For me, Labor Day isn’t just the symbolic end of summer. It isn’t about BBQs and beer(well, maybe only a little). It’s about remembering.
Emma Goldman – “If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be in your revolution.”(I just love that quote) One of the most badass ladies that ever lived. Click the link, you won’t regret it.
Eugene Debs – One of the founding members of the International Labor Union and the Industrial Workers of the World.
The Pullman Strike – Probably one of the biggest strikes in working history, at its peak including 250,000 workers in over 27 states.
The Haymarket Affair – A rally in support of striking workers that led to tragedy. An unknown person threw a bomb into the crowd, causing the police to open fire. 8 police officers were killed(mostly by friendly fire), and injuring a number of civilians. 8 people were arrested for throwing the bomb, 4 were convicted and executed and 1 committed suicide. None of the defendants had thrown the bomb.
Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire – 146 people either jumped out of the 9th or 10th floor windows or burned to death in the fire because of poor working conditions.
I think about the men and woman who have fought for you all to have 8 hour workdays and weekends off. Who fought so that 8-year-old kids can be kids and not worry about getting to work where there’s machinery that can rip an arm off. Who fought for you to get workers comp if FSM-forbid something does happen to you on the job.
I think about people like Howard Zinn because without him I wouldn’t know most of my working-class history. I think about a friend of mine who has taught me more about said working-class history in the last year than all our High School years combined. That same friend constantly inspires me to learn more, to teach more, to be more – simply because watching his working-man’s struggle and seeing how well he turns it into something amazing makes it impossible not to want to do more.
I think about the struggles that are still going on around the world.
So remember, it was those damn pinko commie socialist union people who made it possible for you to have the day off to BBQ and drink beer with family and friends today.
“It is we who plowed the prairies; built the cities where they trade;
Dug the mines and built the workshops, endless miles of railroad laid;
Now we stand outcast and starving midst the wonders we have made;
But the union makes us strong.”
(dedicated to The Rev for being a badass mofo!)