As a Teamster, it was hard for me not to think that the union I was in, somewhat mirrored your organization – your Apostles, your mission and vision, your message, followers and campaigns, all that seems akin to the work of a union. As a union democratic reformer, I witnessed corruption in our organization that resembled the same issues that you were upset with in your followers – our labor temple, the union, wrought with money changers and good people drugged by power, influence and titles.
Yet, it was reforming our union that was on our table. We knew the power of the union was when we stood, hand in hand. We knew the union was a tool that we were using to fight the same powers that you were fighting – governments, powerful people, greedy CEOs and it seemed to me that we clearly understood that we were organizing for the little people.
Today is the day your followers celebrate the day of your resurrection three days after your execution. I see today as the day you were put into action!
In my union we know:
Direct Action. Gets The Goods!
An Injury To One, Is An Injury To All!
And although, I am not what some would call a Christian, I feel a deep solidarity with your message.
Love thy neighbor,
give your money to the poor,
the sermon on the mount,
blessed are the poor.
All that stuff. I got it.
To your followers, you became a martyr!
I must tell you that once I was a converted Muslim. in Islam, there is a tradition where you pray while on your daily journey to the Mosque. One day the Imam of the community, asked me what i pray for when I walked to the Islamic Center. I told him that I was praying that my brothers and sisters would understand your message. We called you Esa, and to Islamic people of faith, you are a very important Prophet.
An although I am not a Muslim now, I still feel a deep solidarity with Islam, especially the Sufis. They are somewhat the reformers of their faith and are sometimes still violently persecuted by the fundamentalists of their own religion. I think what i am trying to say to you Brother is:
We have a martyr in our union whose name was Joe Hill. He was shot by the copper bosses in the State of Utah. He was shot by firing line in a very public execution. And just like you, he looked his oppressors straight in the eye and kept his composure throughout the entire trial and execution. His last spoken words on this earth were:
Ready, Aim, Fire!
It has been over 100 years since Joe Hill was murdered for speaking out against greed. His songs liken your parables, were hard hitting and are still taught in institutions and sung by his followers. His ashes are in a shrine, in a labor temple also known as the I.W.W. General Headquarters in Chicago, USA.
As union people, we know that Joe Hill never died! His spirit lives on in the hearts of every union person who still, after all seems lost, can find the courage in their hearts to not mourn, but to organize! Even in the face of a jeer from a distraught fellow worker, being red baited, black listed, in the heaviness of a lost strike or after a long day working as a wage slave, we find faith in ourselves as union people in the One Big Union!
today I pray that your followers will understand the message that you gave to them. I, as a universally faithful person, be it that i am very wary of the institutions created by people, know that your story has been well preserved and in that preservation
you also have never died.
Solidarity to you,
Say hello to Sitting Bull for me.
amen, and women too.