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David Sirota Headshot

The Place Where the GOP Thinks It's OK to Hate Workers

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If ever there was a single newspaper story that showed just how much today's Republican Party hates working people, this Rocky Mountain News story is it. The headline reads "Right to Strike in Colorado Paid With Blood," and documents how after National Guardsmen mowed down striking mine workers in the early 20th century's Ludlow Massacre, the Colorado state legislature solidified workers' right to strike - that is, workers' right to withhold their labor as a way to protest the way they are treated. It was the least the legislature could do following one of the ugliest displays of worker oppression in American history.

This would seem like a basic right in an industrialized countries because, really, what's the opposite? Right - forcing workers to work, whether they like it or not. However, as this article shows, even with the right to strike in Colorado "paid with blood," the Colorado Republican Party is gearing up to eliminate that right for workers.

The article includes the above picture of troops heading toward the Ludlow workers to execute them back in 1914 - and in the paper, the picture is, rather appropriately, juxtaposed next to the legislature's Republican leaders who are leading today's assault on workers.

I'm not sure what else I can add other than to note how telling it is that the Republican Party - supposedly the party of "freedom" - is now going on record saying workers shouldn't be free to protest through not working. The GOP is, in short, the party of forced labor. They are taking quite a stand with the great autocrats of history and the major third-world countries where such dictatorial policy is an everyday fact of life.

I guess that's not surprising considering the effort is being led by State Sen. Shawn Mitchell (R), a longtime Federalist Society icon - the guy who simultaneously attacks Gov. Bill Ritter (D) for supposedly acting in secret, yet who himself refuses to follow state law by complying with Open Records Act requests.

To conclude, I'll just say that having lived in a number of different states both red and blue, I have never lived in a state with a political culture where it is absolutely acceptable to support forced labor and hate workers. I don't know if I'll ever get used to it.