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Why Labor Day Matters


Why Labor Day Matters

Ralph Nader

Here’s an experiment to try this holiday weekend. Quiz your friends, family and acquaintances on the meaning of Labor Day. You might be surprised by the answers you hear. To many, the true meaning of Labor Day has been unfortunately lost―it’s merely a three-day vacation weekend, unless you work in retail, in which case it is, ironically, a day of work and “special” sales.


Labor Day should matter on May 1 when the rest of the world celebrates it. its current US was changed to try to detach it from the Commie- Pinko origins, to create a nice safe wholesome American Labor Day that could allow speeches without giving laborers any hopes of improving their pay or worsening working conditions


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Labor Day could also celebrate democracy. It is what gave labor a measure of fairness in the face of conservative's war on wages.


There was a time when calls to repeal the Taft-Hartley Act was part of every election. Now, it is so forgotten that a Koch Bros. stealth acolyte, offical or not, Governor Bruce Rauner of Illinois is proposing "right to work" zones in Illinois, a one time Labor stronghold. This character didn't have the guts to call for this during the election, if he had there is good reason to believe he wouldn't have won. With a media adverse to asking probing questions, stealth wins every time, and so it is.

It is laughable to think HIllary Clinton, the Wellesley girl from Park Ridge, cares one whit about labor, yet some labor kingpins are lining up behind this Princess of Free Trade and Neoliberalism. Happy Labor Day.


I saw a car commercial that equated courage with leaving work on time.

Apparently working more than 40 hours a week, probably without recompense for the additional time, has become so pervasive that leaving on time puts you in danger of losing your job or chance of advancement. It's an act of courage just to leave on time.

Add this to companies who deem workers as contractors and/or keep their hours down to avoid having to pay benefits and you see part of a continuing attack on everything the labor movement was able to achieve.

The battle for worker's rights is never over.

Thanks for reminding us Ralph.


Mr. Nader has been far too modest. He, along with the Clintons and Carter did so much to decimate U.S. labor and its unions. He was a chief promulgator of deregulation which caused hundreds of thousands of workers, particularly in transportation, to lose their jobs. I was one of them.


Prove it! Nader was against NAFTA and knew that the lies about "free trade" raising all employment "ships" was bogus. How dare you lump Nader in with establishment New World Order types?

Here is your ridiculous comment:


"Mr. Nader has been far too modest. He, along with the Clintons and Carter did so much to decimate U.S. labor and its unions."

If you are trying to take a dig at basic safety and the need to regulate corporate malfeasance, that is hardly the same thing as ruining Labor or unions. Your right wing pro-business bona fides are showing!


You could look it up. S.


Ahhh, Ralph! We're facing the wall on this one. Why no mention that the 'labor' relationship is only to the employer? I realize that its necessary to critique the system within its terms, but what do we do about the colonizing causal aspects of 'externalizing' the vast living values that are NOT recognized by the system without which no economy would exist ?

Every day is labor day with every smile, break of sweat and laugh in human stewardship endeavors. While we engage the system lets not lose sight of the realities that vigorously nurture human life every minute of every day.

Most folks here are familiar with this talk by Vandana Shiva - but just in case. Intro is in German but the talk in English


Or you could try to back up your ridiculous assertion.


Ralph, lets take a look at Jesse Ventura as running mate for Bernie:



Ten years; I am afraid that you are optimistic. I sure hope I'm wrong though.


You're such a liar. Nader was against Corporate Deregulation his entire life. Nadar caused regulation, by starting the EPA, the FDA, National Highway Standards, OSHA, etc, etc, etc. He and his hot crusaders held government bribe takers accountable with whistleblower protections and congressional investigations into corruption and got them to regulate manufacturers, forcing them to test and install effective seat belts, collapsable steering wheel columns and safety glass in autos. These things were labor intensive, and Detroit Car makers refused to offer them claiming they couldn't make a profit on them.

He's always fought on the side on Labor, supporting Union Contracts and birthed the FOIA to hold government accountable for anti-worker and anti-consumer decisions.

Rarely do I see such an flagrant inversion of the truth on this website.

Shame on you, sleepybrain!




Your video is not a video. It's a jpeg still picture, according to Google Chrome's source code interpretation. Is anybody else having this problem? Anybody get it to play?

Could you try again Goat? Could you give us the youtube URL?

I'm unsure what you are saying. Ralph is a US lawyer who fights in the existing courts against existing violations of citizens rights inside the current system. Dr. Shiva is an expert on nutrition, as I recall, and defender of abused farmers and citizens world-wide. Ralph ran as a Green, so has much in common with her. But a blanket indictment of Capitalism, which seems to be what you are alluding to, is not how workers rights were won and enshrined into Federal Labor Law. That is too ambitious for any court in the US to seriously entertain.

Ralph knows this, and comes to the court as one of them: A graduate of Harvard Law who is a champion of the common citizen. It was very effective for him in the past.

The seeming paradox you highlight (if I understand what you are saying) of ever-expanding growth to save workers jobs is not what Ralph is about. In a Ralph Nader Green economy, Solar, Wind, and efficient transport rail (not dangerous nuclear) would supply jobs instead of War, as is the present economy. Ralph declared the entire Iraq war and WOT illegal, and had good reason for doing so. This is why he was banned from the televised debates.



When Ralph was running for U.S. president, I used to mention to my friends and associates that he saved more people's lives than all the other candidates combined, and that alone was a reason to really hear what he had to say. That sometimes got their attention, they'd want to know what I meant: his leadership in getting us seat belts, of course! But he's even done more, like exposing the Democratic Party leadership's hollowness and corporatism and crushing of alternative politics, and mounting campaigns to respect the people's intelligence and imaginations. I quibble with his unquoted use of "communist" to ostensibly mean China, a country governed as much according to from each according to their means, to each according to their need communism as the U.S. is governed according to one person, one vote democracy.


With the wholesale exportation of jobs, the importation of labor, (particularly tech and skilled labor) and the automating of whole sections of factory work and farm work- I honestly don't know what the average worker is going to do. Raising the minimum wage is fine, but not if it results in employers deciding a robot or a computer app would be cheaper. I wish I knew what the great mass workers are going to be employed 10 years from now. Scary.


Hmmm... the link functions when I click it. Don't know what the problem is.

Vandana Shiva is in many ways similar to Ralph Nader. Wikipedia has a page and if you do a search on her you'll find the education and service of what we generally call 'a renaissance woman'. Ralph come from a context of the law and Shiva from physics and agronomy. Both recognize the current and historical systemic shortcommings, the consequences and through analysis, present sets of 'toolbox' alternatives that specifically contribute to stability and sustainability. Both take the root strengths of human societal concepts and extrapolate, assiduously practice experimentation and documentation and address political realities.

As you note we seem to be facing an apparent paradox. According to some thinkers paradox is always and only apparent. This was expressed in Hermetic philosophy. If viewed and considered as an indicator of the necessity to analyze core precepts rather than as a condition, the horizon of consideration of condition can be more readily revealed. Sort of like testing the calibration of a barometer. The wiki on paradox is an interesting sketch of this.

I tend to view our situation as being a consequence of generations of 'siloing' of disciplines, hierarchies and information under a conceptual framework of unnamed extractive criteria that are simply no longer applicable to equilibrium. This in large part due to the notion of exclusivity being too convenient not to employ. We now face aggregate and exponentially evolving manifestations of the consequences.

Labor Day is, to me, emblematic of these and always appreciate Ralph Nader calling on folks to truly commemorate its full meaning - if it is to have any real meaning.

On that note - here's wishing you a good and edifying Labor Day.


… I work for a local school district, and in the spring of 2011, my administrative supervisors had an anti-labor brainstorm which they referred to as 'restructuring.' The idea was to terminate the employment of a large department -of which I was a part- at the end of our school year contract. We would then be offered our jobs back -the next day- at half the previous pay...
… I went to our school board -along with many others- and suggested that this proposal left an odd odor of a certain class warfare lingering in the air. I mentioned Warren Buffet's famous 'class warfare' statement only a few years prior, and I was quite clear where I believed the responsibility lay. I expressed that we were “all collectively a peculiar triumvirate of one; plutocracy (ruled by the top one percent), two; aristocracy (administered by the top ten percent), and three; democracy (marginalized as the remaining ninety percent)...”
… Six months later, I smiled as I saw the rise of the Occupy Movement bringing forth the 'One Percent' meme for mainstream dissemination. A meme I brought to our school board six months prior. However, my important distinction -which Occupy overlooked- were those highly critical, and enabling, ten percenter's who seem all too comfortable in acting out the wishes of those behind the scenes plutocrats. We can talk about the One Percent versus the Ninety Nine Percent, but if we ignore or overlook that enabling cadre of upper level and mid-level managers, and leaders, who are keeping the gears well oiled -we will never get past the finger pointing stages to the critical stage of placing the responsibility right where it belongs...
… Our school board did not want this stink bomb placed on their own collective laps. They refused to sign off on this neoliberal scheme, and we were saved as a result...
… Bringing up the creative narrative of the One Percent is all well and good, but we don't need to give those critical enablers a pass, because without this full support with their One Percent play-callers, our Ninety Nine Percent would not have a thing to worry about. With friends like these Ten Percenter's -who needs enemy's...
… I would like to say “Happy Labor Day,” but that phrase seems way too quaint considering the circumstances at play here. Instead, I'll just say “Keep up the good fight -there are no weekends off, while this beast still reigns supreme...”


Thanks goat, Great posts.

Was in the hospital was why I didn't respond. It must have been just my computer which wouldn't load the video. For two days it wouldn't load CD at all (right after my "See-I-Aye" diatribe). After much hacking to get it to work, I checked the I.P. numerical address of CD on my browser and WhoIs and Google Earth lat/long says my request for CD's homepage was redirected to a bunch of terminal buildings in the middle of Dulles Airport Washington D.C.! Must be a spook server sitting there is all I can figure.

Thou Shalt not speak ill of the Devil (apparently!) They don't like it much...

Anyway, I greatly appreciate your fine postings. They are deep, baby.