Unconventional Wisdom: Bread and Roses

Thanks to the many of you who supported IPS in 2011, we met our year-end goal of raising at least $90,000. Those of you who gave more than in the past or supported us for the first time triggered an equal contribution from the generous HKH Foundation. Thank you for making us strong.

A good deal of the Institute’s work this year will be spreading the word that America Is Not Broke. This week, IPS expert Miriam Pemberton has highlighted the fact that President Obama’s upcoming proposed military budget for 2013, while a bit smaller than what we previously expected, is still going to be bigger than last year’s budget. It also “excludes the hundreds of billions of dollars Washington spends on nuclear weapons, the wars we’re actually fighting, and subsidies for foreign arms sales.”

As Obama points out, this military budget will exceed the budgets of the next 10 largest militaries put together. Pemberton argues for abandoning the U.S. role as a global cop, and replacing “our country’s global military overreach with a posture more deserving of the name ‘defense.’”

Please take a moment out of your busy day to ponder the 100th anniversary of one of the most important strikes in American labor history, a key moment in the history that now leads us to the Occupy movement.

On January 12, 1912, 25,000 immigrant women and teenagers walked off their jobs at the Everett Cotton Mills in Lawrence, Massachusetts demanding an increase in wages and overtime pay. Led by the Industrial Workers of the World, the two-month-long labor action came to be known as the “Bread and Roses” strike because the women demanded bread (better salaries), and roses (the time to enjoy life outside work). The strike gained fame through a poem by James Oppenheim, a Judy Collins song, and a book by Upton Sinclair.