Tuesday, June 26, 2007

"The working class and the employing class have nothing in common"

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketJune 27, 2007, is the 102nd anniversary of the founding of the Industrial Workers of the World, the IWW, the "Wobblies."

The IWW has been perhaps the most radical of American labor unions. The preamble to its constitution reads in part:

The working class and the employing class have nothing in common. There can be no peace so long as hunger and want are found among millions of the working people and the few, who make up the employing class, have all the good things of life.

Between these two classes a struggle must go on until the workers of the world organize as a class, take possession of the means of production, abolish the wage system, and live in harmony with the Earth.

Maybe those aren't words that have a lot of resonance in societies as affluent as most of ours are. "The few" no longer have "all" the good things; they just have a lot more of them. And there are plenty of union-related abuses, especially in big, entrenched unions. But next time you take a coffee break, next time you have a weekend off, the next time you get paid sick leave or employer-paid health insurance, remember that even if you don't need to belong to a union yourself, you owe a large part of that to unionism. Remember that there were once people who actually gave their lives so that one day the rest of us could earn a decent living. And while you're remembering, think about maybe even buying a cool T-shirt and support a union that's still trying to help people who need it.

No comments:

Post a Comment

What do you think?