Why Labour Day?
The parties of the capitalist big shots in parliament established the
Labour Day holiday in 1894. (In the United States, 1887.)
They were eager to divert workers from the May 1 International
Workers’ Day, a day associated with the demand for a shorter work
week, official lynchings of militant workers (Chicago) and massive
internationalist protests.
A section of the established trade union movement went along with
this ploy, helping the capitalists dampen enthusiasm for working class demands.
Who would say no to a paid holiday? We need more paid holidays, like
in Europe where May 1 and International Women’s Day are paid holidays
in many countries.
Labour Day is a good example of a reform that worked to divide the
working class struggle, raise false expectations that we are on the
path to a better society under capitalism, and downplay the need for
political struggle by the trade union movement.
Labour Day weakened the international solidarity of workers in Canada
with all the struggles of workers in other countries. It worked to
divide Canada from the struggles of workers targeted by the
imperialism of our continent.
The holiday augured the rise of North America as the centre of global
imperialism for the last century, a position our modern imperialists
are anxious to defend even if it means another world war.
To this day, if you want to measure the scope, depth and unity of the
class struggle, see which countries have the largest May Day protests
(Cuba, Venezuela, etc.)
The real story of Labour Day is that militant trade unions and
growing international solidarity of workers gave us this holiday.
Give us more holidays.
Enjoy the weekend,
Darrell Rankin, Leader, Communist Party of Canada – Manitoba.
CPC Candidate, Winnipeg Centre.