Capitalism Still Kills.
[Anniversary of factory fire a century ago reminds us of unfinished mission
By Richard Greenwald, March 25, 2011
One hundred years ago, on March 25, 1911, 146 mostly young immigrant women lost their lives in a fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory. That fire changed the attitudes of the American public and the policies of the government. Out of that fire would come a series of reforms that we now take for granted: fire safety, building codes, factory and health codes. But still today our workplaces are not safe enough.
The fire consumed the top three floors of the building that Triangle occupied, in Greenwich Village, N.Y. Workers on the ninth floor were trapped. The doors were locked. Large canisters of oil were exploding in the stairwells, and several tons of uncut cloth were ablaze. Workers went to the windows, but the fire ladders didn’t reach them. Firemen pulled out nets to catch the women as they jumped, but they crashed through to their death.
Many people considered the fire an accident and a regrettable fact of industrial life. They looked to charities to tend to the families of the victims.
But Rabbi Stephen Wise and labor leader Rose Schneiderman rejected this notion.
As Wise said, “It is not the act of God but the inaction of man that is responsible.” Schneiderman, in an impassioned speech at the Metropolitan Opera, pointed her finger at the assembled “best people” of New York and told them: “I would be a traitor to these poor burned bodies if I came here to talk good fellowship. … Too much blood has been spilled. I know from my experience it is up to the working people to save themselves. The only way they can save themselves is by a strong working-class movement.”] emphasis added
[The fire caused the deaths of 146 garment workers, who either died from the fire or jumped to their deaths. Most of the victims were recent Jewish and Italian immigrant women; the youngest were two fourteen-year-old girls.
Many of the workers could not escape the burning building because the managers had locked the doors to the stairwells and exits.] emphasis added
FL needs no unnecessary regulations placed on businesses, says Governor 48.9%, profit killing niceties like fire codes or child labor laws.
For Walt Disney's sake, when his namesake company has to ask the RepbliKKKan legislature run amok to retain state regulation of timeshare sales and practices because of a history of "lurid fraud" in the industry, the once almost great state descends further into the killing fields of capitalism.
["Florida has what some people would call a colorful history of land fraud that goes back 100 years; others would call it a lurid history of land fraud," Disney lobbyist Brian Bibeau told the House Business and Consumer Affairs Subcommittee last week, when the legislation was first unveiled.]