Labor Day

Happy Labor Day everyone!

The list of holidays that I make the occasion of celebrating is relatively short. However, one that I think of as particularly important is Labor Day. That is, the real Labor Day.

On May 1st, 1886 a general-strike began nationwide in support of the 8-hour day. Violence broke out in Chicago on May 3rd when strikers were murdered by police. On May 4th a rally was held at Haymarket Square. When police tried to break up the rally, a bomb was thrown, and the ensuing riot killed four workers and seven policemen.

Eight men, August Spies, Albert Parsons, Adolph Fischer, George Engel, Louis Lingg, Michael Schwab, Samuel Fielden and Oscar Neebe were tried and convicted for murder, all but Neebe with death sentences.

Labor groups celebrate Labor Day on May 1st to commemorate the struggle for labor rights around the world, and the remember the martyrs of the riot.

But here in this country, on May 1st we celebrate Loyalty Day, a holiday specifically started to dissuade the leftist influence of May Day and to reaffirm loyalty to the state. Also, the day is Law Day, an equally nationalist, statist, and patriotic holiday.

Our Labor Day, as we all know, is in the beginning of September. This was started as a continuation of the Knights of Labor's annual parade: a group with affiliations with the Ku Klux Klan. Now it is official as another way of having us forget the history of labor struggles in this country.

Take this day as an opportunity to remember what this country used to be like and to be thankful that things are somewhat better now. Or, think about whether they really are. Where is the 8-hour day now? What are unions like now? Who are the workers now?

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