Labor Day blues: What workers’ paradise?

By Maralyn Lois Polak

Once again, ordinary American workers – the heart and soul and blood and bone and muscle and guts of our nation – have been clobbered by greedy, elitist Bush-wah administration policies. And a happy Labor Day to you, too!

This Labor Day should be a rallying cry to reclaim our country from the radical right which has relentlessly gutted our Constitution to advance their pathetic Repug-nican brand of special interests.

Folks, this is an emergency!

We workers have seen our overtime eroded, our jobs outsourced, our pensions stolen, our health insurance dismantled, our unemployment escalated, our poverty multiplied, our retirement age threatened, our Social Security crippled, our Medicare impaired, our standard of living diminished, our environment debilitated, our civil liberties gutted, our “homeland security” decimated, our wishes disregarded, our interests ignored, our hopes demolished, our dreams destroyed …

And they call that progress?

Can you imagine, while researching the history of Labor Day – first celebrated Tuesday, Sept. 5, 1882, in New York City – I found this comment on the U.S. Department of Labor website:

Labor Day … is devoted to no man, living or dead, to no sect, race, or nation,” said Samuel Gompers, founder and longtime president of the American Federation of Labor. “All other holidays are in a more or less degree connected with conflicts and battles of man’s prowess over man, of strife and discord for greed and power, of glories achieved by one nation over another.

Ha! The feds said that? How ironic.

Here’s some further federal irony for you. The U.S. Census Bureau – yup, the gummint – just announced nearly 36 million Americans now live in poverty. They released this annual report a month early, hoping the public was distracted by summer fun. But if the Numb-o-crats are paying enough attention, these figures could be used as a cudgel in the presidential election. According to Reuters:

… 1.3 million Americans slid into poverty in 2003 as the ranks of the poor rose 4 percent to 35.9 million, with children and blacks worse off than most … The number of U.S. residents without health care coverage also rose by 1.4 million last year to 45 million, the highest level since 1999, and incomes were essentially stagnant.

Not a pretty picture.

Progressive tongues are wagging in reaction. I’m protecting their identities so they don’t get charged with Thought-Crimes:

  • “What I want to know is why the revolution is so long in coming!”

  • “Now Bush has outlawed overtime for 90 percent of U.S. workers, we will have many pauperazzi.”

  • “I have a friend who says he is out of here if Bush is re-elected.”

  • “Although Bush has certainly added fuel to this fire, and used human bodies as wood chips, he is only continuing what a long line of privileged white males in power began many years ago! What we are seeing, as are pretty much all other countries, is the end result of corporate greed, the World Bank, the IMF and other purveyors of deliberate poverty.”

  • “Imagine the household where a family of four lives on 18K: People like Bush have no clue what that means – they spend twice that on a car. The cheapest high-fat, low-nutrition food, clothes from Goodwill, illegal and unsafe daycare – the kind experts call warehousing, no books, the TV from rent-a-center that will end up costing them three times what it costs people with credit, no travel, no education, no escape. One more generation living in sludge.”

  • “I’m not a ‘progressive’ – I’m a communist Bolshevik … and my response is: Organize the unorganized! Industrial democracy, expropriate the expropriators, seize the means of production from the capitalists – without compensation – and run industries for the benefit of people, rather than profits.”

  • “Bush policies are responsible … Plainly, we’re being had. And is it because we’re stupid? No, it’s because the media dictate the terms of discussion, i.e., what’s acceptable and what isn’t. The idea that they don’t have a point of view firmly aligned with the class interests of America’s ruling strata is laughable. Unfortunately, no one’s laughing.”

  • “Of course. [Bush has] got his agenda, and it doesn’t include most Americans. Remember that scene in “Fahrenheit 9-11″ where Bush’s greeting attendees at a fund-raiser? He [congratulates] ‘the Haves and the Have-Mores – my base.’ [Well,] Bush’s taking care of his base.”

  • “I think the GOP should change its animal from the obese elephant to the slimmed-down horse’s [rump].”

Workers of America! I salute you! Let us rise up as one body, one voice, and send this Neocon hand-puppet and his impossibly corrupt oligarchic junta packing – back to Florida, where their nefarious hijinks may become obliterated by a future hurricane!