Happy International Workers Day!!
Lest we forget, in THIS COUNTRY there were once 13 hours work days, for parents AND their children:
(THANK YOU Albert Parsons for fighting so hard to get an 8 hour workday established. Parsons was convicted by our judicial system for a bombing that occurred at a gathering in Chicago in 1886 even though he was not present. Of the eight who were convicted in suspension of being involved in the bombing at Haymarket square ; seven were not even there when the bomb exploded. As to the 8th; he was speaking to the crowd when the bomb exploded! Four of the eight who were convicted; including Parsons, were executed by hanging. The fifth one committed suicide in prison, while the other three were released seven years later. The issue at stake: Establishing an 8 hour work day. Thank you to the original “Chicago Eight” for your efforts to make the workplace more bearable, and the work time more reasonable): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Parsons
Lest we forget, in THIS COUNTRY there were once basically no safety standards in the workplace. As an example of the effects of the work environment before organized Labor forced updated standards, consider the Pimberton Mill incident in Lowell, Massachusetts; 1860. The building; which was occupied by hundreds of laboring employees; many of whom were women and children, collapsed due to unsafe maintenance. This avoidable accident killed between 90-145: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pemberton_Mill
Lest we forget, in THIS COUNTRY over 30,000 miners lost their lives between 1870-1897 due to unsafe conditions in the mines in which they toiled on behalf of Capitalist’ profit.
Lest we forget, in THIS COUNTRY law officials slaughtered 19 strikers in the state of Pennsylvania who were striking for safer work conditions in the mines. Despite the fact that most of the 19 were shot in the back multiple times, the law officers were acquitted: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lattimer_massacre
Lest we forget, in THIS COUNTRY women and children were massacred by the National Guard in Colorado in 1914 to protect the interests of mine owners. The crime of the women and children is that they were the family of miners who were on strike for safer work conditions: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ludlow_massacre
Lest we forget, in THIS COUNTRY and in THIS VERY YEAR, over a dozen were killed in a fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas due to lax safety standards and insufficient government safety inspections.
Lest we forget, among OUR OWN, among humanity; there are at this time hundreds of fellow laborers who are unaccounted for in Bangladesh due to the collapse of the manufacturing plant there just 2 weeks ago. Hundreds are known dead. Hundreds more are missing and likely dead. For the simple reason that the greed of Capitalists lives on… and the blood of laborers continues to be needlessly shed as a consequence!
People, all workers owe a great debt of gratitude to the brave men, women, and children who unionized during the 19th & 20th Centuries to make our work places safer and our work hours more reasonable. These are but a few of several examples of the plight of the working men, women, and children of our culture who stood up against the greed and covetousness of the Capitalist who worked so many to early deaths all for the sake of personal profit. May we pay homage to the courage of those who paid the ultimate price fighting the corrupt establishment who would even now have us working under these same conditions had courageous folks not unionized, worked together, and forced social changes to our eventual benefit.
Our debt of gratitude is not to the Capitalists whose primary objective always has been to pocket a major profit off the services and efforts of Labor.
Our debt of gratitude is not to the Government, who has traditionally been bribed to look the other way while Capital exploits our labors.
Our debt of gratitude is not to the Military, who has all too often turned their ammunition against their own people, all in order to protects the interests of the Capitalists.
People, our debt of gratitude is to the many, the nameless; the men, women, and children who stood up to injustice and who forced social changes.
Be not deceived people. Our workplaces are not safer today due to the kindness of the Capitalists or the generosity of the Government. Our work hours are not more reasonable now due to the character of the Capitalists or due to the geniality of the Government. Our workplaces are safer and our work hours are more reasonable now because organized labor forced social changes to our benefit.
Be thankful to those courageous nameless many who paid the ultimate price for our benefit.
And again, Happy International Workers Day to all workers everywhere!! We, the working class; both here and abroad are akin in terms of purpose and plight; regardless of race, gender,nationality, religious preferences, or any other classification. It is the working people, of all places whose efforts are exploited to some degree or another by they; the Plutocrats, the Oligarchs, the Capitalists. So long as greed lives on, then the need for organized labor and collective bargaining continues as well!!
Happy International Workers Day to you all!! May our efforts for sanitary and safe working conditions; and reasonable working hours ever be realized!!
In closing, I leave you with the final written words of Albert Parsons. These are the final lines Parsons wrote the day before his execution by hanging:
“And now to all I say: Falter not. Lay bare the inequities of capitalism; expose the slavery of law; proclaim the tyranny of government; denounce the greed, cruelty, abominations of the privileged class who riot and revel on the labor of their wage-slaves.
“Farewell.” (Albert Parsons)