It is on days like today that I miss great Americans like Howard Zinn, who never failed to remind us never to forget…
* * *
Anyone who has ever struggled with poverty knows how extremely expensive it is to be poor.
-- James Baldwin (1924–1987)
I hope that you have had an opportunity to gather with friends and family to observe the many that died in order to make certain things we take for granted today. Stuff like fair wages, the 40-hour week hour week, and vacations, for example, are a reality today because people fought for those rights.
That's OK, our Corporate Media and their bland whores -- the well-paid, hair-sprayed teleprompt readers -- would never focus on such a history. No, I don’t blame you for forgetting about Labor and its impact on our lives. After all, there’s much more important stuff to think about.
The history of Labor in the
Not unless you consider child labor, or the lack of safety in the workplace leading to disease and death, as good. One school teacher, Samuel Yellin, wanted to teach Labor history to his high school students but was unable to find a textbook, so he wrote his own, American Labor StrugglesHoward Zinn
One of the more heinous of episodes, now known as the , reads like something out of a fascist government -- which is what corporatization (rule by corporations) is, in fact. When I first read this as part of a deal I made with my then high school-aged son, I was shocked that such things, with all our lip service to individual freedom and fairness, happened in the
On April 20, 1914, 20 innocent men, women, and children were killed in the
As a result, for their striking, the miners and their families had been evicted from their company-owned houses and had set up a tent colony on public property. The ensuing massacre was a carefully planned attack on the tent colony by
The Baldwin Felts Detective Agency had been brought in to suppress the
A monument erected by the UMWA stands today in Ludlow, Colorado and human dignity.
Today, people enjoy taking potshots at Unions. Much of this is the result of a media controlled by the very forces that opposes organized labor; some of it is the result of bonehead actions taken the union leaders themselves. However, the only thing standing between you (if you’re not a CEO) and complete servitude are unions, which is why Corporate Christianity abhors the Labor Movement.
I find it hard to write about individual improvement when there is so much denial going on in our country. To stay quiet during times of atrocity is to be complicit in its crimes. This was the example of the
In the past, people have asked me to write about actions we can take to improve things. That comes later. Before we can act, we must become aware. I write in the hopes that even one person can gain some awareness. Mass movements of social change are founded in this notion of enlightening one mind at a time. History shows us, as Margaret Meade observed many years ago: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.”
I will leave you with the words of someone who was a lot better at this than I will ever hope to be:
“We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty,” Edward R. Murrow said in 1954. “We must remember always that accusation is not proof, and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law.
“We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men, not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate, and to defend causes that were for the moment unpopular.”
Remember to give thanks to all those men, women, and children who had the fuckin’ cojones to lay down their lives for their convictions, so that we could have better lives.