Image: If you find a picture of a red fist ironic in a celebration of Labor Day, you’re getting the point.
“A celebration honoring the American worker.” – Almanac.com
“Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.” – United States Department of Labor
By Daniel New, Guest Writer to The Golden Hammer
Do you believe everything you’re told? That’s not at all what Labor Day was originally about.
Beginning in the late 1860’s, the Labor Movement in America was started by radical forces who sought to stir up a Communist revolution in America, creating strife between workers and employers. May 1, “May Day”, has always been a favorite of the Socialist forces around the world. “More pay for less work” has always been their favorite foot in the door to any point of civil unrest.
Curiously, the American Labor Day is not celebrated on May 1, but on the first Monday in September. But it’s the same movement, in honor of the same things – class warfare between rich and poor, labor and industry, in short, what Marx called “the struggle of the dialectic.” Labor Day is without argument the most communist holiday in the world, whether celebrated on May 1 or first Monday in September.
The Haymarket Strike of 1886, in Chicago, was instigated by hundreds of foreign-born radical community organizers, demanding an eight-hour work day, for no cut in pay. When the demonstration got violent, as intended, the police moved in to break it up. Someone threw a bomb, several police were killed, and riots broke out, as they retaliated. Several ringleaders were arrested, some were sentenced to death.
According to the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW): “It is inaccurate to say that labor unions were ‘taken over’ by anarchists and socialists, but rather anarchists and socialist made up the labor unions.” (See iww.org). That influence was already evident as early as the Civil War, when Karl Marx was a correspondent and an admirer of Abraham Lincoln. Anything that stirred civil discord and overthrew any establishment of society was appealing to Marx.
One of the great ironies of all this is that “enlightened self-interest” brought the American worker better pay and better hours. When Henry Ford found that demand outstripped his ability to produce automobiles, he raised the pay of mechanics and assembly line workers from the prevailing $2 a day to $3, then $4, then $5! In doing that, he could get the best mechanical workers in the country, making Michigan the center of automotive manufacturing for well over a century. Ford also added shifts, and while he could work two shifts for ten hours a day, it became much more productive to work three shifts around the clock at eight hours a day.
In other words, Free Market Capitalism did far more to improve the plight of the American worker than did enforced Labor Laws. Many leading industrialists hated Ford because he forced them to pay more for skilled labor. Competition. No matter what Marx said, “Labor is a commodity.” We each sell our labor for as much as we can get for it.
So how did it come to be that Henry Ford finally accepted the unions in to Ford Motor Company (FMC)? Perhaps it was inevitable, with the passage of the Wagner Act of 1935, mandating the right to collective bargaining. But it was not only government decree, but by a desire for marital harmony. Clara Bryant Ford, one very strong-willed woman, considered herself an advocate for the families of her husband’s employees. As pressure mounted, and some bloody battles were fought, Ford told his wife he was going to shut down his American factories, rather than submit to the tyranny of what he considered communist labor unions. Clara told him that he had a choice. He could unionize FMC, or he could remain married to her – that she was going to Europe and whether she returned to Detroit was completely up to him. Whereupon, he signed the contract and the unions were allowed into Ford factories.
If you’re fortunate enough to have a job, then you work hard to support the millions on welfare – another Socialist scheme. So enjoy your day off. It’s a mix. Thank your employer. And thank Karl Marx. AND thank Clara Ford.
Daniel New is a Constitutional philosopher who is a longtime citizen of Montgomery County.