EMPLOYMENT SITUATION, 1936 from THE PEOPLE, YES, by CARL SANDBURG

EMPLOYMENT SITUATION, 1936 from THE PEOPLE, YES, by CARL SANDBURG

“Have you seen men handed refusals
Till they began to laugh
At the notion of ever landing a job
again—
Muttering with the laugh,
‘It’s driving me nuts and the family too,’
Mumbling of hoodoos and jinx,
fear of defeat creeping in their vitals—
Have you never seen this?
or do you kid yourself
with the fond soothing syrup of four
words
“Some folks won’t work’??

Have you seen women and kids
step out and hustle for the family
some in night life on the streets
some fighting other women and kids
for the leavings of fruit and vegetable
markets
or searching alleys and garbage dumps
for scraps?
Have you seen them with savings gone
furniture and keepsakes pawned
and the pawn tickets blown away
in cold winds?
by one letdown and another
ending
in what you might call slums—

To be named perhaps in case reports
and tabulated and classified
among those who have crossed over
from the employables into the
unemployables?

Stocks are property, yes.
Bonds are property, yes.
Machines, land, buildings are property, yes.
A job is property,
no, nix, nah nah.
The rights of property are guarded
by ten thousand laws and fortresses.
The right of a man to live by his work—
what is this right?

Engineer of Knowledge Said:

Hello Laci. I thought I would pass this on.

Company Towns
By Carl Sandburg

You live in a company house
You go to a company school
You work for this company,
according to the company rules.

You all drink company water
and all use company lights,
The company preacher teaches us
What the company thinks is right.

This poem written decades ago still speaks true today.

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