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By: inoljt,

Today is Labor Day. When I was younger,  I didn't understand what that meant. A day to celebrate labor? It was a strange concept. It didn't mean much to me.

That was because to most Americans Labor Day means nothing. They take a day off work. They go shopping. They mark the end of summer.

The rest of the world doesn't celebrate Labor Day, either. Instead, they celebrate something called May Day, or the International Workers' Day.

May Day in China

More below.

May Day celebrates the contributions of the worker. It celebrates the union movement and the working class.

During May Day, there are numerous rallies and political protests.

May Day in Ecuador

That's what Labor Day in the United States should about. It should be a day to commemorate the contributions of the American worker and the American working class. It should be a day of marches and rallies, a powerful reminder of the working man's presence.

Indeed, May Day started out as a form of protest. People around the world protested an event which happened in America: the Haymarket Affair. During the Haymarket Affair, violence during a rally of workers led to the crushing of the anarchist movement in the United States. Ever since then, people around the world have celebrated May Day in commemoration of those workers in Chicago.

May Day in Paris

With the exception of America, of course, where the Haymarket Affair actually happened. On International Workers' Day, people throughout the world have a holiday. Americans do not. Americans work on International Workers' Day.

May Day in Tunisia

There's a reason for this, of course. No American government will ever switch from Labor Day to May Day for the foreseeable future. Because if that happened, you see, America would turn Communist.

May Day in Russia

All this shows the weakness of the American working class. Traditionally America has always been very right-wing economically speaking; unions, for instance, are far less powerful here. The steadfast American refusal to celebrate May Day, a worldwide holiday commemorating a working-class protest which happened in America, is just another sign of this weakness. In a sense the American working class has been defeated.

May Day in the Philippines

Originally posted to Inoljt on Sat Sep 22, 2012 at 09:57 PM PDT.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Karl Marx is Hot Again... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Todd Hancock, Calamity Jean

    even the Pope recently lauded his intelligence/analytical ability.

    there's a reason for this... Marx basically said capitalism would destroy us.. and it appears he is correct. recent reports here in the U.S. indicate the poverty rate is UP.

    too bad we have to learn things the hard way

    "A civilization which does not provide young people with a way to earn a living is pretty poor". Eleanor Roosevelt

    by Superpole on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 07:13:11 AM PDT

  •  There is so much (0+ / 0-)

    that we take for granted in this country.

    Over time, the words lose their significance if we do not continually reinforce the history, or philosophy, that lies beneath them. The history and philosophy are the foundation.

    Labor Day has achieved a ubiquitous meaning of relaxation, hamburgers, and beaches. Men and women endured significant hardship in achieving the few rights the working class enjoy today. It is a travesty that they are not mentioned in conjunction with the holiday, or even just mentioning the progress of the working class which is at the heart of Labor Day.

    It is named Labor Day for a reason and not labor day. It is not a day free of labor, but a day to commemorate Labor, in terms of Union Labor and the working class.

    I blame the media and the chattering heads. We are so heavily corporatized in this country that we focus solely on corporations and not people (sorry Mitt, but you are wrong, they are separate entities).

    Example, notice how all news organizations consistently mention the performance of the indexes of Wall Street on a daily basis. Or, notice how they mention job creation in terms of how many tax incentives to give to corporations in order to "create" jobs, rather than empowering unions and the middle class.

    Everything is spoken of within the prism of corporations. Is it any wonder that we have forgotten the meaning and significance of Labor?

  •  You should know (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chimene, Icicle68, countwebb, FG

    That labor day was not granted, it was taken by labor. The president of The United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, (my house,) Peter Maguire proposed it and in 1882 the Carpenters, Brick Masons and Cigar Makers of the Central Labor Council marched up 5th Avenue to a picnic in the park.

    The Mayor told the police to stop them but the Carpenters were mostly Irish and so were the cops so it didn't happen. The next year  there were marches in NYC, Philadelphia and Chicago. The mayor requested National Guard troops. The governor sent a battalion from upstate made up of Stone cutters who were mostly German, just like the brick masons. So they just went to the picnic and organized their own union. By`1885 most layers of government had given up on trying to stop it and, in 1895, Congress wrote it into law. Its ours, we took it. Be proud of that.

    "If I pay a man enough money to buy my car, he'll buy my car." Henry Ford

    by johnmorris on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 11:28:17 AM PDT

    •  Another part of the reason (0+ / 0-)

      is that, if I remember correctly, there was an international movement for May Day. And the president did not want the United States having a May Day. So he pushed Labor Day.

      by Inoljt on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 02:13:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The Congressional recognition of Labor Day came (0+ / 0-)

      six days after the Pullman strike was broken by the military and federal intervention by order of Grover Cleveland. Making Labor Day a national holiday was Cleveland's way to try and make peace with organized labor. It was the last straw in a long struggle for worker recognition that forced the government to act.

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