Here's my fist raised in support and solidarity with you and all the working people of the world as we head into Labor Day Weekend here in the US, and on today the 110th birthday of UAW leader Walter Reuther (Sept. 1, 1907 – May 9, 1970). My artwork here is based in part on the engines of the 1919 Ford Model T and the 1937 Ford Pickup Truck. Man, and I don't even like Ford vehicles. So, why? Here's why:
Why a 1937 Ford Pickup? 1937 is the year Henry Ford's private security forces tried to bust up the UAW and attacked workers at the "Battle of the Overpass." UAW members that were attacked included Walter Reuther who was picked up and slammed on the concrete at least seven times. The Detroit News described how police stood by as people were beaten: "A lone police officer, appalled at the scene, pleaded with the 'service' men to stop beating one woman: 'You'll kill her...' The Dearborn police did nothing else. They stood by and said the Ford men were protecting their private property." The brutal attack helped turn public opinion against the way Ford treated working people.
Why a 1919 Ford Model T? 1919 is the year Henry Ford bought "The Dearborn Independent" newspaper, which he used for about a decade to publish Nazi-inspiring Anti-Semitic articles like "The Scope of Jewish Dictatorship in the U.S.," "The Jewish Element in Bootlegging Evil," "Jewish Degradation of American Baseball," and "Jewish Jazz Becomes Our National Music." This lead to Henry Ford being the only American mentioned in Adolf Hitler's book "Mein Kampf," where Hitler wrote: "Every year makes them [American Jews] more and more the controlling masters ... [In the U.S.] only a single great man, Ford, to their fury still maintains full independence." At the Nuremberg trial for war crimes, one Nazi leader stated how Ford's writings inspired them: "I read it and became anti-Semitic. [It] made such a deep impression on my friends and myself because we saw in Henry Ford the representative of success ..."
So, yeah, this is for those of us who, today, still haven't given up the fight against wealthy business leaders who want to treat working people like punching bags, for those of us who still haven't given up the fight against Nazis and racists within and supported by the highest levels of power, and for those of us who still haven't given up the fight against those of our police who too often at best stand by just watching the brutality ...
This is me raising my fist with you, because, together, we will change this.