Tag Archives: Labor Day

What I did this Labor Day

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 warmingthe 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.

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Thoughts on this Labor Day

A nationwide Gallup poll taken last month on the state of labor in the United States is dismal but not surprising.

When asked, “Do you approve or disapprove of labor unions?”, 48 percent of the respondents said they approve, 45 percent said they disapprove, and 7 percent said they weren’t sure.

Only about one in five of the poll respondents reported having someone in their household who is a member of a labor union.

When asked whether they believe that in the future labor unions will become stronger, will become weaker, or will remain the same as they are today, 48 percent said weaker, 24 percent said stronger, 24 percent said the same, and 4 percent said they were unsure.

I’m a member of a union, albeit a weak one, so I guess that makes me one of the one in five Americans or so who are a member of a labor union. That number should be much higher.

I’m no expert on the history of labor unions, but it seems to me that labor unions took several hits over several decades.

From 1981 to 1989 were the Reagan years, and then from 1989 to 1993 were the George Bush I years — 12 years of anti-labor sentiment in the White House. Then from 1993 to 2001 were the Clinton years, and centrist Clinton was weak on supporting labor, to put it mildly. Then from 2001 to 2009 were eight more years of a Repugnican in the White House. So for almost 30 years, labor unions haven’t had a strong ally in the White House.

No wonder labor unions are on life support.

My main problem with the labor movement and labor unions is that their approach has been to beg for scraps from the rich.

Wrong approach.

The right approach is for the people to own the means of production — not to beg the rich who own the means of production for a few more crumbs.

Which, of course, makes me a communist or socialist.

Proud of it!

Speaking of anti-capitalism, the wingnuts are going to go even more ape shit shortly with the release of two anti-capitalist films.

First and foremost, of course, is Michael Moore’sCapitalism: A Love Story,” set for release on October 2. I’m so there on opening day.

In case you have been living in a cave with Osama bin Laden and don’t know Moore’s stance on capitalism, he says this about it: “Capitalism is an evil, and you cannot regulate evil. You have to eliminate it and replace it with something that’s good for all people, and that something is called democracy.”

I wholeheartedly concur. An economic system that is based upon greed can’t be good. To get filthy rich, you have to pay your employees much less than the fair value of their labor, and you have to charge your customers much more than the fair value of the good or service that you provide.

Whom would Jesus screw over? Funny how the wingnuts equate capitalism with Christianity when surely Jesus would have none of capitalism’s obvious evils.

Further, as Moore indicates, we no longer have democracy in the United States, because democracy is rule by the people. We have corporatocracy — rule by the corporations, which need to be contained. And democracy needs to be restored.

I also read today that Oliver Stone has made a film about Venezuela President Hugo Chavez, whom for eight years the unelected, mass-murdering Bush regime called a “dictator,” even though Chavez, unlike the Bush regime, never stole a single fucking election and never killed a bunch of innocent people.

Reuters reports that Stone’s new film about Chavez, titled “South of the Border,” is “a sympathetic portrait of the leader, casting him as a champion of the poor who has stood up to Washington.” (Reuters calls the film a “documentary,” not a “docudrama” or the like.)

It sounds like Stone’s is a much different picture of Chavez than the Bush regime’s propagandists relentlessly painted, so Stone’s film, should it get a wide audience in the United States, should generate an interesting reaction among the fucktards who think that the capitalists and the corporations wuv them so much.

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