Friday, September 4, 2015

Happy International Worker's Day

The reason the annual commemoration of the Labor Movement was changed to September 1 in the US and Canada, from the original May 1 as it's still celebrated in most of the world, is lost to me. I looked around the internet a little and couldn't quickly find out why it was changed.

Union Square, New York City, 1912
International Workers Day goes back to the 19th century and was originally to commemorate the victims of the Haymarket Bombing -- a Chicago police murder of striking Anarchist workers who were agitating for the 8-hour day, which as you've noticed has become the norm. It was later expanded into a general celebration of labor. This was in the days when there was a Labor Movement in the US.

With the rise of the Soviet Union, all kinds of wacko groups like the VFW began to have parades on May 1 celebrating nationalism -- which we in the US like to call patriotism -- so that could be why the Labor Movement agreed to let May Day be celebrated in September and be called Labor Day.

It's not that big of a deal. There is no Labor Movement in the US any more. The people who run the few remaining unions mostly run them as company unions, and the most of their members don't seem to mind. Although union wages and benefits are generally still a little higher than average because of the simple fact that collective bargaining results in higher wages and benefits, their existence is primarily symbolic. Important, yes, but primarily symbolic.

It's interesting that I got a "Happy Labor Day" email today from a political candidate in Virginia who somehow has my email address, but have received nothing from my own representatives, Michelle Grisham, Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall, all of whom have my email address and use it regularly to solicit money from me, and none of whom, as I've written repeatedly, have I ever heard use the word "union" in a speech or in written form, which, along with their voting records indicates what they think about the labor movement and about US workers receiving respectable wages. They could care less about American workers.

But that's the fault of American workers. A real Labor Movement will likely arise in the US again, at which point the American people will realize they don't have to ask bosses and politicians when they can have holidays or take off work. That they posses the power to have whatever holidays they please whenever they please.

Happy Labor Day!


This picture from a Wikipedia article about International Workers Day, or May Day, is captioned "San Jose, California, May Day March, 1 May 2006." This is why I always say we need more Mexicans here, not less. In saying that I usually refer to the massive street protests in Mexico after the fraudulent presidential elections of 2006, when there were a million people in the Zocalo in Mexico City and two million around the country, as to compared what happened after the fraudulent US presidential election of 2000. Nothing happened.

But there's also the fact that people from other backgrounds and countries aren't subscribed to the pilgrim myth, and usually, even if they lack what we consider a formal education, have a much more sophisticated political consciousness than we "Americans" do.

1 comment:

  1. Happy faux May Day ,Bubba... Overall it is pretty pessimistic. Still public employees tried in Wisc.