[1912 Bread and Roses textile workers strike in Lawrence, Massachusetts.]
I want to send special thanks out to those whose labors never cease – women and those trying to save the world.
I also want to honor those who have passed who fought valiantly, and often unrecognized, for generations to have workers acknowledged and compensated fairly – the union members across all trades and occupations.
The bloody history of those who fought workers rights, and ultimately for a more equal society.
On this day of all days, looking at the inequality which has reached proportions not known since the worst of the monarchies, I put forward the vision of the IWW – Industrial Workers of America.
The IWW operated on a democratic socialist model. They sought one union for all workers, and fought for workplace democracy.
In a nation, indeed a world, where 99.5% of us labor for .5% of us and the concentration of all wealth is firmly in the grasp of that .5% – surely it is time for the “rest of us” to pull together don’t you think?
The IWW knew that capitalism would never “work” for the worker. I think we can say that has been amply demonstrated.
So here is my recommended Labor Day action list:
- Give a moment of thanks to the women who labor without pay to feed and care for others (often after their own shift laboring for pay).
- Seriously consider joining the IWW (charter preamble below).
- If you belong to a union, then tell them unions that it is time to take back control of the “shop” floor, and the floors of the state and federal houses as well.
- Offer a moment of silent thanks for those who have gone before and fought the forces of oppression.
- Help educate others about the union movement.
- Give yourself a well deserved pat on the back for your own labors – it is likely no one else will.
Preamble to the IWW Constitution
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.
We find that the centering of the management of industries into fewer and fewer hands makes the trade unions unable to cope with the ever growing power of the employing class. The trade unions foster a state of affairs which allows one set of workers to be pitted against another set of workers in the same industry, thereby helping defeat one another in wage wars. Moreover, the trade unions aid the employing class to mislead the workers into the belief that the working class have interests in common with their employers.
These conditions can be changed and the interest of the working class upheld only by an organization formed in such a way that all its members in any one industry, or in all industries if necessary, cease work whenever a strike or lockout is on in any department thereof, thus making an injury to one an injury to all.
Instead of the conservative motto, “A fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work,” we must inscribe on our banner the revolutionary watchword, “Abolition of the wage system.”
It is the historic mission of the working class to do away with capitalism. The army of production must be organized, not only for everyday struggle with capitalists, but also to carry on production when capitalism shall have been overthrown. By organizing industrially we are forming the structure of the new society within the shell of the old.