The Salt of the Earth

working class usa

Over 50 years have transpired since the lyrics of this song, Salt of the Earth, resonated then, just as much as now:

Let’s drink to the hard working people
Let’s drink to the lowly of birth
Raise your glass to the good and the evil
Let’s drink to the salt of the earth

Say a prayer for the common foot soldier
Spare a thought for his back breaking work
Say a prayer for his wife and his children
Who burn the fires and who still till the earth

And when I search a faceless crowd
A swirling mass of gray and
Black and white
They don’t look real to me
In fact, they look so strange

Raise your glass to the hard working people
Let’s drink to the uncounted heads

Let’s think of the wavering millions
Who need leaders but get gamblers instead

Spare a thought for the stay-at-home voter
His empty eyes gaze at strange beauty shows
And a parade of the gray suited grafters
A choice of cancer or polio

And when I look in the faceless crowd
A swirling mass of grays and
Black and white
They don’t look real to me
Or don’t they look so strange

Let’s drink to the hard working people
Let’s think of the lowly of birth
Spare a thought for the rag taggy people
Let’s drink to the salt of the earth

Let’s drink to the hard working people
Let’s drink to the salt of the earth
Let’s drink to the two thousand million
Let’s think of the humble of birth

Hundreds of millions of us punch in the hours, day by day, to pay our way in this capitalist circus. Many wish they could find suitable employment, and others, millions, take one, two and I have heard of even three part time jobs with NO benefits. They, perhaps you too, are what Mick Jagger referred to as the ‘ Salt of the earth’. This writer has worked for perhaps 200 small businesses, mostly in the sales end of them, since college 47 years ago. What have I learned? Well, to a man ( sometimes a woman) each owner did what he could to keep as much of the money coming in funneled into his pocket. Since these were all non union jobs, I had no recourse but to just find a new job ( with a similar type owner ), quit in disgust, or just stay and do what most Amerikan workers do… VENT! When we leave it up to ‘ Noblesse Oblige’ that is what we get.

Labor has always been frowned at by the super rich as nothing more than a ‘ Necessary Evil’… to them of course. Anytime they could get away with finding and using cheap labor, the did just that. Why do you think so many super rich loved the idea of slavery? Here is a quote from another great Christian organization, the 1858 Law and Order Party of Kansas ( you did not think that Tricky Dick Nixon invented that phase do you?). They had a leader, David Atchison, who actually said the following: ” We believe slavery is a trust and guardianship given us of God for the good of both races. Without sugar, cotton and cheap clothing, can civilization maintain its progress.” Can you imagine the chutzpah ( that is from the anti Christian language, Yiddish) of a fellow human being towards other human beings? Oh, I forgot, slaves, like the undocumented IE: illegal aliens of our day, are not really looked upon as ‘ Human Beings’ . No, as with the Chinese peasants who came here in the 1800s and got jobs , backbreaking jobs, laying out railroad tracks, and dying by the score, these were but one notch above the slave. Do you know where the saying ” Ain’t got a Chinaman’s chance ‘ came from? THAT is where it came from!

Less than 11% of all workers today belong to a union. The highest percentage was at 25% in 1953. Did they know more at that time than we know now? So, around 90% of us have no protective umbrella from a union. Of course government workers, those doing full time , do have many benefits, which have been carefully stripped away over the decades. However, in the private sector labor has Zllch! Yet, the sun comes up and folks rush off to their jobs, many not knowing what would be in store for them if the boss or the corporation did not need them anymore… at least for that price. The only true solution, no NOT a revolution, is for ALL workers to belong to what the Industrial Workers of the World AKA Wobblies, called ‘ One Big Union’ . Imagine the bargaining power that would bring. The dilemma that the Wobblies faced in the early 20th century was what such ideas could face now: The sellout by those who run the unions nationwide. These leaders marry themselves to one of the two political parties ( mostly, but not exclusively, the Demoncrats) and keep their power and prestige while ‘ Rome burns’.

Do yourself a favor and read Jagger’s lyrics carefully. Imagine how , in the supposed greatest economy in the world, nothing has really changed… except to add more salt in labor’s wound.

Philip A Farruggio is a contributing editor for The Greanville Post. He is also frequently posted on Global Research, Nation of Change,, and Off Guardian sites. He is the son and grandson of Brooklyn NYC longshoremen and a graduate of Brooklyn College, class of 1974. Since the 2000 election debacle Philip has written over 400 columns on the Military Industrial Empire and other facets of life in an upside down America. He is also host of the ‘ It’s the Empire… Stupid ‘ radio show, co produced by Chuck Gregory. Philip can be reached at [email protected].



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