“Nothing binds you except your thoughts; nothing limits you except your fear; and nothing controls you except your beliefs.”— Marianne Williamson
The big 1-2-5.
That’s right, 125 years ago, 1894, Labor Day was marked on mental calendars of the working class for the first time. Class consciousness has been beaten out of us since then however, so if you’re unfamiliar with the international struggle, this is a refresh.
- Labor 411: Union Workers Told To Attend Trump Rally Or Lose Pay
- Labor 411: NLRB Investigating CEO Who Tweeted “I will fire you on the spot” To Employees If They Tried To Unionize
- Liberation School: The Marxist understanding of the roots of LGBTQ oppression
Fascism doesn’t take kindly to freedom. A controllable society, one built on hierarchies, the one we live in, has been keeping its fascist face behind a mask. The capitalist class, and their war of division and hate, has been called out before by Marianne Williamson, an author, activist, public speaker, and Democratic candidate for President.
Bread & Roses
You’ll see it in many places. It comes from a rich socialist history. Bread for the fruits of our labor and roses for the peace to enjoy it. Today, we have neither.
“A New Jersey town was forced to cancel its Labor Day parade Monday after multiple small explosive devices were found near the route where Gov. Phil Murphy was set to march, officials said.”New York Daily News, Sept. 2, 2019.
“The images of children crying after their parents were arrested in a massive immigration raid in Mississippi revived a longstanding complaint: Unauthorized workers are jailed or deported, while the managers and business owners who profit from their labor often go unprosecuted.”AP, Aug. 14, 2019.
“There’s a very common lie… the lies they scare in you… the lies they use to control you…”— Camp Cope, Jet Fuel Can’t Melt Steal Beams
- Teen Vogue: Labor Day Was Created in Place of a Real Holiday Celebrating U.S. Workers
- Media Matters: Myths and Facts about Unionizing
- Media Matters: Myths and Facts about “Right-to-Work” Laws
- Truthdig: The 5 Biggest Corporate Lies About Unions
Not Without Struggle
“This Labor Day weekend, thousands of Muslim Americans descended on Houston, Texas, for the annual three-day Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) convention. This year’s ISNACON featured many well-known figures, such as Trevor Noah, who shared his story of growing up in South Africa and joked about the ups and downs of “The Daily Show.”Dean Obeillah, CNN | Opinion
Noah wasn’t the only draw. Well-known Muslim Americans, including Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib and Women’s March organizer Linda Sarsour, spoke to large crowds. The most popular person, however, was a 77-year-old Jewish man born and bred in Brooklyn. I’m speaking of 2020 presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, of course. While Noah, Tlaib and Sarsour attracted the attention of many, Sanders packed the venue that held nearly 7,000 — receiving several standing ovations.”
Earlier this year, Democratic candidate for President, Senator, and activist, Bernie Sanders announced his inspiration to see the progress of FDR’s New Deal continued today. After a rocky and violent three years of an unapologetic President — of a country — landlord, mob Don, con artist, white nationalist, misogynist, and fascist.
Labor is “the last line of defense,” Sanders said as he accepted his first major labor union endorsement. Following several other endorsements this one is mentionable for its size and name recognition. Especially today.
“Bankruptcy exposes the economic vulnerability and insecurity of middle class women.”— Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
Women’s labor has a noticeable history, not just in the forming of revolutions in France or Russia, but in the successful organizing of labor. From the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, to Lucy Parsons, let’s embrace women 100 years after winning the vote and 125 years to today: Labor Day.
That’s why women have been leading this movement from airlines to schools to factories. Women have been speaking up. So when you celebrate Labor Day every day, celebrate with unionized women close to you.
“If they want to hang me, let them. And on the scaffold I will shout Freedom for the working class!”— Mary Harris “Mother” Jones
“If there is going to be class warfare in this country, it’s about time the working class won that war.”— Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
Following law as a tool to protect property, and estate, the mercantilism of earlier capitalism is revived in the class warfare of today. The police enforce the law; the law of property becomes protected by force. Prisons become the place where those unwilling to labor, or those who threaten property, if they must remain alive, are kept. Especially following slavery, sheriffs became the tool for enforcing property laws, while the slave-catching role falls onto the average officer.
This is a part of the struggle. A part of the class struggle. Increasingly militant and militarized, this spells class war. Why haven’t unions brought roses to this front in the war for bread?
There’s a lot of ground to cover for making up for labor rights and frankly other basic and human rights that have been shorted out by corporate corruption of government and policy. For trans folx in the United States we see this, for migrants this is most prevalent to mind right now, but there is still quite a lot blocking progress for everyone equally under the law which historically has affected Black communities across the country not only first, but worst.
Not to say there isn’t progress, there is. It’s just hard-fought. Slowly we’ll see a major change in labor in the United States, and I don’t mean automation.
Worker power is on the rise. Different industries have had more successes unionizing or organizing, from those in media, education, retail such as Amazon, Walmart, and fast food, the new and booming marijuana industry. Part of that power is coming from a younger generation, and also one which is less familiar with unions due to their nationwide victimhood in the past hundred years.
“So much of what we take for granted each and every day – the 40-hour workweek, weekends off, a minimum wage – is the result of the blood, sweat, tears, and in some cases even lives of those who fought to give American workers a better life.— Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA)
If labor unions weren’t so uniquely effective, the coordinated, heavily-financed campaign to decimate them wouldn’t exist. Unfortunately, the campaign is working – union membership is less than half of what it was 40 years ago. Recent decisions from the Supreme Court’s right-wing majority, such as Janus v. AFSCME last year, threaten to worsen this trend.
It’s no surprise that income inequality has increased dramatically over the same period.
With labor battles still taking place all over our nation – such as the #RedforEd movement to earn higher wages for teachers across the country – I hope you’ll take a moment this Labor Day to reflect on how far we’ve come and how far we still have to go.”
Even progressive political campaigns for Sanders, Warren, Booker, and Castro, are unionizing. It’s not only good for the working class that workers the country over unionize, but great for the capitalist class. If collectives negotiate wins for the working class, there’s no reason for capitalists, in and out of government, to be concerned of an imminent general strike.
Ironically, a nationwide Walmart strike would likely be just as fatal to the capitalist engine against the working poor and that’s a single corporation. For instance, earlier strikes over Walmart’s gun sales have recently proved fruitful, maybe even pressuring one of the country’s other largest retailers to act as well, Kroger. Dick’s Sporting Goods also followed suit.
Sanders is ahead of the curve on this issue. He’s been speaking out for unions before he ever reached Congress, so it comes as no surprise that he has a powerful Workplace Democracy Plan. Or as Vox put it, Unions for All, and a campaign that Labor 411 called “a rapid action tool to support striking workers.”
His plans to empower the press, the working class, and every student and healthcare professional are revolutionary. Yet, regardless of support from workers’-revolution-minded organizations such as the Democratic Socialists of America, he’s the candidate everyone takes seriously when he says “Not Me. Us.“