"Let heavier work be laid on them; then they will labor at it and pay no attention to deceptive words."

Only the USA would celebrate their Labour Day on the 6th. September so that it doesn’t get confused with the real thing (true – I checked it out on Wiki).

From Tracie:

This is for all those workers who, over the decades upon decades, have worked and struggled and in some cases fought and died for workers’ rights (yay unions). Today we tip our hats to the working man.

CHICAGO by Carl Sandburg

Hog Butcher for the World,

Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat,

Player with Railroads and the Nation’s Freight Handler;

Stormy, husky, brawling,

City of the Big Shoulders:

They tell me you are wicked and I believe them, for I have seen your painted women under the gas lamps luring the farm boys.

And they tell me you are crooked and I answer: Yes, it is true I have seen the gunman kill and go free to kill again.

And they tell me you are brutal and my reply is: On the faces of women and children I have seen the marks of wanton hunger.

And having answered so I turn once more to those who sneer at this my city, and I give them back the sneer and say to them:

Come and show me another city with lifted head singing so proud to be alive and coarse and strong and cunning.

Flinging magnetic curses amid the toil of piling job on job, here is a tall bold slugger set vivid against the little soft cities;

Fierce as a dog with tongue lapping for action, cunning as a savage pitted against the wilderness,

Bareheaded,

Shoveling,

Wrecking,

Planning,

Building, breaking, rebuilding,

Under the smoke, dust all over his mouth, laughing with white teeth,

Under the terrible burden of destiny laughing as a young man laughs,

Laughing even as an ignorant fighter laughs who has never lost a battle,

Bragging and laughing that under his wrist is the pulse. and under his ribs the heart of the people,

Laughing!

Laughing the stormy, husky, brawling laughter of Youth, half-naked, sweating, proud to be Hog Butcher, Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat, Player with Railroads and Freight Handler to the Nation.

And this one is from me, for all the reds under those American beds. Your day will come because you have God on your side.

Comments

"Let heavier work be laid on them; then they will labor at it and pay no attention to deceptive words." — 22 Comments

  1. We have noticed. of course our day started with the murders at the Pullman strike and Cleveland then trying to make nice with the unions. We however would not want to be mixed up with and commie pinkos who celebrate on May 1

  2. Well, actually Canada and the U.S. both celebrate Labor Day on the first Monday in September.

    But in Australia it is celebrated according to the state and territory governments…so 3 celebrate it on first Monday in October, 2 on the second Monday in March, 1 on the first Monday in March, and 2 on the first Monday in May.

    Then again in New Zealand, they celebrate it on the fourth Monday in October.

    These are all days to celebrate the economic and social achievements of workers.

    So what’s ur point?

  3. The president got to set the date back when. Grover Cleveland to whom my wife is related (on the wrong side of the bed 🙂 ) wanted a date as far as possible from May Day. So here we are with the first Monday of September.

    ;;sigh;;

    I wrote about it a bit too: Jim’s Thoughts

    ;;sigh;;

    FWIW
    jimB

  4. One of the very very few poems I can stand up and recite

    As opposed to the poems you recite after a couple of bottles of decent wine in a more horizontal position 🙂

  5. Well yes but the poems we tend to know in Chicago for recitation after a few beers are not for a family blog….

    🙂

    FWIW
    jimB

  6. As opposed to the poems you recite after a couple of bottles of decent wine in a more horizontal position 🙂

    Excellent!! LOL

    (Jim – excellent too) 🙂

  7. Anywhere near the beach celebrates Labor Day as the unofficial end of summer/back to school day.
    Celebrating May Day as Labor day is an American invention.
    And a lot of unions are public employee unions about as popular with many Americans as cockroaches.

  8. Labor Day on May 1st is an American invention, to commemorate the Haymarket riot in Chicago, the unknown number of dead in the bomb explosion and subsequent police riot, and the anarchists who got blamed and hung for it (unjustly).

    After more than 30 years of Republican and plutocratic brainwashing, it’s no wonder that many Americans hate labor unions and are convinced that they can somehow win the lottery and have it all. We’ve been sold on the idea that we don’t have to do the responsible thing for our families, our neighbors, or ourselves. All we have to do is buy an armload of lottery tickets and all will be well.

    It looks like in this Second Gilded Age that we’re going to have to learn the lessons of our grandparents all over again, and the hard way.

    Our Overlords don’t give a rat’s about us, and never did, and never will. Everything we have from the 40 hour work week, to workman’s comp, to Social Security, to the minimum wage, to workplace safety, to regulations on child labor had to be fought for. No one gave those things to workers out of noblesse oblige or the goodness of their greedy black little dried out hearts. People fought long and hard for them, and finally won after generations of struggle.

    It looks like we will have to fight again to keep what was fought for and won already.

  9. If they could get away with bringing back slave labor, they would do it.

    I can just hear the pundits on Fox News trying to make the case that we are doing people a favor by forcing them to work for nothing … “tough love” “self discipline” “work ethic” or some other kind of bullshit.

  10. I like Billy Bragg a lot, but doesn’t he own a rather nice house in the west country? If so, hasn’t he committed the ‘sin of property’ just like the rest of us homeowners?

    Don’t get me wrong – I thoroughly agree with 90% of what he stands for. I just think that when we use songs as anthems the way he uses this one, we ought to be a bit more careful about lyrical content.

  11. I expect Billy feels guilty about it in the same way the two of us feel guilty about preaching the Gospel of Christ from our situations of relative affluence whilst others starve.

  12. There was a young man from Chicago
    Who heard of a French wine embargo.
    He went down to the ship
    And in just half a tick
    He’d consumed the entire bloomin’ cargo.

  13. I’ve always thougth it is interesting that May 1 is celebrated, by lawyers in the US, as Law Day. Part irony, part celebration of one more tool for the working class.

  14. expect Billy feels guilty about it in the same way the two of us feel guilty about preaching the Gospel of Christ from our situations of relative affluence whilst others starve.

    True enough.

  15. I’m all for killing capitalism and burning the body, sprinkling the ashes with holy water, then burying it a crossroads, but to replace one economy with another economy kinda misses the point.