Lest We Forget Labour this weekend!

Lest We Forget Labour this weekend!

Salinas : CA : USA | Sep 02, 2010 at 12:15 AM PDT
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Tom Joad Song

Labour Day is soon upon us. It is a time for last picnics and Barbeques..a chance to have that last fling at summer as it fades. Roar around the lake for the last time in the speedboat...tuck in the patio for the winter...worry about how you're gonna pay for the kids' school supplies. Same old; same old.

BUT..it is a holiday meant to remember the sacrifices many long lost souls have made to make things better for the "working class". The 8 hour day...Sundays off...the ability to have safety and representation in the workplace.

This Holiday weekend was paid for in the blood of a million martyrs. From Textile workers in New York to copper miners in Ludlow, Colorado or Calumet, Michigan...we enjoy the blessings of this weekend on THEIR bloody backs.

These ARE Hard Times..of that there is no doubt. And during these Hard Times many workers are forced to go that "extra mile" if they want to keep their jobs. There are many employers who take advantage of these times to ensure we all "tow the line". After all, there are many who will take your place. Be it here..or overseas.

I am a Socialist..and I make few bones about it. Like my father and my Grandfather and even my own brothers..we have all worked hard in mining and logging and mills and transportation to both earn a living and make things better for our fellow workers. My Grandpa and father are long since dead..and my brothers (like me!) are all into the retirement mode. We gave it all our best to keep things safe & sane during "our watch"..our time at the tiller of labour. BUT..it is a different world today. It is fraught with different perils and pitfalls...Corporations threaten to move offshore unless concessions are made..Unions have to "tow the line" or be removed or legislated into reform. For all the gains that have been made in the struggles of Labour since the 1930's...much has been lost.

From mines and mills and factories from Flint, Michigan to the Giant Mine in Yellowknife..huge and painful struggles have helped secure the thin grasp working people have on their own destinies. It all gets slip-slided away when profits take precedence over people. Thus is ever the struggle.

Over the years I have worked with both Unions and artists to voice this gathering discontent over the present plight of the working class. From the history of logging in the stageplay "Highball" to the Nanaimo presentation of "We Too" based on the oral recollections of coal miners on Vancouver Island, I have tried to tell the history of painful struggle and toil that lead to a firmly establish working class. A proud history of blue collar people showing that it is solidarity and compassion for others that makes us better as both citizens and human beings.

Please visit the link below to view what one person (Lynn Bowen) has done to both chronicle and further these passionate histories and struggles;


SO...enjoy Labour Day weekend. But between the ball games and the barbeques don't forget the machine-gunned miners...the loggers hung from bridges..the fruit pickers of John Steinbeck.

They all worked to make this a more better and fair world.

Please don't let them down.

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Hard Times & Labour
Andy Mathisen is based in Smithers, British Columbia, Canada, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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