Cheers to PB for an excellent post regarding the seeming anti-nexus of bottom-line worship and the interest of safety. An addendum to his observation that may or may not come back at a later date to bite me in the ass: When’s the last time you heard of a horrific nuclear accident in France? The entire country runs on nukes, ya know. But it’s entirely a public enterprise. Run by the government. Yep. PART OF THE COMMONS.
So I look forward to the day when we hear about the next French nu-kyoo-lar accident. Because then I can be proven wrong. Until that day, it stands as some of the finest evidence of the effectiveness of a vigorous support of a commons. So screw.
We’d be remiss on this tear if we didn’t mention the recent commemoration of 100 years since the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire.
See, on March 25, 1911, there was this blouse factory on floors 8 to 10 in this building in New York City. The factory employed about 500 people, mostly immigrant women, who worked nine hours a day during the week and seven hours on Sunday. (How’s that labor movement looking to you now?) There was a fire, likely started in a bin of scrap textile, where like two months’ of scrap had been allowed to pile up.
There was no audible fire alarm. And the only plausible escape route for the workers was locked to prevent the workers from stealing these shitty blouses.
From the Wiki:
Within three minutes, the Greene Street stairway became unusable in both directions. Terrified employees crowded onto the single exterior fire escape, a flimsy and poorly-anchored iron structure which may have been broken before the fire. It soon twisted and collapsed from the heat and overload, spilling victims nearly 100 feet (30 m) to their deaths on the concrete pavement below. Elevator operators Joseph Zito and Gaspar Mortillalo saved many lives by traveling three times up to the ninth floor for passengers, but Mortillalo was eventually forced to give up when the rails of his elevator buckled under the heat. Some victims pried the elevator doors open and jumped down the empty shaft. The weight of these bodies made it impossible for Zito to make another attempt.
129 women and 17 men died. Owners Max Blanck and Isaac Harris were indicted on charges of manslaughter.
They were acquitted.
To many people, 100 years seems like a long time. But it ain’t. In terms of history, in terms of geology, in terms of generations, it’s a morsel of time. And the awesome progress that was made as a result of this tragedy is now being brutally attacked by our landed gentry.
These workers were in that factory 52 hours a week. Do you like your 40 hours? Your weekend? Not to mention, do you like not getting locked in on the ninth floor and having to choose between asphyxiation or leaping to your doom like a fucking 9/11 victim?