Every year, workers across the United States celebrate Labor Day on the first Monday of September: a day that also marks the end of summer vacations, the start of football season, and the return to school for millions of children. And while it is heralded as a celebration of the America worker, the origin of Labor Day is actually rooted in Marxism and Socialism.
In reality, Labor Day has more in common with May Day — aka Workers’ Day or International Workers’ Day — a communist celebration conceived by Socialists to recognize the historic struggles experienced by workers and the global labour movement (Excerpts from In Defense of Marxism website):
The first Labor Day was celebrated on September 5th of 1882 in New York City.
In subsequent years, its popularity grew, as many other cities, states, and municipalities began to make official declarations of a workers’ holiday around the beginning of September. However, it was not declared an official national holiday until 1894, and when this declaration was made, the federal government had motives other than simply wanting workers to have a holiday to celebrate “the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations.”
To understand why the government declared Labor Day a national holiday in 1894, we need to look at what was going on in that year. 1894 saw several labor explosions surrounding May Day, which the First Congress of the Socialist International had declared International Workers’ Day in 1889, in memory of the martyrs of the 1886 Haymarket Massacre in Chicago. On May 1st, 1894, May Day riots began in Cleveland as millions who found themselves unemployed following the “Panic of 1893” took to the streets to demand that their grievances be heard.
On May 11th of 1894, the workers of the Pullman Palace Car Company struck. They were soon to be joined by Eugene Debs’ American Railroad Union, which effectively shut down rail traffic out of Chicago. The President, Grover Cleveland, reacted harshly, sending troops to put down the strikers. Bloodshed and further uprisings followed. Debs was jailed, and the strike was finally put down in the middle of June.
The bosses and their government were clearly fearful of the May Day riots and the Pullman strike. One reason for their fear was that the memory of the Paris Commune of 1871 and the 1877 general strikes and uprisings across the US were clearly on their minds, and this explained President Cleveland’s trigger-happy response to the strike. Days after the strike was put down, Cleveland pushed a proposal for an officially recognized Labor Day through Congress, which passed unanimously. It was declared officially on June 28th, 1894 and was first celebrated in September of that year.
The September holiday was conceived of and celebrated by socialists and militants within the labor movement, and we should remember and reclaim this history. In the words of Peter McGuire, one of the inspirers of the holiday, on Labor Day, we are to celebrate those who “have delved and carved all the grandeur that we behold.” The first Monday of September belongs to us and not the bosses! (Emphasis mine)
Ironically, the annual Labor Day celebration of Marxism and Socialism was created by people living in America, a nation with one of the highest standards of living in history thanks to the free-market principles of capitalism that people like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez want to destroy. Another irony is how the majority of people in America, including Marxists and Socialists, will celebrate the day by spending money earned from their oppressive “bosses” on food and fun.
So, as you and I enjoy friends, family, food, and fun this Labor Day weekend, let’s remember what the folks at “In Defense of Marxism” had to say about this particular holiday — this “September holiday was conceived of and celebrated by socialists and militants within the labor movement.”
Happy Labor Day, Komrades!
David Leach is the owner of the Strident Conservative. He holds people of every political stripe accountable for their failure to uphold conservative values, and he promotes those values instead of political parties.
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