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In January 2011,  I wrote a diary about my family's story that got handed down to me about how the Gilded Age/ Robber Baron Era killed my great grandfather and didn't even pay to bury him.

I posted it just after the disasterous 2010 election, after I saw how the meta and individual issues dispirited even folks at DKos, because I was really worried about what the 2010 election could mean.

We are still being standoffish and not being full in?  If so, what do you not get yet?  

The 1% are GLOBAL now, and just like they don't give a damn about people in Sri Lanka or where ever:

Many of you may not have had the benefit of having family stories about what the Guilded Age/ Robber Baron Era was like in real, human terms in the United States was like when the bastards like Romney and his ilk were in control.  

Well, here is a re-post of that diary (with newspaper reality from the time), because IMO we are doing the same god-awful thing we did before the dreadful 2010 election.  

Here's the repeat diary and story.  My plea comes after.


I took my mother her medication, today.  She's 87, so I fill up her plastic, daily medication boxes.  We almost lost her a year ago, due to getting just one pill wrong on a prescription it turned out she no longer needed, so I am very happy to do this small task for my beloved Mom.

As I filled the boxes, she chatted with me ... before the holiday, she'd had a lovely phone conversation with her only cousin still left alive ... and look what she'd sent in her Christmas card:

   The dead man leaves a wife and two children.
It was a copy of a micro fiche page from a Philadelphia newspaper from May 2, 1894.  The page contained the story about how my great grandfather died, at work, as an engineer for the Southern Electric Light Company.
   At 7:45, he noticed that the large eight inch pipe that supplies the big 500 horse power dynamo was vibrating.  Thinking he could remedy the trouble, he climbed to the top of the pipe,
For those who think we can still afford the luxury of meta-play on this electronic playground, I'd like to share some personal family history and what I'm looking at on this one newspaper page from 1894.

One of the children left orphaned was my grandfather.  He grew up to be quite an agitator and was part of the strike that finally brought the UAW to Fords.  He died with his union pin in his lapel, but on the day his father died, he was just 2 years old.  

   ... but the vibration was so great that he crawled back to the platform that runs along the the south side of the building.  On this at the time were the engineer and the others injured.  The pipe runs through the partition and over the top of the boiler.  Five minutes after the engineer had crawled down a creaking sound was heard, quickly followed by a loud report.  The pipe snapped ... and with all the force of 1000 horsepower means it crashed through the double wainscotting that divided the engine room from the dynamo room ...before they could escape ... the engineer was almost directly in front of the hole made by the force of the steam and inhaled its full force.
There were three others who were badly injured, but survived. One is recognized as a hero in the article.  


  An alarm was sent out ... as soon as the steam was sufficiently cleared away, the prostrate body of [one of the workers] was found in front of the boiler.  He had fallen after he'd climbed to the top of the boiler and shut off the steam.  His bravery may have cost him his life. The skin was peeled off his face, arms, and breast, and must have been in this condition when he went to turn off the steam.  This, in addition to the shock received in the falling, nakes his condition serious.

My great grandfather was not so recognized in print, but the family story has it that his co-worker did live and later visited my great grandmother to tell her that my great grandfather pushed him out of the way of the first, horrific blast of steam, and that's why my great grandfather was in the direct fire of it.

Regardless of whether or not he was a hero, or if it was just a story told to a grieving widow recently immigrated to this country with 2 children under the age of 5 --  he was dead.

Very sad.

Awful story.

Tragic even.

But here is what I want ALL of you to hear, know, and hopefully keep in mind:

The Southern Electric Light Company didn't even pay to bury my great grandfather.

Let that sink in.  

He was dead.  No income coming in at all, so his widow took out a loan with the local undertaker to put him in the ground. And, she took in laundry to keep her 2 orphaned children alive.  And, the undertaker collected his 10 cent payment, after mass, every Sunday on the church steps.
There was no Social Security to help keep his orphaned children alive.
There was no disability for the maimed hero.
There was nothing.
Bumpkiss for that immigrant Irish widow and her two kids.

Let me share with you some of the other news in the this one page of this newspaper on that ONE day:


    Police Charge a Mob of Thousands and Several Heads are Broken

    Five Hundred Militiamen Under Arms for a Summons

    Workman driven from factories by unemployed -- Attempt to hold up a train -- The Mayor puts a stop to Public Gatherings

    The trouble began this forenoon when a mob of about 2000 started to raid the factories on the flats and drive from work the men employed therein.  The first attack was made on the Variety Iron Works ... a force of seventy-five policemen were called out.

    Fight on the Bridge

    The rioters proceeded to the Upson Bolt Works where 1500 men were induced to quit work before officers arrived.  When the police came upon the scene the men made a stand and hurled bricks and stones at the officers.

    Orders were given to charge them with clubs.

    Militia Under Arms

    This afternoon, Mayor Blec announced that no more rioting would be permitted. He issued a proclamation commanding people not to assemble on the the streets and called upon the Cleveland Grays, the Gaitling Gun Battery and resident companies of the Ohio Guard to assemble their armories and await his call.

And, for some happier news, at least from my perspective.


    The Great Northern [Railroad] Men Win Their Right for Restoration of Wages.

    Minneapolis, MN - After weeks of idleness the employees of Great Northern Railroad go back to work after having won their fight through the medium of arbitration.

I actually found a link about that one win with Google, hence the link. :)  But lest you think the news of the day on this one page is only about parboiled worker's deaths and the working class being pitted against one another for survival, here is another article about something else to consider:
   Accused of Extreme Cruelty to Aged Lancaster County Paupers

    Lancaster -- It became known here to-day that the State Board of Charities, at the instance of Governor Pattison, has for some time past been conducting an exhaustive inquiry into the administration of the county almhouse in this city.

    Specific charges are made against the matron who is accused of extreme cruelty to some of the aged inmates  She is said to have prevented them from recieving food and delicacies sent to them by friend while sick; to have locked them in their rooms, and to have subjected them to such inhumane treatment that several of them have died as the result of it.

Which brings me back to my beloved, Mama, at 87 who is living out her life in dignified independence supported in half by Social Security and by the other half by her three daughters (the great granddaughters of that dead man) who got to go through college with grants and student loans at state universities.

So.  Here is my BIG question to ALL of you:

What do you think having Mitt Romney as a President might mean for US, and our parents, and our children?  

As a teacher, I abhor President Obama's educational policies -- I think they suck!

But, I'm 52.  And I was raised with a hatred for and fear of ALL that the Gilded Age/ Robber Baron Era meant.  I care about my son and ALL my students' lives going forward.

The Dead Man Leaves a Wife and Two Children.
With the looming reality of climate change and a World Robber Baron Era, if you don't get IT YET, I hope this family story may have helped.

It's time for small money bombs, folks!  
We're loosing against Citizens United.  

WHY aren't we doing at least doing planned, HUGE, multi-mini contributions to support our own Occupy and 99% Meme?

Why aren't we giving the media who is increasing disliking the Romney campaign something to say about us as a real grassroots push?

Sigh.  Make no mistake about it.  YOU are disposable to Romney and his class.  Yeah, you.

Not just our immigrants, black youth, homosexuals ... our planet ... ALL OF US are expendable in the name of their greed and profits.

Based on family history and how the multinationals are treating the rest of the worlds' people, I bascially think it is DONATE NOW and GOTV like hell or for many for us and most of our kids it's going to be ...

Here's the donate link... but KOS? Where are the donation bombs?

Update:  If you came from this great diary you can go back there with this link.

Originally posted to bkamr on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 07:46 PM PDT.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions.


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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (17+ / 0-)

    Plutocracy (noun) Greek ploutokratia, from ploutos wealth; 1) government by the wealthy; 2) 21st c. U.S.A.; 3) 22nd c. The World

    by bkamr on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 07:46:34 PM PDT

  •  We just had the "nag" diary (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bkamr, chimene, Only Needs a Beat

    over the weekend as a warning, so I'm sure they're coming soon.

    Not sure how much we'll be able to donate -- we're on a fixed income, thankfully due to my spouse's kickass union that fought to keep a traditional pension plan in place for their retirees. It's not much, especially here in Silly Con Valley (but we're pretty much stuck here while his mom is still around because she needs our help so much), but it keeps a roof over our heads and food on our family. We'll do our best to spare a few pennies, and I know my mom-in-law will be doing her part as well (she sent money for the WI recalls on my recommendation -- she's a good 80 year old Dem).

    "If we ever needed to vote we sure do need to vote now" -- Rev. William Barber, NAACP

    by Cali Scribe on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 08:06:33 PM PDT

    •  Yeah, then you know the story of what could (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chimene, Only Needs a Beat

      happen to us.  We may only have 3 bucks, so we have to organize those 3 bucks.  

      Bless you for being a part of the real movement for people and knowing the history of the effort.

      Plutocracy (noun) Greek ploutokratia, from ploutos wealth; 1) government by the wealthy; 2) 21st c. U.S.A.; 3) 22nd c. The World

      by bkamr on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 08:17:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The two of us will do what we can (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Only Needs a Beat, bkamr

      ...but the person we have to convince is my mother. She lost so much in the lead-up to the last election that she probably can't afford to max for Obama like she did the last time, but she's been determined for over a year now to give him nothing except her vote, and it's this that I need to try to convince her to change.

      If I remind her that Rmoney and Ryan are after not her Medicare, but mine, that will probably do a lot to help change her mind. If she can't afford to, that's one thing, and certainly something I can respect, but if she can and chooses not to, I need to show her how that's the wrong position to take.

      Organ donors save lives! A donor's kidney gave me my life back on 02/18/11; he lives on in me. Please talk with your family about your wish to donate.

      Why are war casualty counts "American troops" and "others" but never "human beings"?

      by Kitsap River on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 11:04:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Screw the money bombs. (4+ / 0-)

    The robber barons weren't stripped of their titles by the paupers passing the hat and gathering pennies to purchase ads in their local news sheets.

    The robber barons were stripped of their titles by the swinging fist of the labor force.

    But this country isn't ready to go that far yet. The pain hasn't sunk through the layers of right wing propaganda. This cake is not yet baked.

    •  Sigh. I'm afraid we just may have to go (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Only Needs a Beat

      through a Romney Robber Baron Era, but I'm am terrified that with the global nature of their wealth and control that the labot movement we had in this nation will not be enough.  

      Add in climate change and I am seriously concerned about anarchy for our kids.

      Plutocracy (noun) Greek ploutokratia, from ploutos wealth; 1) government by the wealthy; 2) 21st c. U.S.A.; 3) 22nd c. The World

      by bkamr on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 08:21:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Plus, I'm not at all into violent conflicts. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Only Needs a Beat

        Plutocracy (noun) Greek ploutokratia, from ploutos wealth; 1) government by the wealthy; 2) 21st c. U.S.A.; 3) 22nd c. The World

        by bkamr on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 08:22:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Great story, but why the blind spot? (4+ / 0-)

        Romney and his ilk have been thriving under Republican and Democratic government alike. Our free trade agreements continue to impose this kind of nasty anti-worker nonsense on furriners. This President has managed to pass a number of FTAs that Bush couldn't get through. Colombian labor is under violent attack while our current government opens up trade with Colombian capital.

        •  Not a blind spot. I'm old and cynical enough to (5+ / 0-)

          firmly believe that our current situation will seem like an oasis in a desert compared to what it will be like if Romney gets to be POTUS.  

          I frankly think that the Bush years will be nothing compared to what we'll see under (and I do mean under) Romney.  Europe is demonstrating that austerity makes money for the 1%.

          Any shred of mutual connection like there was in the past between the factory owners and workers has been broken.  They aren't business men.  They are con men. And, we are not their customers; we are just their marks.

          And, I do blieve we have a significantly better chance with Obama over Romney, especially if Obama gets a second term.  If we let this election go the way of 2010, I seriously fear for our country and the planet.  

          Do I think that Obama would do all we want?  No.  But I know that we in the 99% definitely do better under the Dems than we do otherwise.  

          Plutocracy (noun) Greek ploutokratia, from ploutos wealth; 1) government by the wealthy; 2) 21st c. U.S.A.; 3) 22nd c. The World

          by bkamr on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 11:42:48 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Better to die on your feet than live on your knees (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Only Needs a Beat, bkamr, ColoTim

    That's another ting that probably won't change.  The fuckers will keep stealing from us as long as we allow it.

    Until 'We, The People' rise up and prevent them from doing so.

    And that has always meant force.  Violence.

    Or a quiet life as a slave.

    The Fail will continue until actual torches and pitchforks are set in motion. -

    by No one gets out alive on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 05:03:49 AM PDT

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