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'Right to Work'? Right-Wing Origin


'Right to Work'? Right-Wing Origin

William E. Spriggs

Mark Twain famously noted, “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.” The current efforts to roll back the ability of working people to counterbalance the corporate domination of America's politics is firmly rooted in the initial corporate opposition to the Wagner Act of 1935 that finally assured American workers the right to organize and bargain for wages and working conditions. Among those early efforts to reduce the strength of unions was an effort led by Vance Muse.


corporations (organized capital) somehow embody individualism.

Excellent observation. Although others have voiced the same idea, this author expresses it concisely.

As has been noted many times on this and other sites, the triumph of Reaganism was convincing average US workers that their interests and corporate interests are the same. The failure of the Dems to point out the inaccuracy of this theme simply points up their collusion in the illusion.



Oligarch thieves and murderers must keep us fighting among ourselves to prevent us from fighting them


You left out the power of Big Money and the fact that since it pulls the strings of the entire election debacle cum process, naturally Dems have little bargaining power against their most reliable donors.


This may be true, but it hardly shows any empathy for the FACT that Blacks have had it toughest, with women fighting similar battles. Some Caucasian males may identify with a more egalitarian society but few recognize the facts inherent to their own race/gender privileges. Therefore, it’s easy for them to slime over the differences that are quite real and equally valid to many.

It was women Suffragettes and Black citizens that marched for basic Civil Rights and related freedom. How many white males gave a shit about either? The vast majority of males were content to hold sovereignty over women, while many Caucasians didn’t think enough about the inherent racism of the existing society.

The call for unity/oneness could easily fall into the old trap of asserting change while maintaining the long historical wounds of racism and sexism. The likelihood of this outcome is increased to the degree that self-identified Leftist males fail to recognize what women and persons of color have been tackling for MANY generations.

From the young Black males now routinely gunned down by police departments, to the nude and sexually abused bodies of women found along the nation’s roadsides… racism and misogyny are more pronounced now than they’ve been since the 1950s when both groups got serious (and organized) about asserting their God-given rights.


Another “you left out” comment which can be made about any post.

My comment addressed the one phrase which I thought to be extremely well expressed. It’s a response on a message board, not a doctoral dissertation.



“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!”
Upton Sinclair


This is very interesting. When I came to Kansas in the late Seventies I had not yet heard of
Right to Work. I had assumed unions were everywhere (I am from New England).

My trade of carpentry/construction was hugely affected but as I was just starting out I didn’t realize it for some time. I knew how to live cheaply, and was young and didn’t care for luxuries much anyway, and good thing, because wages here were (approximately) one-half to as little as one-third the prevailing union wage in other states. It was worth it for people in construction to travel over to Missouri if they could do union work there.

Of course there was no job security. There was rarely company health insurance available. There was no vacation or sick leave or anything like that.
There was Workman’s Comp, only because it’s legally required.
The one time I had to use it due to an on the job injury that laid me up for a month, the Workman’s Comp payment for that month was a little over two hundred dollars and was my sole income for that month.

Even safety was sometimes seriously risked due to cost or time cutting in non-union work. For example, on one non-union job building a 3-story small hotel or motor inn, in the winter, our framing boss had the GFCI taken out of the line at the temporary power pole which supplied the power saws, air compressor, etc.
The boss did this because the breaker kept tripping every five minutes and had to be reset, due to snow and ice and water in puddles where the various electrical cords ran through the building.

The action kept the crew working more efficiently, but put everyone at risk of electrocution, if extra precautions were not taken; things like re-routing extension cords to get them out of the water, or standing on a dry piece of wood when using a power tool.

But such safety risks were fairly uncommon, at least.
The worst thing is the much lower wage which prevails because of no powerful union to counter the natural trend of an employer to make the most for the least. If employees are not in a position to demand higher wages, higher wages probably don’t happen.

Just thought I’d add my personal take on this from being a wage worker in Ks. for years.


The corporate conservatives have done a great job at creating the Orwellian language that the MSM (and the left) seem to readily accept - such as “right to work.” Language matters, especially for the majority of the American public who suffer from ADD.

Progressives should never use terms like “right to work” and come up with their own that more accurately portray situations and use them constantly. Lakoff has been saying this for years. Why does the left let Frank Luntz control the message?


I was a construction QA/QC inspector for a number of years and the union construction jobs were usually noticeably safer and professionally done.


I’m glad you brought that up. But the oligarchy is also an equal opportunity rapist and slavemaster.


Right to work really means right to work for slave wages to enhance the corportocracy’s bottom line.

In the above picture, that shows MLK Jr. allegedly attending a communist training school and being demonized by Fred Koch, who founded the John Birch Society, shows how much MLK Jr. was despised by the economically, elite 1% of that time. And nothing has changed today, only if MLK JR. were alive today the Koch Brothers would tie MLK Jr. to a terrorist organization.