Blazing a Union Trail Through the Thickets of Time


Before beginning today’s blog proper, the first of a twice-monthly post entitled “Blazing a Union Trail Through the Thickets of Time,” I wanted to introduce myself and say a few words about process and approach.  My name

is Jim Hickey, and I’m the current chair of the At-Large chapter of the National Writers Union.  For some time, our chapter has, to say the least, not shown much life.  I am hoping that we can alter that quietude and become more vibrant in building the union and identifying how we can lead better, stronger, and happier lives as scribes and citizens.

NWU March on Washington - MLK 50

NWU March on Washington – MLK 50

Although some folks may find the point hard to believe, I’m pretty much an open book.  Any of my copious online work demonstrates, whether a ‘hobgoblin of a tiny mind’ or otherwise, a consistency of voice and perspective and orientation.  Here are a pair of links for readers to note in that regard:;

After the few paragraphs of this initial note are out of the way, every post that I present here will follow a uniform format and protocols.  A caveat to this: I made very similar points to those that I am making right now—which do not ‘follow these uniform matters of format and protocols’—in my first twice monthly submission, which goes under the overall title, “A Writer Without Issues Has Nothing to Say.”  Now, however, each profferal going forward in these two categories will have the same structure and general approach to things that the initial respective notes posit.

For this construct a slightly different format from the five-paragraph note, in the form of a brief essay, will start.  Since we’re delving into the past, a concise introduction will provide an overview of What Happened.  Following that, three sections will follow, also incisive, but not necessarily as short as in the other bi-weekly series, “A Writer Without Issues Has Nothing to Say.”

The initial section here, after the historical background,



will explicate Why What Happened Came to Pass.  Then, readers will see an analysis of What the Meaning Was of What Happened.  The final substantive section will address What Is the Importance of What Happened Long Ago in the Current Moment.

This sequence will almost never vary.  It will inevitably gloss over complex matters in order relatively quickly to defend a robust assertion.  It won’t offer nearly as much documentation as it surely could.  However, a more extensive contemplation of the evidence and issues and arguments will then follow, ‘below the fold,’ as the saying goes.   For most folks, this second piece will be way too much information.

Whatever the case may be, readers can rest assured that they’ll have something to think about, to critique, to use, to share, whatever, with a minimal investment of time.  On the other hand, observers who want to delve deeper will have that opportunity also.

These posts will always invite comment and criticism.  That’s how we learn and grow.  Nonetheless, a few ground rules do apply.

  • “The Golden Rule reigns supreme,” as I like to say, so trolls, hijackers, thugs, and other such miscreants will, very quickly, get the sack here.
  • This is a union site; therefore, any powerful inference or statement that one denies the absolute right of all workers to organize and bargain for themselves in whatever fashion they judge proper will also lead to summary revocation of one’s right to participate here.
  • “All beliefs are welcome,” or so I maintain; however, any opinion that is obviously antithetical to the Golden Rule—anything fascist or chauvinistically supremacist in other words, should also look elsewhere than here to express itself.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA final note: I am, for the time being, the holder of a title, an official in a sense, in a labor union.  I obviously do not equal the union though, a much mightier and more magnificent entity that, despite this greatness, to which I’ve devoted myself, I often find myself in disagreement with.  My mother has often said, “You were born a critic.”  A friend once characterized me as “a man with a decidedly different opinion” about almost everything.

In any event, here I am, in all my glory, with ideas and arguments and evidence that ought to make anyone willing to read think a little bit.  As I tell my students, “I don’t care what you think, only that you think.”  Out of any cauldron of competing ideas can come clarity, synthesis, useful possibilities.  That is my hope for these pages.

solidarity of labourWhat this all means is that I am exercising my right to speak in one of the few remaining forums—a congregation of workers in a union—where the practice of democracy is something more than a sham and a façade.  I’m speaking for myself though.  I’m a union man, but my opinion is not “the union’s opinion.”

I do, however, want all of us to start talking about things more deeply and honestly and openly than we’ve done for many a decade.  The times, in my estimation, utterly demand this of us.

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