BILL MOYERS: So, whose lives are less and less necessary in America today?
DAVID SIMON: Certainly the underclass. There’s a reason they are the underclass. But in an area– in an era when you don’t need as much mass labor. When we are not a manufacturing base those people that built stuff, that made stuff– that were– that their lives had some meaning and value because the factories were open. You don’t need them anymore.
But also unions and working people are completely abandoned by this economic culture and that’s what Season Two was about. It was about one of the forces, one of the walls that basically make the corner culture. And, you know, that’s heartbreaking to me. I’ve been a union member my whole life and I guess its a little gilded union now. Gilded guild.
BILL MOYERS: The Writer’s Guild.
DAVID SIMON: The Writer’s Guild, yes, but I was a newspaper– a member of the newspaper guild before that and I thank them for letting me earn an honest living. ‘Cause, you know, without them, God knows what we would have been paid in Baltimore. But I look at what’s happened with unions and I think– Ed Burns says all the time that he wants to do a piece on the Haymarket.
BILL MOYERS: The Haymarket strike.
DAVID SIMON: Yes. That– the bombing, and that critical moment when American labor was pushed so much to the starving point that they were willing to fight. And I actually think that’s the only time when change is possible. When people are actually threatened to the core, and enough people are threatened to the core that they just won’t take it anymore. And that’s– those are the pivotal moments in American history, I think, when actually something does happen.
You know, they were– in Haymarket, they were fighting for the 40-hour work week. You know? So, it wasn’t– it sounds radical at the time, but it’s basically a dignity of life issue. And you look at things like that. You look at the anti-Vietnam War effort, in this country which, you know, you had to threaten middle class kids with a draft and with military service in an unpopular war for people to rise up and demand the end to an unpopular war. I mean, it didn’t happen without that. So, on some level, as long as they placate enough people. As long as they throw enough scraps from the table that enough people get a little bit to eat, I just don’t see a change coming.