“Ten thousand times has the labor movement stumbled and bruised itself. We’ve been enjoined by the courts, assaulted by thugs, charged by the militia, traduced by the press, frowned on by public opinion and deceived by politicians. But, not withstanding all of these, organized labor is today the most vital and potential power this planet has ever known, and its historic mission is as certain of its realization as the setting of the sun!”
Eugene Debs, 1910

I know, but it’s really tough now!

Just think for a minute what that period was like. It was ten years before women got the vote and over 50 years before the Civil Rights Act. Unions weren’t just “frowned on,” they’d been ruled illegal, a violation of the Commerce Clause, in many cases and strikes were basically illegal. Over a quarter of a century would pass before the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) would come into being, bringing union organization to basic industries in our nation and that same time before Social Security was even passed. Workers had no safety & health protections, children were still working their young lives away in mines and mills. Plessy vs. Ferguson (“separate but equal”), not Brown vs. Board of Education (integration of schools) ruled the day. While women’s right to abortion was still a half century away, Margaret Sanger was being arrested and “legally” abused for telling women about the mere possibility of contraception. While we discuss whether the Affordable Care Act contains all we want (it doesn’t, but…), workers at that time didn’t even have the concept of health care.

But because of those great heroes like Eugene Debs, who didn’t give up then, 20 years later they’d organized the New Deal, the CIO and won many great victories, ones we still enjoy today.

It IS true that things are bad, and could get much, much worse if Romney & his billionaire friends have their way. However, just take a brief moment to look at things through Deb’s eyes. However bad things may look, because of those earlier fights, we are standing on the shoulders of giants as we fight today. Organized labor got its back up last year and we whipped them like ol’ time school kids in the SB 5 fight. When we stand together, with labor united, we will win! As bad as things sometimes look, keep faith in our working class, and keep fighting! Like Gene said, we will win!