Unions - Sick Leave - Child Labor Laws - Weekends - etc


Roseanne on Corporate Tax Incentives and Scab Wages


Almost 3 Million American Jobs Moved Offshore 2000-2010



Calling All Rebels
A brilliant speech by Chris Hedges in March, 2013, on tour for his new book.

Selected quotes from that speech:

Workers in this country fought long and hard for their rights. They suffered brutal beatings, mass expulsions from company housing and jobs, endured crippling strikes, targeted assassination of union leaders, and armed battles with hired gun thugs and state militias. The Rockefellers, the Mellons, the Carnegies, and the Morgans — the Koch Brothers Industries, Goldman Sachs and Walmart of their day — never gave a damn about workers. All they cared about was profit. The 8-hour work day, the minumum wage, social security, pensions, job safety, paid vacations, retirement benefits, and health insurance were achieved because hundreds of thousands of workers physically fought a system of capitalist exploitation.

They rallied around radicals such as Mother Jones, United Mine Workers president John L. Lewis, and Big Bill Haywood and his Wobblies, as well as the Socialist presidential candidate, Eugene V. Debs…. The elite fought back viciously. Federal Marshalls, state militias, sheriff’s deputies, and at times army troops, along with the courts and legislative bodies, were used to crush and stymie worker revolts.

  • Striking sugar cane workers were gunned down in Louisiana in 1887.
  • Steelworkers were shot to death in Homestead, Pennsylvania in 1892.
  • Railroad workers were murdered in the Pullman Strike of 1894.
  • Coal miners were massacred at Ludlow, Colorado in 1914.  Videos here and here.
  • Coal miners were massacred at Matewan, West Virginia in 1920.  Trailer and clips from the 1987 movie Matewan here, here, and here.
  • The Battle of Blair Mountain, followed Matewan in 1920.

Our freedoms and rights were paid for with the blood of ordinary men and women.  American democracy rose because those consciously locked out of the system put their bodies on the line and demanded justice.  The exclusion of the poor and the working class from the systems of power in this country was, after all, deliberate.  The founding fathers deeply feared popular democracy, and they rigged the system to protect the elite from the start, something that has been largely white-washed in public schools, and by corporate media that has effectively substituted myth for history….

When you sell your product, you retain your person.  But when you sell your labor, you sell your self, losing the rights of free men and becoming vassals of mammoth establishments of a monied aristocracy that threatens annihilation to anyone who questions their right to enslave and oppress.  Those who work in the mills ought to own them, not have the status of machines ruled by private despots who are entrenching monarchic principles on democratic soil as they drive downwards freedom and rights, civilization, health, morals, and intellectuality in the new commercial feudalism.  (from a tract published in the 1880s by striking mill workers in Lowell, Massachusetts)

As Noam Chomsky points out, the sentiment expressed by the Lowell mill workers pre-dated Marxism.  It points to a time in American history 150 years ago when working for wages was a form of chattel slavery.  A slogan of the Republican party, the banner under which northern workers went to fight in the civil war was, “We’re against chattel slavery and wage slavery.”  Free people did not rent themselves to others.  Freedom means not taking orders from others.  It took a long time, Chomsky points out, to drive into people’s heads the idea that it is legitimate to rent yourself.  And once that was accomplished, we began to internalize oppression.

Hedges urges us to refuse to cooperate with the system.  He urges resistance, revolt, rebellion, and masses of people in the streets.


Bukowski - How in Hell Can a Man Enjoy Wage Slavery and Be Grateful



Nike - You Still Have 7-year-olds Making Your Stuff


Labor Rights Fought for and Won