Workers

442 – Simple Truths Message

“Unhappy events abroad have retaught us two simple truths about the liberty of a democratic people. The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic State itself. That, in its essence, is fascism — ownership of government by an individual, by a group or by any other controlling private power.
The second truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if its business system does not provide employment and produce and distribute goods in such a way as to sustain an acceptable standard of living. Both lessons hit home. Among us today a concentration of private power without equal in history is growing.”

–Franklin D Roosevelt, 32nd President of the United States of America

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275 – “It is intolerable and indecent for a society to produce by overworking and underpaying human beings. Even if the product may cost more we in this country eventually accept the difference in cost because it is the man that counts – not the thing.”

–James Mitchell, 8th United States Secretary of Labor (1953-1961)
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Lincoln’s Understanding of the Hired Laborer

“My understanding of the hired laborer is this: A young man finds himself of an age to be dismissed from parental control; he has for his capital nothing, save two strong hands that God has given him, a heart willing to labor, and a freedom to choose the mode of his work and the manner of his employer; he has got no soil nor shop, and he avails himself of the opportunity of hiring himself to some man who has capital to pay him a fair day’s wages for a fair day’s work. He is benefited by availing himself of that privilege. He works industriously, he behaves soberly, and the result of a year or two’s labor is a surplus of capital. Now he buys land on his own hook; he settles, marries, begets sons and daughters, and in the course of time he too has enough capital to hire some new beginners.”

-Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States of America

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Relation Between Labor and Capital Quote

“That there is a certain relation between capital and labor, I admit. That it does exist, and rightfully exists, I think it true. That men who are industrious, and sober, and honest in the pursuit of their own interests should after a while accumulate capital, and after that should be allowed to enjoy it in peace, and also, if they so choose, when they have accumulated it, to use it to save themselves from actual labor, and hire other people to labor for them, is right. In doing so they do not wrong the man they employ, for they find men who have not their own land to work upon, or shops to work in, and who are benefited by working for others, hired laborers, receiving their capital for it. Thus a few men, that own capital, hire a few others, and these establish he relation of capital and labor rightfully.”

-Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States of America

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“Once social change begins it cannot be reversed. You cannot un-educate the person that has learned to read. You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride. You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore.”

César Chávez
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“Being born elite in the US gives you a constellation of privileges that very few people in the world have ever experienced. Being born poor in the US gives you disadvantages unlike anything in Western Europe and Japan and Canada.”

David Levine

See Source Notes for further reading on this subject if you are interested.
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