It’s Labor Day, and among many other predictable things, it means Electeds and Wannabes will do their best to sound, from the Right, pro-we built it working people who are taking back America, but unions are suspicious if not socialist. From the Left, the efforts will be to sound pro-middle class, play by the rules and work hard workers who are moving Forward!, with a cautious nod to unions (who will, mostly, cautiously nod back). Both Right and Left will, of course, feel the pain of whose struggles toward the American Dream aren’t exactly working out.
To a large extent, and as usual, the theoretical reasons for Labor Day won’t even be a passing thought in a day off, if you’re among those who actually get a paid day off. Add the just concluded Republican National Convention and the current Democratic National Convention, and Labor Day 2012 will be even less perceived as a day to think about the reason for the holiday. Well, other than as it might relate to a campaign stop, and what’s happening in Charlotte (the convention, not the advocates; they’re irrelevant unless, maybe, they clash with police).
Unions are like other unpleasant topics. We the People aren’t suppose to talk about them, at least not in any substantive sort of way. Just leave it to the owners of the Duopoly and the Electeds they employ, and don’t worry our little (presumably) middle class heads about such unpleasant things: Un- and under-employment. Poverty. Foreclosures. Student loans. Health care (we’re a long way from anything remotely “universal”). Or other things, like the highly invigorated military industrial complex (thanks, Ike, for the still appropriate description) and its relation to non-stop wars. Or the incredible and still expanding complex of agencies and technologies which are ostensibly to keep us safe by way of spying on us.
I remain convinced that one reason the Occupy and related movements met, and meet, with a large, militarized police presence, with tactics meant to distance, contain and disperse activists, multiple arrests of journalists actually trying to cover what is happening, and infiltration that at least a few times included efforts by the infiltrators to incite unlawful actions; with newly written rules aimed at closing down camps, and other anti-free speech and freedom of assembly actions … one reason such official actions occur is because of the message officials (whose version of reality is dutifully reported as fact by media and often accepted by We the Electorate) insisted wasn’t there: the incestuous relationship of government and giant, international corporations. Or as I still think accurate, the Two Party Front for the Oligarchy is in control and the controllers aren’t about to let anything happen that could seriously upset their elite status quo. That includes, by the way, maintaining the legacy parties’ campaign and elections choke hold.
Finally, from Green Party candidate Jill Stein, LABOR DAY MESSAGE: Winning labor’s battles requires independent politics:
I welcome and endorse the AFL-CIO’s campaign to finally fulfill President Roosevelt’s 1944 call for a second, Economic Bill of Rights, including the rights to jobs, living wages, labor unions, voting rights, health care, education, and retirement security. …
The great victories of labor have always been won by independent actions that pressured the political establishment to make concessions. The landmark National Labor Relations Act, which finally established workers’ right to collectively bargain, was adopted in 1935 under the pressure of independent labor political action in the factories, shops, and streets by the ascendant union movement and in the electoral arena in the form of many union resolutions calling for a labor party. The labor party resolutions had credibility because the labor-backed Farmer-Labor and Progressive parties in the Upper Midwest already had two governors, three Senators, and 12 Representatives in their camp in 1935 and they were considering an independent presidential campaign in 1936.
That all changed, Stein writes, when the AFL “rejected the labor party and went into the Democratic Party in 1936,” loosing leverage and becoming a “part of a coalition dominated by big business.”
She mentions a “small step toward independence” in the AFL-CIO’s decision not to make contributions “directly to Democratic committees and candidates,” but notes that the system of “independently” dispersing funds
… often means supporting the very same Democrats who are collaborating with the anti-worker forces that dominate Washington. The words ‘political independence’ are just that — words — that have no power unless it involves running labor candidates who can challenge both corporate parties. …
Labor has suffered a crushing series of political defeats in recent years and continuing a losing strategy is clearly unthinkable. It is time to practice the politics of courage rather than the politics of appeasement. Labor unions must offer reliable support to labor candidates running against both the corporate parties. And rank-and-file workers do not have to wait for the leadership to disentangle themselves from establishment politics.
Just yesterday I was told, again, that if I’d just realize how much worse Romney is than Obama, I’d know I should vote Democratic. And just a few days before that, someone told me that if more people understood how much worse Obama is than Romney, they’d vote Republican.
It’s Labor Day. And in the elite world of The Two Party Front for the Oligarchy, everything is under control.
(Labor Day Rosie poster via Photobucket)