Happy Labor Day (…and Big Business Gets the Rest of the Year)

September 6th, 2010

Inspired by The unshared recovery: The toll of a nearly union-free America and Why labor matters: A movement expanded rights and prosperity (Washington Post 9/06/10).


When I was little, it made me mad,

So I complained to my Mom and Dad.


There’s a Father’s and a Mother’s Day,

So why isn’t there a Children’s Day?


It seemed to me so patently unfair

That nobody about kids seemed to care.


“That’s because,” they’d always say

“Every day is children’s day.”


Similarly, with the Republican party,

For Capital, every day’s a party.


Life’s good for upper management and and the idle rich,

But for the working stiff, life’s a bitch.


It’s true that unions sometimes over-reach,

But let’s not forget what the robber barron days teach.


It’s true that unions’ heyday is no more

(Only 12.3% of workers belong anymore).


But without the protections they won, abuses of old would return,

All to let Capital a few extra pennies earn.


Some of those abuses are already back,

Though management has since learned to more subtly attack.


Now, instead of hired goons with guns, clubs, or both,

Big Business uses hired goons from the Club for Growth.


For eight years, Big Business held sway,

But at least Labor still got its allotted day.


Dems are trying to change that, but Republicans resist,

For the good of the econony, they insist.


So today, Labor gets a rousing cheer,

But Capital still gets the rest of the year.

***

It’s easy to forget the bad old days of what happens with unbridled capitalism is given free reign to exploit workers (watch the scene below from The Grapes of Wrath for a reminder, or check out our Amazon store for that and other books by John Steinbeck). Yes, that sounds like Marxist talk, but Marx did get his criticism of his day’s capitalist system right. What he was wrong about is that free market capitalism could reform itself, and did, through government regulation and labor protections. If it hadn’t, the U.S. would quite possibly be a socialist country today (read FDR for more about that), in reality instead of just in Teabagger imaginations.

 

Here’s the trailer for another great (and more recent) union movie, Norma Rae.
 

Here’s your theme song for today, Woody Guthrie’s Union Burying Ground, from the album Struggle (and we should never forget that it was one).
 

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One Response to “Happy Labor Day (…and Big Business Gets the Rest of the Year)”

  1. Newsericks » Blog Archive » That 1870s Show Says:

    […] Read Happy Labor Day and The 234 Years War for more about robber barrons and big […]

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