QUESTION: looking for provocative quotes: universal healthcare and right to organize at work

question / pregunta: 

I am trying to gather a number of provocative quotes about two topics:

1. The need for universal healthcare, everyone's moral obligation to care for one another, and the need to address health disparities
2. The importance of workers having the right to organize at work, workers having a voice at work

These quotes are going to be given to several artists who will use the quote to paint a picture. The quotes and pictures will be put into a social justice calendar.

I am looking for a variety of voices: everything from dead prez lyrics to something margaret cho said to a blogger. It would be great if you could send me actual quotes with citations or even sources that I should peep out. Thanks


Industrial Workers of the World said in 1905 "The Working Class and the Employing Class have nothing in common".

"The world pays knowledge workers far more than it pays manual, industrial workers. And that's what's sweeping over here” -Steve Miller

Answer posted by:

Our nation’s low health literacy is a threat to the health and well-being of Americans and to the health and well-being of the American health care system. Low health literacy adds as much as $58 billion per year to health care costs. More than 90 million Americans cannot adequately understand basic health information.

--Vice Admiral Richard H. Carmona, M.D., M.P.H, FACS
United States Surgeon General
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Pfizer Sixth National Health Literacy Conference
Friday, September 19, 2003
"Health Literacy: Key to Improving American’s Health"

“It is essential that there should be organization of labor. This is an era of organization. Capital organizes and therefore labor must organize.”
--Theodore Roosevelt (American 26th US President (1901-09), 1858-1919)

A couple from
QUOTATION: It is unconscionable that we ration health care by the ability to pay.... your heart breaks. Health care should be a given.
ATTRIBUTION: Kathryn Anastos (b. 1950), U.S. physician. As quoted in New York magazine, p. 90 (December 21-28, 1992).
QUOTATION: Just imagine for a moment what life in this country might have been if women had been properly represented in Congress. Would a Congress where women in all their diversity were represented tolerate the countless laws now on the books that discriminate against women in all phases of their lives? Would a Congress with adequate representation of women have allowed this country to reach the 1970s without a national health care system? Would it have permitted this country to rank fourteenth in infant mortality among the developed nations of the world? Would it have allowed the situation we now have in which thousands of kids grow up without decent care because their working mothers have no place to leave them? Would such a Congress condone the continued butchering of young girls and mothers in amateur abortion mills? Would it allow fraudulent packaging and cheating of consumers in supermarkets, department stores and other retail outlets? Would it consent to the perverted sense of priorities that has dominated our government for decades, where billions have been appropriated for war while our human needs as a people have been neglected?
ATTRIBUTION: Bella Abzug (b. 1920), U.S. politician. Bella! “February 7” section (1972).

Three more from

QUOTATION: I think it is a wise course for laborers to unite to defend their interests.... I think the employer who declines to deal with organized labor and to recognize it as a proper element in the settlement of wage controversies is behind the times.... Of course, when organized labor permits itself to sympathize with violent methods or undue duress, it is not entitled to our sympathy.
ATTRIBUTION: William Howard Taft (1857–1930), U.S. president. Address at Orchestra Hall, Chicago, Illinois, September 16, 1909. Presidential Addresses and State Papers of William Howard Taft, March 4, 1909, to March 4, 1910, 1: 192-193, Doubleday, Page & Company (1910).

AUTHOR: Morton Bahr, President, Communications Workers of America
QUOTATION: We are beginning to recognize that it is more important to organize the unorganized than to argue about who will get the workers when they are organized.
ATTRIBUTION: On cooperation in labor negotiations, NY Times 4 May 86

QUOTATION: Taking men into the union is just the kindergarten of their education and every force is against their further education. Men who live up those lonely creeks have only the mine owners’ Y.M.C.As, the mine owners’ preachers and teachers, the mine owners’ doctors and newspapers to look to for their ideas. So they don’t get many.
ATTRIBUTION: Mother Jones (1830–1930), U.S. labor organizer. The Autobiography of Mother Jones, ch. 6 (1925). On organizing a chapter of the United Mine Workers in Kelly Creek on the Kanawah River, West Virginia.

To agradical.librarian, I'm

To agradical.librarian, I'm not sure if it's the actual literacy rate of the country that's stopping us from getting healthcare, or the insurance companies' convoluted jargon they use to deliberately turn people away from making insurance claims. I just recently underwent breast cancer surgery, and it seemed like the doctors didn't even try to put what I was paying for in layman's terms. The medical language is just another tool that these predatory companies use to suck us dry.

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