Saturday, March 26, 2011

Saturday morning tunes: "She never was afraid -- of goons and ginks and company finks and the deputy sheriffs who made the raid"

Well, wasn't this a noteworthy week in America?

Item: General Electric, which posted $14.2 billion in revenue worldwide ($5.1 billion in the US) in 2010, paid $0 in US corporate income tax for 2010. (In fact, it got a $3.2 billion refund. This was, of course, all perfectly legal* -- whose people helped design Administration policy for the last decade?)

Item: The Tea Party governors and Republican legislators of Wisconsin, Ohio, and Michigan continued their holy war against their state's workers -- unionized or non-unionized.

Item: And just to ice the let-them-eat-cake, five US House Republicans even went so far as to re-introduce a provision that would starve out uppity workers by denying food stamps to families with a member who's on strike (it's actually a long-time favorite of the corporate right).

Finally, yesterday was the 100th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire -- or, if you prefer, The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Massacre:

The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City on March 25, 1911, was the deadliest industrial disaster in the history of the city of New York and resulted in the fourth highest loss of life from an industrial accident in U.S. history. The fire caused the deaths of 146 garment workers, who either died from the fire or jumped to their deaths. Most of the victims were recent Jewish and Italian immigrant women; the youngest were two fourteen-year-old girls. Many of the workers could not escape the burning building because the managers had locked the doors to the stairwells and exits. People jumped from the eighth, ninth, and tenth floors. The fire led to legislation requiring improved factory safety standards and helped spur the growth of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union, which fought for better working conditions for sweatshop workers.

In the memory of those women -- those who died and those after, who would not let those deaths be meaningless -- here's Pete Seeger and Arlo Guthrie singing "Union Maid" (written by Arlo's dad).

*See Kinsley's Law.

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