Studs Terkel Recalls Lucy Parsons
Prize-winning author Studs Terkel heard the aged Lucy Parsons speak during the 1930s. Parsons, widow of Haymarket martyr Albert Parsons, was herself a lifelong political radical who participated in the founding of the Socialist Party and the Industrial Workers of the World. Terkel heard Parsons at Bughouse Square, as Washington Square Park (opposite the Newberry Library on the city’s North Side) was called. As Terkel explains, by that time Bughouse Square was a well-established site of free and often colorful speech in Chicago. Terkel was interviewed on July 19, 1999.
Let’s talk about who the real looters and thieves are in this society …
Fully 64 percent of low-wage workers have some amount of pay stolen out of their paychecks by their employers every week, including 26 percent who are effectively paid less than minimum wage. Fully three-quarters of workers who are due overtime have part or all of their earned overtime wages stolen by their employer. In total, the average low-wage worker loses a stunning $2,634 per year in unpaid wages, representing 15 percent of their earned income.And enforcement? Forget about it. At the federal level, there’s just one agent enforcing wage laws for every 141,000 workers. More than half of the states have cut wage enforcement staff in recent years, and some states have tried to eliminate those positions entirely. For instance,
In 2010, Missouri’s labor department collected $200,000 in restitution for minimum-wage violations and $500,000 for prevailing-wage violations, and issued 1,714 citations for child-labor violations. Yet [Republican state House Speaker Steven] Tilley charged that investigators were being “overzealous,” particularly in prosecuting complaints of employers cheating on prevailing wages.
Another dubious first for America: We now employ as many private security guards as high school teachers — over one million of them, or nearly double their number in 1980.
And that’s just a small fraction of what we call “guard labor.” In addition to private security guards, that means police officers, members of the armed forces, prison and court officials, civilian employees of the military, and those producing weapons: a total of 5.2 million workers in 2011. That is a far larger number than we have of teachers at all levels.
What is happening in America today is both unprecedented in our history, and virtually unique among Western democratic nations. The share of our labor force devoted to guard labor has risen fivefold since 1890 — a year when, in case you were wondering, the homicide rate was much higher than today.
“Do we live in a genuinely democratic society?” a man asked from the steps. “No!” the crowd responded, overwhelmingly.
… After about 400 attendees participated in the moment of silence, speakers climbed the steps and enthused the crowd with stories of oppression and brutality at the hands of the authorities. Many spoke of family members who had been gunned down by police in Boston and elsewhere.
Earlier, attendees shouted out the names of those they believed to be victims of unjust killings.
They recited the names of Trayvon Martin, Emmett Till, and others.
#Ferguson #JusticeForMikeBrown #TrayvonMartin #OscarGrant #SeanBell #JordanDavis #EricGarner #Gaza #Palestine #Iraq #Afghanistan #Occupy #Inequality #Poverty #WallStreet #WalMart #Misogyny #Sexism #Capitalism #Revolution
Just saying …
We hold these truths to be self-evident … That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness…. [W]hen a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
- Declaration of Independence, 1776
Let’s not forget who the real looters are.
That’s because it is a war. A sometimes open, sometimes hidden war between the police, the state, and the ruling elite against poor people, people of color, and working people. The real problem is that it is a one-sided war — a one-sided class war — with their side massacring us.
We need to better organize our side in order to fight back and win; to end this war and all wars and create a society in which the free development of each is the prerequisite for the free development of all — a democratic socialist society premised upon people’s empowerment, equality, and the emancipation of all from all forms of economic, social, and political oppression.
UPDATE- Riot police deployed smoke bombs and tear gas in the streets of Ferguson, Missouri tonight after crowds reportedly threw Molotov cocktails and rocks at
Maoism in the United States from SDS to Jesse Jackson
This talk looks at the rise of the New Communist Movement (Maoism) from its beginnings in the early 1970s to its collapse in the early 1980s. This current of revolutionary thought and its organizational expressions captured the largest numbers—mostly students—out of the radicalized movements of the 1960s. The talk examines some of the reasons for its appeal, what the successes and limits of its practice were, and why it was unable to sustain its appeal in the period of reaction beginning in the 1980s.
… The quoted reason is “to provide a safe environment for law enforcement activities.”
Again, we end up wondering that while it certainly provides protection for law enforcement aircraft, if it also is justification to make sure that news organization cannot obtain aerial views of the area as well.
Considering that last night, local news crews were exposed to tear gas and then were explicitly told to leave because they were “endangering lives.” This after as plain as could be live on Channel 5, we saw a police officer, from the middle of a phalanx of other officers in riot gear, lob a tear gas grenade towards a group of people.
The real problem is that there are not enough riots in the U.S. against police violence, racism, U.S. wars abroad, imperialism, misogyny, poverty, homelessness, etc …
If it takes a broken convenience store window in Ferguson, MO, to get the police, the media, and the nation to pay attention to the epidemic of police lynchings of Black people, then so be it.
ISR #94 is on the way! Subscribe at ISReview.org featuring: The Affordable Care Act: The reality behind the rhetoric by Helen Redmond
The neoliberal restructuring of healthcare in the US by Sean Petty
Marxism and ecosocialism by Hadas Thier
Crisis in Iraq: The bitter fruit of war and occupation by Ashley Smith
Sexuality and capitalism: The Italian Renaissance by Colin Wilson
and much more!
So long as the state exists there is no freedom. When there is freedom, there will be no state.
The economic basis for the complete withering away of the state is such a high state of development of communism at which the antithesis between mental and physical labor disappears, at which there consequently disappears one of the principal sources of modern social inequality—a source, moreover, which cannot on any account be removed immediately by the mere conversion of the means of production into public property, by the mere expropriation of the capitalists.
This expropriation will make it possible for the productive forces to develop to a tremendous extent. And when we see how incredibly capitalism is already retarding this development, when we see how much progress could be achieved on the basis of the level of technique already attained, we are entitled to say with the fullest confidence that the expropriation of the capitalists will inevitably result in an enormous development of the productive forces of human society. But how rapidly this development will proceed, how soon it will reach the point of breaking away from the division of labor, of doing away with the antithesis between mental and physical labor, of transforming labor into “life’s prime want”—we do not and cannot know.
That is why we are entitled to speak only of the inevitable withering away of the state, emphasizing the protracted nature of this process and its dependence upon the rapidity of development of the higher phase of communism, and leaving the question of the time required for, or the concrete forms of, the withering away quite open, because there is no material for answering these questions.
The state will be able to wither away completely when society adopts the rule: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs”, i.e., when people have become so accustomed to observing the fundamental rules of social intercourse and when their labor has become so productive that they will voluntarily work according to their ability. “The narrow horizon of bourgeois law”, which compels one to calculate with the heartlessness of a Shylock whether one has not worked half an hour more than anybody else—this narrow horizon will then be left behind. There will then be no need for society, in distributing the products, to regulate the quantity to be received by each; each will take freely “according to his needs”.
From the bourgeois point of view, it is easy to declare that such a social order is “sheer utopia” and to sneer at the socialists for promising everyone the right to receive from society, without any control over the labor of the individual citizen, any quantity of truffles, cars, pianos, etc. Even to this day, most bourgeois “savants” confine themselves to sneering in this way, thereby betraying both their ignorance and their selfish defence of capitalism.
|—||Lenin, State and Revolution|
On this day one hundred years ago, a Bosnian nationalist assassinated the crown prince of Austria-Hungary, setting in motion a chain of events that led a month later to the outbreak of the World War I. The war shattered the world socialist movement and unleashed an overwhelming social catastrophe in Europe, killing seventeen million soldiers and civilians. The resulting revolutionary struggles brought the war to an abrupt end in 1918, while toppling the continent’s three great empires and bringing workers and peasants to power in Russia. The war also contributed to a global rise of anticolonial struggles.
What does this unique cataclysm mean for us today?
- Socialists did not wait until the danger of world war exploded in their face. They acted as soon as the danger was apparent.
- Socialists did not rely on persuading imperialism to take the sensible course. They worked to build an independent mass movement.
- Socialists did not try to set the date for insurrection. They resolved to pursue the struggle however long was necessary.
- Socialists did not merely seek peace. They aimed to utilize the war crisis to put an end to capitalism, the true cause of war.
okay, i’ve edited it to better reflect my sentiments on Maoism:
" … or a Maoist party which seeks to take over the state either through the mobilization of a clandestine band of guerrilla fighters or through a purely military conquest of territory on the part of a standing army."
don’t get me wrong. i support the revolutionary war of national liberation in China in 1949, just the same as i did the struggles for national liberation in India, Vietnam, Congo, Nicaragua, etc.
but to equate the Chinese revolution of 1949 with a proletarian, socialist revolution premised upon a mass workers’ uprising which collectively seizes the means of production and places it under the autonomous control of the associated producers … well, that’s just too much of a stretch. it’s one thing for a revolutionary peasant army to seize the means of production. it’s another for the organized working class to place those means under its own democratic control.
the Chinese revolution was not a socialist revolution because it was precisely aimed at the industrial development of Chinese society. that is, it was a revolutionary and anti-imperialist, but nonetheless bourgeois, revolution, which used the instrument of the state to undergo the process of national development through the accumulation of resources and the exploitation of labor.
many radical and revolutionary bourgeois movements throughout history have used the state to take over all or part of the national means of production in order to accelerate the pace of industrial development. we saw this during the jacobin revolution, then under napoleon; the Northern government during the american civil war; in Japan during the Meiji Restoration; in Germany under Bismarck; and so on …