Friday, September 4, 2009

Thoughts in Celebration of Labor Day

Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if Labor had not first existed. Labor is superior to capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.1 With all their faults, trade unions have done more for humanity than any other organization of men that ever existed. They have done more for decency, for honesty, for education, for the betterment of the race, for the developing of character in men, than any other association of men.2 Every advance in this half-century -- Social Security, civil rights, Medicare, aid to education, one after another - came with the support and leadership of American Labor.3 It is one of the characteristics of a free and democratic nation to have free and independent labor unions.4

Only a fool would try to deprive working men and working women of their right to join the union of their choice.5 If capitalism is fair then unionism must be. If men have a right to capitalize their ideas and the resources of their country, then that implies the right of men to capitalize their labor.6 In our glorious fight for civil rights, we must guard against being fooled by false slogans, as 'right-to-work.' It provides no 'rights' and no 'works.' Its purpose is to destroy labor unions and the freedom of collective bargaining.…7

If you are making a decent salary in a non-union company, you owe that to the unions. One thing that corporations do not do is give out money out of the goodness of their hearts.8 If hard work were such a wonderful thing, surely the rich would have kept it all to themselves.9

The words of...1Abraham Lincoln, 2Clarence Darrow, 3Jimmy Carter, 4Franklin D. Roosevelt, 5Dwight D. Eisenhower, 6Frank Lloyd Wright, 7Martin Luther King, Jr., 8Molly Ivins, 9Lane Kirkland

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