clear - the probable reason that this coup attempt was not dealt with in the same way as the Black Lives Matter rallies was because the people attempting it were white and not seen as threatening. We must call this out and take a stand against the deep racism that allows a situation like this to take place.
“It cannot be lost on us that Donald Trump encouraged his supporters to “take action” and “stand by” for January 6th as he continues to spread conspiracies and lies about the results of this election. In the labor movement, we’re used to employers using these same kinds of tactics to undermine workers’ rights and keep working people disempowered. As a union, we know how to overcome division and bring people from many different backgrounds together with a common goal for justice. Although Trump lost this election, we can’t expect this way of thinking to disappear once he is removed from office. We need to join together across race, gender, and class lines to push back against Trumpian logic and this rise of the far right. Our democracy depends on it.