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Happy Labor Day

Today will be a big day for them, for the bosses and the toadies, the blacklegs and the scabs, the men in power who know they run things and the men in squalor who think they will if they kiss enough ass.

It will be a big day for them, because they are going to try to convince you that they have won. And sometimes it's hard to see where they haven't. Every time the labor movement (which should properly be understood as the civil rights movement for everyone who isn't rich) has won a victory, they have redoubled their efforts to take that victory away. And they've done a pretty good job: ever since they got their man Reagan in office, ever since they began to systematically destroy the unions and shift as much work as they could overseas, they've eliminated pensions, annihilated job security, weakened savings and home ownership, stagnated real wages, and gutted collective bargaining, thus essentially eliminating what we once knew as the middle class. Having thrown us back to the '30s, they're now trying to repeal or defang laws relating to regulation, workplace safety, the minimum wage, mandatory overtime pay, the 40-hour work week, and even child labor laws, thus moving us further back, to the 1880s.

In aid of that goal, these velvet-shrouded toads will lie and lie and lie. They will tell you that it's the labor movement that is violent and oppressive, an enemy of freedom. They will tell you that unions are merely conspiracies against fair trade, as if management does not daily conspire against the public. They will point out union corruption, as if no corruption exists amongst employers. They will paint the working class standing together for a common goal as socialism or communism, while the ruling class standing together for a common goal is freedom at its most glorious. Some, the 'realists', will tell you that the day of the union is done, that once there was a need for a labor movement, but it has passed. They will say there is no more money to help the working class, while the rich are richer than ever, mega-conglomerates post record profits, and tax coffers are ever more depleted because our politicians lack the courage to demand the wealthy carry their share of society's burden.

But you know better. You won't be fooled by their lies. If you are reading this and you didn't have to work today; if you are reading this and you don't have to work on weekends, if you get paid for a 40-hour week, if your children don't have to go to work when they're 12 years old, if you don't pay rent and buy food and clothes from the same company that employs you, if you're paid with money instead of script, if your workplace is safe because of a meddling bureaucrat, if you can't be fired because of your race or gender or age, if you have health insurance through your employer, if you cannot be paid less than a certain wage, if you don't have to work on holidays -- if, essentially, you are anything more than human chattel -- here are some of the people you can thank, and whose names you can tell to the bosses and toadies:

- The two railroad workers shot dead by the New York state militia in July of 1851.
- The ten mine workers hanged by the state of Pennsylvania in June of 1877.
- The ten mine workers shot by the Pennsylvania state militia in July of 1877.
- The thirty railroad workers shot dead by federal troops in Illinois in July of 1877.
- The ten railroad workers shot dead by the Pennsylvania state militia in September of 1877.
- The four machine-workers shot and beaten to death by Chicago police in May of 1886.
- The seven factory workers shot dead by the Wisconsin state militia in May of 1886.
- The four union organizers hanged by the state of Illinois in November of 1887.
- The thirty-seven sugar field workers shot and hanged by the Louisiana state militia in November of 1887.
- The railroad worker stabbed to death by the Nebraska state militia in March of 1892.
- The three miners shot dead by private security guards in Idaho, July of 1892.
- The eleven steel workers shot dead by private security guards in Pennsylvania in July of 1892.
- The five miners machine-gunned to death by private security guards in Pennsylvania in May of 1894.
- The thirty-four railway workers shot dead by the Illinois state militia in summer of 1894.
- The four mine workers shot and stabbed by private security guards in Colorado, September of 1896.
- The nineteen mine workers shot dead by Pennsylvania vigilantes in September of 1897.
- The fourteen mine workers shot dead by private security guards in Illinois in October of 1898.
- The fourteen mine workers shot dead by private security guards in Illinois in October of 1902.
- The farm worker shot dead by bosses in California, March of 1903.
- The six mine workers shot dead by the Colorado militia in June 1904.
- The three teamsters shot and stabbed by Chicago police in April 1905.
- The transit worker shot to death by the Florida state militia in April 1908.
- The twelve steelworkers shot to death by private security guards in Pennsylvania, August of 1909.
- The sixteen miners shot to death by Pennsylvania police in June of 1911.
- The four timber workers shot dead by goons in Louisiana in July of 1912.
- The maritime worker shot dead by New Orleans police in June 1913.
- The four farm workers shot dead by California police in August 1913.
- The seventy-three mine workers crushed to death in Michigan, December of 1913.
- The nineteen mine workers shot, burned and stabbed by the Colorado state militia in April 1914.
- The twenty-one factory workers shot dead by private security guards in New Jersey, January of 1915.
- The seven mill workers shot dead by vigilantes in Washington, November of 1916.
- The labor organizer lynched by vigilantes in Montana, August of 1917.
- The labor organizer shot by a private security guard in Washington, July of 1918.
- The labor organizer shot by private security guards in Pennsylvania, August of 1919.
- The labor organizer lynched by vigilantes in Washington, November of 1919.
- The mine worker shot by private security guards in Montana, April of 1920.
- The two coal miners shot to death by private security guards in West Virginia, May of 1920.
- The dozens of miners shot, gassed and bombed by various forces in West Virginia, September of 1921.
- The fifteen miners shot to death by scabs and goons in Illinois, June of 1922.
- The sixteen sugar plantation workers shot to death by Hawaiian sheriffs in September of 1924.
- The six mine workers shot to death by Colorado police in September of 1927.
- The two mill workers shot to death by scabs in North Carolina, September of 1929.
- The three miners shot to death by scabs in West Virginia, May of 1931.
- The four auto workers shot dead by Michigan police in March of 1932.
- The two dairy farmers killed by strikebreakers in Wisconsin, September of 1933.
- The four cotton field workers shot to death by California police in October of 1933.
- The two electrical workers shot to death by the Ohio National Guard in April of 1934.
- The two warehouse workers shot to death by California police in May of 1934.
- The two dockworkers shot to death by California police in July of 1934.
- The two teamsters shot to death by Minnesota police in July of 1934.
- The three textile workers shot to death by the Georgia National Guard in September of 1934.
- The six textile workers shot to death by the South Carolina National Guard in September of 1934.
- The two factory workers shot to death by the Nebraska National Guard in June of 1935.
- The ten steel workers shot to death by Illinois police in May of 1937.

These and thousands of others died for this holiday. Remember them next time someone complains to you about the unions.

Comments

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uvula_fr_b4
Sep. 7th, 2010 05:38 am (UTC)
Thanks for this.

I really wish that the unions didn't get into bed with organized crime; but I suppose one could argue that the unions never could've made the gains that they did if the mob wasn't playing both sides against the middle.
cassandraleo
Sep. 7th, 2010 08:13 am (UTC)
Let's not forget the Haymarket martyrs, murdered by the government even though the prosecutor admitted there was no evidence any of them had killed anyone. The governor who pardoned three of them had his career ruined as a result.

Good post.
andyaxel
Sep. 7th, 2010 06:05 pm (UTC)
And that "Labor Day" in every other country in the world is May 1, which was declared in solidarity with the fallen at the Haymarket.
audacian
Sep. 7th, 2010 12:21 pm (UTC)
Good post.
bassman42
Sep. 7th, 2010 03:40 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the reminder, Leonard. All of us frequently take for granted the things others have died to ensure. Happy (belated) Labor Day!
yuriverse
Sep. 8th, 2010 12:12 am (UTC)
Tons of what you've writ ought to be distributed to huge swaths of the populace, but this one in particular needs to be put on sheets of paper dropped from aircraft deep into hate-radio-brainwashed territory the world over (yes, Australia has vast depths of it too).

If I cut-and-pasted this (thus avoiding Facebook/LiveJournal privacy issues) might I re-post this elsewhere (giving proper credit of course)?

Edited at 2010-09-08 12:13 am (UTC)
ludickid
Sep. 8th, 2010 12:26 am (UTC)
Certainly.
moxiemylove
Sep. 13th, 2010 01:35 am (UTC)
This is a really good post.
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ludickid
Gun-totin', Chronic-smokin' Hearse Initiator
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Leonard Pierce is a freelance writer wandering around Texas with no sleep or sense of direction. If you give him money he will write something for you. If you are nice to him he may come to your house and get drunk.

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