Strike Against War - Essay on the Speech by Helen Keller

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Wesleyan University
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The paper examines a speech by Helen Keller, an American political activist who did not need anybody to pity or favor her as many people thought; all she requested was fairness. She wrote this when the country was experiencing internal crisis, and war threats from other countries during World War I. Keller addresses her audience at Carnegie Hall, New York City under the auspices of the Women's Peace Party and the Labor Forum (Keller 1).

Her main agenda was to mobilize the workers to fight for their rights. In her speech, Keller accuses the government of being unfair to the working class through A scanty wage, poverty, rents, taxes, tributes and war indemnities (Keller 4); adding that the government is working in favor of the rich who are making the poor poorer. Keller was against the war, which could have led to the destruction of people and their property. She argues that the Congress unwilling to protect the grassroots workers as it cared for the wealthy and external investors. As Keller asserts, the increase in the cost of living was due to the failing system, which increased the gap between the rich and the poor. I have entered the fight against preparedness and against the economic system under which we live (Keller 1).

According to Kellers speech, the enemy of development and national life is exploitation, selfishness, and capitalism as they are the catalyst that causes war in their society. She spoke using impassioned words, phrases, humor, metaphor, repletion among others, to emphasize how the future of their country and that of their families depended on them "A certain man found a horseshoe. His neighbor began to weep and wail because, as he justly. (Keller 2). Keller warned that if they just sat, heavy burdens would be added to them, which included expansion of the army and warships. She told the workers to join an army of constructing the nation instead of destruction Be not dumb, obedient slaves in an army of destruction. Be heroes in an army of construction (Keller 5).

The message in Kellers speech was to spread peace during the revolutionary time from their misery. From the context, the workers were not happy as their masters oppress them and they did not enjoy freedom as they were denied their basic human rights. The wages that the workers got ended up on bills and had nothing to save. Thus, their future was not secure. Keller advised the workers to strike and oppose the oppressing regimes

Strike against all ordinances and laws and institutions that continue the slaughter of peace and the butcheries of war. Strike against war, for without you no battles can be fought. Strike against manufacturing shrapnel and gas bombs and all other tools of murder. Strike against preparedness that means death and misery (Keller 5).

She emphasized that freedom was to be achieved when the entire interest of the young people and worker was represented fully by their leaders. We are not free unless the men who frame and execute the laws represent the interests of the lives of the people and no other interest (Keller 4).

From the speech, it is clear that Keller was angry at the injustice that was faced by the workers, and that she lacked tolerance for the capitalist. workers are the most unselfish of the children of men; they toil and live and die for other people's country, other people's sentiments, other people's liberties and other people's happiness! (Keller 4). She encouraged the people to be courageous and not to be afraid of the rumors of war. Indeed, Keller requested the government to take necessary precautionary measures to avoid war including dropping the Islands they had conquered in the Pacific Ocean.

Keller was bitter with the banks for failing to take up with their responsibilities of aiding the workers. Instead, the little capital the banks got from the workers was invested in other foreign countries. It is also evident that some government officials were collaborating with cartels in taking a significant influential position in the governments. Keller addressed this conspiracy by arguing that the wars that were happening in the past had their own selfish motives of exploiting other weak countries and grabbing their resources. The South African War decided that the British should exploit the diamond mines. The Russo-Japanese War decided that Japan should exploit Korea (Keller 2). She explains to the workers that they would get nothing after assisting their victors in the war. She warned that the outcome would be catastrophic with some crippled, blind and even death All you need to do to bring about this stupendous revolution is to straighten up and fold your arms (Keller 1). She stipulated that other countries were providing better houses, medical care and better working conditions for their workers. Keller urged the working class to demand a high wage, clean cities without smoke, dirt or congestion and the controlled working environment from their administration. It is your business to force these reforms on the Administration (Keller 5). Furthermore, she requested the worker not to be trapped or fooled again. She listed some human rights such as the right to education, the right to information, the right to proper nutrition and rights against child labor.

Kellers work seems reliable and authentic as the author and place are known and the time of creation is also precise. The document is also available in different archive around the world and online for public access. By Helen Keller - Speech at Carnegie Hall, New York City, January 5, 1916, under the auspices of the Women's Peace Party and the Labor Forum (Keller 1).

During the time of the document creation, slavery was practiced in high-scale, and human rights were not observed. Oppression, threats, and war were also common incidence in those times, which is not the case in the modern world, where slavery has been eradicated, and people have freedom of information sharing. Struggle for power, people working to get their daily bread, activists who stand firm on matters concerning citizen were present those times and still are. During the times of document creation, there was no freedom or access to proper education, a factor that could have affected the document creation due to author lacking enough resources to facilitate Kellers work. Keller uses simple English language in this document as she targets global audience not only from that locality in preaching peace and socialism.

Denial of human right, indulging women in shameful activities and employment of children in factories or any other organization was legal those days but is objectionable in the current society. Rumors of war or threats are issues of high sensibility in the modern society. The authors claim to stop child labor and the manufacturing of harmful products, respecting the women. In the contemporary world, fight against oppression and child labor should be done through the nonviolent way of striking.


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