It is May Day ’08

I am going to celebrate this day with yet a 5th reading of Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto. This might be the day American businesses stop exploiting the labor of Mexican Americans — legal or not. To me labor is labor, as long as you are not asking this student [here].

According to Democratic Socialist of America (DSA):

May, 1886: several hundred thousand American workers of the Knights of Labor, the American Federation of Labor, and socialist and anarchist groups all demonstrated for the Eight Hour Day. It was the center of a world-wide movement for shorter working hours. Even the song lyrics of the American movement, “Eight hours for work/eight hours for sleep/eight hours for what we will,” argued for a “natural” pace of life in tune with the seasons, rather than the long hours and miserable conditions imposed by the capitalists.

The catastrophe of the day, a police riot in Chicago against anarchists and a subsequent murderous frame-up of their leaders for bomb-throwing, could not entirely overshadow the excitement of the moment. Working people had spoken. For many anarchists but not only for them, the day also retained the special significance of martyrdom, the occasion to mourn the great heroes of Haymarket who had died from the hangman, unrepentant in their revolutionary fervor.


8 thoughts on “It is May Day ’08

  1. Interesting piece about the 8 hour work day. I have had many jobs, though where 8 hours was never enough to get the job done, plus in my field(s) there is generally no overtime pay. I am certainly not exploited in anyway, and I think we can afford more than we think we can. When people are willing to pony up $40.00 for a microwaved meal at Olive Garden, and then complain about how much the rising prices of food hurt them, I gag a little. They don’t know what hurt is. Okay, I’ll quit rambling.

  2. Its the very fact that many Mexicans are here illegally that makes them vulnerable to exploitation. Its sad really. They are outside the law and thus outside the protection of the law. They can be fired, paid lower than minimum wage, denied health benifits and they really have no recourse because they are affraid to come forward because of theur illegal status. Still, they must think its worth it because they still come over in droves to be “exploited”.

  3. What if someone wants to work more than 8 hours of day of work?

    Isn’t the glory of capitalism that if your employer is “forcing” you to work too long of hours, that you can simply quit and find a new job?

    Stupid unions screwing up the market

  4. To walkerparkhill: I have such fun quitting and finding new jobs! Why do cats like you think that “fair” means giving all of the rights and freedoms to corporations while the otherwise-beloved individual is stuck with the costly and very inconvenient task of finding that glorious new job? Labor laws set a floor for labor to stand on–unless management uses them as a ceiling to keep you from standing up straight.

    I guess we know who the serious scholar is here, Carson. My May reading about labor issues is Ball Four by Jim Bouton.

    Contrasts are interesting, to say the least, aren’t they?

  5. I’ve looked at your site, Mr. walkerparkerhill, and I STILL can’t tell if you’re using sarcasm. It’s either very late, or you’re too subtle for me. Keep a man from weeping into his pillow. Tell me which it is. Thanks.

  6. rationalpsychic:

    Parkhill, I am almost sure, is using sarcasm. We get along too well for him to be serious about this stuff. Though, he wants you to believe it. I’ve always thought that about him.

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