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dcsmart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-07-09 12:20 AM
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The History of Labor Day
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Every year, workers across the United States celebrate Labor Day on the first Monday of September. It is seen as a marker of the end of Summer, the start of football season, and the return to school for millions of students. But what is the origin of this holiday? What is its relation to the internationally celebrated Labor Day on May 1st?

Depending on the source, it was first proposed in 1882 by either Peter McGuire or Matthew Maguire to the Central Labor Union of New York, as an official workers holiday. McGuire was General Secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a co-founder of the American Federation of Labor. Matthew Maguire was a machinist and a member of the International Association of Machinists. Both were members of the same branch of the Socialist Labor Party. Regardless of who is ultimately responsible, Labor Day originated in the labor movement and was conceived of by socialists.

The first Labor Day was celebrated on September 5th of 1882 in New York City. The Department of Labor claims on their website that the holiday was originally imagined as an innocuous celebration, with speeches by prominent men and womenintroduced later, as more emphasis was placed upon the economic and civic significance of the holiday. However, the fact is that the first Labor Day saw 10,000 workers march from City Hall, past Union Square to 42nd Street as part of an unpaid day-off to give speeches and voice their discontent with the bosses. This was not simply the festival for the recreation and amusement of the workers and their families that the Department of Labor website claims. Its origins lie clearly within the militant labor tradition of this country and of the international working class.


The Internationale

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