Labor Day 2013

Recently Sylvester Stallone was being interviewed about “Rocky The Musical.” Stallone is producing this show and was asked about the viability of a fight story being made into a musical. “Rocky was never about boxing, it is about a man getting his piece of dignity” was Stallone’s reply. Dignity, I mused to myself, what could be more important?

This country’s existence came about for that very purpose. We celebrate that aspect of American life, and lately it has been undermined.

Built into the documents that frame our nation’s purpose are words that inspire us. America has never been perfect in its execution of stated ideals, but over time, life has gotten better. Even as we acknowledge that we often take three steps forward and two steps back, we are reassured. However there is a force out there that endangers our nation’s freedom. It threatens freedom around the world as well, and that force is the stateless corporation.

The major corporations of the world call themselves multi-national. That phrase is not accurate, a better term is “Stateless Corporations,” that is to say they have no loyalties to any nation. They pretty much operate outside the legal framework of any nation. Why this is dangerous and cannot be tolerated by the people I will go into later, but we the people have power in the hands that we have not fully exercised

Allow me to take you away from this thought for a moment and look at the writings of Alexis DeTocqueville. DeTocqueville, a Frenchman traveled through America writing about his observations of American life. Once, while he was a passenger on a river boat, he observed, on one side of the river there were slaves working on the river front, the other side of the river was a free state. The workers on the free state side were working at a fast pace and accomplishing much more than the slaves on the slave state side of the river. You can draw some conclusions about why the difference existed, and here is one.

Black people are lazy and/or stupid. The truth is that black people in slavery were neither lazy nor stupid; they merely did what they needed to do in order to survive. We don’t know what motivated the workers on the free side of the river, but they could probably take a day off if they needed to, the slave worked until dead, so what he did was pace himself, and that was a form of self preservation, and also resistance.

My point of that paragraph is to remind us that the oppressed have the ability to resist. The labor movement in this country has been systematically crushed by the weight of corporate greed and the cooperation of a wholly purchased government. Organized labor today is a mere shadow of what it used to be, but bear this in mind. It is labor that physically built this country. The more we oppress labor the less gets done.

Presently we are standing on the broad shoulders of our parents and our grandparents. All of the great infrastructure that was built by them is now decaying. How will we ever pay for the rebuilding of this country when our people in Washington are triggering wars that cost us trillions of dollars? When will we, the laboring class refuse to go to war? When will we decide that my enemy is not who the federal government tells us it is?  Maybe then, that good money can be redirected back to America’s needs. When will we again realize that labor is the key to sustainable growth? Capital investments in things that the population cannot afford will go nowhere.

Too many people equate the labor movement in terms of left wing politics. That notion is wrong. We, as a nation are a family, and no family leaves the least of its members behind. The collective blood sweat and tears of the laboring class made everything in this country that is of any value. If we leave them behind by allowing an ever increasing widening of the wealth disparity then we will become a modern feudal world. Without a living wage for workers we will cease to grow, and democracy cannot survive.

Enjoy your Labor Day