WIN Short: Iowa Cartoonist Fired for Speaking the Truth about Inequality

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This is Richard Wolff for Democracy at Work. I want to tell a story that is about America today but it is not about workers and factories or offices or stores. It’s about farmers and they are workers too and there news is important for us and never more than at this moment. I want to tell a story about Rick Friday. He is a cartoonist; he makes cartoons for the Farm News, a news services that goes to many, many farmers in the state of Iowa, very famous there. He has been a cartoonist for that services, for that news paper, for 21 years. He started in 1995, he is very well liked very well admired, very much a fixture for Iowa farmers.

Well on the 29th of Aprils the paper published a cartoon that he had made. And I am going to tell you what the cartoon said and then tell you what happened to Mr. Friday. But, maybe to wet your appetite I’ll tell you what happened to Mr. Friday, he got fired.

Here was his cartoon, it showed two farmers in overalls wearing baseball caps chatting at a fence. The first one said, “I wish there was more profit in farming”. The second one replies, “There is in the year 2015 the CEOs of Monsanto, Dupont Pioneer and John Deer Tractor combined to make more money than 2129 Iowa farmers.”

Somebody complained to the management and the next day Rick Friday was fired after 21 years. It seems that in Iowa as in so much of the United States, if you say the truth, if you say what everybody who is paying attention knows is the truth, you have violated some unspoken rule that we are supposed to pretend an economy and society falling apart, because of the gap between the rich and poor, is actually not doing anything of the sort.


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