Noam Chomsky: The Government & Labor http://www.democracynow.org/2011/2/17/democracy_uprising_in_the_usa_noam
“Alice’s Egg Plant” (Walt Disney Parodies Labor, 1925)
"Mafia Offending" TV Smear Against Unions
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Governor Scott Walker Vows
To Use National Guard Against Unions
Wisconsin’s Governor Scott Walker sent a late valentine to Big Business on February 15, 2011, when he announced his solution to the financial crises since 2008 that were perpetrated by Wall Street: realign economic stability by breaking the unions, and use the National Guard to do so if necessary. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/02/15/wisconsin-state-workers-p_n_823476.html One reader of this Huffington Post’s account was particularly erudite: //
mburgh Commented 8 hours ago in Business:
“Can anyone say Haymarket riot? This is ludicrous misuse of gubernatorial powers. Knuckleheads offer no solutions, only violence of one kind or another. This is what the Republicans have done to our nations. We're not 2011, but in 1898. Wobblies come back. The ghost of Big Bill Hayward struggles from the loam to stand again.”--HuffPost Comments//
Chicago Police Assault Peaceful Labor Demonstrators
& Turn It Into “Haymarket Square Riot”
But why stop there? Any American politician with even the vaguest sense of our nation's history knows that it's standard operating procedure to blame workers as the alleged "cause" of any economic unrest (after all, it's Labor that's disrupting the flow of business!), and to rely on the National Guard to protect ... America's ... interests.
National Guard Unleashed Against IWW Strikers
National Guard Oppose Auto Workers Strike, 1937
National Guard & Hormel Meatpackers Strike, 1985
But, aside from “mburgh” and an aging contingency of Lefties, how many members of the general American public, I wonder, do have "even the vaguest sense"of what “mburgh” is referring to?
Politicians owned and operated by Big Business point to photos like those above as proof that (a) Labor is comprised of radical rabble rousers (and, by implication, citizens who oppose Business As Usual are indeed mere "rabble"); (b) using the National Guard to combat these threats to Business's status quo is logical, justified, historically traditional, and effective; and (c) clearly Labor is therefore irrational and unjustified in its "suspect" demands, historically beaten back by Business's uniformed forces, and impotent.
The Unions are costing us jobs! They get fat by demanding wages and perks that workers in the rest of the world could never hope for, thus legitimating corporate outsourcing to sweat shops overseas! At a time of economic crisis, we all must tighten our belts, starting with pampered Labor!
The Secret Economy
Bernstein's Candide: “What’s the Use?”
The purpose of this blog entry, then, is to introduce a few details about key events in the history of the American Labor Movement, and thereby rectify perceptions about the persons in those photos from the past and, by so doing, to make the uninitiated less vague about Labor's accomplishments on their ... on our ... behalf.
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Eugene Debs/ Mark Ruffalo
Recently, as I gathered materials for my blog essay on John Wells’ film The Company Men, I was drawn to Web resources on an auto workers’ strike from about seventy-five years ago, which eventuated many of the labor changes in the United States that made transformed this into a “First World” nation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=184NTV2CE_c More specifically, a victorious struggle that implemented many “basic” conditions in the workplace that current powers in government are intent on taking away. My own list of those “basic” appears in another of my blog essays, which considers the extent to which America is regressing to Third World status.
I. THE HAYMARKET SQUARE REBELLION
Lucy Parsons Project: Travesty Wins Americans the 8-Hour Day
http://www.lucyparsonsproject.org/haymarket/roediger_haymarket.html Democacy Now Overview
Documenting the Rebellion
Democracy Now Summing Up
II. AMERICA'S THIRD WORLD WORKING CONDITIONS
Nearly a Century Before Hormel
Child Labor/ Lewis Hine
Diane Keaton in Reds/ Defending Anarchy
Labor Conditions We May Return To?
III. INDUSTRIAL WORKERS OF THE WORLD
IV. THE FLINT AUTO WORKERS STRIKE
V. THE "REAL" REAGAN LEGACY
Reagan 1958: “Union-Management Relations”
Reagan 1961: The Threat of “Socialized” Health Care
Reagan 1964: A “Thoughtful Address” (Sound Familiar?)
Reagan 1981: The Air Traffic Controllers Strike
Reagan v. 500,000 Unions
And It Worked: Strikes Have Dwindled
During/Since Reagan's Presidency
Unions' Greatest Obstacle: The American Labor Force
So, quoth American workes, if a Union can't guarantee all the goodies they'd like, at least they know what to expect Management will "give" them. So do Unions, which is why they want workers to join.
Perhaps the saddest irony is that America's workforce has been weakened the past thirty years precisely because it has failed to join and support Labor's efforts. As unemployment figures devastate workers' families and local communities, Governor Walker's attack on collective bargaining reflects the new decade's perilous "cup of tea."