Saturday, October 26, 2013
Radicals In The Family
I mainly just wanted to post this picture. It's from a little collection of IWW photographs at the Harry Bridges Center web site.
Harry Bridges was a long time leader of the Longshoreman's Union and made it into one of the most radical and powerful unions in the country. It remains so today, especially on the West Coast where Bridges came out of. The Harry Bridges Center For Labor Studies is part of the University of Washington.
The link to the photos opens up a little slide show of IWW photographs. The IWW, The Industrial Workers of the World, was once a powerful force in the US, especially in the western states. It was the first to organize miners and lumbermen. Bridges started out at the IWW and adopted many of its tactics for Longshoremen. He, like the IWW, believed more in direct action than in contracts. He believed in showing your power. If they don't do what they said, walk out. Maybe smash some machinery on the way. He knew that whenever the working class unites the ruling class folds in a minute.
Think about all this spying on us. It's focused on environmentalists, activists, on Occupy, on people who could get the rest of us riled up. In Germany, Angela Merkel is criticizing the US harshly every day now for the NSA spying on her and German citizens, not because she's against spying but because she knows the European working people are getting restless. She's the Queen of Austerity, her version of Reaganomics for Europe, and under her Germany has gone from a high wage economy to a low wage economy. She's always makes sure their anger is directed somewhere -- those lazy Greeks, immigrants, now the US.
By now you probably know that wealth and income inequality is back about where it was when these old photographs were taken. The men and women in these pictures were your grandparents, your uncles and aunts. They lived under a savage form of Capitalism, one that's returning. They made the living standard we enjoy today, that our children are seeing slip away.