On this Labor Day organized labor is more threatened than at any time in my life. Blamed for our economic ills stupid people forget it was Wall Street and Organized Capital that collapsed the economy driven by greed and short minded selfishness. Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectionism makes everyone out only for themselves. Organized Labor, by its very nature, rejects that credo by bringing the power of thousands of individuals together to forge progress for all.
Today we celebrate those victories, reflect on the past and warn everyone of the future. The War on Workers began in Wisconsin and spread across many states where conservatives gained control of government. Right to Work laws which really mean the right to work for less threaten everyone’s wages. Wages are at their lowest levels since 1947 because organized labor is at its lowest level in decades. Power exists with corporations because they’ve taken it from workers through legislation. When you vote Republican you vote against your own financial interests. You vote to reduce your income and gut your retirement. If gay marriage, abortion and endless wars mean more to you than your own survival you get what you deserve.
Workers fought and died for the right to organize. From our own Molly Maguires to the massacres at factories a hundred years ago Robber Barons have sought to limit the power of the people to organize. They are doing it again and Romney/Ryan will continue these attacks. Wisconsin became the storm center of the anti-worker movement and they want to spread their poison all over the nation. Labor finally took a stand this week and refused to attend the Democratic National Convention when spineless Party leaders chose to host the event in right to work for less state North Carolina.
Unions brought us the weekend, eight hour work days, sick days, vacations, retirement pensions, health care benefits, the minimum wage, overtime, safe workplaces, child labor laws, unemployment compensation and created a middle class. Which part of that don’t you like and appreciate when you bash unions? No it wasn’t easy and sometimes force was used to forge progress just as force was used to thwart these gains. Corporations employ many more thugs to bust unions, kill workers and threaten families than any union has to protect them.
There is no capital without labor. It is the product of labor and we must remember that for an accumulation of capital someone labored to make it. As 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.” Progressive Republican Teddy Roosevelt reminded us that organization is the key: “It is essential that there should be organization of labor. This is an era of organization. Capital organizes and therefore labor must organize.”
If corporations can engage in capitalism then so can workers and that s the essence of organized labor: the power gained by capitalizing on the collective efforts of all to counter balance the tyranny of Capital. John Locke said “All wealth is the product of labor.” If we allow unions to be decimated we all suffer. Newt Gingrich and others on the presidential campaign trial even called for the abolition of child labor laws this year. They’re coming for your health care and all the rest of the gains of the Twentieth Century will fall thereafter if we’re not careful.
You’re responsible for your own vote, make it count for something positive.