By Angelo Lopez on March 31, 2011
Over the past month, the eyes of the nation has been transfixed by the fight going on in Wisconsin for workers to preserve their right for collective bargaining. Workers have gradually been losing bargaining powers as unions have been in decline for the past 30 years. As I read about the protests in Wisconsin, I began thinking of Charlie Chaplin's movie Modern Times.
When Chaplin was creating Modern Times, the United States was deep in the Great Depression of the 1930s. The Great Depression had its starting point in the Wall Street Crash of October 24, 1929. From October 24 to October 29, 1929, the market lost $30 billion in value. In July 1933 some $74,000,000,000, or five-sixths of the value of the stock market of September 1929 disappeared. The American Federation of Labor recorded the rise in unemployment: unemployment in October 1930 was 4,639,000; in October 1931 unemployment was 7,778,000; in October 1932 unemployment was 11,586,000; in early 1933 employment was over 13,000,000. The nation's industrial production in 1932 was 47 percent below normal. Between 1929 and 1932, farm values declined 33 percent and farmer's gross income declined 57 percent.