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Monday, September 5, 2011

From Kathleen Harris - One of God's Holy Warriors

Wishing You...Peace, Love and Joy . . . Always and Forever August 30, 2011
As has probably been mentioned by someone or other, suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (aka PTSD) can be a bit like unknowingly entering and blithely traversing a psychic mine field.

Let's see if I can make that a bit more vivid.

It may have to do with the time space continuum in a way. If I come off sounding like I am trying to describe a Magritte surrealist painting to a person who is only familiar with Andy Warhol's creations, I apologize. If that is necessary. To me, a PTSD-affected spiritual landscape is one that has become fraught with subterranean camouflaged pot holes, automobile-swallowing ditches and incendiary devices. And perhaps there are also some pathways that seem like they should be familiar or that used to have clear sign posts now seem to lead to unsuspected destinations and undesirable locations.


Uh-oh. Have I already lost you?

Or maybe you would rather not continue on the journey with me. If so, I understand.

No harm, no foul.

But these images have been lurking in my consciousness lately, and just tonight I realized why.

The pot holes, mine fields, and deceptive pathways minus familiar sign posts are triggered by the anniversaries of traumatic events or time periods. Even if I go out of my way not to be in touch with the fact that the anniversaries are coming up or upon me, my psyche never forgets. So it's just that the end of August and the beginning of September are times when a lot of exciting and/or traumatic things happened to me.

The even stranger thing is that there are not necessarily uniform ways of experiencing whatever comes up from the underground or appears along a pathway. And the image of mine fields may give you the impression that there is a stark flat plain stretching in all directions when actually there also might be dark forests, or even jungles . . . and/or the mysteries of a deep and wide open ocean.

Often the PTSD episode triggers become evident when I find myself awake all night for one or more nights in a row or several over a short period of time. At first I may tell myself that there is no reason not to be able to sleep, but I am always trying to fool myself when I say that. It is more likely that sleep is elusive because there is no desire to enter into the level of consciousness that leaves me open to the dream state.

Or maybe something from the nocturnal musings of the days leading up to the sleepless nights has already broadcast warnings about the approach to the mine field. Be that as it may, once I really do get back connected with the date, I am forced to confront the reality. Addressing that reality head on does not necessarily help much, however.

That reminds me of the old Air Force saying that begins a lot of war stories. The stories start with: "There I was . . . flying along fat dumb and happy. . . " The story continues with whatever was horrendous, terrifying, difficult and/or shocking, but somehow the storyteller survives.

I guess one of the reasons that things are traumatic is that they come out of nowhere and are so shocking and disturbing that you really can't get your mind around them.


I agree with the sentiment expressed by Robin Williams when he said:

"Reality . . . what a concept!"

Even though it may be that some sort of past reality intrudes on contemporary life, the PTSD episode always seems to be more powerful than whatever is going on in the present. Or maybe it's just that whatever the present reality is cannot quite compete with the past "reality." And the traumatic memories can be so vivid that they can tend to make the present reality seem to fade away into the background.

Or even to disappear.

And even more than that sometimes the imagination interjects itself into the memories and the present reality so that there are stacked levels of elements surrounding and enhancing memories, musings, illusions and allegories.

Probably not much of that is really making any of this any clearer, is it?

When I am able to talk to friends who were involved in the trauma I find it helpful, but I also realize then that none of us experienced what happened in the same way. What happened affected and continues to affect (or doesn't continue to affect) each one of us in various ways.

Of course.

How could it be otherwise? Each of us is a distinct individual with a variety of distinct personalities and experiences.

Our lives intersected with one another for that particular time or times and we came to those points from different places and went our separate ways to reconnect with one another again possibly one on one . . . or with several of us or with some of us. Or never again with most or even all of us. At least not yet. or maybe not ever on this terrestrial plane.

As a case in point, not long ago I saw some Armed Forces Television Network dramatizations concerning two soldiers who were wounded in the recent past. They both suffered from PTSD. One was given a chance to talk about the trauma with professional counselors from the earliest time of his physical recovery. The other soldier did not have a chance to communicate with anyone about what had happened to him until a long while after he was released back into civilian life. Each was able to get help, but the latter suffered more and for a longer length of time. Go figure!

Seeing the segments aimed at encouraging military members who have been affected by PTSD to seek help as soon as possible was encouraging since so many veterans are being added to the roles.

And I recently saw the movie "Random Harvest" again, too. (Have you ever watched it? Greer Garson and Ronald Coleman are marvelous in the story about the effects of battle fatigue on a British soldier in WW I.) So even though the term PTSD had not been coined back in the early 20th century, I was reminded that people have been suffering with the condition from way back. (No doubt as long as man's inhumanity to men has been extant.)

There are ways to put the memories to rest and to keep the ghosts at bay.

But actually sometimes I look forward to being with my dearly departed once more. They are all loving and kindly spirits even if they are just as I have imagined them. Or remembered them.

There are times that seem overloaded with intertwining layers of memories because there were different traumatic experiences that happened at the same time of the year -- or even on certain particular dates of multiple years, so that somehow the PTSD trash compactor has smooshed them all together and it's difficult to discern which presenting traumatic memories come from where. Or when.

There also might be organic or atmospheric or astronomical (or other) factors involved in the fertilizing compost heaped up in my psyche. And too much digging around into all that would not be really helpful anyway, no doubt.

But the traumas are not necessarily all negative. Sometimes great joys can trigger recurring disturbances, too. Both positive and negative emotions can be draining, energizing or enervating. Not sure I can always choose which one of those at any particular time.

Because certainly to begin with . . . in my earliest memories the joys of getting to go back to school every Tuesday after Labor Day were fraught with excitement. And tension. And anticipation. So onto those layers of emotional memories were added the adult traumatic adventures that happened to have occurred around the same time.

For instance last year when over 200 of the members of our high school class got together for the first time in ten, twenty, thirty or forty years (or all of the above, or even more or less often), there was a special kind of traumatic experience.

In a good way.

But it reminded me of the other groups of friends I had gone through stuff with when I was on active duty in the Air Force. And when I was at Seminary. And when I was serving churches.

Et cetera. Et cetera. Et cetera. (As the King of Siam was quoted as saying in "The King and I.")

Know what I mean?

Well, even if you don't, by writing this I seem to have diffused the most powerful psychic mines in my way tonight, and I seem to have recovered the sign posts on some of the obscured pathways.

So thanks for hanging in there with me as I wandered around trying to explain it all to you.

That was a big help!

And God bless us, every one.

As ever -- Kathy

Be Blessed

"Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God."

Matthew 5:3-9

Friday, June 24, 2011

Currency Tsunami By Wilson Riles Guest Commentator

Brothers and sisters let us stop trying to integrate into a “burning house” in any way! This is a realization that Dr. King came to before he was assassinated. Those elements of US foreign and domestic policy and values that were and are the source of our enslavement are still entwined deeply in the heart of US institutions. These aspects are still poisonous and oppressive despite the darkening of the faces of the institutional agents that ‘front’ the action. As King and others attempted, these moral cancers must be ‘stained’ into visibility and ‘cauterized’ to move this nation – that we are inextricably a part of – toward inclusive natural health. In his speech, Beyond Vietnam – Time to Break Silence, King named these evil aspects that must be conquered “the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism.” As a feminist I must add misogyny.

A dissection of US history will reveal the truth of the intertwining and the truth of the pandemic. It will also reveal that the principle carrier of this disease is the US and global currency system. Thomas Jefferson lost the argument with Alexander Hamilton about the creation of a centralized monetary system controlled by and for the benefit of the elite rather than for the benefit of what Jefferson called the local “yeoman.” Centralized banking allowed the government to borrow to sustain ‘standing armies’ to prosecute the genocide and the theft of land from indigenous Americans. Even former slaves were seduced into this Native American genocide as Buffalo Soldiers. Centralized banking accommodated the development of Southern militias intended principally for slave-catching. It promoted the growth of national corporations ‘feeding’ the intertwined snake. Again and again in US history, the critics of Hamilton’s monetary system were overcome and the system gained more power, more scope, and facilitated the growth of the military-industrial-complex.

In 1944, as the Second World War in Europe came to an end, the Bretton Woods Agreement cemented the US’ global economic domination as all competitors were laid waste by the war. US corporations moved into Europe to absorb the resources spent by the Marshall Plan. By 1946, the system was in full operation through the newly established International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD, the World Bank) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Neocolonialism was in full swing.

Margaret Thatcher is famous for saying there is no alternative (TINA) to the current world economic system and global trade system. TATA – “there are thousands of alternatives” is a saying that has arisen from the World Social Forum as well as the phrase “another world is possible.” Those of us involved in the World Social Forum movement are not alone in finding and seeking alternatives to the current insanity. ‘Forced’ to adopt World Bank ‘structural adjustments’ that limited and oppressed the poor, countries throughout the world know what harm results from being integrated into the ‘burning house’ of global economic liberalism. This integration is no longer acceptable.

During meetings in 2009, 2010, and 2011 the countries of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa (BRICS) have taken the first formal steps to replace the dollar as the world’s reserve currency. They are calling for systemic reform. The US was denied admission to the meetings. If these world leaders succeed, the dollar will dramatically plummet in value; the cost of imports, including oil, will skyrocket; and interest rates will climb. Foreigners see the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, and the World Trade Organization (WTO) as Washington surrogates in a financial system backed by US military bases and aircraft carriers encircling the globe. But this military domination is a vestige of an American empire no longer able to rule by economic strength. US military power is muscle-bound, based more on the threat of atomic weaponry and long-distance air strikes than on ground operations, which have become resistible and too politically unpopular to mount on any large scale.

As US residents and citizens we need not fear these coming changes. We need not stand with our enslavers and oppressors - as the Buffalo Solders did - joining in the oppression of others. There are many viable alternatives available. A movement for sustainable economic localization is growing rapidly throughout the country and around the world. Throughout the history of the US and the world during times of economic crises, communities have found creative and practical ways to shun the institutions infected with racism, extreme materialism, and militarism. At one time or another more than 60 US communities have formed local currencies not dependent on the elites’ centralized banking systems. Modern examples are built on the lessons learned from earlier systems. These systems have saved communities and lives all over the world. They have promoted an ecological use and preference for local resources. They have inculcated the indigenous values of harmony with all beings and the earth. These systems have promoted peace rather than imperialism.

Time is short, brothers and sisters! Take up Dr. King’s banner for economic justice to put out the fire in th
is “burning house.” We can learn from the past and avoid the trap of Buffalo Soldier-ism.

Geronimo Pratt, Only in America Point Blank By Chris Stevenson Columnist

Imagine being spied on one day by your own government while in Oakland CA, while 340 miles south a married couple is being attacked, and one of them murdered on a Santa Monica tennis court. Four years later you are found guilty of the murder. Only in America!

Twenty seven years later you are finally set free, twenty seven years after conviction, twenty years after the man that falsely accused you of brutally killing Caroline Olsen was outed as a paid informer, but the State of California still denies you a retrial.

Twenty seven years, and eight of them in solitary confinement. Twenty seven years that began a few years after two tours of Vietnam and a stint as Minister of Defense in the local chapter of the Black Panther Party. I don't have to convince you it was the BPP membership that left such a bad taste with law enforcement and judicial authorities top to bottom heavy with white males.

"He was driven to stand up on behalf of the oppressed, while living in a nation that had trained it's young to be so evil, that they learned to hate an entire group of people without even knowing them," said Dr. Boyce Watkins of Syracuse University in reference to Elmer Ji Jaga "Geronimo" Pratt. Quiet as it's kept Pratt was trained to do the same. Does White America ever stop to consider that the same attributes that drives some black men to serve in his US military, can be closely related to the same qualities that motivate him to be a Black Panther.

This was very true in Pratt's case where he was a natural-born leader and soldier; returning from the war with 2 Purple Hearts, and 2 Bronze Stars and a Silver Star. Pratt joined the Panthers after being recruited while a Political Science student at UCLA. It turned out to be wartime for them also, a sad and sorry time for the Panthers as they were being torn from within by outside forces.

Pratt's pregnant wife was a casualty of that schism. In spite of this, Pratt was not the type of leader to fly off the handle, and certainly not one for petty crimes like robberies. So badly did the country that he served want him, that they contemplated tying him to the Charles Manson and Patty Hearst episodes of the time.

Eventually the government got the break they felt they needed in the form of a fellow Panther controlled by simple jealousy and the FBI's divisive Counterintelligence Program, who gave false testimony about Pratt being the shooter. Jurors were not aware this man's informant history. Typically Julius Butler became Chairman of a black LA Church's Board of Trustees. You think the fix was in regarding Pratt? Retired FBI agent Wesley Swearingen himself admitted the Bureau knew Pratt was in the Bay area, because they were the ones spying on him and other Panthers. Other than being incarcerated on a date in question, what better alibi than to be under a Federal watch, while in a completely separate town?

In spite of the blatant truth hovering over them, Pratt was found guilty of Murder in 1970. A young Johnnie Cochran joined Pratt's legal team in '71, he admitted that back then even he didn't believe the US Government was setting Pratt up. What was going on was the prosecution refused to share information with Pratt's team, therefore knowledge of the surveillance was never made known.

This cover-up lasted all the way up to the Gil Garcetti era. Best known as the DA during OJ's "Trial of the Century," Garcetti would eventually display truth and evidence tampering that would put LAPD hooliganism to shame, even police have to call it a day at a judges order. Garcetti-oddly enough a Democrat-openly refused to "reverse and remand" Pratt's conviction by order of a known conservative Judge in '97. He was said to have "dithered for months before deciding to not pursue the case further."

To those who knew and followed Garcetti this was not unusual behavior by him. Evidently incarcerating innocent black men was a thrill to him, and the weaker the evidence became, the harder he worked and filibustered. Time and delay was his chief tools of sabotage, even becoming so ridiculous as openly refusing to rescind judgments against men who later proved through DNA evidence that they were not the fathers, in paternity cases.

This incensed even people who worked in his office, one of his deputy DAs quit because she was told to do unethical things. One could only imagine his sentiments towards Pratt. Even more revealing is the story of the feminist who basically coined the phrase "Deadbeat Dad" was outraged over his tactics.

Geronimo's conviction was vacated 6/10/97 on the grounds that the prosecution hid evidence. This turned out to be a 27-year-old understatement, it takes work to convict a man of murder when he was over 300 miles away, and keep him locked up in spite of mounting evidence. Like many corrupt white officials Garcetti was ousted from his position and appointed to head a department he has no business being remotely near; the LA City Ethics Commission. These types of political practical jokes against the taxpayers is more akin to a trucking company promoting an alcoholic, accident-prone driver to head it's safety division, because he's white.

Pratt departed us 6 days (6/2) after singer/songwriter Gil Scott Heron (5/27). Heron's years were marked with government interference that began shortly after the release of his signature tune "The Revolution Will Not be Televised," and climaxed with HIV and an addiction to illegal narcotics. "We were under surveillance for quiet a while, and I think everybody knew it. We were being watched to see what we would do. And we were uncomfortable at the time because we had (Black Panther) Bilal Sunni Ali and other people in the band who had been politically active in different directions, and we felt as though we had a right to be that way," said Heron of being spied on by the then-Nixon Administration in an interview.

Pratt died a human rights activist in Arusha Tanzania on the continent of Africa, where he been living pretty much since his civil judgment. Before Johnnie Cochran's death he was quoted as saying that Pratt's case was the most important he ever had. Both he and Pratt leave blacks with more ruthless DAs and less Defense Attorneys hungry to defend blacks in trials.

The Spirit of Patrice Lumumba Lives On Worrill’s World By Dr. Conrad W. Worrill, PhD Columnist

We should remember to lift the spirit of some of our great ancestors who made significant contributions to the African Liberation Movement. July 2nd is the 86th birthday of one of these great heroes, Patrice Lumumba.

The meaning of the life and work of our beloved brother, Patrice Lumumba was rooted in his determination to fight against the forces of the European world in the most turbulent period of the history of the Congo. We should commemorate the birthday of this late, great African leader, who stood against all the forces in the European world and the African world who were steadfast in their efforts to stop the real Independence Movement of the people of the Congo. It is important for us to understand, today, that those who stand and fight against the evil of the European world take on a serious task and challenge. Herein lies the legacy of Patrice Lumumba.

Patrice Lumumba was born July 2, 1925 in Katako Kombe, a small village in a remote area of the African continent, then referred to as the Congo. Born to a family of five and educated by missionaries, he was able to caste off the domination of European influences on his life and relate to the interests of the masses of Congolese people. At an early age, he recognized the need to develop the kind of skills necessary to become an active participant in the African Liberation struggle. In his efforts to develop his skills, Patrice had a variety of work experiences that included his being employed in a hospital and a post office, which gave him greater insights into the overall oppression of the Congolese people. The more contact Patrice had with the European world, the more he developed the kind of political consciousness that made him one of the most important leaders in the African Independence Movement.

As a result of his participation as the secretary in the Liberal Party of the Congo and his efforts to talk with the Belgian officials, Lumumba was able to see that independence and freedom for his people would not come through the efforts of the Liberal Party or negotiations with the Europeans. His outspokenness and determination to find a vehicle to free the Congolese people led to his being sentenced to two years in prison. Although his prison sentence was cut short, upon his release, the Belgian colonialists, along with their African servants, attempted to isolate Patrice from the growing independence movement of the masses of the people.

In October 1958, Patrice helped form the National Congolese Movement, which was to become the forerunner in the liberation struggle. In December of 1958, Patrice was invited to a conference of African nations hosted by Kwame Nkrumah in Accra, Ghana. It was through this conference that Patrice began to establish contact with the leaders of the Liberation Movements in other African countries. From this point forward, the Liberation Movement in the Congo escalated to the point that the Belgian government decided to grant the Congolese people their so-called freedom on June 30, 1960.

At the Independence Day Ceremony on June 30th, while his African movement friends were thanking the Belgians for granting them their independence, it is said that Lumumba became enraged. He grabbed the microphone and told his people that the colonization of the Congo was nothing other than the domination of the European world over the African world. He went on to point out that the humiliating system of slavery, which was imposed upon the African people of the Congo by European forces was done because they were African. This statement by Patrice Lumumba caused the white world and their African servants to conspire in the next year to find a way to get rid of this most courageous spokesman for the interest of the Congolese people.

Patrice Lumumba was assassinated on January 17, 1961 at the hands of African mercenaries, working in the interests of the Europeans through the United States and the CIA. This fact was recently revealed in Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney’s International Relations Hearings. Before his death, Lumumba wrote a letter to his wife that signified the essence of his involvement in the struggle to free his people. Patrice wrote, in part:

“I want my children, who I leave behind and perhaps will never see again, to be told that the future of the Congo is beautiful and that their country expects them, as it expects every Congolese, to fulfill the sacred task of rebuilding on our independence, our sovereignty, for without justice there is no dignity and without independence there are no free men…Do not weep for me, my companion, I know that my country, now suffering so much, will be able to defend its independence and freedom.”
In conclusion, we can say that the external enemies, (or the enemies from without), and internal enemies (or the enemies from within), led to the demise and death of Patrice Lumumba. But, fortunately, his legacy lives on.

Not Unbelievable The Other Side of the Tracks By Perry Redd Columnist

My country is corrupt. I posit that it is complicit in the murder and annihilation of my race of people. I believe they have been inventing ingenious, covert ways to undermine population growth of people of color who may pose a threat to the traditional power structure. Why are you surprised? I find it hard to believe that anyone is. Federal agent, John Dodson, says what he was asked to do was beyond belief. When asked was he intentionally letting guns go to Mexico? Dodson told CBS News, "Yes ma'am…the agency was." This not unbelievable…

An Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms senior agent assigned to the Phoenix office in 2010, Dodson's job was to stop gun trafficking across the border. Instead, he says he was ordered to sit by and watch it happen. Investigators call the tactic letting guns "walk." In this case, walking into the hands of criminals who would use them in Mexico and the United States, namely in urban, Black-populated centers.

ATF named the case "Fast and Furious." Real Hollywood of them, except this isn’t fiction. Real lives are at stake. Real people are dying…and the United States government is in on it. Mexico, a major drug producing and transit country, is the main foreign supplier of cannabis and a major supplier of methamphetamine to the United States. Although Mexico accounts for only a small share of worldwide heroin production, it supplies a large share of the heroin distributed in the United States. Drug cartels in Mexico control approximately 70% of the foreign narcotics that flow into the United States. Guess where that ends up?

The US State Department estimates that 90% of cocaine entering the United States transits through Mexico, with Colombia being the main cocaine producer, followed by Bolivia and Peru. That’s why this Mexico connection is so very important!

Surveillance video shows suspected drug cartel suppliers carrying boxes of weapons to their cars at a Phoenix gun shop. The long boxes shown in the video being loaded in were AK-47-type assault rifles. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said a million times: “who needs an assault weapon?” Only a person ready to commit an assault does.

So it turns out ATF not only allowed it - they videotaped it. Instead of arresting people, the ATF let them go across the border. Documents show the inevitable result: The guns that ATF let go began showing up at crime scenes in Mexico. And as ATF stood by watching thousands of weapons hit the streets, the Fast and Furious group supervisor noted the escalating Mexican violence.

One e-mail noted, "958 killed in March 2010 ... most violent month since 2005." The same e-mail notes: "Our subjects purchased 359 firearms during March alone," including "numerous Barrett .50 caliber rifles." I emphatically say, our government is and always will be aware and apprised of the harm it is doing to people - especially people of color. That’s why it is allowed to continue. If these people (Mexicans crossing the border) cause NRA supporters and Tea Party activists discomfort, then they’ll “give them tools to kill themselves”…in this case, guns. Just recall the days of J. Edgar Hoover who allowed drugs into Black ghettos from the 1930’s on. This tactic fuels work for law enforcement, supplies subjects for prisons and keeps races of people separate…the perfect demonic tool.

Dodson feels that ATF was partly to blame for the escalating violence in Mexico and on the border. I categorically say that Dodson is right.

But you ask, where’s the connection to American urban centers? Though difficult to negotiate, it is feasible. Once guns are trafficked into Mexico, those ATF-blessed guns are used to protect shipments of cocaine and marijuana into the U.S. Just like the drugs bought and consumed here, the guns stay here also. The only thing that leaves the U.S. is the money exchanged.

It’s a crime, and someone should be in jail. Instead of allowing Kenneth Melson, acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to resign under pressure, he should be in jail. He should be prosecuted and convicted for conspiracy to traffic arms to known criminals and to supply criminal enterprises. This, my friend, is a crime at the highest levels of government. What are we going to do? What are we going to demand? I know that a Tunisian court sentenced ousted President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali and his wife to 35 years in prison in absentia on Monday after a one-day trial on corruption charges. Now, that’s swift justice! So what’s wrong with us?

This country is quick to arrest the low-level street dealer; or the addict in possession of a minute amount of drugs, but is quick to holler from the mountaintops that they want the drug problem stopped. These same Americans won’t holler from those same mountaintops to stop the problem at its source: government leaders. How utterly cowardly.

We complain of inequality in the dispensation of justice, but lay dormant when it’s time to call for accountability - through indictment and prosecution. Someone is liable…and it’s us. This is not unbelievable.

There’s Only One Solution to the Court Decision Against Walmart Women: Unionize! Solidarity America By John Funiciello Columnist

When, on Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously against the right of more than one million of its women workers to sue Walmart for bias and discrimination in pay and promotions, Corporate America rose to its feet and sang a song of victory.

The lawsuit had been years in the making against the world’s largest retail chain and the largest private employer, but the court decided that the women did not have enough in common to be considered a class for the purposes of a lawsuit.

The court did not make a decision on the merits of the class action suit, but they clearly decided that the members of the class, working in 3,400 retail stores in every state and in various positions, management and line worker, did not have enough in common to satisfy the legal definition of a class under federal law.

Some of the women can, and some said they would, continue to try to prove that Walmart discriminated against them. The giant firm maintained that it gave much of its authority for pay and promotion to the supervisors and managers in each of its thousands of stores, and therefore, there could not have been a blanket policy of discrimination. Justice Antonin Scalia decreed it to be so and the other eight justices agreed.

Although the ruling was unanimous in that aspect, at least one justice said she would have allowed the class to pursue their case under another section of the federal rules governing class action lawsuits. But, said Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the court ruled that out by tossing the class action on the basis of failure to prove that all of the women had issues in common. The overall (unanimous) ruling precluded the women from continuing their lawsuit. Some of them indicated that they would pursue similar or ongoing cases on the store level or regional level, which will be much harder to sustain because of the high cost of litigation and the geographical breadth of the company’s properties.

Walmart knows that, as does the U.S. Supreme Court and the rest of Corporate America. Many large companies celebrated the victory over the women, especially since the decision is very likely to have the effect of discouraging future similar lawsuits and protect them from the bother of their workers seeking justice in the workplace. No one knows how long it will take before another lawsuit of this magnitude will be put together and eventually reach the high court.

One thing this decision shows is that Corporate America is inexorably tightening its control on the economy of the U.S. Its decades-long attack on unions has been an attack on the rights of American workers to even form unions. They hate unions because they tend to counterbalance the power of the combination of big business and the various legislatures, starting with the U.S. Congress. We have witnessed the recent coordinated attacks by Republican governors against their own workers, but those attacks also have a highly detrimental effect on all workers, whether in the public or private sector.

Most of Walmart’s workers reportedly are women and a sizable percentage of those women are black or other minority workers and the policies of the company, regardless of the source of the animus toward women, have harmed their ability to provide for their families. That is true whether they are line workers, supervisors, or managers. Now, for most of them, it’s back to the beginning.

Throughout America’s labor history, the militant unions continually reminded workers not to depend too much on presidents, senators, representatives, or their state or local governments to provide a measure of equity and equality in the workplace. They declared that the only way to achieve justice is to demand it. That same history is filled with examples of the struggles of workers, who were mistreated, exploited, underpaid, and made to die while working in unsafe and unhealthy conditions. When they joined the union, however, they found that they had the ability to somewhat equalize the balance of power.

Pay scales were standardized. Seniority replaced the favoritism and nepotism that are rampant in a non-union environment. For a time, workplaces became safer and healthier for all workers. It was unions that pushed passage of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), after all. Healthier workplaces also improved the quality of the environment outside the plant, as well.

Just last week (as if in anticipation of this week’s Walmart decision), about one hundred Walmart workers from across the country, representing the company’s workers from around the U.S., visited company headquarters in Bentonville, Ark. They are organized in a group called Organization United for Respect at Walmart (OUR Walmart). They went there with one request: that the company respect them (keep in mind that the company calls its workers “associates,” denoting something more than “employee”).

When OUR Walmart representatives went to Bentonville last week, they went with a message to company officials, contained in the new group’s “Declaration of Respect,” which is literally a list of grievances that the “associates” have with Walmart managers across the country. Basically, they said in their declaration: “The fundamental desire to be shown respect is what led us to join together as OUR Walmart, an organization of Walmart Associates, by Walmart Associates, for Walmart Associates. We are one Organization United for Respect at Walmart.”

They want the company to live up to the principles they say were established by Sam Walton, the late founder of the company, including free speech, the “open door” policy of management, freedom from bias and discrimination, and Sam Walton’s purported attitude of “respect for the individual.” When the group’s representatives stood in front of corporate headquarters in Bentonville, eventually a company spokeswoman came out to talk with them. They thought this was progress, but the company apparently made no promises on any of the issues, and then they went home.

Every one of the issues they cited in their Declaration of Respect and the problems that were addressed in the class action lawsuit (or would have been addressed, if the case had actually been heard by the Supreme Court) would be negotiated at the bargaining table, if the Walmart workers organized a union. It’s what unions do and the best of it is that the workers, including the “associates” who went to Bentonville, would be the leaders of their own union. They already have shown leadership by organizing and speaking out.

Be sure, however, that respect would come automatically if 1.5 million workers were organized into a union to talk to the bosses. The workers would not have to go to Arkansas to ask if the company would please show workers some respect. As a united front at the bargaining table or in the grievance procedure, they would face the company on equal footing and respect would come from that. No pleading. Just respect.

Surely, it will be a long process to form a Walmart union, but that’s what trumps all of the politicking, lobbying, and pleading: a union contract, as described in the laws of the land.

Whether the U.S. Supreme Court or Walmart bosses or Corporate America want to admit it or not, OUR Walmart said it all in describing the formation of their group and their visit to headquarters last week: “For many of us, this was the first time we had met other Associates who experienced similar problems from stores in other states. But when we spoke with each other for the first time, it became clear that we shared common concerns.”

Without knowing the result of the class action suit, the “associates” found that conditions were pretty much the same from store to store, all 3,400 of them. And that gave the lie to the court’s assertion that the workers were too disparate to have the wherewithal to bring a class action suit, never mind the merits.

Now, the only real advice to Walmart workers, past and present is that of the great trade unionist, organizer, and songwriter, Joe Hill, to his union brothers and sisters before he was executed by the state of Utah for a crime he didn’t commit: “Don’t waste any time in mourning… Organize!”