Bon Mots and Cheap Shots

Takin’ what they’re givin’

Workers of the world unite! You have nothing to loose but your chains.
We Americans are an ironic lot. The “greatest generation” were laborers. They were laborers who formed the first middle class, in history, who bought their own homes and sent their children to college. They were laborers who paid union dues, went to work and made things and after a lifetime of service they retired with a pension. They were paid well enough to buy the things others, of the greatest generation, made. America prospered. While America prospered with a growing, working middle class, there were some crazies who thought the communists were hiding under the bed and around the corner. Wisconsin Senator, Joseph McCarthy, insisted he had a list of communists who had infiltrated the U.S. State Department. Rep Richard Nixon and Rep John F Kennedy made their names on the House UnAmerican Activities Committee (HUAC). The Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China were our enemy. It would seem this is an ideological fight except for our anti-labor history.
From the coal mines of Colorado to the Pullman car plants in Illinois to the auto plants in Michigan to the docks of San Francisco, we have a history of mobilizing police and military to crush and kill organized workers. While the rest of the world celebrates May 1 as the day of the worker, we moved the holiday to the end of summer. Why does the country who built the greatest working class in the history of mankind fear labor?
I don’t know. I know it sucks that labor is viewed as a necessary obstacle between capital and their profits. If capital could produce the same amount with fewer workers their profits increase. If capital could fire just a few more of us, they’d earn even bigger profits. In 2009, CEO’s who fired the most were paid the best. America is an ironic place.
We are a country of people who need to get back to work. We are nation of crumbling infrastructure. Why can’t available labor be put to work shoring up levees and re-building roads and repairing schools and painting court houses and building rest rooms in public parks? We all benefit when people work. We benefit from infrastructure improvement. We have the workers and we have a need so why?
I live across the street from a cemetery. Every July 4th, Flag Day, Veteran’s Day, Memorial Day a local civic organization decorates the cemetery with big, bright American flags hung on tall flag poles. There must be at 500 flags waving in the breeze. Waking up and seeing the flags is emotional. You are reminded of all the people who sacrificed building and protecting our country. Please re-read the list of holidays. Labor Day is missing. Today is Labor Day and there isn’t a single flag flapping in the breeze, across the street. The soldiers who died were laborers (or they wanted grow up to be laborers). Labor did the work that built this country. Why don’t we celebrate Labor. That great socialist, Abraham Lincoln said,
“Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration. Capital has its rights, which are as worthy of protection as any other rights.”
America is an ironic place, and I wouldn’t live anywhere else.

Happy Labor Day!

Worked in and around title industry for 15 years (1992-2007). Been through one big down turn and it was bad. Saw the writing on the wall and I won't look back!

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