Saturday, May 01, 2010

May Day

It's May Day, people. International Workers' Day. Here's something we all need to know:

Most people living in the United States know little about the International Workers' Day of May Day. For many others there is an assumption that it is a holiday celebrated in state communist countries like Cuba or the former Soviet Union. Most Americans don't realize that May Day has its origins here in this country and is as "American" as baseball and apple pie, and stemmed from the pre-Christian holiday of Beltane, a celebration of rebirth and fertility.

In the late nineteenth century, the working class was in constant struggle to gain the 8-hour work day. Working conditions were severe and it was quite common to work 10 to 16 hour days in unsafe conditions. Death and injury were commonplace at many work places and inspired such books as Upton Sinclair's The Jungle and Jack London's The Iron Heel. As early as the 1860's, working people agitated to shorten the workday without a cut in pay, but it wasn't until the late 1880's that organized labor was able to garner enough strength to declare the 8-hour workday. This proclamation was without consent of employers, yet demanded by many of the working class.
On May 1, 1886, more than 300,000 workers in 13,000 businesses across the United States walked off their jobs in the first May Day celebration in history. In Chicago, the epicenter for the 8-hour day agitators, 40,000 went out on strike...

The above excerpt is from an article by by Eric Chase and you can read it all right here.

So, let me ask you something. Do you think the corporations would have just given us the eight hour work day out of the goodness of their hearts? No? Then this day is important. Really.


  1. You teach meditation; how much could you possibly know about work?
    Seriously, another Volvo Voter showing fake solidarity with "the masses".
    So phony. But you believe in ghosts/spirits/god, so lack of contact with reality is your line of work.

  2. I've worked for not a few corporations and can confirm, Ellie, that you are completely correct in what you say about them. No one needs to work for them in order to see what they are like.

  3. Anonymous11:56 AM

    Mr. Evans,

    You are really starting to piss me off! Why don't you just stay the hell away from this web site and take your hate mongering, ignorant attitude somewhere else?

    You know absolutely nothing about Sr. Ellie and the work she does. How dare you mock her on her own web site.

    I strongly suggest, Mr. Evans, that you have yourself thoroughly evaluated by a mental health clinician. You are definitely showing symptoms of someone who is mentally imbalanced!

    ann callaway

  4. Annie, you are a delight. If I'm ever in a street fight, I want you on my side. (I mean that as the highest of compliments.)

    You know, lately I've been working so hard and struggling through such exhaustion as a result that reading Mr. Evans' comment truly made me laugh. Don't know about work? I could wish! :-)

    I have, of course, belonged to three unions in my life - each one of which I resigned from in good standing when I was no longer working in the respective profession: The American Federation of Musicians, The American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association. I'm a very pro-union person.

  5. Wow, so Union-teachers' work has produced so many intelligent people here in the US.
    No wonder people are flocking back to cities to enjoy the benefits of their wonderful work. So many private schools are closing that it's hard to imagine how anyone could have wanted anything BUT a public school education-and teachers never ask for anything!
    Public worker unions should be banned; they're nothing but overpaid parasites.
    "Sr." means what? Sister? Another meaningless title.
    And Mainline protestantism is still shrinking away.....

  6. You know, Brad, I do think it might well be a good idea for you to find someone to talk to in order to understand where all this hostility comes from. You really don't know anything about me and yet you make such unkind and unwarranted assumptions.

    Yes, Sr. stands for Sister. I'm a nun in the Anglican tradition.

    As it happens, most of my teaching career was in a private prep school (where I taught mathematics) - not public schools. My AFT membership was required for a Saturday job I had teaching oboe for the D.C. Youth Orchestra Program. I was in the musicians union because of the performing jobs I had around town back when I lived in the Greater Washington D.C. area. I've played both unions jobs and non-union jobs. When I was not in the union the working conditions tended to be horrible and I had several instances of not being paid and then having no recourse. If you think musicianship is not hard work, then please go talk to someone who earns his or her living through performing. It will be illuminating.

    I have not attacked you or disparaged you in any way. How is it that do you feel so justified in directing hostility towards me? Maybe you don't even know yourself. It might be helpful for you to find out why.

    I would hate to turn comment moderation on but I've done it before and will do so again if I find I can't count on civility from people who comment. I'm happy for there to be disagreement here but it's not necessary to be unkind, unpleasant, or unfactual.

    Oh and, by the way, I could never afford a Volvo. I drive a Ford Focus.


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