Portrait of Louis Brandeis. by Reproduction courtesy of the Supreme Court Historical Society.
"Labor cannot on any terms surrender the right to strike." [Louis D. Brandeis, Supreme Court Justice 1918-39; 1913: The Great Quotations, compiled by George Seldes, copyright 1960, 1967.]
Sometimes you discover that you need to cover old ground, because new information and/or new circumstances have made it imperative to do so. When I picked up Hedrick Smith's 2012 book Who Stole the American Dream? at the library, I read the first thirty pages and said to myself, Man, this is what I have been trying to tell all of my readers at OpEdNews over the last seven years and 120-plus articles.
If you haven't read Smith's book yet, do so. Mr. Smith is less cynical than I am. He seems to give far more "benefit of the doubt" than I do to the plutocrats of the halcyon days of America's economy between 1949 and 1975. That may be due, however, to his not having been burned as badly as I was when America switched from what he calls the "virtuous circle" economy of those 25 years to what he defines as the "wedge" economy we have today. A cynic is an optimist who has been burned one too many times, and today I feel as if a flamethrower had hit me with the "rules" of the "wedge" economy.
In view of that reaction, and given too the approach of the traditional May 1st Labor Day for the rest of the world and the fact that I am feeling increasingly betrayed by the man I voted for twice to be our President, I think it is time to look into the mirror of the past to see the vision of a possible future.
Undoing the Great Prosperity
In the last four decades, the country's plutocrats--members of what I call the "ownership class," which represents large-scale accumulated capital--have made a concerted effort to regain the ascendant position they enjoyed 125 years ago, at the time of the first May Day and the Haymarket Massacre. They have actively moved to return the nation's workers--by whom I mean not only traditional labor, but also lower-level management and small businesses--to the desperate, subservient position to which they were condemned in the so-called "Gilded Age."