Monday, September 3, 2007

Labor Day

Today is Labor Day, a magical day early in September, when people get the day off and spend it at the lake and start packing away those white clothes, or something. (It's also the common starting point for Bush Administration "fall marketing campaigns," but that's a separate scary story.)

Labor Day is also supposed to be the day when the American Worker is celebrated, and there's usually noises to that effect.

Labor Day is bullshit.

To wit: The rest of the freakin' world celebrates the worker on May 1st. America celebrates it in September to avoid any kind of worker solidarity. Seriously:

With the Chicago Haymarket riots in early May of 1886, President Grover Cleveland believed that commemorating Labor Day on May 1 could become an opportunity to commemorate the riots. Thus, fearing that it might strengthen the socialist movement, he quickly moved in 1887 to support the position of the Knights of Labor and their date for Labor Day.

Yeah, we have May Day, but it's not the same thing. Don't get me wrong - I appreciate paid holidays and all, but this is just stupid. Having May 1st as Labor Day was a tradition started in the United States, even.

If you're interested, consider researching the 1886 Haymarket Riot and its connection to organized labor and May 1st. There's a lot of history to it, none of which makes it into the public eye. It's kind of like Columbus Day/The Day of Indigenous Resistance in that way.

UPDATE: For example, these folks should know better: Atrios, Ezra Klein, and Matt Yglesias.


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