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Steve Ahlquist is an award-winning journalist, writer, artist and founding member of the Humanists of Rhode Island, a non-profit group dedicated to reason, compassion, optimism, courage and action. The views expressed are his own and not necessarily those of any organization of which he is a member.

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"We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” - Elie Weisel

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor." - Desmond Tutu

"There comes a time when neutrality and laying low become dishonorable. If you’re not in revolt, you’re in cahoots. When this period and your name are mentioned, decades hence, your grandkids will look away in shame." - David Brooks

7 responses to “Hilton and Renaissance hotel workers fight to unionize”

  1. nmtaxes

    Rhode Island can, again, be very proud as we scare more companies from the state.

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  2. louisgodena

    If these companies can’t pay livable wages and basic benefits like health care, what the hell good are they?  Better to die on your feet than live on your knees.  

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    1. jgardner

      How is tying employment to benefit status a good thing? Shouldn’t progressives/liberals want to decentralize the purchase of insurance directly to the insured instead of having companies buy insurance for their employees?
      As a person involved in benefits decisions at my company I abhor having to meet with our benefits rep each year to decide what insurance plans we’re going to offer because even at a company with around 40 employees I know our management team can’t possibly meet the preferences of each individual. Heck, even the team itself has a wide array of preferences that can’t all be met.
      As far as living wages go, I’ve had this discussion with Steve before, but I’ll ask you: whatever number you think qualifies as a “living wage” (be it $10/hr, $20/hr, etc…) what is your plan for addressing any individual who is unemployable because he/she can’t produce that much in value to an employer? Because if we are to believe the CBO, raising the minimum wage does have negative employment effects.

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  3. louisgodena

    Here’ how Big Bad Karl himself felt about this issue:

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  4. Johnnie

    “But undoubtedly the major hurdle in presenting Marxism to American students is the bourgeois ideology, the systematic biases and blind spots, which even the most radical bring with them. This ideology reflects their own class background, whatever that may be, but also their position in capitalism as young people and students. There is nothing in bourgeois ideas and ways of thinking that doesn’t interfere with the reception of Marx’s message, but the scrambling effect of some ideas is clearly greater than that of others. In my experience, the most troublesome notions have been students’ egotistical and ahistorical conception of human nature; their conception of society as the sum of separate individuals, and with this the tendency to reduce social problems to problems of individual psychology (the whole “blaming the victim” syndrome); their identification of Marxism with Soviet and Chinese practice; and of course the ultimate rationale that radical change is impossible in any case. Much less destructive and also easier to dislodge are the intrinsically feeble notions that we are all middle class, that there is a harmony of interests under capitalism, that the government belongs to and represents everybody equally, and that history is the product of the interaction of great people and ideas. Underpinning and providing a framework for all these views—whether in the form of conclusions or assumptions, and whether held consciously or unconsciously—is an undialectical, factorial mode of thinking that separates events from their conditions, people from their real alternatives and human potential, social problems from one another, and the present from the past and the future. The organizing and predisposing power of this mode of thought is such that any attempt to teach Marxism, or indeed to present a Marxist analysis of any event, is doomed to distortion and failure unless accompanied by an equally strenuous effort to impart the dialectical mode of reasoning.

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  5. Providence fights for $15; local march part of national day of action

    […] march then continued across the city to the Providence Hilton Hotel, owned by The Procaccianti Group, where hotel workers were already outside picketing. The two […]

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