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View Diary: ACM: "The right of the workers to work, against the right of the workers to live." Mary Heaton Vorse (42 comments)

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  •  This is an excellent glimpse of a piece (14+ / 0-)

    of history. It is about many events and people that have been pretty much expunged from the collective American memory. One that particularly stands out for me is the extent to which we have totally lost the tradition of investigative muckraking journalism. Destroying it was essential to the political control of the economic elite.

    •  Thank you, Richard. (8+ / 0-)

      yep, investigating from the front lines of battle with bullets flying, can't get much closer than that!

      WE NEVER FORGET Our Labor Martyrs: a project to honor the men, women and children who lost their lives in Freedom's Cause. For Jan: USW Local Mourns Fallen Brother

      by JayRaye on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 11:23:44 AM PST

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      •  Wonderful to see you, I was just about (6+ / 0-)

        to tell people that we needed to have the discussion w/o your being here as I thought you were working. Such a wonderful piece!

        "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

        by NY brit expat on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 11:28:04 AM PST

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        •  thank you, expat. (6+ / 0-)

          yep, here I am. Shift got canceled.
          Needed the work, but glad that I can be here.

          I wanted to cover this part of Labor's New Millions because of the "right to work" angle. This period of labor history could be where that phrase originated, altho hesitate to ever say "first time." First that I'm aware of, anyway. & used with grim results by Little Steel against the SWOC.

          Most of this book takes your breath away with victory after victory in 1937. There was a period in Cincinnati where the CIO was signing up 4-5 thousand per week!

          WE NEVER FORGET Our Labor Martyrs: a project to honor the men, women and children who lost their lives in Freedom's Cause. For Jan: USW Local Mourns Fallen Brother

          by JayRaye on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 11:40:05 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  The thing that is very interesting (7+ / 0-)

            about the term right to work in the states as opposed to the UK is that in the UK the term comes from the socialists in the early part of the 19th century and it is a demand that people actually had jobs due to the introduction of machinery leading to unemployment, deskilling and destruction of skilled labour ... it was a demand in favour of working people. The meaning of the term in the US was inverted and corrupted by capitalists and then used against organised labor and the right to be unionised. In the UK they do not still get the corruption of this term and you see left-wing groups reviving the term to protect workers that are facing unemployment or are unemployed demanding that cuts to jobs be stopped.

            "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

            by NY brit expat on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 11:47:49 AM PST

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            •  yes, well, you know, the US has the most clever (7+ / 0-)

              Capitalist in the whole world! We're #1!

              Our capitalist will give us the right to work, by God, if they have to kill us to do it!

              But seriously, working people and their organizations need to do a better job at stating what we are for.

              I thot MHV did a good job by putting forward: "right to live."

              Perhaps we could broaden it by calling for the right to live a decent life in return for our labor. But, of course, that doesn't fit on a bumper sticker.

              WE NEVER FORGET Our Labor Martyrs: a project to honor the men, women and children who lost their lives in Freedom's Cause. For Jan: USW Local Mourns Fallen Brother

              by JayRaye on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 12:00:39 PM PST

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              •  given the nature of the capitalist system (8+ / 0-)

                before the introduction of the social welfare state, the right to a job was literally the right to life. The current attack on the social welfare state is trying to reintroduce that notion; in fact, the claims of the UK gov't that the poor cannot earn more than those that are willing to work (as though the problem is a labour supply problem because the poor are lazy, drunk, and breed to much) using Bentham's principle of lesser eligibility (poor relief must be lower than the lowest of paid workers) is a revival of a similar argument. We need to remind people that these are not new, they have been used successfully before and that we know what they are playing at and that this must be fought. Demonisation of unions goes hand in hand with demonisation of the poor and disabled ... it is an attempt (and one that is successful at that) of pitting workers against each other to lower the income of the working class.

                "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

                by NY brit expat on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 12:06:31 PM PST

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                •  Yep, they want us poor and desperate and (6+ / 0-)

                  without pride in ourselves and our work. That's the biggest problem with Unions, teaching workers to have pride in themselves and pride in their work, and solidarity with each other.  

                  The level of degradation that I've seen here in Texas was almost unbelievable.  Could hardly believe it when I moved here from MN. My work takes me right into people's homes. We have poverty there, in MN, of course. But here they degrade the poor in ways that are hard to imagine in a civilized society.

                  WE NEVER FORGET Our Labor Martyrs: a project to honor the men, women and children who lost their lives in Freedom's Cause. For Jan: USW Local Mourns Fallen Brother

                  by JayRaye on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 12:21:26 PM PST

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                  •  one important thing is the way that the (4+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    JayRaye, annieli, radarlady, Dirtandiron

                    poor are being treated, they concentrate on treating the poor as though they are in need of charity; benefits arising from the failures of the system to enable full employment and to provide income to stimulate demand for the goods and services of the private sector (and hence benefit the private sector) are treated as charity. As charity it becomes the donations of others as a gift or due to guilt; as a right to eat, keep a roof over your head, etc, that is solidarity and it is deserved. I do not know if I am making this clear ...  the difference between talking about the rights of the poor and unemployed and their being given charity out of the goodness of the hearts of those that give to charity is miles apart.

                    "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

                    by NY brit expat on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 12:26:50 PM PST

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                    •  I understand, and I agree completely. (6+ / 0-)

                      Here in Texas, they are treated with contempt. They barely have the right to walk down the street or sit in the park. It's hard to describe. And there are far fewer public spaces in TX compared with MN. People act like they own the sidewalk in front of their homes.

                      Being poor is like a crime here, and yet, so many people are poor, possibly 40%, not sure. I've seen houses with open sewers, holes in the floor where rats can (and do) come in at night. And older children and young adults with teeth missing or rotting.

                      This is Texas! One of our great right-to-work states.

                      Michiganders should come and visit, we'll head down further into South Texas so they can see what lies in store for them.

                      WE NEVER FORGET Our Labor Martyrs: a project to honor the men, women and children who lost their lives in Freedom's Cause. For Jan: USW Local Mourns Fallen Brother

                      by JayRaye on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 12:41:40 PM PST

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    •  Muckraking (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JayRaye, longtalldrink, CharlieHipHop
      One that particularly stands out for me is the extent to which we have totally lost the tradition of investigative muckraking journalism. Destroying it was essential to the political control of the economic elite.
      Yes, today any news reports would be slanted against the strikers. And fox "news" would be rambling on about "union violence" and "thugs".  The news media has hurt our country because now the average working man/woman sees the world through the eyes of the Koch Brothers, all the while they work harder for less money and benefits.

      Where are all the jobs, Boehner?

      by Dirtandiron on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 06:06:45 PM PST

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