We just philosophize, complain of boredom, or drink vodka. It’s so clear, you see, that if we’re to begin living in the present, we must first of all redeem our past and then be done with it forever. And the only way we can redeem our past is by suffering and by giving ourselves over to exceptional labour, to steadfast and endless labour. Anton Chekhov, The Cherry Orchard
Shaftesbury was a man looking for a mission. And when in 1832 he read a series of articles in The Times about child labour he foundered. The industrial revolution was changing Britain as never before, and it seemed the inevitable price of progress that children worked oppressive, long hours for meagre wages in unregulated workplaces. And few people cared. Ian Hislop’s Age of the Do-Gooders II: Suffer the Little Children, BBC 2010
The MP for Bolton, who was a mine owner, argued that it would unjustly deprive children of their honest livelihood, and would drive them and their families into the workhouse. Others suggested that working from a young age was good and developed useful industrious habits ... Others said that the entire mining industry would collapse if it wasn’t allowed to use child labour. ibid.
The thirties were a rough time for labour relations in the United States. Organisers were killed, cars were bombed and strikes often turned violent. Hoffa’s brother was among the victims of a shooting that occurred during one of these strikes. Troops were sometimes moved in. Great Crimes & Trials: Jimmy Hoffa
The Mafia made a mockery of the traditional role of the labor unions. Mafia Empire: Vow of Silence, 1999
You’re wearing me out. Never let a stranger in your cab. Never let a stranger in your cab, in your house or in your heart unless he is a friend of labor. Hoffa 1992 starring Jack Nicholson & Danny De Vito & Armand Assante & J T Walsh & John C Reilly & Frank Whaley & Kevin Anderson & John P Ryan & Robert Prosky & Natalie Nogulich & Nicholas Pryor et al
The concept of labour will no longer be a dividing one but a uniting one, and that no longer will there be anybody in Germany who will regard manual labour any less highly than any other form of labour. Adolf Hitler
Throughout much of its history the AFL-CIO and other US labor organizations have worked with CIA and multi-national corporations to overthrow democratically-elected governments, collaborated with dictators against progressive labor movements, supported reactionary labor movements against progressive governments, worked with corporate America to organize racist and protectionist campaigns against foreign countries, and encouraged racist campaigns against immigrant workers. Lee Siu Hin
The Tolpuddle Martyrs – still a landmark in British labour history. Michael Wood, The Great British Story: A People’s History 7/8: Industry & Empire, BBC 2012
Labor Day in the USA spells party day. Drunken States of America, National Geographic 2012
It is always somewhat perplexing and sometimes shocking to hear, from respected unionists, a lack of concern for the struggle of brothers and sisters outside their own backyards. Such failure to bear faith and allegiance to real solidarity is what lies at the heart of labor’s inability to coalesce into the force that some of our greatest leaders have envisioned. We must come to the realization that we are all coworkers, brothers and sisters in the struggle with owners. Donald L Foley, APWU
The laboring man ... ought to remember that all who labor are their brothers, and that all women who labor are their sisters, and whenever one class of workingmen or workingwomen is oppressed, all other laborers ought to stand by the oppressed class. Robert Ingersoll, essay Eight Hours Must Come 1890
The poor are set to labour – for what? Not the food for which they famish; not the blankets for want of which their babes are frozen by the cold of their miserable hovels; not those comforts of civilisation without which civilised man is far more miserable than the meanest savage – no: for the pride of power, for the miserable isolation of pride, for the false pleasures of one hundredth part of society.
Employments are lucrative in inverse ratio to their usefulness. The jeweller, the toyman, the actor gains fame and wealth by the exercise of his useless and ridiculous art; whilst the cultivator of the earth, he without whom society must cease to exist, struggles through contempt and penury, and perishes by that famine which, but for his unceasing exertions, would annihilate the rest of mankind. Percy Bysshe Shelley, notes to Queen Mab
The few own the many because they possess the means of livelihood of all ... The country is governed for the richest, for the corporations, the bankers, the land speculators, and for the exploiters of labor. The majority of mankind are working people. So long as their fair demands – the ownership and control of their livelihoods – are set at naught, we can have neither men’s rights nor women’s rights. The majority of mankind is ground down by industrial oppression in order that the small remnant may live in ease. Helen Keller
A permanent division of labor inevitably creates occupational and class inequality and conflict. Robert Shea
In all labour there is profit. Proverbs 14:23
Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom.
Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? For riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven. Proverbs 23:4&5
What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun?
… All things are full of labour; man cannot utter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing. Ecclestiastes 1:3&8
Yea, I hated all my labour which I had taken under the sun: because I should leave it unto the man that shall be after me.
And who knoweth whether he shall be a wise man or a fool? Yet shall he have rule over all my labour wherein I have laboured, and wherein I have shewed myself wise under the sun. This is also vanity.
Therefore I went about to cause my heart to despair of all the labour which I took under the sun.
For there is a man whose labour is in wisdom, and in knowledge, and in equity; yet to a man that hath not laboured therein shall he leave it for his portion. This also is vanity and a great evil.
For what hath man of all his labour, and of the vexation of his heart, wherein he hath laboured under the sun?
For all his days are sorrows, and his travail grief; yea, his heart taketh not rest in the night. This is also vanity.
There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God. Ecclesiastes 2:18-24
What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboureth?
I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life.
And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God.
Wherefore I perceive that there is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his own works; for that is his portion: for who shall bring him to see what shall be after him? Ecclesiastes 3:9&12&13&22
All the labour of man is for his mouth, and yet the appetite is not filled. Ecclesiastes 6:7
The sleep of a labouring man is sweet. Ecclesiastes 7:6
For the labourer is worth of his hire. Luke 10:7
I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. I Corinthians 15:10
The gods had condemned Sisyphus to ceaselessly rolling a rock to the top of a mountain, whence the stone would fall back of its own weight. They had thought with some reason that there is no more dreadful punishment than futile and hopeless labour. Albert Camus
This has created a huge market for the transfer of people, driven by the demand of Western business for cheap, untaxed labour. Misha Glenny, McMafia
To satisfy the demand, employers approach ‘gangmasters’ in their area with requests for cheap labour. ibid.
In recent years, there has been a steady downward pressure on the illegal labour market. ibid.
The snakeheads are smugglers, not traffickers. They do not, on the whole, fix up jobs in the country of destination – they get you there and then it is up to you. Victims of labour-trafficking are kidnapped or duped by traffickers in league with employers, who intend to enslave or coerce the migrant labourers. ibid.