Aesthetic Realism in the Press
The philosophy founded by Eli Siegel

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Saturday, May 8, 2004
 An edition ofThe Record

Unions remain strong, vital

It was an honor to participate in the "May Day Festival" at the American Labor Museum in Haledon, with colleagues of mine from the Aesthetic Realism Theatre Company. And I was very glad that the Herald News saw its importance as a news event.

However, since various statements were attributed to me in a Herald News' May 2 article, I think it is necessary that the following points be very clear:

black square  There is now, not a decreasing, but an increasing interest in unions on the part of the American people. That's because the average American is working harder, longer and for less pay and fewer benefits than he or she did 30 years ago. There's a growing awareness in people that working together through a union is the most hopeful and practical way of achieving fairness on the job. 

black square  There has been an ever increasing and ferocious desire on the part of some owners (assisted by various politicians) to destroy unions. 

That's because they see a strong labor movement, which will have them pay people more justly, as the greatest threat to their profits.

The question now is what's more important - economic justice for Americans or big profits for corporations?

black square  Unions in certain European countries and Canada represent a much higher percentage of their population than unions here in America because the labor laws in those countries are not as brutally rigged against workers as the labor laws have become in this country. 

black square  Meanwhile, despite all the efforts to kill or evade unions, the most powerful fact about economics is in this beautiful statement by the great American poet and philosopher Eli Siegel, founder of Aesthetic Realism. I quoted it on May 1: "The most important thing in industry is the person who does the industry, which is the worker. That can never change. Labor is the only source of wealth. There is no other source, except land, the raw material." 

The meaning of that statement, and the honoring of those who came before us, those who fought and often died for the right of every American to join a union and therefore live a more dignified life, is what the May Day holiday is all about.

Timothy Lynch, president, Teamsters Local 1205

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