Elizabeth Warren on Frances Perkins

“I know for a fact that the change we need in our country is possible — because America’s made big, structural change before.

I’d like to tell you a story of how it’s happened — a story I shared last night in New York City with people like you who are ready to dream big, fight hard, and win.

We were in Washington Square Park. Not because of the arch that was behind me, or the president the square is named for. We weren’t there because of famous arches or famous men. In fact, we weren’t there because of men at all.

We were there because of some hard-working women. Women who, more than a hundred years ago, worked long hours in a brown, ten-story building a block away. Women who worked at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory.

That was the site of one of the worst industrial disasters in American history. 146 workers were killed — mostly women, mostly immigrants — because of dangerous conditions, and because of corruption. Because fat-cat factory owners greased the political system to prevent lifesaving regulations.

A woman named Frances Perkins ran into the street, watching the fire. That day changed her. It changed a lot of people. The next week, women’s trade unions organized a funeral march down Fifth Avenue, and half a million people showed up.

They organized and pushed for change from the outside, and Frances pushed from the inside. She went to Albany ready to fight. She worked to create a commission investigating factory conditions, and then she served as its lead investigator. They got fire safety measures passed. But they didn’t stop there: They rewrote New York’s labor laws from top to bottom to protect workers.

Frances went on to become the first woman in American history to serve in the Cabinet, as President Franklin Roosevelt’s Secretary of Labor. And what did she push for when she got there? Big, structural change.

She used the same model she and her friends had used after the Triangle Fire: She worked the political system relentlessly from the inside, while a sustained movement applied pressure from the outside. As Frances Perkins put it, the Triangle Fire was “the day the New Deal was born.”

So, what did one woman — one very persistent woman — backed up by millions of people across this country get done? Social Security. Unemployment insurance. Abolition of child labor. Minimum wage. The right to join a union. Even the very existence of the weekend. Big, structural change. One woman, and millions of people to back her up.

The tragic story of the Triangle factory fire is a story about power. A story of what happens when the rich and the powerful take control of government and use it to increase their own profits while they stick it to working people.

But what happened in the aftermath of the fire is a different story about power: Our power. About what’s possible when we all fight together as one.”

[above from email sent by Elizabeth Warren 9/17/19 to supporters]


38 thoughts on “Elizabeth Warren on Frances Perkins”

  1. the guardian on another inspiring young lady about a “burning” issue:

    At a meeting of the Senate climate crisis task force on Tuesday, lawmakers praised a group of young activists for their leadership, their gumption and their display of wisdom far beyond their years. They then asked the teens for advice on how Congress might combat one of the most urgent and politically contentious threats confronting world leaders: climate change.
    Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish activist who has galvanized young people across the world to strike for more action to combat the impact of global warming, politely reminded them that she was a student, not a scientist – or a senator.
    “Please save your praise. We don’t want it,” she said. “Don’t invite us here to just tell us how inspiring we are without actually doing anything about it because it doesn’t lead to anything.
    “If you want advice for what you should do, invite scientists, ask scientists for their expertise. We don’t want to be heard. We want the science to be heard.”
    In remarks meant for Congress as a whole, she said: “I know you are trying but just not hard enough. Sorry.”
    The audience laughed. Supporters broke into applause. Senator Ed Markey, the Massachusetts Democrat who co-sponsored the Green New Deal and leads the Senate task force, was perhaps surprised by her bluntness. But he smiled.


  2. Analysis 

    Israel Election 2019: In Defeat, Netanyahu Looks to Iran and Trump for Salvation


    Netanyahu has rarely made such a consensual speech, seeking his ministers’ approval. But he was not conceding on Wednesday morning



  3. Don’t let the media push the electorate into a two person race quite yet.

    New Iowa Focus on Rural America poll: big gain for Biden. Warren, Klobuchar up. Harris plummets. @JoeBiden: 25% +8 @ewarren: 23% +3 @PeteButtigieg: 12% + 2 @BernieSanders: 9% -3 @amyklobuchar: 8% + 4 @KamalaHarris: 5% – 13 @TomSteyer: 3% @CoryBooker: 2% @AndrewYang: 2%

  4. From Jennifer Rubin at Wapo this morning:

    The latest NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll taken entirely after the last debate shows former vice president Joe Biden at 31 percent (up from 25 percent in July despite the most aggressively negative media coverage of any candidate; Warren at 25 percent (up from 19 percent); Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) at 14 percent (up a single point from 13 percent); South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg holding steady at 7 percent; Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) at 5 percent (down 8 points); Andrew Yang at 4 percent; and Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) at 2 percent. Everyone else, including former congressman Beto O’Rourke, is at 1 percent or less.

    Looking at not only this poll but also others recently released, we can reach a few conclusions about the current state of the race.

    First, the debates do not provide a breakout opportunity for the back-of-the-pack candidates. If anything, they disappear into an undifferentiated blob. Attacking others, if anything, hurts one’s campaign. (Julián Castro is still at 1 percent.) The media repeatedly make the mistake of grading Biden poorly on the basis of gaffes or rambling; his supporters don’t care, and if anything, he has become a more sympathetic figure. The more the field separates into leaders and single-digit candidates, the more likely people will migrate from a trailing candidate to one of the leaders.


    Oh, and it looks like Nettyahoo has to try and assemble a coalition if he remains tied with Gantz.  Good luck with that.

  5. patd, thanks for Leonard Cohen. I found out about him shortly before he died.  I don’t know where I’d been all those decades!  Too bad, for me.  I love his Dance Me to the End of Time.

  6. I’m in and out of 6-8 schools each day. I’ve been through numerous of these standard response protocol drills with various aged kids.  LOCKOUT: SECURE THE PERIMETER –  EVACUATE: TO A LOCATION, – LOCKDOWN: LOCKS, LIGHTS, OUT OF SIGHT –  SHELTER: FOR A HAZARD USING SAFETY STRATEGY.  This layer on top of all the other “STUFF”  we have to do & put up with in schools is a reason, in itself, to retire and ease on down the road. This PSA so resonates with me in a visceral way.  WTH’s wrong with Moscow Mitch, SFB, and the rest of them??  Seems they look at this in the abstract. 

  7. And patd, as always, thanks for my Arlo.  He’s SO him! BTW, he’s from Coney Island, Brooklyn, and he don’t twang. My kids were SO surprised when they talked to him off stage. They were puzzled, & they learned about schtick.

  8. Republicans want to undermine public education, because anyone with critical thinking skills wouldn’t vote for them, thus time spent distracting students from their studies is a “win” for them.

  9. Patd….   Warren repeated most of that email on Maddow’s show last night.  Lawrence O’Donnell had Klobuchar on.  Seeing them both give one-on-one interviews so closely together last night shows their contrasts.  Warren is older…  but has more energy and vibrancy by far.

  10. tiptoe, thanks for the thanks on everything except the great leonard cohen vid. 

    thank our moosician maven, maestro sturgeone, for that.

  11. “Warren is older…  but has more energy and vibrancy by far.”

    renee, you might say she has more energy than the whole lot of them put together.

    except maybe beto, but all the rest don’t hold a candle watt of visible enthusiasm.  she looks like she’s enjoying herself (much like bill use to look on the line) whereas the others look a bit bored if not put out or exhausted.

  12. It is too early for the Warren campaign to swallow up all of Bernie!’s support. He would make a valuable firewall for her against “socialism!” charges. Also, if he can remain above the 15% mark set by the rules committee, he can get into the convention and help prevent any backsliding toward the positions of the stand pat/Yang/Steyer/Delany wing of the party. 

  13. This is no time for the same old shit.

    Trump’s self-enrichment at the expense of the USAF gives Dems a chance to derail the rippers socialism myth. We should all be referring to trump’s self dealing with ‘taxpayer’s money’ as trump socialism, and referring to the republicans as trump socialists.

  14. I wish the media meatheads would stop starting feuds that aren’t patently there (okay in those rare cases when a candidate directly names/defames the other and the other takes it personally and responds)   instead of covering what the candidate is trying to say about her/himself and vision for country.   there’s enough confusion as it is for the poor distracted voter to take in without the added intrigue, conspiracy and conflict.  

  15. Jamie, regarding your 8:04PM post on the previous thread : yes.
    And according to Mahayana doctrine, only love, pity, compassion, and magnanimity are eternal. All the rest is, has always been, and always will be Soylent Green. However, less lust, and more pity, compassion and magnanimity toward the future generations is in order. I think a hundred million people would make for a more pleasant and healthy planet. Of course, they’d all want to live around LA and San Diego.

  16. Mr Bink, I’d like to disarm the rippers’ ‘socialism’ smear.  Thieves is correct, but not useful for my intention. In fact, thieves like trump give thieves their bad name.

    Well, that and stealing.

  17. Ms Jamie, 
    Please accept my abasement for addressing you as ‘Jamie’. You are Ms Jamie under my new regime of showing respect to everyone. No one deserves my respect more than you do.

  18. Trump steals your tax-dollars to go golfing, shit on a gold toilet, give his dumb kids jobs and send them on fabulous vacations you could never afford, negotiates with terrorists responsible for the 9/11 attacks that killed 3000 Americans, keeps children in cages to punish their parents, makes friends with dictators that starve their own people and makes enemies out of our closest allies.

    Who you gonna vote for?

  19. business insider: Pompeo inadvertently admitted the Iran crisis is a ‘direct result’ of Trump’s actions


    “There is this theme that some suggest that the president’s strategy that we allowed isn’t working. I would argue just the converse of that. I would argue that what you are seeing here is a direct result of us reversing the enormous failure of the JCPOA.”
    He was referring to the formal name of the 2015 nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.




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