“Well, first of all, we should recognize that unless we get to the roots of this pandemic, it’s going to recur, probably in worse form, simply because of the manipulations of the capitalist system which are trying to create circumstances in which it will be worse, for their benefit. We can see that in the stimulus bill and many other things.
“Sure. We’ve done it before. I lived through the Depression. That’s why I have this long white beard. But in the 1920s the labor movement was totally crushed. Take a look at David Montgomery, a labor historian, one of his great books is The Fall of the House of Labor. He’s talking about the ’20s. It was crushed by the liberal Wilson administration, the Red Scare and all the rest. In the ’30s it began to revive. The CIO organizing sit-down strikes, great threat to management, sit-down strike, workers are sitting there. Next thing that’s going to come to their heads is, “We don’t need the bosses. We can run this place ourselves.” And then you’re done. It’s a very fragile system. Well, that led to reactions. There happened to be a sympathetic administration, which is critical. A very good labor historian, Erik Loomis, has studied case after case of this and he points out that moments of positive change have almost always been led by an active labor movement [emphasis added] and the only times they succeeded were when there was a relatively sympathetic administration, at least a tolerant one.”
Full interview here.