Thursday, May 1, 2014

They lived on bread donated by the state

Guest: Pat Lamanna and various adjunct teachers from Marist College discuss May Day and workers’ rights here in the US and all over the world. 

Pat discussed "fair trade," based on the concept that people in the Third World should be paid fairly for what they make. An alternative to the capitalist way, this is a model for a world based on mutual respect.

Gary and the Marist College adjuncts talked about respect too. Have colleges become just like corporations, paying those at the top outrageous salaries while their adjunct teachers earn less than minimum wage? That is similar to the exploitation of workers in the Third World, most of whom make a tiny fraction of what corporations charge for their products.

Does an empire that uses its military to exploit foreign workers ultimately bring that abuse of labor back home? We have seen the salaries of US workers slowly sink as the people at the top get richer and richer. Maybe sixty years of empire building has destroyed most worker rights in the belly of the beast. The Roman Empire had done that to its citizens by the end of the republic. They lived on bread donated by the state, while the filthy rich lived in their magnificent villas with hundred of servants. 

That was 2,000 years ago. Maybe the resistance has learned a few tricks since then. May Day reminds us of what we have yet to achieve in terms of social justice.

No comments:

Post a Comment