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nadinbrzezinski's Journal
Posted by nadinbrzezinski in General Discussion
Thu Feb 24th 2011, 03:23 PM
Wisconsin: Why it Matters?
Wisconsin is the center of the struggle. Why are the Power Elites attacking workers? This war accelerated over the last thirty years, but it started with Taft Harley in 1948. This war is finally going “hot” Since workers have had it. Yet you might wonder why do they want to cancel the 20th century? Working on the history of labor makes me realize that the axis of American history is not freedom and liberty. The axis is cheap labor. Whether they were indentured workers, sharecroppers or slaves, the Elites need cheap labor. Over the course of our history the sources have been as follows:

• Indentured Servants: The sixteenth century and the break in that Social Contract in England led to the rise of a class of people who sold themselves into a form of slavery in the hopes of a better life.

• Slaves: This is the best-known source of cheap labor in Colonial America, all the way to the Civil War. It started in Jamestown, Virginia. Realize that in the early years it worked just like Indentured servitude and early slaves earned their freedom and even owned slaves. It was racialized soon enough, and became permanent. Slaves were different in skin color, and a whole religious mythology rose to justify it. It also led to religious justifications for poor whites and a Master Servant relationship.

• Share Croppers: After the Civil War this is how former Slaves were kept under the thumb of their former masters. While Slaves could no longer be owned, they were still controlled. The need for cheap labor did not go away just because the South lost the war.

• Immigrants: they were employed in factories and mines, since they were easier to control. They did not speak English, nor did they know the laws, and were abused. Incidentally this has not changed.

• Women and children: They were cheap since they were paid less. It did not matter if they worked the same hard long hours. They were deserving of less pay. The social consequences of child labor did not mater. So what if kids did not know how to read or were malformed from working in the factories? It really did not matter to them. Remember some of our modern-day legislatures would love to get rid of child labor laws, as we already heard from the great state of Kentucky.

The post war generation was different. They saw middle class pay levels and job security and it is the historical exception to our trends. This led to better-educated people whose children "revolted" during the 1960s by working on social justice. From the point of view of the conservative right that was a problem. Those kids, rode with the Freedom Riders down South, and destroyed a social system of cheap labor, that is the remnants of the Sharecropper system of labor. This could not be allowed to go on. Therefore this war on labor is about social order. In the minds of the Power Elites good pay means we have time to think. This cannot be allowed.

What about Madison? Why is this fight so critical? Why is it one of those special moments in US History? Simply put, we have lived through a violation of this new Social Contract: If you work hard, you too will have a safe secure retirement and your children will do better than you. This promise will not continue. What our political and economic Elites want is a return to the main of US History and the original Social Contract, where a small sliver of the population enjoys the finer things in life, while the majority toils long hours for little pay and no hope for a better tomorrow. Somehow they seem shocked that we are fighting back. Suffice it to say the stakes are as high as the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960's. The fight has just begun.
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