Saturday, September 30, 2023

Baltimore Activist Alert – October 1 to 2, 2023

Baltimore Activist Alert – October 1 to 2, 2023

"I speak as an American to the leaders of my own nation. The great initiative in this war is ours. The initiative to stop it must be ours." -Martin Luther King Jr.

Friends, this list and other email documents which I send out are done under the auspices of the Baltimore Nonviolence Center.  Go to

  If you appreciate this information and would like to make a donation, send contributions to Max Obuszewski, BNC, 431 Notre Dame Lane, Apt. 206, Baltimore, MD 21212.  Max can be reached at 410-323-1607 or mobuszewski2001 [at]

1] Books, buttons and stickers

2] Web site for info on federal legislation\

3] Need help in archiving activist material    

4] Max is looking for tips on a garage or a storage suggestion.

5] Support the Pratt Workers United

6] Get the book Surely Goodness and Mercy by Murphy Davis

7] Get the book Male Supremacy in the Catholic Church: An Insider’s View by Roy Bourgeois

8] Alan Barysh has an audio book

9] Takoma Park Festival – Oct. 1

10] Affirmative Action – Oct. 1

11] Wheat pasters needed – Oct. 1

12] DSA meeting – Oct. 1

13] Organized Labor Rising – Oct. 1

14] Free Assange – Oct. 1

15] Turn Virginia blue – Oct. 1

16] Call to support the UAW – Oct. 1

17] Film Mediterranean Fever – Oct. 1

18] Electoral Working Group meeting Oct. 1

19] Protest at the Pentagon – Oct. 2


1] – Buttons, bumper stickers and books are available.  “God Bless the Whole World, No Exceptions” stickers are in stock. Call Max at 410-323-1607.

2] –To obtain information how your federal legislators voted on particular bills, go to  Congressional toll-free numbers are 888-818-6641, 888-355-3588 or 800-426-8073. The White House Comment Email is accessible at

3] –  Janice Sevre-Duszynska is looking for a helper in archiving her activist material.  If you are interested in this project, contact Max at 410-32301607 or mobuszewski2001 at Comcast dot net.

4] – Max is in need of a garage or a storage space.  Any suggestions would be welcome.  Contact Max at 410-323-1607 or mobuszewski2001 at Comcast dot net.

5] – The workers at the Enoch Pratt Free Library have started a drive to organize a union calling themselves Pratt Workers United.  Go to There is a letter of support for community members to sign at

"Pratt Library workers are forming a union, Pratt Workers United. We are seeking pay equity for all, safer working conditions, benefits for part-time workers, and a voice in decisions that affect our work.” The workers voted to unionize

6] – Consider getting HOSPITALITY, the newsletter of OPEN DOOR: A prophetic discipleship community honoring the Black Jesus, Dorothy Day and Martin Luther King, Jr. The September/October 2022 issue contains a wonderful review by Claire Schaeffer-Duffy of Surely Goodness and Mercy by Murphy Davis, reprinted from The Catholic Worker, March-April 2022.  Davis, a co-founder of the Open Door Community, died in 2020.   You can subscribe to the newsletter or buy a copy of the book by calling 404-290-2047 or by emailing

7] – Another book to consider purchasing is Male Supremacy in the Catholic Church: An Insider’s View by Roy Bourgeois. His new book is both memoir and position-paper, and it makes the case that the Roman Catholic Church is a corrupt system that spits out truth-tellers. The crime he was excommunicated for was attending the ordination ceremony of Janice Sevre-Duszynska in Lexington, Kentucky, in August 2008. The ordination was under the auspices of the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests.  The Vatican’s response has been to excommunicate any woman who has the audacity to see herself as a priest equal to a male priest. You can purchase a copy from Amazon or by Kindle.

  Here are two quotes to contemplate: “I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over men. She is to keep silent.” – Timothy 1, 2:12-13.  “If the patriarchy that dominates the church is not dismantled and women are not treated as equals, the church will continue to diminish and, eventually, die.” – Roy Bourgeois.

8] – Alan Barysh  [] hopes that you will purchase his audio book -- Shipyard Days and Nights and Other Baltimore Stories (Mostly true).  It's on Should this book hit the big time, Mr. Barysh says he will donate money to the Shipyard Retirees Association.

9] – On Sun., Oct. 1 from 10 AM to 5 PM ET, get over to the annual Takoma Park Street Festival on Carroll Ave. NW! Enjoy a full day of music, local makers and vendors, community groups and kids activities. You can also pick up some fresh goodies from the Takoma Park Farmers Market, which will run during its normal hours, from 10 AM to 2 PM. Organizers recommend that you walk or Metro as congestion may be high and parking limited. Visit

10] – Usually, the Baltimore Ethical Society, 2521 St. Paul St., Baltimore 21218, meets on Sundays, and usually there is a platform address at 10:30 AM ET.  On Oct. 1, the discussion will focus on “Affirmative Action.” Dr. Fred Pincus will describe how race-based affirmative action policies in higher education worked prior to the June 2023 Supreme Court decision. What does the decision mean for the future of affirmative action?

Fred L. Pincus is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of Maryland Baltimore County where he taught about race relations and diversity for 44 years. He is the author of Reverse Discrimination: Dismantling the Myth (2002) and the essay “Affirmative Action: Not the Harsh Impact on Whites That Some Assume” in Impacts of Racism on White Americans in the Age of Trump (2021) Visit

11] – The Metro DC DSA [] on Sun., Oct. 1 at 1 PM ET is doing a wheat pasting event for Political Education #2 at DuPont Circle NW, WDC 20036. Sign up to join a group wheat pasting leading up to the upcoming Big Tech and Capitalism: DC Walking Tour and Mt. Pleasant Socialist Night School.  Put up posters around the D.C. area. Wheat pasting involves anchoring posters on walls and light poles around town with a homemade organic glue -no experience needed! Sign up at

12] – The Metro DC DSA [] is holding a General Body Meeting on Sun., Oct. 1 at 2 PM ET. The meeting convenes all chapter members bi-monthly. Workgroups, caucuses, committees, and leadership provide key updates on campaigns and other activities. Members may also propose and vote on business. Members, potential members, and supporters alike are welcome to attend. This event is open to both DSA Members and supporters. RSVP at

13] – Alan Minsky for Progressive Democrats of America [] wants you to attend a Town Hall on Sun., Oct. 1 at 4 PM ET -- Organized Labor Rising. Focus on the dynamic rebirth of Organized Labor, and celebrate the excellent contract won by the striking Writers Guild of America.  Discuss the political and economic significance of the moment; and most importantly get ready for PDA's solidarity actions in support of striking UAW workers!

Hear from Scott Houldieson, a labor union and PDA activist from Indiana, who will give an update on the ongoing auto workers' strike, and screenwriter Howard Rodman, a longtime member of the WGA negotiating team, to share his thoughts on the importance of the writers' victory for all workers. RSVP at

14] –  Ann Wilcox [] on behalf of DC Action for Assange wants you to know about a vigil on Sun., Oct. 1 from 4 to 5 PM at the White House, 1600 Penn Ave. NW.  The vigils will continue on Oct. 15 and each 1st and 3rd Sunday.  Call Ann Wilcox (202-441-3265).

15] – On Sun., Oct. 1 from 6 to 8 PM ET, the Democratic National Committee is organizing VIRTUAL PHONE BANKS FOR THE VIRGINIA HOUSE OF DELEGATES- TO TURN VA BLUE! RSVP at This event will continue on Sundays from 6 to 8 PM ET THROUGH November 5.  Call voters in Virginia to get them out to vote in the November election. NO EXPERIENCE is NECESSARY. Get TRAINING and hear from COACHES TO HELP ALL ALONG THE WAY.

16] – Working Families Party [] indicates that this is a historic moment, as the UAW is taking on all three auto companies.   And the fossil fuel companies and Trump want to pit auto workers against electric vehicles (EVs) and climate activists and prey on the insecurities of workers in the EV transition. Get on a call on Sun., Oct. 1 at 6 PM ET to discuss how to help UAW workers on strike with some of the biggest climate and environmental groups including Sunrise, Greenpeace, Sierra Club, and others:

17] –  Palestine Just Trade is pleased to co-present online MEDITERRANEAN FEVER at the 2023 Toronto Palestine Film Festival (TPFF) on Sun., Oct. 1 from 7 to 9 PM. The online screening will be available for on-demand viewing from the theatre launch date until Oct. 4, 11:59 PM ET.

The film is in Arabic and Hebrew with English subtitles. Waleed lives in Haifa with his wife and children and dreams of a writing career while suffering from chronic depression. He develops a close relationship with his neighbor, a small-time crook, with an ulterior plot in mind. While the scheme turns into an unexpected friendship between the two men, it leads them into a journey of dark encounters. RSVP at  Email

18] – The Northern Virginia Democratic Socialists [] are holding on Sun., Oct. 1 at 7 PM ET an Electoral Working Group Meeting. A link to attend this virtual event will be emailed upon RSVP. The plan is to continue to do research on the Virginia Election for the upcoming November General Election. RSVP at

19] – There is a weekly Pentagon Peace Vigil from 7 to 8 AM on Mondays, since 1987, outside the Pentagon Metro stop.  The next vigil is Oct. 2, and it is sponsored by the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker.  Email or call 202-882-9649.  The vigil will be outside the Pentagon's south Metro entrance and in the designated "protest zone" behind bicycle fences across from the entrance to the Metro.  This vigil will honor the visit to the area of the anti-nuclear ship the Golden Rule.

 By Metro, take Yellow Line and get out at the "Pentagon" stop. Do not go to the Pentagon City stop! Go up south escalators and turn left and walk across to protest area. By car from D.C. area, take 395 South and get off at Exit 8A-Pentagon South Parking. Take slight right onto S. Rotary Rd. at end of ramp and right on S. Fern St. Then take left onto Army Navy Dr. You can "pay to park" on Army Navy Dr.,  and there is meter parking one block on right on Eads St. Payment for both of these spots begins at 8 AM.  No cameras are allowed on Pentagon grounds. The restrooms are located inside Marriot Providence Inn on corner of S. Fern and Army Navy Dr.

To be continued.

Donations can be sent to Max Obuszewski, Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 431 Notre Dame Lane, Apt. 206, Baltimore, MD 21212.  Ph.: 410-323-1607; Email: mobuszewski2001 [at] Go to

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

Thursday, September 28, 2023

Baltimore Activist Alert -- September 29 -- October 4, 2023

50] Peace vigil at the White House Sept. 29

51] Women in Black vigil – Sept. 29

52] Football for Peace – Sept. 29

53] Common Cause Election Protection phone bank Sept. 29 & Oct. 4

54] Demonstration for Peace – Sept. 29

55] Teacher of Peace Sept. 29

56] ICE Out of Arlington – Sept. 29

57] Support union at Mom’s – Sept. 30

58] DEFUSE NUCLEAR WAR protest Sept. 30

59] Food Pantry and Food Donation Center – Sept. 30

60] Listen Lead Share Session Sept. 30

61] Canvass for Salisbury Progressives – Sept. 30

62] Medical supplies are needed in Ukraine

63] Tell JHU president to renounce nuclear weapons contracts

64] Read Dave Eberhardt’s book "For All the Saints- a Protest Primer"

65] Do you need a doctor?

66] Donate books, videos, DVDs and records

67] Do you need any book shelves?

68] Join the Global Zero campaign.

69] Peace Park Antinuclear Vigil


50] – The Dorothy Day Catholic Worker will host a peace vigil at the White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, WDC, on Fri., Sept. 29 at noon.  Contact the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker: 202-882-9649 or

51] – Every Friday from noon to 1 PM, Baltimore Women in Black vigil for peace with men and women who live in Roland Park. WIB invites all to join, and any peace sign is welcome, such as "Defuse Nuclear War."  The vigil takes place outside Roland Park Place at the corner of West 40th Street and Elm Street. Parking is free at RPP or at the Rotunda across the street. Contact Ann Vinup at

52] – The School of International Service, AU <> indicates that there will be a Partnership launch between SIS and Football For Peace on Fri., Sept. 29 from 12:30 to 2 PM at the Abramson Family Founders Room.  This event will be hosted and moderated by SIS Dean Shannon Hader and Kash Siddiqi, Co-Founder of Football for Peace.  This event marks the official kick-off of the partnership between Football for Peace, an international sports diplomacy foundation, and American University’s School of International Service, whose mission is to "wage peace" through actions that serve humanity. The partnership will launch the inaugural District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia (DMV) “Football for Peace Center” at the School of International Service. Collaboratively, the Peace Center will address pressing social and environmental challenges in the US and across the world, specifically focusing on three goals - human empowerment, water prosperity, and societal advocacy. Learn more about the first US “Football for Peace Center” at SIS, its plan to empower young people to become MVPs (Most Valuable Peace-Makers) across the DMV, and the first football-led water campaign, "Rehydrating the Earth," set to launch later this year at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai.  RSVP at

53] – On Fri., Sept. 29 & Wed., Oct. 4 from 4 to 6 PM ET, there is a Common Cause organized Election Protection phone bank.   Work together to demand bold changes to our democracy to create a government that represents all of us, not big corporations or special interests. Register for a shift to make calls and help strengthen the phone bank team to protect our democracy. These shifts will also always include training for first-timers before you make calls, so if this is your first time, no worries! Register at

54] – The RootsAction Team [] announced that on Fri., Sept. 29 at 5 PM ET, there will be a Demonstration for Peace at N. Charles and Centre Sts.  This is part of the Defuse Nuclear War week of actions through Sept. 30.  Advocate for diplomacy between Russia and Ukraine, disarmament of hair-trigger ICBMs, and reinstatement of crucial nuclear-weapons treaties.  Email

55] -- Pax Christi USA [] is holding a Teacher of Peace celebration on Fri., Sept. 29 from 6 to 8:30 PM ET at Our Lady Queen of Peace Church, 2700 19th St. S., Arlington VA 22204 and via livestream. Celebrate Fr. Joe Nangle OFM as the 2023 Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace. This award began in 1978 as a recognition of women and men, like Fr. Joe, whose lives and work exemplify the theme of Pope Paul VI’s World Day of Peace message, “To reach peace, teach peace.” The evening will start with a prayer service and then move into a program to honor Fr. Joe's life of service and commitment. Enjoy a simple spread of food and drink. RSVP at

56] -- Northern Virginia Democratic Socialists [] wants you to know about an event on Fri., Sept. 29 from 6:30 to 9 PM ET – ICE Out of Arlington at the Arlington Community Center , 909 S. Dinwiddie St, Arlington 22204 in Room 527 A & B. RSVP at

57] -- On Sat., Sept. 30 from 11 AM to noon ET, workers at MOM’s Organic Market in College Park, 9801 Rhode Island Ave., College Park 20740 along with elected officials and community leaders will rally to protest the company’s efforts to dissuade other workers from unionizing by discriminating against workers who are active in the union. Sign up for the rally at

58] -- The Brandywine Peace Community is doing a DEFUSE NUCLEAR WAR protest and presence on Sat., Sept. 30 at noon ET at LOCKHEED MARTIN, 230 Mall Boulevard, Mall & Goddard Boulevards, KING OF PRUSSIA, PA 19406. RSVP at Visit and WWW.DEFUSENUCLEARWAR.ORG.  

59] – On Sat., Sept. 30 from noon to 2 PM EST, get over to the Food Pantry and Food Donation Center at First and Franklin Presbyterian Church, 210 W. Madison St., Baltimore. This Food Pantry is open every Saturday. Get a grocery bag – breakfast, jelly and peanut butter (a good source of protein) for lunch, the makings for a balanced dinner such as beans and rice, pasta and sauce, soup, vegetables, fruit, and a paper goods. Also added is a little fun food, such as popcorn or cookies, for everyone enjoys a treat.  Contributions of shelf stable foods can be brought to Reid Chapel every Saturday between noon and 2 PM. If shopping is difficult for you, monetary donations earmarked food pantry may be sent to the church.  How else can you help? Volunteers are needed to help collect and distribute food. Contact the church office to volunteer. You can also help by spreading the word to those you know who are facing food insecurity. See

60] – On Sat., Sept. 30 at 3 PM ET, join the Environmental Justice Task Force for its Listen Lead Share Session at the Enoch Pratt Free Library - Cherry Hill Branch, 606 Cherry Hill Road, Baltimore 21225. This community event is an opportunity for frontline communities to let their voices be heard. For decades our most vulnerable communities in South Baltimore have been oppressed by economic, and environmental exploitation. Share your concerns and let us create a new reality together. This is what democracy looks like. RSVP at

61] -- The Lower Shore Progressive Caucus [] will canvass for Salisbury Progressives on Sat., Sept. 30 from 10:30 AM to noon ET and 1:30 to 3:30 PM ET at the Megan Outten Campaign Office, 213 W. Main St., Salisbury 21804. Canvass for endorsed candidates. As the heartbeat of the community, stands by our endorsed candidates, and we're hitting the streets to ensure their vision resonates with every resident. RSVP at

62]  --  If you are able to donate any kind of surplus medical supplies for field hospitals in eastern Ukraine, please email or call 410-721-5770 x231.  There is a colleague whose father is a medic on the front line. One container is shipped every month to the Donbass region. Donations can be picked up in Baltimore and Columbia every Thursday, and on other days in Annapolis and Crofton.

63] -- This is A PLEA TO CONVINCE JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY TO OBEY INTERNATIONAL LAW. The world reached a historic milestone on January 22, 2021: The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons [TPNW] entered into force and become binding international law --

Prevent Nuclear War/Maryland has called attention to the growing danger of nuclear war and the outrageous $1.7 trillion dollars we are spending to upgrade the nuclear arsenal. On July 18, 2017, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, a U.S. Navy - affiliated research center received a seven-year, $92 million contract to continue its systems engineering and research-and-development services for the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center. Help convince JHU to renounce nuclear weapons contracts. Contact the president, Ron Daniels, to urge him to reject all nuclear weapons contracts: Office of the President, 242 Garland Hall, The Johns Hopkins University, 3400 N. Charles St., Baltimore, Maryland 21218.  Call his office at (410) 516-8068 or email

64] – David Eberhardt was a member of the Baltimore Four with Father Philip Berrigan, Tom Lewis and Rev. James Mengel.  The group poured blood on draft files on October 27, 1967.  They would be convicted and sentenced to prison. Dave has written a book "For All the Saints- a Protest Primer"- documenting the Baltimore Four action and many others up to and including the most recent Plowshares action – Kings Bay Plowshares 7.  

  Dave just printed 50 new copies of For All the Saints, a Protest Primer- 250+ pp w photos-therefore #'s 351-400 making it o so collectable with two Berrigan book reviews added. The books are signed, and the price remains $25. Will send free if need b- he is not in it for the money! If you want one, send him a check: or contact Dave Eberhardt, 4 Hadley Square North, Baltimore, MD 21218 by email at . 

65] – Yousef Zarbalian [] started his own medical practice in December before the pandemic hit. It is called East-West Medicine and Rheumatology, and its website is  Yousef is licensed in Maryland and Virginia. He is doing primary care as well as rheumatologic care (focusing on joint problems and autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and sjogren's).  He is offering telemedicine visits, and he has very reasonable rates for uninsured individuals.  He makes use of herbs (which can be sent directly to patients from the herbal dispensary) as well as prescribing medications to their local pharmacy if needed.  

66] -- If you would like to get rid of books, videos, DVDs, records, tarps and table cloths, contact Max at 410-323-1607 or mobuszewski2001 at

67] -- Can you use any book shelves? Contact Max at 410-323-1607 or mobuszewski2001 at

68] -- Join an extraordinary global campaign for the elimination of nuclear weapons: A growing group of leaders around the world is calling for the elimination of nuclear weapons and a majority of the global public agrees.  This is an historic window of opportunity.  With momentum already building in favor of Zero, a major show of support from people around the world could tip the balance. When it comes to nuclear weapons, one is one too many.

69] – A Peace Park Antinuclear Vigil takes place every day in Lafayette Park, 1601 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, 24 hours a day, since June 3, 1981. Go to; call 202-682-4282.

Donations can be sent to Max Obuszewski, Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 431 Notre Dame Lane, Apt. 206, Baltimore, MD 21212.  Ph: 410-323-1607; Email: mobuszewski2001 [at] Go to

“One is called to live nonviolently, even if the change one works for seems impossible. It may or may not be possible to turn the US around through nonviolent revolution. But one thing favors such an attempt: the total inability of violence to change anything for the better" - Daniel Berrigan

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Baltimore Activist Alert -- September 29 - 29, 2023

42] What’s the future for the Palestinians? – Sept. 28

43] Brady Organizing Team -- Sept. 28

44] Israel into the Visa Waiver Program – Sept. 28

45] Support the Uyghurs – Sept. 28

46] PG County School Board discussion Sept. 28

47] Digital Democracy meeting – Sept. 28

48] Weekly Town Hall Podcast about Media & Democracy – Sept. 29

49] Maryland's Climate Pathway Report – Sept. 29


42] – Nonviolence International presents Jonathan Kuttab's Book Launch, "The Truth Shall Set You Free," on Thurs., Sept. 28 from noon to 1:30 PM ET.  This event is hosted by Maia Carter Hallward, with Special Guest Mubarak Awad, NVI Founder. Welcome Jonathan Kuttab to speak about his memoir along with special guest Mubarak Awad. Kuttab is a co-founder of Nonviolence International, a Palestinian Human Rights lawyer-and Christian pacifist. In this marvelous memoir, he takes us on a personal journey from anger and thoughts of violence to his deep commitment to unrelenting peaceful activism. Be forewarned: This is not the journey of a starry-eyed idealist. It’s a true life story of a man who has witnessed violence, terrible injustice, suffering and heart-wrenching losses. Three of the chapters are devoted to nonviolence and the work of his cousin Mubarak Awad who will also be joining the book launch. After discussion of the book, there will be an exploration about nonviolence and the future of Palestinians and Israelis today. RSVP at

43] – On Thurs., Sept. 28 from 5 to 6 PM ET, get with the Brady Organizing Team for a virtual training. Do you need support from Brady’s organizing team? Have new ideas to combat gun violence, but don’t know how to get them off the ground? Every week, a member of the organizing team is here to support your work. Sign up for the shift that works best for your schedule. If you can't find a time that works for you, email to schedule time to talk. RSVP at  This will continue on Thursdays through Dec. 21.

44] – James Zogby [] is upset and will explain at a Town Hall what is bothering him on Thurs., Sept. 28 at 5:30 PM ET. He is outraged that the Biden administration decided to allow Israel into the Visa Waiver Program. The town hall will discuss ways for the community to respond. Hear from directly impacted people who have faced discrimination at the border, and discuss strategy for congressional oversight and possible legal challenges. Register at

45] – Karen Guberman <> is reminding us to join Protest the Uyghur Genocide on Thurs., Sept. 28 at 6 PM ET at the corner of Van Ness and International Drive by the Chinese Embassy. Let the Ambassador know that you say "NO" to genocide.  Bring a colleague, a friend, anyone who may be interested.

46] – PG County School Board member Jonathan Briggs will host a town hall meeting on Thurs.,  Sept. 28 at 7 PM ET. This gathering will serve as a platform to engage, collaborate, and exchange insights. It's an opportunity for Jonathan to share the latest developments from the Board, outline his vision for District 2, and, most importantly, listen to your valuable input to empower the community. Please add your name and email to the attached form if you are interested in participating:

47] – On Thurs., Sept. 28 from 8 to 9 PM ET, Common Cause is hosting a Digital Democracy Activists meeting.  Do you believe that accessible internet, local journalism, online privacy, and responsible social media platforms are essential to a functioning democracy? If so, you should become a Digital Democracy Activist (DDA)! Learn about the fight for Digital Democracy and take action with a community of digital democracy activists. All volunteer experience/ technology comfort levels are welcome! RSVP at  

48] – The Democratic National Committee is holding a Weekly Town Hall Podcast about Media & Democracy on Fri., Sept. 29 from noon to 1:30 PM ET.  Tune in at The podcast will continue through Fri., Jan. 26 from noon to 1 PM ET.

49] – On Fri., September 29 at noon, take a deep dive into Maryland's Climate Pathway Report.  Then discuss how you can get involved to make sure your voice and community concerns are heard in this vital process. Register at

To be continued.

Donations can be sent to Max Obuszewski, Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 431 Notre Dame Lane, Apt. 206, Baltimore, MD 21212.  Ph.: 410-323-1607; Email: mobuszewski2001 [at] Go to

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

The Moment It All Changed for UAW President Shawn Fain


Shawn Fain is leading the Labor Movement into the Promised Land.  Kagiso, Max

Published on Portside (

The Moment It All Changed for UAW President Shawn Fain

Steven Greenhouse

September 22, 2023


          In 2007, Shawn Fain was a little-known union official at a Chrysler plant in Kokomo, Indiana, having gone to work there a dozen years before as an electrician. What happened next set Fain on the path to where he is today: president of the UAW and the key figure in a historic strike with no end in sight.

          That year, Chrysler (now part of Stellantis) was sliding toward bankruptcy and insisted that to avoid going under, it needed deep concessions from the UAW, including sharply reduced starting pay and a two-tier wage structure in which pay and benefits for future workers would remain permanently below those of workers hired before 2007. The UAW’s leaders decided, unenthusiastically, to agree to those concessions, with Ford and G.M. demanding similar provisions.

          But Fain wasn’t ready to go along. As a committeeperson at Local 1166, he led his local union to vote against ratifying the contract. It was a rare act of defiance from rank-and-file workers amid the high-profile negotiations, and Fain wasn’t at all reluctant about making his defiance public. He loudly denounced the givebacks at a council meeting, saying, “Two-tier wages have no place in this union.”  And in a letter to UAW leadership that reached the media, he said that in approving those concessions, “you might as well get a gun and shoot yourself in the head.”  It was a remarkable public break with his union’s leadership and an important inflection point in Fain’s career.

          With that defiant step, Fain declared his independence from the political group — known as the Administration Caucus — that had run the UAW for six decades. And the move also set him up for a higher position — for years in staff jobs at UAW headquarters in Detroit, then later to be catapulted into the union’s presidency.

          Throughout, Fain was known for his unremitting opposition to concessions, a stance that has directly led to today’s walkout in which the UAW, for the first time ever, has struck all three Detroit automakers at once. The strike has sent shock waves throughout the auto industry, inspired workers across the U.S. and sent President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump rushing to demonstrate who can show more support for the workers.

          Fain, 54, had a bumpy ascent within the 400,000-member UAW. Sometimes union leaders “moved him up in the hope of shutting him up,” said one friend of Fain’s, Scott Houldieson, a Ford assembly plant worker in Chicago and long-time UAW dissident. Other times UAW leaders grew irate with Fain and demoted him. Fain’s official union biography says, “Many times… he was ostracized for speaking up.” The UAW didn’t make him available for an interview.

          Being a prominent dissident put Fain in a good position to run for high union office after an embarrassing crisis hit the UAW in recent years. Prosecutors unearthed a huge corruption scandal in which a dozen UAW leaders, including two former presidents, were ultimately convicted of embezzling more than $5 million in funds for luxury items and travel, from hotels and golf trips to cigars and liquor.

          Fain raised his hand to run for UAW president last year only after the union’s members voted to hold direct elections for top UAW leaders for the first time in the union’s history. That made it possible for a dissident like Fain to have a chance to win, because the Administration Caucus would no longer have total control over who would be chosen president.

          “After 75 years of iron-fisted rule by the Administration Caucus, people were reluctant to step out and challenge the ruling group,” said Houldieson. “Shawn had the courage to do that. Not many others did.”

          There’s somewhat of a paradox to Fain. On one hand, Fain, a blunt-talking and compelling speaker, comes across as a traditionalist, talking of his God and faith and three grandparents who worked in auto plants. He carries around an old, well-worn pay stub from one grandfather who went to work for Chrysler in 1937, the year of the famous sit-down strike that unionized G.M. At the same time, Fain comes across as a militant, channeling Bernie Sanders as he bashes “the billionaire class.” He sometimes quotes Malcolm X and says “we have to be willing to stand up and get our demands by any means necessary.”

          Fain ran for UAW president as an insurgent, and one of his main talking points was “no concessions.” Throughout his campaign, he belittled previous UAW presidents for not being tough enough towards the automakers.

          After eking out a narrow victory in March, Fain promised that in this summer’s contract talks with GM, Ford and Stellantis, he would demand that they roll back some of the detested concessions dating to 2007, especially the two-tier pay structure.

          Fain has repeatedly argued that at a time when Detroit’s automakers have racked up record profits, they should reward their workers, particularly because auto workers’ pay has fallen so far behind inflation (by 19 percent since 2008, according to one think tank).

In making these arguments, Fain, like the legendary UAW leader Walter Reuther who led the union from 1946 to 1970, has framed this fight as one to help not just auto workers, but America’s entire working class.

          We’re all fed up with living in a world that values profits over people,” Fain said earlier this month. “We’re all fed up with seeing the rich get richer while the rest of us just continue to scrape by. We’re all fed up with corporate greed and together, we’re going to fight like hell to change it.”

          Also much like Reuther, Fain has roiled the White House at times. He castigated Biden for not doing enough to ensure that the new electric vehicle battery plants being built with federal subsidies will pay high wages. Some Democrats have voiced fears that Fain’s harsh words for Biden will push some UAW members into backing Trump or staying home in November 2024.

          “He’s taking a very militant line and acting very different from past union presidents,” said Harry Katz, a professor and former dean of the Cornell School of Industrial and Labor Relations. “He tore up a Chrysler contract offer and threw it in the trash. He benefits from acting unpredictably. He keeps the companies off balance.”

United Auto Workers members, including President Shawn Fain, center, march past General Motors headquarters in Detroit on Friday, Sept. 15, 2023. | Paul Sancya/AP Photo

          The very existence of billionaires shows us that we have an economy that is working for the benefit of the few, and not the many,” Fain said. “It feels like we’ve gone so far backwards that we have to fight just to have the 40-hour workweek back. Why is that? So another ###hole can make enough money to shoot himself to the moon?”

          Marick Masters, a business professor at Wayne State University in Detroit, said Fain deserves credit for changing the narrative about workers and their role in the economy. “Going back decades, we’ve approached negotiations as, ‘What can labor give to help us be competitive?’” Masters said. “But with Fain, it’s more that labor is entitled to its fair share and it’s time to address all the inequality.”

          The UAW strike has been getting huge publicity and public support — one poll found that 54 percent of Americans support the walkout, while 18 percent oppose it.

          That’s even as Fain has pushed a huge and ambitious list of demands: raises of more than 40 percent, a cost-of-living adjustment, a 32-hour workweek, ending the two-tier pay structure, restoring reduced pension and health benefits, creating a jobs bank for laid-off workers, and converting temporary workers to full employees with full benefits after 90 days on the job.

          “Shawn has been very tough to date. That has caught the companies off guard,” said Harley Shaiken, a UC Berkeley professor and former auto worker who attended a three-day bargaining strategy session that Fain led.

          While the automakers have blanched at Fain’s many proposals, saying they’re exorbitantly expensive, some Fain supporters say he was merely putting forward the demands that rank-and-file workers wanted.

          Frustrated with Fain’s long list of demands, Ford CEO Jim Farley said, “You want us to choose bankruptcy over supporting our workers.”

Masters said that by making so many ambitious demands, “Fain may have painted himself in a corner that he can’t get out of without losing some face.” In other words, even if Fain wins, say, large wage increases, a cost-of-living adjustment and an end to two tiers, some union members might nonetheless be angry that he didn’t also win on a 32-hour-workweek, improved pension benefits, a jobs bank and improvements for temporary workers.

          As for politics, it’s also possible Fain has fumbled things. He has railed against Biden and said that his traditionally Democratic union was withholding any endorsement from the president, at least for now — moves that Fain hopes will pressure Biden to do more to ensure high wages at new, federally subsidized battery plants. But some longtime labor watchers fear that Fain’s harsh words and non-endorsement will push some UAW members into Trump’s camp.

          “It was a big mistake for Fain to criticize Biden so rudely and hold off on endorsing,” Katz said. “Biden has been the most pro-union president of our lifetime. I think Fain, by using that language, fuels support for our fascist former president, and I’m scared about that.”

Trump is trying to seize on the opportunity, saying he will go to Detroit next week to speak to union members. In response, Fain laid into Trump: “Every fiber of our union is being poured into fighting the billionaire class and an economy that enriches people like Donald Trump at the expense of workers.”

          Ultimately for Fain and his union, it all depends on how the strike concludes.

          “He can have a real victory here,” Shaiken said. “But there has to be an end game, and nobody is clear on his end game.”

Read more: Record Auto Profits Should be Used to Address Inequality and the Climate Crisis by UAW President Shawn Fain and Congressman Ro Khanna

          Steven Greenhouse, a senior fellow at the Century Foundation, is a former New York Times labor reporter and author of Beaten Down, Worked Up: The Past, Present, and Future of American Labor.

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