Author Archives: CoolCatM

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Thank Unions for Labor Day

I have been listening to Karl Marx’s Kapital Volume 1 audiobook through LibriVox recordings (non-profit) and following up with Reading Marx’s Capital with David Harvey lectures (which can be found for free online).

As I listened to the book and the evidence Marx gives of the unrelenting greed of capitalists during his time it causes me to consider our nations attitude toward labor, unions, and regulations. Focusing only on labor and the working conditions of laborers we should have such a great appreciation for those that sacrificed so much, including their lives to progress us to today’s working conditions that we take for granted.

Peter J. McGuire the “father” of Labor Day, May Day, and the founder of United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, Peter did more to persuade locally conscious union activists across the nation that a united national labor federation was essential and possible. McGuire wrote for a convention of the national conference of labor unions the that established the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions which in 1886 would reorganize as the American Federation of Labor (AFL) which still exists today as the AFL-CIO.

The first recorded labor strike was 1768 in New York, the journeymen tailors protested wage reductions, it marked the first time in American history that workers joined together in a common labor movement, their motto “United We Stand, Divided We Fall.”

1905 in Chicago, Illinois the IWW, the Industrial Worker of the World, or otherwise known as Wobblies was formed by leaders like William D. “Big Bill” Haywood, Eugene Debs, Mary Harris “Mother” Jones and others. The Wobblies, believed that all workers should organize as a class. They also believed war represented the struggles among capitalists where the working poor die to make the rich richer.

1948 Republicans gained control of both houses of Congress their highest priority was the weakening of organized labor power. Republicans passed the Taft Hartley Act allowing states to enact laws banning union shops that mandated all workers to be a part of the union and pay dues. Southern states immediately passed Right to Work laws, twenty-two states have these laws today and union participation rarely exceeds ten percent.

In school we teach children about the discovery of America by Europeans. The “taming” of America through war. The revolution of America as an independent nation through war. The civil unrest and eventual re-unification of the U.S. through civil war. The triumph of the U.S. over deteriorating European relations not once but twice. The continuing influence The U.S. has had on other nation all across the globe through war. All against governments yet, we never teach the conflicts of the United States citizens have had over their own governments inability to empathize with the laborer in relation to the capitalist. Monuments in every state can be found to a general or some other military leader but very few labor leaders that influence our every day working conditions.

Children are the future, what we teach them will determine how they treat the generations before them, after them, and each other. If they are not taught that a person that works to the best of their own abilities deserves respect no matter what job they perform or how many hours they perform it, they are destined to be at the influence of the few and divided from the many. In 1916 a ferry of Wobblies attempted to dock in Everett, Washington, the local sheriff, backed by armed deputies and guards hired by businesses, asked “Who are your leaders?” A unified shout answered “We are all leaders!”

For us to keep and improve our standards we need to teach of the bravery, determination, and sacrifice that those leaders carried and inspired in others to fight for the dignity and humanity of all.

CoolCatM

Twitter: @CoolCat0001    Guerrilla Communication Tactics

American Participation in Political Labeling

Mort Sahl would start his stand-up by showing a chart of Left, Right, and Center of the political spectrum saying that we needed the correct nomenclature to describe the politics of people. The U.S. has always seen its politics through this lens and as Mort Sahl fractured each column into more nuanced columns he admitted that you could continue to do this on-and-on.

With access to the World Wide-Web developers of political commentary are flooding and saturating the internet with blogs, videos, podcasts, and etc. That’s a good thing (as I explained in my last post). With all these broadcasts there seems to continue to be a distinction that we as voters must continue to perceive our politics as Left and Right, that self-determined individuals cannot unite on issues that interest them without the favor or endorsement of one of the two parties that represent the whole country is inconceivable or, to put it kindly; ignorant (naive at best).

There are bloggers that have seen through the veneer of restrictive sectarian labels and to the humanity that unites us all, they write with the hope that our humanity will coalesce us together over common rivals and issues that threaten us all. However, decades have divided us and these labels have entrenched into our culture, society, politics, education, and our minds; an analogous minefield.

When a blogger, vlogger or any developer ventures into politics they need to beware that other pundits will look to criticize and scrutinize what they write, and the way they write it. Pick your battles. Think about the outcome of your writing, will it be misinterpreted? Will there be a fallout? Mort Sahl understood his audience and spoke to it effectively, although I think his commentary was a bit shallow and was a response to the narrative of the time (i.e. Stalin was a “leftist”), he was less concerned about the consequence of such comments, because they were already wildly promoted.

No matter what extreme or radicalization of Left or Right, or Center we identify ourselves with, we all share our humanity. Maybe not all the same priorities.

I don’t wait for people to agree or promote my views, values, or beliefs, there are some people you can’t get through to, but, those issues and problems I’m concerned with I know will strike at the humanity and the things that those people value and that they may eventually come around (like some have with the ACA). As an individual I would not deny those people I disagree with the positive or gainful dividends of the things I promote or value. I do hope that through education that we can teach or demonstrate the thinking that results in benefits to them, their families, the community, and effectively the world.

CoolCatM

Twitter: @CoolCat0001    Guerrilla Communication Tactics

 

Why Freedom of Speech is Important

In this era of Trump and right-wing extremism those that feel empowered to stand for their values seek to affect a positive change in the world. We all have a definition of what that is and, some of us agree and some of don’t. In their wisdom the founding fathers established the first amendment to enshrine free speech and the freedom of the press as the vanguard of liberty and justice. Though George Washington had issues with the press and, Thomas Jefferson encouraged James Madison to “…take up your pen, select the most striking heresies , and cut him to pieces in the face of the public.” against Alexander Hamilton and his Federalist; the founding fathers were not as amiable as we were led to believe. As early as 1797 John Adams and the Federalists controlled Congress, they believed they were the government and that no one should publicly criticize them (sound familiar?), and so, events led them in 1798 to pass a series of laws one of them being the Sedition Act; it’s provisions directly aimed at those who spoke out against the Federalist. Washington would go on to say (and I like this quote) “If freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.”

Fredrick Douglas said “Power concedes nothing without a struggle.” and as John Lewis said “The press is supposed to serve as a check on the government.” Right now we are seeing an attack on the public’s access to broadcasting forums such as, Net Neutrality, communities lack print access for individual opinions, and with 51% of Americans claiming the television as their primary source for news and information the attack on local public access television continues. Whatever the role looks like, writer, singer, director, blogger, or vlogger, free speech is the material to a social-evolution.

Some developers of alternative media beg the question ‘Should critics cause discourse or only comment and inform us of it?’ I don’t think it matters. Artists have challenged our social norms, and this continues to today. Leo Tolstoy said “Art is a human activity consisting in this, that one man consciously by means of certain external signs, hands on to others feelings he has lived through…”. Developers wether they are bloggers, bloggers, and etc. are communicating their human experiences, in the times we are living in we should learn to listen and find merits that can lift us all to greater plateaus.

Whistle-blower Julian Assange is quoted “What annoys me the most is when people abuse their power and abuse innocents.” his goal, bring down the firewall between the Neo-liberal power and ordinary people. He currently has asylum at Ecuadorian embassy in London, self-imprisonment without being able to explore the city. President John F. Kennedy would defend this struggle by saying “Our press was protected by the First Amendment…to inform, to arouse, to reflect, to state our dangers and our opportunities, to indicate our crises and our choices, to lead, mold, educate and sometimes even anger public opinion.”

Developers should not have to adhere to a sense of commercialism, industrialism, activism or advocacy. The purpose of communication is to represent thoughts, feelings, opinions. We may not always like what people have to say or how they say it but, at the end of the day, we should appreciate that those things can be said. In a different parts of the world, and in different time periods the right of freedom of speech was a luxury given to the few. Today tolerance (and patience) will get us much further to attaining that “more perfect union” the founding fathers wrote of.

CoolCatM

Twitter: @CoolCat0001    Guerrilla Communication Tactics