BY WILLIAM DOUGLAS
Poet Laureate Emeritus, William A. Douglas, is the former director of the SAIS International Development Program and current Professorial Lecturer at Georgetown University and in the SAIS Global Theory and History program.
Distributing development’s gains should be fair.
The poor, not the elite, should get a large share.
But the development model that is selected,
Determines who gains, and whose claims are rejected.
In the export-led model, based on low wages,
Especially in its earlier stages,
The owners and bosses all can win,
While workers’ pay envelopes stay woefully thin.
If a model on domestic consumption is based,
Then the need for sufficient demand must be faced.
That means workers’ wages must go higher,
Because the worker is also the buyer.
This ISI model is said to have failed,
But in the past it clearly prevailed.
When rich countries used it to make themselves wealthy -
Back then they thought the model was healthy.
When development strategy’s being worked out,
Each group needs a voice, and one that has clout.
If you want your fair share, you’ve got to be able,
When they’re cutting the pie, to be at the table.
The poor, being weak, without education,
To build that clout, need organization.
Collectively, they can speak to their nation,
While its growth model is still in gestation.
When the Wobblies’ Joe Hill was about to be hung,
The workers, who Joe’s labor songs had long sung,
Came in a crowd of impressive size,
And heard his last words: “Don’t mourn - organize!”
So, the urban workers must all unionize –
There is strength in numbers, of big enough size.
“When the union’s inspiration, through the workers’ blood shall run,
There can be no greater power, anywhere beneath the sun!”
Out in the country, the peasants must also unite,
Through agricultural co-ops they can carry the fight,
To get their fair share, as economies grow.
Then, for their efforts, they’ll have something to show.
“El pueblo, unido, jamas sera vencido,” so:
“Help them unite”, should be IDEV’s credo.