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Labour Day Reading

As we once again celebrate the  first Monday in September Labour Day alternative we should be reminded of a few things.  First of all the original Labour Day is May 1st.  It is this day that is still celebrated in many parts of the world.  The September date was first celebrated in New York city on September 5, 1882. It became an official holiday in the United States in 1894.  A quick check of Wikipedia produces the following comment. ” Speeches or political demonstrations are more low-key than May 1 Labor Day celebrations  in most countries…”

How telling.  Labour Day as celebrated in Canada and the United States is a sort of de-politicized version of the original labour day which celebrated worker’s struggles against the capitalist bosses.  Today’s Labour Day is a kind of celebration of the end of Summer.  Children go back to school.  The routines everyday life once again kick in after the holidays of summer.  The past struggles of workers to gain some recognition and rights have largely been forgotten.  Organized workers today are ruled by a union bureaucracy which has muted worker’s agency as the union bosses negotiate more in the interest of the union and it’s highly paid bureaucrats then in the interests of the workers.  Forty years ago the rallying cry was often ‘worker’s control’.  Today this concept is all but forgotten.  Unionized workers are controlled by union hierarchies and government labour legislation.  Non-unionized workers are at the mercy of their company bosses.  While unionized workers are afforded more protection than their non-unionized brothers, they for the most part are no more in control of their own destiny.  A revival of worker militancy and of worker’s control should become the theme of Labour Day activities.  Is it too naive to expect maybe one of these years the end of summer celebration will indeed be a celebration of worker’s control and and a new era of prosperity for all?

-Errol Sharpe, Publisher

Posted on September 3rd, 2010

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