(audio) “Unions are supposed to help poor people and marginalized people and people that need a hand...that aren't being served by the ruling class, that aren't being served by the government. Unions...we’re taking care of ourselves. They’re not going to take care of us. We’re going to take care of us. Maybe it’s radical. To me it just seems sensible.”
That’s Kim Kelly, the labor columnist for Teen Vogue and a former music editor at VICE, on the latest episode of “State of the Unions,” the AFL-CIO’s podcast. Kelly shares her journey into radical political activism from humble beginnings in rural New Jersey to a platform that reaches millions. She provides insight into her experience forming a union at VICE and her desire for young people to challenge capitalism in today's economy.
(audio) “I think young people are perhaps a little cowed by the enormity of everything that’s facing them and the enormity of the thought...you have to organize and fight and resist...those are big asks. Breaking things down into smaller, concrete actions...is going to give people a little bit more of an opportunity to empower themselves and realize okay, I can't lead a gigantic national campaign against gun violence because I have an after school job and my mom is sick, but I can write letters or organize people at my school to do a letter-writing thing to incarcerated people. I can go to protests or organize a protest. I think we need to show people that they can make a huge difference by doing small things that are within their own ability.”
In today’s labor history, on this date in 1811, Luddites smashed 63 quote unquote “labor saving” textile machines near Nottingham, England.
Today’s labor quote is from “The Triumph of General Ludd” by the British alternative band Chumbawamba. Ned Ludd, also known as the folkloric character of General Ludd, is the person from whom, it is popularly claimed, the Luddites took their name:
And when in the work he destruction employs
Himself to no method confines
By fire and by water he gets them destroyed
For the elements aid his designs.
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