« DPBC Seeks State Fair Volunteers | Main | 3rd Annual Gila River Festival: Celebrating NM's Last Free-Flowing River »

Friday, August 31, 2007

Labor Day Weekend: Remember the Meaning

I'm finding it hard to believe that Labor Day Weekend is here already. Where did the Summer go? Thankfully, New Mexico usually has absolutely exquisite Fall weather so our outdoor activities will actually pick up here as the monsoon rains start fading. As we celebrate the holiday weekend at fun events, let's remember the real meaning of Labor Day. For starters, check out a handful of posts on the AFL-CIO Now blog that examine the origins and history of Labor Day.

This Labor Day, I find myself thinking about these historical quotes and, unfortunately, how much they apply to today's situation:

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron. -- Dwight Eisenhower 1953 speech

No business which depends for existence on paying less than living wages to its workers has any right to continue in this country. By living wages I mean more than a bare subsistence level–I mean the wages of decent living. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt

If any man tells you he loves America, yet hates labor, he is a liar. If any man tells you he trusts America, yet fears labor, he is a fool. -- Abraham Lincoln

Workers of the world awaken. Break your chains, demand your rights. All the wealth you make is taken, by exploiting parasites. Shall you kneel in deep submission from your cradle to your grave. Is the height of your ambition to be a good and willing slave? -- Joe Hill, from the song “Workers of the World Awaken”

While at YearlyKos in Chicago this month, we attended a rally sponsored by the Teamsters union designed to encourage the forces of the netroots and labor to work together in a big way. Check out the video to hear Markos and Teamsters General President James Hoffa underline what we have in common and why we need to work together for change -- including holding every Democratic candidate accountable to working people. Gov. Bill Richardson was one of the Dem presidential candidates who spoke at the Teamsters rally and you can see that here.

I can't help but ponder the damage done to the interests of working people by the Bush administration as discussed in a piece by AFSCME's international president Gerald McEntee on Huffington Post. Excerpt:

From the time George Bush was appointed by the Supreme Court in 2000, college tuition has shot up 56 percent. The cost of gasoline has gone up 107 percent. Forty-seven million Americans -- nearly 16 percent of our nation -- don't have health insurance. Almost 37 million Americans live below the poverty line. Corporate profits have gone up, while income for working Americans has gone down. Home foreclosures are increasing at a record rate. Pensions are at risk as employers break their promises to employees. Bush's tax cuts have not benefited those most in need of them -- working families -- but the billionaires who are his loyal supporters.

The fact is that the people whose labor has fueled our nation's economy have suffered greatly under George Bush.

The latest outrage? Action prompted by the Bush administration to allow Mexican trucks to carry goods on American roads. That way, we can put even more people out of work or at least lower their pay, concepts to which Bush seems supremely dedicated.

August 31, 2007 at 02:53 PM in 2008 Presidential Primary, Corporatism, Economy, Populism, Labor | Permalink


Good post with excellent quotes about the plight of the worker, and the citizen, and what they are going through.

Posted by: | Sep 1, 2007 1:06:58 PM

I agree with Larry. We need to get Democrats to remember they are the party of the people - the workers - not the corporations. We have to hold them accountable and keep their feet to the fire or they'll keep pleasing their cronies and not us.

Posted by: I Vote | Sep 1, 2007 4:50:02 PM

Our supposedly liberal US Senator Bingaman voted for CAFTA in exchange for a mess of pottage. Our Senator Domenici thinks there are no problems with the Bush administration. Congressman Udall has not supported impeachment, but instead arranges the deck chairs on the Titanic. We don't have leaders, we have cheerleaders for corporations.

Posted by: | Sep 1, 2007 10:54:50 PM

Post a comment