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The Real Meaning of Labor Day

Today is Labor Day. When I was younger, I didn’t understand what that meant. A day to celebrate labor? It was a strange concept. It didn’t mean much to me.

That was because to most Americans Labor Day means nothing. They take a day off work. They go shopping. They mark the end of summer.

The rest of the world doesn’t celebrate Labor Day, either. Instead, they celebrate something called May Day, or the International Workers’ Day.

May Day in China

May Day celebrates the contributions of the worker. It celebrates the union movement and the working class.

During May Day, there are numerous rallies and political protests.

May Day in Ecuador

That’s what Labor Day in the United States should about. It should be a day to commemorate the contributions of the American worker and the American working class. It should be a day of marches and rallies, a powerful reminder of the working man’s presence.

Indeed, May Day started out as a form of protest. People around the world protested an event which happened in America: the Haymarket Affair. During the Haymarket Affair, violence during a rally of workers led to the crushing of the anarchist movement in the United States. Ever since then, people around the world have celebrated May Day in commemoration of those workers in Chicago.

May Day in Paris

With the exception of America, of course, where the Haymarket Affair actually happened. On International Workers’ Day, people throughout the world have a holiday. Americans do not. Americans work on International Workers’ Day.

May Day in Tunisia

There’s a reason for this, of course. No American government will ever switch from Labor Day to May Day for the foreseeable future. Because if that happened, you see, America would turn Communist.

May Day in Russia

All this shows the weakness of the American working class. Traditionally America has always been very right-wing economically speaking; unions, for instance, are far less powerful here. The steadfast American refusal to celebrate May Day, a worldwide holiday commemorating a working-class protest which happened in America, is just another sign of this weakness. In a sense the American working class has been defeated.

May Day in the Philippines

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Right now, I am a college student living in southern California. I’ve been heavily following politics for as long as I can remember.

I would characterize myself as a left-leaning political moderate. I’m somewhat socially conservative and fairly economically liberal (as defined in the United States). I will attempt to maintain a high-level, respectful level of argumentation – even if I disagree vehemently with a particular person or a particular political viewpoint.