Celebrating Labor Day in the New Gilded Age

by Scott Creighton

Ironic is it not? The first Labor Day in the 1890s was a token peace offering to organized labor after the Pullman Strike Massacre of May 11, 1894.

Image result for pullman strike massacre

The “official” result was 30 workers were killed by U.S. troops sent in by Grover Cleveland on behalf of America’s oligarchs to get the trains running again. Another 57 or so were wounded and hundreds of labor leaders were shipped off to jail included Eugene Debs. Some lost their freedom, some lost their lives, all while trying to fight for better working conditions and better lives for their families near the end of the first Gilded Age of America.

And workers today poo-poo the notion of labor unions while sitting around sipping beer, eating burgers and singing the praises of their President Oligarch who like all the rest, long for a return to the glory days of yesteryear.

I was not the first alternative writer to explain that neoliberal/libertarian economic ideology is nothing more than a Gilded Age redux and that Globalization is an effort to infect the rest of the globe with a sickness that we suffered and recovered from a century ago. I was not the first and I am sure I wont be the last.

The first Gilded Age was marked by an abject ownership of government by Big Business.

It is hardly a “conspiracy theory” to same the same about congress and the White House today.

Image result for congress owned by big business

Image result for congress owned by big business

During the Gilded Age, elections were a joke and everyone knew it. Thugs owned by oligarchs ensured the people “voted the right way” or they didn’t vote at all.

Today we live in a similar situation, do we not?

Image result for us election rigging

Image result for us election rigging

And God help you if you didn’t “vote the right way”

Image result for trump voters are racists

During the Gilded Age, immigration policy was such: got a strong back? Are you desperate to take what Big Business will give you? Are you here? Then… you’re in!

Today we are facing a crisis of character as the complicit media will tell you. They want MORE cheap labor and a steady stream of it for their friends in Big Business. Especially the “dreamers” because the “dreamers” are cheap labor and they pay taxes and they have no path to citizenship which means when they get old enough to want MORE or need MORE to pay for family obligations, they can be kicked to the curb and sent packing and they can’t do a thing about it.

During the original Gilded Age, the oligarchs liked their “dreamers” as well.

As we move from one FAILING war in Syria to potential new ones in North Korea and Venezuela (and we try to forget about Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yugoslavia, Sudan, Somalia, Ukraine and all the rest)…

Image result for trump threatens venezuela

… it’s important to remember the lessons of the past and the words of a heroic leader who served in the military right after the Gilded Age as it was still being run by the same financial interests.

“I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.” Smedley Butler

It is also important to remember what he said about war in general…

… and what was ultimately asked of him by the oligarchs who had a decidedly different vision of the country at the time.

During the Gilded Age, the oligarchs who owned our government and military lived like Gods while the people suffered.

Image result for gilded age opulence

 

Today the super-wealthy enjoy the greatest disparagy of wealth distribution this nation has ever seen.

Image result for super wealthy in america

During the Gilded Age, hostility between factions of the working class was cultivated by the press to keep workers hating other workers so they wouldn’t turn on their real enemies. Racial violence was instigated and even lauded by the press who were owned by the very oligarchs these efforts were intended to protect.

And where are we today?

Image result for antifa blm violence

Image result for antifa blm violence

Image result for antifa blm violence

 

Today we celebrate the labor of those who build this country and those who came before us who built the foundations for the few rights we have remaining. The protections workers enjoy that the oligarchs would like to see disappear.

Minimum wage laws, child labor laws, the right to collective bargaining, the right to organize, the 40 hour work week, weekends, an eight hour work day, worker’s safety laws. These are some of the things today’s oligarchs would like to see erased and it’s important we think about such crucial victories on a day like today. Because those victories didn’t come cheap.

It’s one thing to say that neoliberalism/libertarianism is reactionary. It’s another to see it in a way that makes it perfectly clear… we are in the early stages of the next Gilded Age and if we do not resist this backward slide to an age of exploitation, then we and our children deserve the slavery that awaits us all.

While you enjoy your burgers and beer keep this in mind and have a nice Labor Day.

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5 Responses

  1. And once again … He hits it – OUT OF THE PARK!!
    I was just last night explaining this (trying to) to a young friend. I’m sending her this now.
    I’m not sure I’m engaging in an exercise in semantics here but – it seems to me what these people want is feudalism; where desperate masses huddle at the gates of their leige lords at Castle Google, Castle Walmart, Castle Apple, etc. And while these lords battle back and forth for supremacy, the only real havoc is visited upon the huddled masses praying their lives are not those offered up to quarterly dividends and golden parachutes.
    Then again maybe we’re thinking the same thing.

    • yeah, it’s been called neo-Feudalism before so yeah, same thing

      • And Dad is very upset about “Trump taking away the dreamers’ rights.” Yeah, his critical thinking skills aren’t very strong.
        No matter how moderate, as those of us who advocated for reform were disowned as “filthy commies!”, thus were sown the seeds for a new feudalist dystopia with a high-tech sheen.

  2. Great article, Scott.

    • I have come to view Scott as one of the most outstanding human beings currently alive. If his blog is preserved, I think he’ll be viewed in retrospect as a great journalist who did a service to humanity. If I make decent money in family business, I might find a way to give him a slush fund if he’s still alive, or some organization in his honor if he isn’t.

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