Honoring labor

"This is a delusional time in American history," said New Jersey poet Daniel P. Quinn, heading into this Labor Day weekend. "We think we are middle class, but the middle class is collapsing.

"People in America tend to look to the future but forget the past," he said. And that means, argued the prolific actor, director and producer, forgetting the role that the labor movement played in building the middle class. Over the last three decades, he added, the movement has been fighting a rearguard action defending the gains won in previous generations.

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Quinn's "organized labor: Collected Poems" contains pictures of the 1913 strike in Paterson, N.J., and also some going further back of his Irish immigrant great-grandfather Bernard O’Neill at his Landmark Tavern, on West 46th Street, at 11th Avenue, Manhattan.

Quinn, who said that that Paterson will mark the centenary of the long strike next year, will give a talk on Sunday, Sept. 23, at the Paterson Museum about the historic links between the city and Lyons, France. It begins at 2 p.m. The museum is in the Thomas Rogers Building at 2 Market St. Call 973-321-1260 for details.