I don’t think that I’ve ever really celebrated Labor Day until today. That is, done something on Labor Day that actually is related to the labor movement.
Today I attended the California Labor Federation’s annual Labor Day picnic here in Sacramento — in large part to see Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown speak, but also to show my support for the labor movement, which has been diminished since Repugnican Ronald Reagan took the White House in 1980. (And I am a member of one of the unions that is under the California Labor Federation.)
Brown gave an impassioned, energetic speech for which he did not use any notes; I was able to watch him and several other Democratic candidates for office speak to the crowd from only a few yards away from the stage. (The Sacramento Bee’s website posted a videorecorded portion of Brown’s speech here. The Los Angeles Times covered Brown’s speech, capturing his more salient quotes — such as “It’s not a time to scapegoat illegal immigrants or scapegoat public employees,” as Team Nutmeg has done in order to divert the voters’ attention from the plutocrats and the corporatocrats — here.)
Brown’s physical and mental agility, which I had wanted to witness myself, leave me no doubt that he is the candidate who could lead California out of the mess that Repugnican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger promised in the bullshit gubernatorial recall do-over election of 2003 that he’d lead us out of, but which has only worsened under Schwarzenegger’s watch (surprise surprise).
While as a registered member of the Green Party I have had my differences with the Democratic Party — I’m not thrilled with the Clinontesque President Barack Obama, for starters — that the Democratic Party is the much, much better deal for working Americans than is the Repugnican Party is a fucking no-brainer.
Repugnican California gubernatorial candidate billionaire Nutmeg Whitman’s spokesweasel’s response to the unions’ support of Brown was: “The unions have spent more than $18 million to help Jerry Brown. And it’s no surprise that they would continue their investment through these tactics.”
So it’s perfectly fine for billionaire bitch Megalomaniac Whitman to spend more than $100 million of her personal wealth in her egotistical quest for the governorship, even though she’s never held any elected office before and usually couldn’t even be bothered to vote. (And such obscene personal wealth is created only by paying your employees much less than the value of their labor and charging your customers much more than the value of your product or service, by the way — this legalized thievery is called “business” or “capitalism.”)
But for the organizations of the common worker to spend even a fraction of what Nutmeg has spent is horrible, according to the multi-million-dollar Whitman machine. We workers should just unilaterally disarm ourselves and allow all of the millionaires and billionaires like Megalomaniac Whitman buy office so that, like George W. Bush and Dick Cheney turned the nation over to Big Oil, they can use our governmental apparatus to help all of their already-filthy-rich buddies. (Nutmeg’s message to us union members apparently is something along the lines of “Surrender, Dorothy!” [And our little dogs, too!])
I love it when Repugnicans claim to be populists, claim to care about working people, but also bash unions, bash the organizations that actually support working people. We working people, finding power through our unions, the most effective way that we can, are just a “special interest,” you see.
Think about it: in the Repugnican world view, labor unions are bad. (Not too surprising, I suppose, since to the Repugnican Party accessible health care also is a huge evil. [“Socialism”! “Tyranny”!] And to want to do something even about global warming — the North Pole is literally melting away, for fuck’s sake — also is horrible, since it cuts into short-term corporate profits, which, to the Repugnican Tea Party, are even more important than is the continued survival of Homo sapiens.)
To be sure, in the past there has been some wrongdoing by some union leaders — power corrupts — but the overall contribution of the labor movement has meant better working conditions for everyone, including the abolishment of child labor, much safer working environments, workers’ benefits, and the institution of the weekend, for fuck’s sake.
I wholeheartedly agree with Washington Post columnist’s E.J. Dionne Jr.’s conclusion that “We should miss labor’s influence more than we do.” While I’ve given up on the baby boomers — they’ve turned to shit everything that they’ve touched, have thoroughly squandered their inheritance from the “Greatest Generation,” including the healthy labor movement that their parents handed over to them* — it is incumbent upon us members of Generation X and Generation Y to revive the labor movement, which has been chipped away at since the Reagan years.
And if you are an average working American and you actually vote anti-labor Repugnican, you are a chicken voting for Colonel Sanders. If you actually buy the Repugnican Party’s populist rhetoric despite its actual record of delivering for the common working American, you pollute the gene pool.
*While George W. Bush is the quintessential baby boomer, having attained (through cheating) a high post for which he was utterly unqualified (and then using that post to benefit only his cabal of cronies), that is what we can expect of a Repugnican. Baby boomer Bill Clinton, as a Democrat (in name only), had no excuse not to resuscitate the labor movement during his eight years in office.