Enough is enough: Workers of the World Unite!

June 15, 2015

Karl Marx predicted that capitalism would destroy itself by exploiting everything and everyone to exhaustion, The excesses of the 1880s and 1890s appeared to confirm his predictions. The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire ironically proved he was mistaken. Wikipedia describes the disaster.

The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in Manhattan, New York City on March 25, 1911 was the deadliest industrial disaster in the history of the city, and one of the deadliest in U.S. history. The fire caused the deaths of 146 garment workers – 123 women and 23 men – who died from the fire, smoke inhalation, or falling or jumping to their deaths. Most of the victims were recent Jewish and Italian immigrant women aged 16 to 23; of the victims whose ages are known, the oldest victim was Providenza Panno at 43, and the youngest were 14-year-olds Kate Leone and “Sara” Rosaria Maltese.

Because the owners had locked the doors to the stairwells and exits, a common practice used to prevent workers from taking unauthorized breaks and pilferage, many of the workers who could not escape the burning building jumped from the eighth, ninth, and tenth floors to the streets below. The fire led to legislation requiring improved factory safety standards and helped spur the growth of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union (ILGWU), which fought for better working conditions for sweatshop workers.

The factory was located in the Asch Building, at 23–29 Washington Place in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan, now known as the Brown Building and part of New York University. The building has been designated a National Historic Landmark and a New York City landmark.

I say ‘ironically’ because the predictable disaster so offended the people’s sense of dignity, fair play and decency that the fight to legitimize labor unions suddenly gained momentum and could not be stopped. For all his brilliance, Marx did not see that change coming.

What a change it was. Workers making a living wage became the consumers who purchased the products produced by the capitalists. Henry Ford saw the possibilities for his own enrichment by mass producing the Model T Ford and paying his workers higher wages than any other employer so they would choose to work for him, continue to work for him over the long haul despite working a boring job on an assembly line, and purchase their own personal automobile. That was a hulluva big deal. Nothing like it had ever happened in history. Wage earners became the middle class that eventually transformed the United States into the richest and most prosperous nation in history.

Economists call that phenomenal transformation, “consumer capitalism.”

But those days are long gone as the wage-earning class disappears into poverty and the Koched-up capitalist class celebrates its fleecing of the middle class and the death of its foe, organized labor.

The TPP represents more of the same. We the People lose more jobs and in return we get more shitty crap to buy at Walmart.

Four things are certain.

1) The capitalist class, whom we know as the 1%, but more accurately is the 0.1%, are parasites;

2) Killing the host, whom we know as the middle class or wage earning class or the metaphoric goose that laid the golden egg, is a colossally self-destructive strategy;

3) The next Triangle Shirtwaist Factory incident already happened in Bangladesh and other places; and

4) It’s going to take another revolution to prove Marx wrong and reclaim what we have lost.

Enough is enough. I’m tired of being nice. Time to get it on. Workers of the World Unite!


FYI: Los Angeles Mayor Signs Anti-Poverty $15 Minimum Wage Law

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