While the questions set before religious judges are often rather inward-facing, the nature of such questions, which can determine the fate of someone’s immortal soul, can have major impacts on the political and economic life of believers outside the walls of the Church.
As progressives who believe in the power of unions and the necessity of unity against an exploitative capitalist class who treats workers as commodities, this situation forces us to ask an important question: what will the future of work look like?
As the generation that built the system that promoted peace in Europe fades away, we find ourselves struggling to maintain those institutions. This is in large part because we forget too easily that their original and true purpose was not the sacrifice of national identity at the altar of economic integration. The purpose was peace.
Sometime in the late 1930s, Irene Robertson interviewed Mary Teel about her memory of slavery and her life since. Some of Robertson’s questions clearly made the formerly-enslaved Teel feel uncomfortable, like when she asked about the Klan, education, and voting. Nonetheless, Teel’s account of slavery and its aftermath repeated a theme common among her peers: years of hard work still left her “hard up.”