Enough is enough: Workers of the World Unite!

Karl Marx predicted that capitalism would destroy itself by exploiting everything and everyone to exhaustion, The excesses of the 1880s and 1890s appeared to confirm his predictions. The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire ironically proved he was mistaken. Wikipedia describes the disaster.

The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in Manhattan, New York City on March 25, 1911 was the deadliest industrial disaster in the history of the city, and one of the deadliest in U.S. history. The fire caused the deaths of 146 garment workers – 123 women and 23 men – who died from the fire, smoke inhalation, or falling or jumping to their deaths. Most of the victims were recent Jewish and Italian immigrant women aged 16 to 23; of the victims whose ages are known, the oldest victim was Providenza Panno at 43, and the youngest were 14-year-olds Kate Leone and “Sara” Rosaria Maltese.

Because the owners had locked the doors to the stairwells and exits, a common practice used to prevent workers from taking unauthorized breaks and pilferage, many of the workers who could not escape the burning building jumped from the eighth, ninth, and tenth floors to the streets below. The fire led to legislation requiring improved factory safety standards and helped spur the growth of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union (ILGWU), which fought for better working conditions for sweatshop workers.

The factory was located in the Asch Building, at 23–29 Washington Place in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan, now known as the Brown Building and part of New York University. The building has been designated a National Historic Landmark and a New York City landmark.

I say ‘ironically’ because the predictable disaster so offended the people’s sense of dignity, fair play and decency that the fight to legitimize labor unions suddenly gained momentum and could not be stopped. For all his brilliance, Marx did not see that change coming.

What a change it was. Workers making a living wage became the consumers who purchased the products produced by the capitalists. Henry Ford saw the possibilities for his own enrichment by mass producing the Model T Ford and paying his workers higher wages than any other employer so they would choose to work for him, continue to work for him over the long haul despite working a boring job on an assembly line, and purchase their own personal automobile. That was a hulluva big deal. Nothing like it had ever happened in history. Wage earners became the middle class that eventually transformed the United States into the richest and most prosperous nation in history.

Economists call that phenomenal transformation, “consumer capitalism.”

But those days are long gone as the wage-earning class disappears into poverty and the Koched-up capitalist class celebrates its fleecing of the middle class and the death of its foe, organized labor.

The TPP represents more of the same. We the People lose more jobs and in return we get more shitty crap to buy at Walmart.

Four things are certain.

1) The capitalist class, whom we know as the 1%, but more accurately is the 0.1%, are parasites;

2) Killing the host, whom we know as the middle class or wage earning class or the metaphoric goose that laid the golden egg, is a colossally self-destructive strategy;

3) The next Triangle Shirtwaist Factory incident already happened in Bangladesh and other places; and

4) It’s going to take another revolution to prove Marx wrong and reclaim what we have lost.

Enough is enough. I’m tired of being nice. Time to get it on. Workers of the World Unite!

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Frederick Leatherman

Frederick Leatherman

I am a former law professor and felony criminal defense lawyer who practiced in state and federal courts for 30 years specializing in death penalty cases, forensics, and drug cases.

I taught criminal law, criminal procedure, law and forensics, and trial advocacy for three years after retiring from my law practice.

I also co-founded Innocence Project Northwest (IPNW) at the University of Washington School of Law in Seattle and recruited 40 lawyers who agreed to work pro bono, assisted by law students, representing 17 innocent men and women wrongfully convicted of sexually abusing their children in the notorious Wenatchee Sex Ring witch-hunt prosecutions during the mid 90s. All 17 were freed from imprisonment.


  1. bsbafflesbrains
    June 15, 2015 at 7:35 pm

    All criminals get too greedy and that is their demise. TPP is the Worldwide moneygrab but it has no chance (I say NO chance) of succeeding in it’s mission even if it is passed into law. The .1% are not a unified group of like minded executives but rather a confederacy of thieves with mental illnesses that prevent logic and reason. There is not enough tear gas and riot equipment to control the 99%. Reality check for the hoarders in the 1%.

  2. JohnJ
    June 15, 2015 at 7:47 pm

    Thanks for being the first one in a long time to get the thing about Ford right. Everyone seems to think he did it intentionally; he had a turnover of over 200% so training was killing him plus his engineers had reduced the production costs at the same time. It was pretty much an accident (Ford hated his workers).

  3. dubinsky
    June 15, 2015 at 8:19 pm

    you get right to it, Fred, and organize the lawyers.

  4. FukTheArmy
    June 15, 2015 at 10:05 pm

    Workers of the world unite!
    You have nothing to lose but your chains

    (and your lives according to the capitalists)
    But then again, the peasants DO have the guillotines, and WILL put them to good use.

  5. stella blue
    June 15, 2015 at 10:14 pm

    Country Joe and the Fish.

  6. Frederick Leatherman
    June 16, 2015 at 6:08 am

    Already done. Voila! The National Lawyer’s Guild.

    PS: I didn’t organize them. They’ve been around for a long time. Even longer than me.

  7. Frederick Leatherman
    June 16, 2015 at 6:16 am

    There’s always going to be some amount of tension between owner/managers and workers. Experience has proven that workers need protection to prevent exploitation. Ergo, unions.

    The right-to-work laws are BS and should be stuffed down the Koch Bros fat throats.

  8. Frederick Leatherman
    June 16, 2015 at 6:43 am
  9. Frederick Leatherman
    June 16, 2015 at 7:06 am

    With a screen name like yours, I’ll bet you like the Dead. Have you been following the Songs of their Own series on Youtube?

  10. stella blue
    June 16, 2015 at 10:56 am

    No, thanks for the tip.

  11. dubinsky
    June 16, 2015 at 12:31 pm

    and they ain’t all that organized

  12. mulp
    June 17, 2015 at 12:43 pm

    So, you will be the liberal elite boss of the workers getting rich protecting them because workers are too stupid to protect themselves and need you to help them decide what is in their best interest?

    No wonder conservatives win when people like you are so condescending to workers. You clearly are not a factory worker or farm worker or line workers in a fast food store.

  13. mulp
    June 17, 2015 at 1:08 pm

    Are you saying the past century of job losses from imports and farm automation that forced 50 million people off the farm has been reversed, and today the hay is bailed by horse pulled mowing machines and sheaves tied by hand and thrown onto the horse drawn wagon by men? Cows are milked by milk maids? No one lost jobs tending horses and oxen and making wagons and carriages and going around scooping up horse shit from the streets of NYC?

    How about the Federal gas tax being hiked to 40 cents and the State gas tax hiked to 40 to 50 cents and that money used to rebuild the transportation infrastructure instead of burning the built capital my parents and grandparents and I in my youth paid to build and maintain until about 1985 when tax cutters on the left and right stopped tax hike and spend to create jobs?

    How about hiking electric rates to build twice as much modern transmission and generation capital instead of just getting by on capital built mostly before 1980?

    How about paying several times as much for water so the water and sewer distribution system is rebuilt instead of just getting by on century old decaying capital assets that waste more water than is delivered?

    No, workers want everything for free, but that means they need to work for free.

    Reagan promised a free lunch to workers in that he promised to cut taxes and cut wasteful government spending which meant he was going to cut the money going to pay workers to build stuff and by the way make them middle class. Workers voted for Reagan thinking he was only going to cut spending on other people, not the workers who voted for Reagan.

    FDR did not pay for Social Security of unemployment benefits and disability and old age by taxing the rich! He taxed workers because workers would defend the benefits they were paying for. Too few workers understood that the gas tax, the water rates, the electric rates, the telephone rates, the taxes on electric and telephone use went to pay workers.

    Workers pay workers and if workers refuse to pay workers, workers suffer. The roads are clogged and have potholes and bridges that might fall because workers will not work for free and workers oppose hiking the gas taxes to pay workers.

    I know workers do not want workers to be paid because I see no protests demanding the gas taxes be hiked a lot, and that is the only way workers will be paid to work day after day making the transportation system better.