Happy Labor Day!

Michael Walsh04 Sep, 2023 2 Min Read
It wasn't always cakes and ales.

Labor Day, which today we celebrate with the ceremonial "last cookout" of the summer season here on the East Coast, started as a mass social movement in the late 19th century, at a time when capital and labor were routinely pitted against each other under the pressure of economic Marxism and the worldwide workers' movement in general.

Labor Day is a U.S. national holiday held the first Monday every September. Unlike most U.S. holidays, it is a strange celebration without rituals, except for shopping and barbecuing. For most people it simply marks the last weekend of summer and the start of the school year. The holiday’s founders in the late 1800s envisioned something very different from what the day has become. The founders were looking for two things: a means of unifying union workers and a reduction in work time.

The first Labor Day occurred in 1882 in New York City under the direction of that city’s Central Labor Union... However, the organizers had a large problem: No government or company recognized the first Monday in September as a day off work. The issue was solved temporarily by declaring a one-day strike in the city. All striking workers were expected to march in a parade and then eat and drink at a giant picnic afterwards. The New York Tribune’s reporter covering the event felt the entire day was like one long political barbecue, with “rather dull speeches.”

The first controversy that people fought over was how militant workers should act on a day designed to honor workers. Communist, Marxist and socialist members of the trade union movement supported May 1 as an international day of demonstrations, street protests and even violence, which continues even today. More moderate trade union members, however, advocated for a September Labor Day of parades and picnics. In the U.S., picnics, instead of street protests, won the day.

So, thankfully, picnics it is. Enjoy yours before reality re-asserts itself and the battle over the economic, social, and political future of both the United States and Canada is rejoined.

Michael Walsh is a journalist, author, and screenwriter. He was for 16 years the music critic and a foreign correspondent for Time Magazine. His works include the novels As Time Goes By, And All the Saints, and the bestselling “Devlin” series of NSA thrillers; as well as the nonfiction bestseller, The Devil’s Pleasure Palace and its sequel, The Fiery Angel. Last Stands, a study of military history from the Greeks to the present, was published by St. Martin's Press in December 2019. He is also the editor of Against the Great Reset: 18 Theses Contra the New World Order, published on Oct. 18, 2022, and of the forthcoming Against the Corporate Media. Follow him on Twitter: @theAmanuensis

MORE ARTICLES

See All

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

twitterfacebook-official