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50,026. There would be no wealth at all if no-one worked. Labour is essential to everything that is produced. The rich have got rich because they have swiped a proportion of the value of the workers’ labour, and because they use that surplus for one purpose only: to increase their own wealth, power and privilege.
This exploitation of labour, by a class of people who have grown rich because of it, is as central a characteristic of society today as it ever was. The ‘market’ is the economic mechanism by which this system works. It claims to be able to identify what is wanted or needed, and then to produce it. It claims an ‘economic discipline’ which only produces where a profit can be made. If something makes a profit, it is selling and therefore it is needed. If it doesn’t make a profit, it isn’t needed or wanted and therefore shouldn’t be made. (Rich & Wealth & Labour & Work & Market & Profit) Paul Foot, The Case for Socialism ch4
5,054. What does labor want? We want more schoolhouses and less jails; more books and less arsenals; more learning and less vice; more leisure and less greed; more justice and less revenge; in fact, more of the opportunities to cultivate our better natures, to make manhood more noble, womanhood more beautiful, and childhood more happy and bright. (Trade Union & Labour) Samuel Gompers
5,059. We have a very violent labor history. Hundreds of American workers were being killed in the late thirties. Finally they got labor rights ... There is always challenge and struggle. (Trade Union & Labour & Struggle) Professor Noam Chomsky, Is Capitalism Making Life Better?
5,096. Labor Unions are the leading force for democratization and progress. (Trade Unions & Labour & Democracy & Progress) Noam Chomsky
5,110. One of the most effective democratising forces has always been the labor movement – labour unions – the history on that is completely clear. In countries that have a strong labor movement, there is also a very strong tendency or correlation with a real-live functioning social contract that includes not only rights for working people but for people who need help and protection, for the defenseless, for children, for women, for families, for people who need assistance generally and for the general public. And there’s also a culture that goes along with it – a culture of solidarity and sympathy and mutual aid and support ... Here as elsewhere unions have been a leading force, probably the leading force, for democracy and human rights. (Trade Union & Labour & Democracy & Rights & Working Class) Professor Noam Chomsky, Class War: The Attack on Working People, 1998
5,111. From 1985 to 1992 the United States went from highest labour costs to second lowest in the industrial world, and this was described by the Wall Street Journal as: A welcome development of transcendent importance. (Trade Union & Labour) ibid.
94,763. Fascist goons effectively ended labour agitation with government help, and the democratic deviation was terminated. The United States watched with approval. (Italy & Labour) Noam Chomsky, Deterring Democracy
94,764. As fascism darkness settled over Italy, financial support from the US government and business climbed rapidly. Italy was offered by far the best postwar debt settlement of any country, and US investment there grew far faster than any other country as the Fascist regime established itself, eliminating labor unrest and other democratic disorders. (Italy & Labour) ibid.
94,919. In part, the dismissive assessment of Japan’s prospects was based on the failure of Japanese industrial recovery prior to the economic stimulus of military procurements for the Korean War. In part, there was doubtless an element of racism – illustrated, for example, in the reaction of the business community to the democratic labor laws introduced by the US military occupation. These laws were opposed by business generally. They were bitterly denounced by James Lee Kauffman, one of the influential members of the business lobby that worked to impede the democratization of Japan. (Japan & Labour & Trade Union) ibid.
94,920. Militant labor action was barred, including some attempts to establish workers’ control over production. Even these partial steps towards democracy scandalized the State Department. (Japan & Labour & Trade Union) ibid.
94,921. These pressures led to the ‘reverse course’ of 1947, which ensured that there would be no serious challenge to government-corporate domination over labour, the media and the political system. (Japan & Labour & Trade Union) ibid.
94,922. Leftists who had been jailed under fascist rule were excluded, the normal pattern worldwide. Labour was suppressed with considerable police violence, and elimination of the right to strike and collective bargaining. The goal was to ensure business control over labour through conservative unions. (Japan & Labour & Trade Union) ibid.
94,924. While Japanese corporate conglomerates were reinforced, labour was weakened and splintered, with the collaboration of US labor leaders, as elsewhere in the world. (Japan & Labour & Trade Union) ibid.
94,925. Britain itself was to face a similar attack on unions and the welfare system, as did the United States itself, beginning with the assault on labour in the early postwar period, renewed by the bipartisan consensus of the post-Vietnam period in support of business interests. (Trade Union & Labour) ibid.
94,926. Japan has perhaps the weakest labour movement in the industrial capitalist world, with the possible exception of the United States itself. It is a disciplined society, under the firm control of the traditional state capitalist management. (Japan & Labour) ibid.
94,928. The main problem, again, was the [German] labour movement and other popular organizations that threatened conservative business dominance. (Germany & Labour & Trade Union) ibid. p340
94,929. After the war, German workers began to form works councils and trade unions, and to develop co-determination in industry and democratic grass-roots control of unions. The State Department and its US labour associates were appalled by these moves towards democracy in the unions and the larger society. (Germany & Labour & Trade Union) ibid. pp340-341
94,939. The postwar destitution was exploited to undermine the French labor movement, along with direct violence. Desperately needed food supplies were withheld to coerce obedience, and gangsters were organized to provide goon squads and strike-breakers. (France & Labour & Trade Union) ibid. p343
94,944. In Italy too, US labor leaders, primarily from the AFL, played an active role in splitting and weakening the labor movement, and inducing workers to accept austerity measures while employers reaped rich profits. In France, the AFL had broken dock strikes by importing Italian scab labor paid by US businesses. The State Department called on the Federation's leadership to exercise their talents in union-busting in Italy as well, and they were happy to oblige. The business sector, formerly discredited by its association with Italian fascism, undertook a vigorous class war with renewed confidence. The end result was the subordination of the working class and the poor to traditional rulers. (Italy & France & Labour & Trade Union & Class & Working Class & Business) ibid.
108,191. Labour movements have regularly been in the forefront of popular struggles for basic rights including labour rights and democracy. (Labour & Rights & Democracy & Trade Unions) Noam Chomsky, 2011 Rickman Godlee lecture, ‘Contours of Global Order’, Youtube 1.39.23
109,733. The US has always had quite weak labour laws by international standards and they were pretty well dismantled in the 1980s … the Reagan administration informed employers that they wouldn’t be applied. Noam Chomsky, 14 Principles on Which the US was Founded, Youtube 51.42
94,786. North American companies view the Soviet Union and the newly opening nations in Eastern Europe as potential markets for their products or as sources of low-cost manufacturing labor. (Company & Labour) Noam Chomsky, Deterring Democracy
5,061. Every advance in this half-century: social security, civil rights, Medicare, aid to education ... one after another – came with the support and leadership of American Labour. (Trade Union & Labour) Jimmy Carter
5,062. History is a great teacher. Now everyone knows that the labour movement did not diminish the strength of the nation but enlarged it. By raising the living standards of millions, labour miraculously created a market for industry and lifted the whole nation to undreamed of levels of production. Those who attack labour forget these simple truths, but history remembers them. (Trade Union & Labour) Martin Luther King junior 1961
34,712. Less than a century ago the laborer had no rights, little or no respect, and led a life which was socially submerged and barren ... American industry organized misery into sweatshops and proclaimed the right of capital to act without restraints and without conscience. The inspiring answer to this intolerable and dehumanizing existence was economic organization through trade unions. The worker became determined not to wait for charitable impulses to grow in his employer. He constructed the means by which fairer sharing of the fruits of his toil had to be given to him or the wheels of industry, which he alone turned. (King & Labor & Trade Union) Martin Luther King junior
5,162. All labour that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence. Martin Luther King junior