I am going to forewarn you, this posting here is not something that you would normally read at a blog like mine. This blog never was about partisanship. As you know, it is called “Thinking Americanist” and it is called that for a very good reason. Because I do not happen to tow the so-called “part line” and I do not participate in the normal echo chamber of either side in the blogosphere. I speak the truth and if it angers either side, that is just too bad.
You want to know why the Republican Party is having so much trouble winning elections? It is because of mind-numbingly stupid stuff like this right here:
That was none other than Fox News’s resident House Negro and one man minstrel show, Charles Payne.
PAYNE: It is tragic. I don’t think something like this will happen again. Don’t think that the people in Bangladesh who perished didn’t want or need those jobs, as well. I know we like to victimize everyone in this country, particularly when it comes to for-profit motivation, which is being assaulted. But, you know, it is a tragedy but I think it is a stretch, an amazing stretch, to sort of try to pin this on Walmart but, of course, the unions in this country are desperate.
Think Progress rightly notes:
The Bangladeshi factory in question, Tazreen Factories, had no functioning extinguishers, locked the exits, and employed managers who told factory workers to go back to their stations when the fire alarm went off. Since 2006, over 200 people have died in Bangladeshi garment factories as a consequence of the substandard safety precautions prevalent in their factory.Some believe companies like Walmart — whose brands were found in the burnt factory — would move if production at the faculty were more expensive; that is, if things like basic safety precautions were implemented.
During his defense of the factory, Payne referred to himself as “a spokesman for capitalism and the American Dream” and said “for a lot of people, this [Walmart business practice] is a step in the right direction.”
This tragic event happens to remind me of another tragic event like this one that happened in New York back on March 25, 1911. I am referring to, of course, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire.
The building’s east side, with 40 bodies on the sidewalk. Two of the victims were found alive an hour after the photo was taken.
Police placing victims bodies into coffins.
There is a site, by the way, where you can see even more of these types of photos from the fire. It called the “Remember the triangle fire coalition.” It was this fire, in case some of my Conservative and libertarian friends do not know, that started the wheels turning for an organized labor movement in this Country.
As the site says,
The Triangle Waist Company was located one block east of Washington Square Park. There were over 500 employees – most were young women, most were recent immigrants. On March 25, 1911, a fire broke out on the 8th floor. Workers ran to the fire escape. It collapsed, dropping them to their deaths. On the 9th floor a critical exit was locked. People on the street watched as the workers began to jump out the windows. Fire trucks arrived but their ladders only reached the 6th floor. The elevators ran as long as they could as workers pressed into the cars; some tumbled down the elevator shaft.
In the end 146 people died. There was a trial but the owners, long known for their anti-union activities, got off. The fire became a rallying cry for the international labor movement. Many of our fire safety laws were created in response to this tragic event.
Sounds familiar does it not? You see, as an Americanist, I am all for good old fashioned capitalism, which is why I have so many ads on this site. What I am forcefully against, is corny capitalism or capitalism that exploits, represses and hurts others. I have always been against that sort of thing, even when I was on the left. This is why unions came to be folks, because of crony capitalism. I happen to know a great deal about the labor movement; because my Father is a retired General Motors worker, who worked for the Clark Street Assembly Plant in southwest Detroit and later at the Poletown Assembly Plant as well. My Father, who is now retired also is a member of the UAW, Local 22.
Now about that site that I mentioned; I realize that there is some things on that site that might offend some Conservatives, especially the communist section of the archive.However, I believe that this sort of thing is important; there is nothing wrong with workers wanting safe working conditions. Furthermore, there is nothing wrong with a worker wanting a decent living wage. I believe that at one point in America, unions served a legitimate purpose, and this was to keep the crony capitalists honest and to force them to take better care of their workers, with better working conditions. However, my biggest gripe with the unions, is that they became greedy themselves, they began to associate with elements of the communist movement, they began to make unreasonable demands — the recent instance with Hostess being a perfect example.
However, as a free-thinking American, I do not believe that the answer is to proverbially, “Toss out the baby with the bath water” as they say; but rather to stop with the labor movements overreach. The labor movement needs to realize that this is not the 1940’s and the 1950’s anymore. The industrial revolution is already passed us by, and there are times when concessions are needed to save jobs. You would think that with a labor movement friendly President like Barack Obama, that American labor killing things, like the so-called “American free trade agreement” would be stricken off the books and large scale tariffs put into place to prevent China and other Countries from stealing our market share. However, not everything is as it seems. Barack Obama is not an “American First” democrat, Obama is an “Internationalist Democrat,” who sees American through the lens of the World and believe it is quite small. This is why the relationship between the President and the labor movement has been frosty at best.
In closing: To my Republican friends and conservative ones too: This is what needs to change. Indifference toward tragic events like this one and making idiotic statements like this too. When conservatives makes statements like this, the rest of America, you know, people like me? We tend to see you as heartless thugs, who care only about making money and not about those who actually help you make that money. It is simply all in messaging. The conservative movement, while not perfect, has some really great ideas; but has always had this message problem and also the Republican establishment problem as well. Those things need to change and messaging needs to be changed too. If we can do that, we can win elections again.
Others: Boing Boing, The Raw Story, The Hinterland Gazette, Associated Press and Firedoglake