Monday, April 3, 2017

April 3 - I Am Not a Union Man

I Am Not a Union Man

I am not a union man and I am not ashamed
It's not that I do not appreciate what union men
Have done to improve the lot of workers in the past
Midst the great onrush of the industrial revolution.

Am I ungrateful not to join? Some say it's so,
Not to join up and stick it to the corporate beast,
To join the last revolution's organized resistance
And oppose the old robber barons, long since dead.

It's always a revolution it seems, with new enemies
And new calls to join the latest collective in its holy war
Against whoever it is that has got what the revolution wants
And to bury them 'neath the stampede of historical inevitability.

First it was the primitives warring against the land
To bring it into submission and establish their own dominance.
Then a new wave of settlers whose economy soon came
To depend on driving the primitives away or to extinction.

Then it was the ranchers and the farmers with cavalry and Indians
Thrown in, leftover from the previous generation's war
Then farmers moved to cities to work in factories and shops.
Then promptly went to war with those who owned them.

Now the compilers of data and sellers of access have overcome
The factory men and unions and push them out before
The inexorable tide of computers and information and access.
The data men who now, having resisted, must soon resist something else.

What will we resist tomorrow? What's the next baron, king or prince
We will need to band together to resist, to preserve some status quo,
Sublimating our lives, our liberty and our happiness because,
We owe the old unions such a debt of gratitude for our current comfort?

For one brief shining moment in a thousand years, some took a stand in unity,
Not to preserve the collective but to set the servants of the king at liberty.
To give to men and women, not membership, but freedom to be
What they are and if they want, by choice to not be union men unless we wish it.

© 2017 by Tom King

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