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John Sweeney’s ascension to the AFL-CIO presidency represented a sea change in the American labor movement. After decades of tumbling membership rolls, Sweeney said he’d focus on organizing new constituencies instead of just protecting the old ones. A couple of years later, union power remains a shadow of its former self. But by reaching out to women, minorities, and pencil-necked college professors, Sweeney has at least helped heal some of the rifts between labor and its potential allies on the left. Which explains this weekend’s “Democracy and the Right to Organize: A National Labor Teach-In.” Opening night features Sweeney and NAACP chair Julian Bond; subsequent Saturday sessions include workshops on everything from welfare to gender equality to the local labor scene. Take along your Gramsci, leave home your hard hat, and stick it to the Man at 7 p.m. Friday at George Washington University’s Lisner Auditorium, 730 21st St. NW. and 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday at George Washington University’s Funger Hall, 2201 G St. NW. $5-20. (202) 994-8361. (MS)