Knights of Labor
The original May Day was born of the movement for an eight-hour workday. After the Civil War, unregulated capitalism ran
Even before the grand denouement of the Great Depression and New Deal arrived, an answer to the labor question was surfacing, one that would put an end to the long era of anti-capitalism.
Although the word "iconic" tends to be overused these days, the term certainly applied to Mother Jones. For roughly 60 years she was the working man's spiritual leader and benefactor -- part Madonna, part mediator, part rabble-rouser -- a labor icon in every sense of the word.
While the history of the American labor movement is filled to overflowing with examples of conspicuous courage and unwavering solidarity, labor's history is also littered with examples of ethnic and racial biases.
Unlike the rest of the world's democracies, the United States doesn't use the metric system, doesn't require employers to provide workers with paid vacations, hasn't abolished the death penalty, and doesn't celebrate May Day as an official national holiday.
We have a choice: Americans can continue to accept large-scale unemployment as "natural" and permanent. Or we can follow the lead of the jobless young in the Arab Spring and of protestors beginning to demonstrate en masse in Europe.
The only distinguishing feature of the Americans for Prosperity Foundation's "National Defending the American Dream Summit" was its astonishing homogeneity both in thought and in demography.