Labor unions curbed communism

To the Editor:

The richest 1 percent of Americans have over one-third of the country’s wealth, more than the combined wealth of the bottom 90 percent of American families.

Income inequality contributed to the 1917 Communist Revolution in Russia. In the past 30 years, an increase in U.S. income inequality has led to increased political polarization. Can our "free" economy survive this?

In the 19th century, the industrial revolution created wealthy capitalists, who exploited the poor. Their children had to work in factories to get enough to eat. In response to this inequity, Carl Marx wrote "Das Kapital." It concluded with: "Workers of the world arise, you have nothing to lose but your chains."

In 1917, the poor workers in Czarist Russia staged the Communist Revolution. The goal was "from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs." Ironically, implementation led to the repressive regimes of Lenin, Stalin and those of the Cold War.

How did the free Western economies win this war against Communism? The U.S. avoided repressive extremes by balancing liberty with laws. The labor unions organized strikes for equitable wages and got
anti-trust laws passed to constrain the power of the rich capitalists.

Paul H. Carr