I Am An American Worker, AND I AM DAMN PROUD OF IT!
It is Labor Day. My name is Northside Chip.
I Am An American Worker, AND I AM DAMN PROUD OF IT!
I work 40-50-60 sometimes 70 or 80 hours a week. I am proud of my labor for it allows me to take care of myself. I am proud of having the opportunity to build a career, not just to feed and clothe myself, but to also accomplish the things that are in my imagination. My labor depends on whats in my mind, and it takes sweat, persistence and faith to see a finished product.
I am proud and respectful of organized labor. Where I work is unfortunately not a union shop, but thanks to unions, I do have legal protections within my workplace. Thanks to organized labor, we all have protections within our workplaces and wider protections as self-employed people, unemployed people and consumers as well.
It angers me that the common coda of the day is that “work is for suckers”. It angers me that labor is seen as cheap on one hand and a symbol of indifference and failure on another. I am very upset that the failure of management in many industries and blamed on those who man the drafting tables, edit suites, shop floors, assembly lines and checkout counters everyday.
It angers me that we have cabal of politicians and business leaders who deign to say that American workers are “lazy”. Never mind that we American workers are working more, earning less, getting our benefits cut, and taking fewer vacations, hell working through vacations and even working through lunch to do what we do. Never mind that is us Americans are starting our own business and a greater rate than the rest of the world. I give much respect to those who are striking out on their own and making it happen, often with the corporate and political power making it difficult behind the scenes while publicly praising the “opportunity society”
The thing that angers and saddens me the most is how much we, the American Worker, have bought the con game.
We buy the con game every time we nod in agreement when unions get bashed or busted. We buy the con game every time we are willing to bash our child’s school teacher instead of looking at indifference in our homes and our legislatures. We buy the con game when we see our benefits at work getting cut, yet we turn around and support those who support those policies. We buy the con game every time we fall in line with the “let’s bash the immigrants” crowd, but we aren’t willing to ask the question, “who is bringing them in?”
We buy the con but not building links and organizing with our fellow American Worker, and the self-employed small businessperson, and the extend that link to the working poor, the underemployed and the unemployed. We buy the con when we separate as workers because the person in the next cubicle is female, the man who works the fabrication robot is a different skin tone from mine, and clerk in beddings is gay, or the or the coder at the next terminal is a different faith from mine or no faith at all.
In so many ways we buy the con, and in turn we cheapen our labor. We allow those who don’t want working people, who earn their piece of the pie, to get that piece of that pie that they baked. How dare some well-heeled poli-trickster (much love to The Field Negro for that term) to call me or any working American “lazy”? Abraham Lincoln was right when he said, “If any man tells you he loves America, yet hates labor, he is a liar. If any man tells you he trusts America, yet fears labor, he is a fool.”
How dare the bastions of today’s capital class charge the American Worker with making the nation “uncompetitive”? The very people that have put our nation at great risk, because they want to privatise their profits and they want to crackback on the working folks? Notice how more and more of American business is making that profit today. More often and not, its because they decided to “rightsize” or “downsize” or whatever nice way they put to the concept that we have to whack a few thousand workers to add some pennies to the share price.
And again, we as workers buy the con.
We even buy it today, on this day. Labor day. The day where we celebrate the very things that millions of us bring to the table every day, and what it means for us as a whole. On this Labor Day, officially over 14 million American workers are out of work. That’s 9% of our country. For our fellow workers who are of color, the rate is more than double.
On this Labor Day, over 50 million Americans do not have health insurance.
On this Labor Day, we again look at the specter of how those who denigrate American labor got a big break when they got into trouble. What about a break for the working people of our country? What about a break for our unemployed and underemployed brothers and sisters. Where’s their “bailout”? Where is a square deal for their children, going to back to school underprepared and perhaps even underfed? Where’s the break for our brothers and sisters in uniform still in harms way in two wars that do not need to be? Wars being fought not for greater protection, but for the profit of a few.
On this Labor Day We still buy the con because again, we are waiting, when we need to be acting. We need to be off the barbecue grill and on the march.
We need to be flooding the White House switchboard with one message. “President Obama, WE WANT TO WORK! HELP US GET BACK TO WORK!”
If we as workers want our issues at the front of the grid, we have to fight for them and the time is now to do so. On this Labor Day, let’s begin to march again. Let’s reorganize with our fellow American Worker, even if he or she is struggling to find work. Let’s reorganize with the people who work for themselves. They thave been left naked by policies that claim to love America but loathe labor, too.
It is time for us who put the time in every day to step forward.. Those of us who punch that clock every day and put on our suits, ties, Dickies, tools belts who whatever we need to get the job done. Those of us who open that store or garage or whatever the job is every day. It’s time that we stop seeing our work as “expendable”. We must stop seeing work as being for “suckers”.
We need to shout out in a clear voice… I Am An American Worker, AND I AM DAMN PROUD OF IT!
And as we shout, we need to be acting on that premise.
Workers of America, UNITE! WE HAVE TOO MUCH TO LOSE IF WE DON’T!
Happy Labor Day, my fellow American Workers!
Some videos I am feeling today…
Firstly, something to consider on this Labor Day, especially with the Cheap Labor Conservatives and Obama’s Too Big To Failers holding sway..
And, a message from one of my favorite people, Tony Benn, about the true value of labor.