Before or after grilling or fireworks, we recommend reading Alan Hart on Thomas Paine and Richard Trumka on the real meaning of freedom.
Alan Hart, managing editor of the UE News, has written a fine appreciation of The Worker Who Helped Make a Revolution
Nearly all the leaders of the American Revolution – known ever since as “the Founding Fathers” – were members of the upper classes: rich merchants, investors, landowners, planters, judges and lawyers. But Thomas Paine – the man whose writings won over the country to the idea of independence and helped rally the army and the people to defeat the powerful British Empire – was the exception….
with the beginnings of a labor movement in the U.S. in the 1820s and ’30s, there also came a Paine revival. Labor activists held annual dinners on Paine’s birthday (January 29), toasting the memory and ideas of the great revolutionary. Thomas Paine’s writings have much to offer us today – most of all his faith in the ability of people, acting together, to overcome injustice. As he told us in Common Sense, “We have it in our power to begin the world over again.
In a Huffington Post column, Richard Trumka, AFL-CIO Presidenet, says that “Freedom Isn’t Free“
When politicians on the right talk about the “freedom” to replace Social Security with vouchers, what they really mean is freedom from a secure retirement income. The “freedom” to get vouchers for retraining is actually freedom from unemployment compensation’s safety net when your job is shipped overseas.
The “freedom” of cutting local government translates into the freedom from having the help of a cop or a firefighter or EMS tech in your time of greatest need.
Let’s call this right-wing “freedom” catch phrase what it really is: a grossly political strategy to dupe the public, which holds the word “freedom” as something sacred.
This Independence Day, I say let’s go back to a truer use of the word “freedom.” Let’s start with President Franklin Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms: freedom of speech and expression, freedom of worship, freedom from want and freedom from fear. I would add the freedom to bargain collectively.
Those freedoms are under attack today. We all will pay a heavy price if we don’t stand up and fight for them.