Greetings everyone, I pray y’all had a wonderful and relaxing Labor Day weekend. This weekend represents the “official” end of summer and the “official” beginning of another college football season. But I just had to reflect on what Labor Day was intended to be. It began back in the late 19th Century with the intention of recognizing the American labor movement and the worker. The first state to recognize Labor Day as a holiday was Oregon in 1887. The United States officially recognized Labor Day as a federal holiday in 1894, 30 States had already recognized it as a public holiday. Of course, some may say that Labor Day emanated as a Marxist concept, rooted in the elevation of the proletariat – workers or working-class people, regarded collectively. Going back to ancient Rome, this class of citizens was regarded as the lowest, also termed the plebian class, as commoners.
One could make an assertion that the creation of Labor Day into the United States was the first introduction of Marxism onto our shores. However, it was an important aspect of our national development to give recognition to those everyday people who built this nation as we entered our industrial age. I find it interesting that the left’s societal view is on the “collective,” and as labor unions formed, their main purpose was “collective bargaining” for the workers. I suppose, individually, the belief was that the workers could not stand up for themselves. But as we examine Labor Day today, 2018, one must ask, has the progressive, socialist left lost its connection with the proletariat? The left today is more focused on the academic, political, cultural, media, and entertainment elites – the patrician class. There is one thing that remains consistent, the left still hates the Bourgeoisie class, the small business entrepreneurs.
In true Marxist, socialist principle, it was Barack Obama back in 2012, in Roanoke, Virginia, who made that classic statement: “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that.”
But there is an even greater hypocrisy that the left faces when it comes to “labor.” Today’s left does not want to see Americans working. Just think about the high levels of unemployment and Americans in poverty and on food stamps during the Obama administration. When President Trump announced the historic low levels of black unemployment in America at his 2018 State of the Union address, members of the Congressional Black Caucus scowled. At a time when American workers are now receiving bigger paychecks and bonuses, leftists like Nancy Pelosi referred to the increased financial resources as “crumbs.” That is rather disconcerting since it was the same Pelosi who praised the payroll tax cuts of the Obama administration, which yielded a mere $30 of financial increase in worker paychecks.
Let’s be honest, today’s progressive, socialist left does not want labor, and they do not want Americans working. Even Bill Maher admitted that he wanted an economic recession. Why? It is simple. When people are working, they are becoming economically empowered, and economic empowerment means economic independence. The left does not want economic empowerment for the American worker, individuals. The left does not want economic independence. They need dependence. That is why the left would prefer insidious government, top down programs such as the Bernie Sanders and Cory Booker, Government Guaranteed Jobs program.
Why is it that at a time when we have more Americans working than ever in our history, and still have millions of job positions open – like tens of thousands of truck driving jobs – progressive, socialist leftists come up with incompetent schemes like a guaranteed government jobs program? Along with that, the other, accompanying, absurd leftist policy tomfoolery is a thing called a Universal Basic Income – meaning government free money. Of course, this delusional absurdity is being touted in progressive socialist bastions like California and Chicago. Yes, the left just wants to give money to those they deem needy. That means the seminal Marxist maxim of wealth redistribution is alive and well here in America: “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.” Yep, that sounds nice, caring, even romantic, but it is deeply established in emotionalism, and emotionalism leads to despotism. Furthermore, when you refuse to see citizens as individuals but rather as a collective, one tends to search out means by which the collection can be manipulated and ruled, not governed.
Yes, sure, the leftists reading this missive will respond that they still do support the labor movement in the United States. My response would be this: why, of course, they do.
The left truly does want unionized labor. Some examples would be the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the National Educators Association (NEA), American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), and of course the American Federation of Labor/Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL/CIO). Having more workers in those groups, forcibly in many cases, means dues collection. And those resources go to support the advance of more progressive, socialist policies, and electoral gains. Once these organizations did fight to ensure workers’ rights, and they were needed. Now these unions are led by a new plebian class of elites who are paid exorbitant salaries who gain favor by keeping the proletariat in line.
These unions do very well in organizing workers to protest and demand a “living wage” – yet another example of the adept ability of the left to manipulate language. Who came up with the $15/hour number? Why not $20/hour or even more? Why are these groups not pushing for a better economic quality of life, empowerment, by advocating for the $60K/year jobs? Simple, because who will need the progressive, socialist left if they are earning a real “living wage” in a permanent job that is part of the economic revitalization of our republic?
The progressive, socialist left no longer believes in the power of labor. They do embrace the collectivization of the proletariat under the rule of labor unions. However, individual productivity and entrepreneurship, along with policies that spur on economic growth – not Keynesian government-centered spending – are rejected by todays leftists because they need dependence, not economic independence.
Famed orator, educator, and former slave, Booker T. Washington founded Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute, and he was a great advocate for labor. Here are two of his many great quotes: (1) “Dignify and glorify common labor. It is at the bottom of life that we must begin, not at the top;” and (2) “At the bottom of education, at the bottom of politics, even at the bottom of religion, there must be for our race economic independence.”
Labor Day should not be about labor unions; it should be about celebrating economic independence for all Americans, and in particular, the American worker.
Allen West is a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army. Mr. West is a Senior Fellow at the Media Research Center to support its mission to expose and neutralize liberal media bias and is author of the forthcoming book from Brown Books Publishing Group coming this fall, “Hold Texas, Hold the Nation: Victory or Death.”