Why are we mobilizing?
As most CAPE members know, CAPE has new leadership and with it, a new direction and focus of energy on mobilization, education, and communication. To that end we have been taking action to connect the bargaining process underway with these activities.
Why focus on mobilization?
1- Mobilization shows people they are not alone in opposing or supporting specific goals
Too often in the public service, and in society more broadly, we have concerns about a particular policy or government action, but we keep our concerns to ourselves. Maybe we think nothing we do can help, or maybe we just have other pressures – family responsibilities and work. The result is a feeling of isolation that can become overwhelming and is itself a vicious circle – the more isolated we are the less we believe we can do anything to improve a situation.
Mobilization pulls people together to give a collective expression to those concerns. Those who participate in the activity see that, rather than having to suffer in isolation, they are part of something bigger than themselves. They are part of a movement.
2- Mobilization promotes critical thinking and encourages others to join in
When even modest numbers of people act collectively, those on the sidelines can see how easy it is to take such action and why it is important to do so. It encourages them to consider why those taking action – marching, rallying, taking a coffee break together – might feel good about doing so. It promotes the notion of having something in common – and it often leads to larger numbers the next time around.
Mobilization also attracts media attention, which has the twofold effect of both reaching out beyond the immediate workplace or locale, and shifting public opinion on the issue at hand.
3- Mobilization is, in the end, a strategy for winning
Throughout history we’ve seen that mobilization and the resulting shift in public opinion can and do have an impact on public policy. Mobilization kept Canada from officially supporting the first war in Iraq; it has stopped harmful pipeline projects in Quebec; it has stopped tuition fee hikes; it lead to maternity leave; and it has won everything from public health care to the weekend.
Without mobilization, we would not have pay equity.
Without mobilization, we would not have a minimum wage.
Without mobilization, we would not have unions.
Mobilization builds solidarity
Mobilization is a priority for CAPE because we need to build solidarity in our communities in order to rely on solidarity from our communities when we need it. Making connections within our communities also demonstrates that our concerns and issues are shared and are part of the same struggles, for example, cuts to public services.
We also need to get used to taking collective action in order to be ready to do, if necessary, as part of the collective bargaining process. The government as left us no choice if we want to defend what has been won over the years and improve our working conditions.