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Monday, September 5, 2011

Labor Day, a Day to Celebrate the Socialist Movement

"The whole gospel of Karl Marx can be summed up in a single sentence: Hate the man who is better off than you are. Never under any circumstances admit that his success may be due to his own efforts, to the productive contribution he has made to the whole community." — Henry Hazlitt

The first big Labor Day in the United States was observed on September 5, 1882, by the Central Labor Union of New York. It was first proposed by Peter J. McGuire of the American Federation of Labor in May 1882

Oregon was the first state to make it a holiday in 1887. By the time it became a federal holiday in 1894, thirty states officially celebrated Labor Day. Following the deaths of a number of workers at the hands of the U.S. military and U.S. Marshals during the Pullman Strike, President Grover Cleveland reconciled with the labor movement. Fearing further conflict, legislation making Labor Day a national holiday was rushed through Congress unanimously and signed into law a mere six days after the end of the strike. The September date originally chosen by the CLU of New York and observed by many of the nation's trade unions for the past several years was selected rather than the more widespread International Workers' Day because Cleveland was concerned that observance of the latter would stir up negative emotions linked to the Haymarket Affair, which it had been observed to commemorate. All U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and the territories have made it a statutory holiday.

The holiday is often regarded as a day of rest and parties. Speeches or political demonstrations are more low-key than May 1 Labor Day celebrations in most countries, although events held by labor organizations often feature political themes and appearances by candidates for office, especially in election years. Forms of celebration include picnics, barbecues, fireworks displays, water sports, and public art events. Families with school-age children take it as the last chance to travel before the end of summer recess. Similarly, some teenagers and young adults view it as the last weekend for parties before returning to school, although school starting times now vary. [Source: Wikipedia]

My first experience with a May 1st labor day parade was in London in 1977. I was amazed at the anger and animosity expressed by the marcher. They99-1760 copy carried large red banners calling for the nationalization of the banks and a four-day work week. To me the marchers looked like a bunch of young hooligans who did not want to work and were probably on the dole. They all wore badges or carried plaques promoting either the Socialist or Communist Party. I was quite taken by the display of anti-government, anti-capitalist, and anti-free enterprise signs and slogans. I knew England was a socialist prone nation, but I did not realize the extent of these “workers of the world unite” demands.

Growing up in the industrial, union city of Cleveland, Ohio I had seen Labor Day celebrations. They consisted of parades, picnics sponsored by trade unions, and veterans carrying American Flags. Of course if it were an election year there were the political campaign speeches by those running for local, state or federal office. If it was an off election year the politicians still showed up to shake hands and kiss babies. Most people went to these events for the fun, games and food, not to rant against the government or the companies that employed many of the people who attended. In fact the companies would sponsor some of the events providing food and beverages. Most people were more concerned with the coming school year and the progress being made by the Cleveland Browns. It was a fun time.

Today it is still pretty much like this in the United States. With the exception of the special interest groups that have infiltrated these Labor Day events. Now it’s the Gays and Lesbians protesting for gay marriage. It’s the dwindling unions demanding social justice and more compensation. It’s the Hispanic groups like La Raza and METCHA demanding rights for illegal immigrants. This is a far cry from the labor days of yesteryear.

It amazes me how the unions blend with these organizations that actually threaten the livelihoods of the union members. Today many of the building trades use non-union workers, mainly Hispanics who work for less than the union folks. In fact Cesar Chavez, the organizer of the Farm Workers Union, led a march into the Imperial Valley of California to protest the use of illegal immigrants in the fields. These workers were undermining his efforts to unionize the farm workers and fight for better pay and working conditions.

Recently Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis told an audience of Hispanics that the government should guarantee illegal immigrants right to a job and a fair wage. How can that be when it is deemed illegal for a business to hire and illegal immigrant?

Those who support an open borders policy don't seem to understand the basic laws of economics, such as the fact that migrant workers who pick fruit, work in construction and do other blue-collar jobs can never demand wage increases as long as a steady flow of their friends keeps coming up from the homeland. Somebody needs to remind them that Cesar Chavez was against illegal immigration because it ruined his union's chances of controlling the labor market, unionizing, and demanding better pay?

This Labor Day we have an official unemployment rate of 9.2%. If you into consideration those who have fallen off the rolls to the unemployed or are no longer looking for jobs the rate is closer to 16% In the inner cities the rate for African-Americans is 16% and for black youth it tops out at 40%. Not since the Great Depression of the 1930s has our unemployment reached these elevated numbers. During said depression the Roosevelt administration tried for seven years through government intervention to reduce unemployment, but nothing worked. In 1941, on the eve of World War Two the rate was still hanging around the 16% mark. It was only after Pearl Harbor and he vast numbers of men going into military service did the rate drop to around 4%.

President Obama had a fiery warm up act before his Labor Day speech in Detroit. According to Fox News Teamsters President Jimmy Hoffa warmed up the assembled audience of union radicals saying:

The rhetoric coming from speakers at the event was already heated before Hoffa took the stage. Hoffa then declared there’s a “war on workers” and vowed that organized labor would “remember in November” which lawmakers were opposing the president’s agenda.

“We’ve got to keep an eye on the battle that we face — a war on workers. And you see it everywhere. It is the Tea Party,” he said. “And there’s only one way to beat and win that war — the one thing about working people is, we like a good fight.”

Hoffa called on workers to get involved in opposing Tea Party-aligned lawmakers next November.

“President Obama, this is your army, we are ready to march,” Hoffa said. “But everybody here’s got to vote. If we go back, and keep the eye on the prize, let’s take these sons of bitches out.”

Yesterday Maxine Waters called for a trillion dollar jobs program. Yes that’s trillion with a T. "I’m talking about a jobs program of a trillion dollars or more. We’ve got to put Americans to work. That’s the only way to revitalize this economy. When people work they earn money, they spend that money, and that’s what gets the economy up and going," Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) told NBC's "Meet the Press."

Waters, like so many of today’s statist and intellectuals, have not learned one thing from history. Neither government, nor the unions can create jobs. Only the private sector can. For the government to create a job it basically takes a dollar out of the pocket of someone who has a job and earns money and puts it in the pocket of one who does not have a job. It’s like taking water from one end of the swimming pool and pouring it in the other end thinking you will raise the water level. When the private sector creates a job through investment of private capital it puts that capital to work creating more capital. The only way you can create a job is by providing goods or services people with the resources to buy will buy.

This Labor Day most people will not be thinking about jobs, unions or the government. They will not be going to union sponsored marches or events. Oh, the media will report on some of these events, but with a mere 10% of the labor force belonging to a private sector union you will not have interest or participation of past days. People will be taking their camper or boat and going to the local river or lake. They will be having backyard barbeques. they will be going to a local park or recreation area for a picnic. The topics of conversation will not be socialism or communism. It will not be how to redistributes the wealth. Most of the talk will focus on family matters, Obama’s failures and the upcoming professional football season, especially in Wisconsin.

So enjoy your government mandated long weekend, spend the time with family and friends and enjoy the burgers.

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