Saturday, July 17, 2010

Toil, Labor, Sweat, and Art

Who we are as a culture, as a people, has always been determined by our willingness to work. Those who drive cars do not do so with magic beans to fuel their vehicles, but gasoline pumped from the ground, in vehicles made from steel and other materials, mined from the ground. Every thing we do, comes from labor. And so does art, but especially so, when the art reflects our reality, of labor.

Artist Diego Rivera
Migrant workers

“. . . when the farm workers strike and their strike is successful, the employers go to Mexico and have unlimited, unrestricted use of illegal alien strikebreakers to break the strike. And, for over 30 years, the Immigration and Naturalization Service has looked the other way and assisted in the strikebreaking. I do not remember one single instance in 30 years where the Immigration Service has removed strikebreakers. . . .The employers use professional smugglers to recruit and transport human contraband across the Mexican border for the specific act of strikebreaking . . .”
Cesar Chavez

Elmer Brown
WPA Cleveland Mural

“Labor is man's greatest function. He is nothing, he can do nothing, he can achieve nothing, he can fulfill nothing, without working.”
Orville Dewey

Dorothea Lange
Sloss-Sheffield Steel and Iron Company

“Labour was the first price, the original purchase - money that was paid for all things. It was not by gold or by silver, but by labour, that all wealth of the world was originally purchased.”
Adam Smith

Dorothea Lange
Migrant Mother

“Naked a man comes from his mother’s womb,
and as he comes, so he departs.
He takes nothing from his labor
that he can carry in his hand.”
King Solomon

Soviet Union Agriculture worker Propaganda poster
"Day after day, life becomes even happier!"

“For as labor cannot produce without the use of land, the denial of the equal right to the use of land is necessarily the denial of the labor to its own produce.”
Henry George

Boris Jeremejewitsch Wladimirskij

“All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Vladimir Il'ich Malagis
Steel Workers

“The workers asked only for bread and a shortening of the long hours of toil. The agitators gave them visions. The police gave them clubs.”
Mother Jones

Lee Lawrie

“Human history is work history. The heroes of the people are work heroes.”
Meridel Le Sueur

Yevgeny Vuchetich
Let Us Beat Swords into Plowshares

“Peace demands the most heroic labor and the most difficult sacrifice. It demands greater heroism than war. It demands greater fidelity to the truth and a much more perfect purity of conscience.”
Thomas Merton

Lewis Hine
Power house mechanic working on steam pump

“Such hath it been--shall be--beneath the sun The many still must labour for the one.”
Lord Byron (George Gordon Noel Byron)


Anonymous said...

"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy."

alex-ness said...

a very deep truth.