Monday, September 2, 2013


This is Labor Day. I called it May Day and provoked an argument with my wife. She failed to see my logic for calling a day in September a May Day. It is workers day or "International" Workers day celebrated by about half the world countries—the Eurocentric half. As a boy growing up in the 1930s and early 1940, the world was fighting a great political battle between capitalism and communism. Followers of each were so sure their beliefs were right they were willing to fight to make it so.  In the United States, the economic divide was partitioned along the lines of those people who worked for a living were labor and those who they worked for were capitalists. The counter forces to the capitalists were labor unions. It was obvious that the capitalist were few in number but had the power to hire and fire. The workers had the numbers but not the power. To correct that, they started to strike, that is stop working to demand higher wages, better working conditions, etc. Part of the culture of the day was that labor unions were communist front organizations for foreign powers, Russia specifically. Russia had given power to the workers with obviously devastating results. According to the capitalists in this country, labor strikes morphed into a sinister political plot to take over the government. Historically, May 1st was a day to celebrate labor thus took on a threatening meaning to business owners. This took on a political flavor that came to a head under during F. D. Roosevelt administration.

FDR decided to allow labor organizations to strike; thus, a rash of strikes ensued. The background story was the unions were growing stronger and stronger and the government feared the equivalent of a revolution if the President did not allow strikes. The result was that the lid was taken off a boiling pot and the steam was released into a thousands of little jets and a revolutions did not happen but the workers did gain tremendously in wages and working conditions. In Germany, this was not the approach taken in their fight against communism. Instead of giving power to labor, they gave power to the states—known as Nazi Germany. Then the great depression happened. I was born into this tumultuous world; a national socialistic Germany transformed by Hitler into a totalitarian state, a communistic state in Russia, and a democratic-socialistic state hybrid state in the United States.

 Labor Day, or May Day, has special meaning to those of my generations. It represents the long struggle of labor to protect what it won so many years ago. It also represent the slow deterioration so beautifully outline by +Annie-Rose Strasser, Deputy Managing Editor of +Think Progress, in her Sept. 2, 2013 article The One Video (and Three Charts) That Explains Why Unions Matter. Literally, I have posted hundreds of blogs trying to say what she was able to say in this article. Left unchecked, Conservatives will change this nation into a plutocracy; their private candy store. In that sense, it might mean the end of summer.

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