5/1/10

May Day or Mayday?

Today is May Day, a day which I would be fairly assertive that most Americans no very little about. Celebrated in many countries around the world as a national holiday celebrating the triumphs of the working person. The day arose from a bloody incident known as the Haymarket Massacre in 1886, when Chicago police fired on workers during a general strike for the eight hour day, killing several demonstrators and resulting in the deaths of several police officers, largely from friendly fire.

May Day is recognized as an important day in many countries but celebrated and reflected on best outside of America. America's policy has been against the working individual as a result of corporate corruption which resulted from the birth of industry. The Haymarket protesters were martyrs for all individuals who work to survive in an environment that marginalizes their contributions and rights. This sentiment wasn't held exclusive to Chicago or America, but it became an international movement championed by local leaders and unions who all envisioned equality and freedom for the worker. America and other industrialized nations would be nothing without its workers, the men and women who put their blood and sweat into their trade. These people are the cog in the capitalist machine, they are seen as dispensable towards the large picture, the gross domestic product. America has had a long history of abusive practices to its workers...This is a scary factor because it is the youngest of the "free" world powers. The first form of laborers were indentured servants, brought from Europe with the promise of citizenship after years of free servitude to their "sponsors." Sometimes however, they would die from the hard work and long hours before ever seeing their citizenship come to fruition. Everyone is familiar with the absurdity and madness that is slavery, a trade that was and still is a worldwide reality. However, like I said this slavery and indentured servitude is still prevalent both here and abroad. America sponsors sweat shop labor abroad but its biggest faction of indentured servitude comes from the immigrants who arrive in this country looking for the fulfillment of the "American Dream." While these immigrants are paid a minimal wage, the concept is almost synonymous to indentured servitude. Immigrants built America, they were used in the fields for agriculture and later in factories for industry. The railroads were built largely by Chinese and Irish immigrants. The immigrants worked hard and long hours for little wages and were put in dangerous life threatening conditions. Today very little has changed in this capitalist ideology. While labor laws have been past thanks in part to the Haymarket protests and other protests abroad, there is still a dangerous situation affecting the workers. Despite efforts made by unions and social activists, the domestic worker is forced to work long hours. This is even more poignant as a result of a bad economy due to Capitalism's failures. In order for a family to survive, many family members are forced to work over eight hours a day in unsavory conditions that no one deserves to ever witness and experience.

The persecution of the immigrant worker has increased and become maddening. These workers come to America with an intense work ethic. They cook our expensive food, fix our expensive cars, and clean our waste. They do all the things that the middle and upper class would never even dream of. However, these people have an insane notion that these people are ruining our economy and our safety. Arizona is the first state to take drastic audacious action against these immigrants. Their proposal for "search on suspicion" echoes the ideology of Nazi Germany where anyone suspected of being a Jew or detester for the national ideology, could be rounded up, searched and shipped off to jails which will soon resemble the ghettos in Europe during the 1940's. Arizona is unabashedly putting into practice racism and potentially allowing other racist politicians and lawmakers to follow. This country is in a state of emergency, we need to be resilient and unite because this will not stand. Join protests and marches to Arizona, storm the front lawn of the courts and legislators offices. Let the Governor know that her racism is unwanted and she needs to step down. These ignorant politicians need to be held accountable for their crimes against humanity, they can no longer get away with their schizophrenic idiocy. They don't live amongst us and they don't represent us, therefore we should not have to abide by their policy which is only in their self interest.

This May Day and beyond we must remain conscious of what makes America great, the immigrants and workers who have built and maintain this country for 400 years.