TEA Party: Return To The Bad Old Days

On December 28, 1869...

The (Noble and Holy Order of the) Knights of Labor, a labor union formed by tailors in Philadelphia, held the first Labor Day ceremonies in American history. Led by Uriah S. Stephens, they advocated and end to child and convict labor, equal pay for women, a progressive income tax and cooperative ownership of mines and factories by management and workers. They organized among the growing mass of industrial workers, their motto, “An Injury to One Is the Concern of All.”

On January 3, 2011...

Wisconsin GovenorScott Walker and the new Republican Legislature declare war on working people. They intend to abolish public employee unions and turn Wisconsin into a so-called right-to-work state, meaning no more union shops and no more dues from anyone who objects. This also means no more pressure from anywhere to keep wages at a livable level for anyone, union or not.

It’s all under the guise of cutting the state’s $3 billion budget deficit and creating 250,000 jobs. Sound familiar? Since the Reagan era, Republicans and corporate Democrats have pushed the big lie that tax cuts for the rich, deregulation, and busting unions would bring jobs and prosperity. Instead we got the Great Recession. And now the people of Wisconsin have voted to cure the disease with more disease and turn our state into an economic dictatorship..

When Adolf Hitler outlawed “trade unions, collective bargaining and the right to strike, the German worker in the Third Reich became an industrial serf, bound to his master, the employer, much as medieval peasants had been bound to the lord of the manor,” writes William Shirer in his classic, “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.” This was done “democratically” when Germany’s parliament passed the 1934 Charter of Labor, which “put the worker in his place and raised the employer to his old position of absolute master.”



daniel noe said...

I do hear Republicans pushing for deregulation and tax cuts, but to hear them bashing unions is a rare thing. Sometimes, some of them point out some of the problems we have had with unions (especially the teachers' unions), and that the dems sometimes unfairly support them, but ending or seriously curtailing the activities of unions has never been something I have ever heard any republican run on as a primary part of their platform. (of course, it may be that they do these things behind our backs, but at least they don't RUN on curtailing unions.) I just don't think it is a big issue for them. The subject rarely comes up.

Sunny B. said...

DN: They way the private unions are being crastrated is by shipping jobs overseas. They can do this quietly in the name of "free markets." What about the card check legislation that the GOTea Party is so against. They don't want any of those minimum wage jobs getting unionized.

daniel noe said...

Well, of course outsourcing is a free-market thing. It's not directly against unions. They are merely the unfortunate losers in that scenario. They don't support foriegn trade by advertising that it will make unions obsolete.
In free competition, there will always be some losers and some winners.
As for card-check, the way it was explained to me by those against it is that there were privacy concerns and voters could be intimidated. Pro-union people could intimidate them into voting for the union, while management might intimidate them into voting against.
I suppose unions are one of those things like racism that interfere with our "positive liberties." In a pure free market, they are allowed to exist, but are neither supported nor hampered.

daniel noe said...

After reading my comment through, I think it might be unclear in a couple points.
Republicans do not support foreign trade by advertising its harm to unions, they do so by pointing to its freedom-enhancing qualities.
When I talk of a pure free market, I mean one with strong negative liberties, but not necessarily any positive liberties. Positive liberties interfere with each other, after all.