While the generals and politicians in Washington, D.C. beat the drums of war and stir up the whole population, resistance to the impending war is forming everywhere. Marches of up to 6,000 people in New York, vigils across the country and other signs of opposition to war have sprung up. The following incident is especially interesting because it gives a glimpse of something that will hopefully become more and more common as the present war develops. "Firefighters are suspended for alleged truck incident.
"Three firefighters were suspended with pay Friday for allegedly refusing to ride on a fire engine displaying the American flag.
"The firefighters, from Station 26 Miami-Dade County, say they did not refuse to get on the truck.
"Miami-Dade County Fire-Rescue spokesman Lt. Louie Fernandez said Wednesday that the firefighters told crew members the flag represented oppression and refused to get on board. The crew chief then ordered the flag be removed so the unit could respond to an emergency, Fernandez said.
"The firefighters, Terry Williams, James Moore and William Clark, have been suspended until the department investigates the incident." (From News Services, 9-22-01.)
Over the past two weeks, it has been firefighters especially that have been shown on television flying the flag, etc. Apparently even supposedly ultra-patriotic firefighters have minds of their own!
The flag is an important symbol to many people. To many it represents all the hard work and sacrifice that has gone into building this country. But in who has benefited from all that effort? The massive income gap between the average worker and the handful of capitalists who control the vast majority of society answers that question! While the rich have gotten richer, the rest of us have seen a drop in real wages, unemployment and incarceration skyrocket, and job security and benefits disappear. In spite all the appeals for "national unity" and the calls to "rally behind the flag", many workers can already see through the lies of the ruling class. They know from their own experience that the capitalist class and working class have nothing in common! And in relation to the rest of the world, many see the flag as a symbol of US militarism and imperialism. They feel that if they are going to wave the American flag, it should be the flag of the united working class!
Imagine, if firefighters can take a stand like that, how will the rank-and-file industrial and service workers respond? How will the youth respond? In our opinion, we are confident that they will not only take down the flag, but the capitalist state it represents as well!