Monday, September 02, 2019

Labor Day and the Class Struggle

Labor Day is a good day to rest the hands and give the brain a chance—to think about what has been, and is, and is yet to be.” - Eugene Debs

Labor Day has come around again. In Canada and the United States Labor Day is the first Monday in September, unlike most other parts of the world who celebrate May the First.

 It was to counteract the militant international working class spirit of May Day that the government, acting jointly with big business and some conservative labor union leaders, set aside the first Monday in September as a labor holiday. It has become a symbol of labor docility, of collaboration with the bosses, of everything that weakens and hurts the working class. It has become a day of consumer shopping. It is the day when the bosses pat the employees approvingly on the back and remind them to be good slaves and not to fight, not to resist, not to demand higher wages, shorter hours or better working conditions. As is the custom, the working class are regaled with meaningless rhetoric from labor leaders, politicians, and philanthropic “friends of labor”, offering their Labor Day sermons. Stripped of the drivel, nonsense and pap, Labor Day speeches mean promises of more exploitation while the employers billions in profits are safely tucked away in some off-shore tax-haven.

The so-called liberals and progressives accept the premise that the well-being of the working class depends on the economic prosperity of the bosses, and that one of the ways to get this is through labor-management cooperation, that by applying the proper strategy of concilation and concessions and compromise, they will in the long run help show the employers the evil of their ways and persuade them once again to collaborate with the unionised workers and act in the interests of working people. A futile forlorn hope. 

Why so? The answer is simple: the government is run in the interests of big business and not in the interests of the workers. The answer is simple: no profits, no jobs. The boss’s greed for profits motivates his actions. As always, the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer.

 The working class must advance its own demands and enter the political arena with a class party of its own and to fight for its own interests. Workers cannot rely on the capitalist system, the capitalist government or a piece of legislation passed by capitalist politicians to solve the evils of the profit system.

There is need for a change of our society. Socialism is a necessity. It would destroy the capitalist system wherein one class is enriched by exploiting the majority. We need socialism because the means of life, the factories, transportation and the land would belong to the people. We need socialism because production of the necessities of life would be for the use of the people instead of the profit of a few.

We are all one—all workers of all lands and climes. We know not color, nor creed, nor sex in the Labor Movement. We know only that our hearts throb with the same proletarian stroke, that we are keeping step with our class in the march to the goal and that the solidarity of Labor will vanquish slavery and Humanize the World.” - Eugene Debs

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