Happy Labor MEMORIAL Day

Even in this upside down-economy, where 95% of all gains went to those Americans ranked in the top 1% of wealth, and the value of America labor is so low that most families must maintain multiple income streams just to keep a roof over their heads, we still persist in celebrating the first Monday in September as “Labor Day.”

At this point, the somewhat arcane holiday has been appropriated by off-shoring retailers like Lowes, Best Buy and  Home Depot in order to flog merchandise with catch phrases like this one from Walmart:

Celebrate hard work with big savings.  Shop now.

Why not?  Labor unions are practically a thing of the past; Americans are being told that they must learn to work for third-world wages in order to compete for employment; and the social safety net that took a century to build is being systematically picked to shreds by a newly callous Republican party in order to satisfy the meanest perimeter of their fringy base.

We were sold a bill of goods in the ’80’s by so-called “free market capitalists,” and now the factories that built America’s middle class are empty and American labor is pretty much defined by low-wage, low-skill services.

Most of us don’t even have enough money to buy the cheap junk from overseas for which we bartered away our children’s future.

Not much to celebrate here.

We have Memorial Day to remember America’s fallen soldiers and sailors.  

Shouldn’t we just declare the first Monday in September Labor Memorial Day,”  and remember that the U.S. labor force fights a daily battle of diminishing returns in order to simply survive?

About Sue Prent

Artist/Writer/Activist living in St. Albans, Vermont with my husband since 1983. I was born in Chicago; moved to Montreal in 1969; lived there and in Berlin, W. Germany until we finally settled in St. Albans.

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