Monday, September 7, 2009

Editorial: Labor Day's purpose is not exactly clear

So the unnamed Courier editor is mystified about the meaning of Labor Day, huh? This is bunk. I know he's not that stupid.

He even seems to steal a few phrases and ideas from the Wikipedia entry, which provides a detailed account not only of the origins of the holiday, but its continuing reason for being as well. It's just not that hard to figure out.

So if there's clearly no mystery and the information is dead easy to find, the remaining explanation for the editor's feigned ignorance -- which, the reader should note, he has elevated to the official stance of the paper -- is that he wants to encourage doubt in the reader's mind about the value of the holiday. This has been a goal of authoritarians ever since the Labor Day and May Day traditions began in the labor struggles of the 19th century, rooted in the violent suppression of serfs and slaves by medieval aristocrats. These holidays remind people of the value of work and the advancement of working conditions we usually take for granted and identify as ordinary in the civilized world, all won by working people facing severe and often violent opposition from the forces of profit.

The editor, falling in with the corporatists and authoritarians he admires, wants you to forget, and instead sink into the couch of consumerism, giving away the little power and social justice that the non-rich have won from the rich over the last 200 years. Perhaps his employees, who work long hard hours for pittances, should take notice.