Happy Labor Day

hill_joe1Here, in honor of Labor Day, is a quote from Wobbly songwriter Joe Hill for your enjoyment. It comes from his song, “Workers of the World Awaken“:

Workers of the world awaken. Break your chains, demand your rights.
All the wealth you make is taken, by exploiting parasites.
Shall you kneel in deep submission from your cradle to your grave?
Is the height of your ambition to be a good and willing slave?

In 1914, Joe Hill (Joel Hägglund) was accused of murder and, despite only circumstantial evidence, was executed by the state of Utah in 1915.

[note: I stole the above quote from my friend Patti, and I stole the last sentence from Wikipedia.]

[note: Joe Hill is not to be confused with comedic actor Jonah Hill, who has yet to be murdered by the state for his beliefs.]

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  1. Posted September 6, 2010 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    And I stole it from the Internet :)

    I do have some vehemently anti-union friends on FB so we’ll see if they crawl out of the woodwork or not.

  2. Posted September 6, 2010 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    Oh, oops! That was from me…Buddy had commented last time and it was still signed in under him. Although he agrees with me on the union issue :)

  3. Edward
    Posted September 6, 2010 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    It’s funny how shit like that happens, and enemies of the state get silenced.

    See Fred Hampton.


  4. Edward
    Posted September 6, 2010 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    And here’s the the working men and women of America — the ones who actually make things and do the the work. (raises foamy glass of beer)

  5. Astrid
    Posted September 6, 2010 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

    The working class finally rose up in America, but it was only to demand a birth certificate from their President and less in the way of worker safety regulations.

    Game over.

    Aristocracy wins.

  6. Kevin Paul
    Posted September 6, 2010 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

    I’m partial to Joe Hill’s dying words to IWW leader Bill Haywood. “Don’t mourn. Organize.”


  7. Brackinald Achery
    Posted September 6, 2010 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

    How many people here can actually describe themselves as “working class,” I wonder.

  8. Buns of Steel
    Posted September 7, 2010 at 2:18 am | Permalink

    Well, there you go again, BA. Starting shit.
    I can say that I work and I am poor as hell, maybe that is working class, but I don’t need a union to organize me. I have learnt to organize my own sorry ass over the years.
    But I don’t have anything against unions or governments or upper class or parasites or…..

  9. Peter Larson
    Posted September 7, 2010 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    And their grandchildren became fleabaggers demanding that government repeal child labor laws, minimum wage laws and worker safety.

  10. Brackinald Achery
    Posted September 7, 2010 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    I don’t start shit. I smell it, and poke a stick in it, and say, “that’s shit.”

  11. Peter Larson
    Posted September 7, 2010 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    You used to say intelligent things. What happened?

  12. dragon
    Posted September 7, 2010 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    He who is starved for reasons, will often eat shit.

  13. Brackinald Achery
    Posted September 7, 2010 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    It’s plenty intelligent. I just got sick of making long, well thought out arguments that accomplished nothing.

    The point of my question is that it’s easy for non-“working class” (for the record, I don’t buy the idea of class in this country) people with a messiah complex, and a tendency to think they’ve got the right to tell everybody else how to be, to talk like they know what’s best for the “working class” when they don’t. It’s poorly disguised vanity.

  14. Edward
    Posted September 7, 2010 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    Yeah, when I look at that photo of Hill, the first thing to come to my mind is “vanity”.

    Jesus. Can’t you give the Libertarian bullshit a break for like 20 seconds? Or, better yet, how about putting down the Ayn Rand and picking up a book about the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire? Workers, before unions, were treated like shit, and a lot of brave (not vain) gave their lives.

  15. Posted September 7, 2010 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    Most people prefer to describe themselves as middle class and coming from the middle class because it sounds better than working class.

    The Middle Class is a myth perpetrated on working people by wealthy people to make them feel better about their circumstances.

  16. Brackinald Achery
    Posted September 7, 2010 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    Hahaha, I’ve been working class and treated like shit plenty.

    The middle class being a myth thing is priceless. Only in a spoiled rich country like America where people have to make shit up to complain about could someone actually believe that crap. Even our poor have playstations. The greatest obstacle to employment is Government regulation. I assure you, a lot of people who work under the table can find work just fine right now.

    If the workers were competent and motivated enough to own and control the means of production, they wouldn’t be workers.

  17. Brackinald Achery
    Posted September 7, 2010 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    Y’all are just cranky that the real “working class” of America isn’t stupid enough to believe your bullshit.

  18. Posted September 7, 2010 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    The so called middle class is a heck of a lot smaller now that it ever was. What was once the middle is now the working class. The working class is now the poor or working poor at the poverty line. The line between the economically wealthy class and working people has never been wider or more sharply defined than it is today. I guess that having a video game player makes one middle class, and a big boat or underwater house in Birmingham makes on rich, regardless of how you made the dough or how deep in debt you are

    The truth, not myth, is that some folks believe that the differences in our class system is/are determined by the junk we have, not by social, cultural, economic and educational opportunity. You can have all the gadgets in the world and still be poor and working class because of who your parents are and the potential opportunities in your life. You could spend all your working wages on stuff and still be poor or working class because you spent all your paycheck or unemployment or went into debt to buy all the junk that wealthy corporations want you to buy.

    Owning (or being in debt because of) stuff does not define or measure class distinction.

    I wonder if all those poor/middle class people share their playstations and rich people get one all their own accounts for the difference in class?

    This is what happens when workers are competent and motivated. They get crushed and killed http://apps.detnews.com/apps/history/index.php?id=115

  19. Brackinald Achery
    Posted September 7, 2010 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    Stirring. The real “working class” of America still isn’t stupid enough to fall for that bullshit anymore. Much of the unemployment they’re experiencing today is the price they’re paying for 100 years of that idiotic crap.

  20. Kim
    Posted September 7, 2010 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    Those kids in the coal mines didn’t know how good they had it back in the good old days.

  21. Posted September 7, 2010 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    Obama gets elected and the “real America” working class finally wakes up realizing that, since the Industrial Revolution, they’ve been used, abused, manipulated and ripped off by multinational corporations, politically motivated rich benefactors and their elected toadies that they voted into office. (Sen. Prescott Bush and his family connections come to mind)

    What changed in the last two years to wake up “real working class Americans” who were asleep for the last century. Was it Glen Beck’s skin color?

  22. Posted September 7, 2010 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    BA’s so called “real America working class” are sheeple, easily convinced to vote against their own economic interests by Sarah Palin’s tea bagger “Real America” jingo-lingo crazy talk brought to you by the Koch brothers and Rupert Murdoch.

  23. Oliva
    Posted September 7, 2010 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    In the spirit of “don’t mourn, organize,” there’s going to be a big fat march on the Washington Mall on 2 Oct., 12-4 p.m. (but pls. double-check the time as it gets closer).


    * * *

    re. Joe Hill, there’s this great detail too (which I’m cutting and pasting for simplicity’s sake).

    Since Hill had told the IWW’s “Big Bill” Haywood (born in Utah in 1869) that he “didn’t want to be caught dead in Utah,” his ashes went to IWW groups in every other state. Huge funeral demonstrations took place throughout the nation . . .


    My Intro to Economics professor told us these kinds of details, taught us union songs. I saw him in Trader Joe’s a few years ago, a while before the U.S. auto industry nearly went under, and I thanked him for those things, and he said, “Must’ve been my first year teaching.” Apparently, he stopped sharing his pro-labor proclivities after that–the dismaying Reagan days were upon us, with American voters choosing me over we–and then in time quit teaching and worked for GM bargaining with the UAW, said he truly missed teaching and wanted to go back to it. Gosh, he was a good teacher back when, so full of energy and good stories.

  24. EOS
    Posted September 7, 2010 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    No Rick,
    The real sheeple are those who can see only short term gains and who grab all they can while there’s still something available and lack the foresight to understand that it will eventually result in their personal devastation and future loss of liberty and economic viability.

  25. Posted September 7, 2010 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    Sounds like General Jack Ripper http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47wZkFmSGVw

  26. Fuzzy Math
    Posted September 7, 2010 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    I don’t see how those two are mutually exclusive.

  27. Posted September 7, 2010 at 7:59 pm | Permalink


  28. Buns of Steel
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 12:38 am | Permalink

    Rick C wrote,
    “You could spend all your working wages on stuff and still be poor or working class because you spent all your paycheck or unemployment or went into debt to buy all the junk that wealthy corporations want you to buy.

    Owning (or being in debt because of) stuff does not define or measure class distinction.”

    No. That would be a decent definition of stupidity, though.
    Just saying.
    As I reread all the comments, you are all sounding like you are trying to decide whther to admonish all the working class for being lazy half-asses or whether you want to blame “the man” for it all. You all sound like Mark Maynard. You are fake social engineers and every now and then you bust out with some notion about “personal responsibility” that could have come straight out of Dan Quayle’s mouth.
    You are reluctant conservatives, simply because you are getting older. Fact of life.
    What happened to all that Obama hope and bullshit?
    Remember Louisiana still loves offshore oil. And for that matter, Michigan is pretty keen on keeping the gas pumps flowing.

  29. Posted September 8, 2010 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    re: working class

    Some of us work at desks, some of us work in restaurants, some of us work at stores, some (few, these days) work in factories, some work on farms. Two things tie all of us together, whether we wear suits, uniforms, or t-shirts. We sell our time to buy necessities (food, housing, etc.), and we don’t get paid the full price. Someone else — a boss, a shareholder, a government — keeps part of the value we create.

  30. Posted September 8, 2010 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    Have you ever sacrificed anything for your beliefs? Like giving up your freedom because of your personal convictions? Sleeping without a roof over your head because there was no other place to go? Not being able to eat everyday because there was nothing to eat and you had no money to buy food? Yeah, I didn’t think so. It’s so easy to criticize and pontificate when you’ve never been there yourself.

  31. Oliva
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    cmadler, well said.

  32. Edward
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    With all due respect, go smoke a dick, BoS.

  33. Brackinald Achery
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    I guess one good way to keep American children from working in factories is to increase regulation and labor costs, and force all the factories to move to China. There, communist Chinese children can work in the factories, while singing about all their great socialist workers’ rights between coughing fits. The proceeds can go to fund Obama’s ridiculous stimulus failures while unemployment steadily goes up. Everybody’s happy. You tell ’em, Joe Hill!

  34. Brackinald Achery
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    Here’s what actually ties American “working class” people together: Budweiser, non-soccer sports, sitcoms, unhealthy but delicious fast food, guns, fishing, fighting, and sex.

  35. Posted September 8, 2010 at 10:45 am | Permalink


  36. Peter Larson
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    Companies move their operations overseas because it’s cheaper to manufacture goods there. They would love to have you and your libertarian/fleabagger friends believe that it’s because of child labor laws and environmental regulation but it’s all about pure profit. They politically benefit from faithful defenders of the wealthy like you.

    They could give a rats ass about the American worker. Regulation or no, they’d move there anyway. You know that.

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