Entries by Brett Pransky


Roosevelt Signs Social Security into Law

Social Security has become an indispensable part of the American social safety net, but it’s also something we often take for granted. Listen to Rick Smith tell the story of the day President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed Social Security into law, and what it has meant to Americans ever since. On this day in Labor […]


The Silent Parade

Click the play button to hear Rick Smith discuss “The Silent Parade” – a part of our history that you won’t find in many textbooks. On this day in labor history, the year was 1917. That was the day more than 10,000 African-Americans marched down New York City’s 5th Avenue in what is known as […]


Politics Isn’t Theater – It’s Pro Wrestling

The phrase “politics is theater” is pretty common, especially these days. Our elected leaders spend much more time throwing one-liners back and forth than they do governing, or doing anything that might help working families. And while there is blame to go around for this anti-American behavior, there is no greater perpetrator of criminal hyperbole […]


The Three-Legged Stool

In previous generations, most working people could retire with dignity due to a trio benefits that became known as “The Three Legged Stool.” These benefits are Social Security, decent wages that allowed people to save, and defined benefit pensions. Today, with wages stagnant for decades and pensions all but a memory, workers are left with […]


Slavery By Another Name

Click the link to hear Rick Smith discuss the corrupt and barbaric practice of convict leasing, which many scholars simply call “slavery by another name.” On this day in labor history, the year was 1928. That was the day the state of Alabama outlawed the convict lease system that had been in practice for decades. […]

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Making the Next McVeigh

When Timothy McVeigh was arrested in the aftermath of the Oklahoma City Bombing in 1995, a copy of the racist novel The Turner Diaries was found among his things. The book spins a tale about a violent revolution and the overthrow of the US government, and the eventual mass murder and systemic execution of any and all […]


The Wealth Class are Super-Villains

“With great power comes great responsibility.” That’s what Uncle Ben said to young Peter Parker in the Spider-Man stories that we all love so much. But in the real world, power doesn’t manifest in wall-crawling, super strength, the ability to fly, or shoot laser beams out of our eyes, etc. In the real world, power […]


June 8, 1917 – Tragedy in the Mine

On this day in labor history, the year was 1917. That was the day the Granite Mountain and Speculator Mines in Butte, Montana caught fire, killing 168 miners. It is considered the worst underground hard-rock mining disaster in the nation’s history. Just weeks after the United States had entered World War I, the demand for […]