Stella D’Oro Struggle, Not Labor Fakers, Is Model to Follow
NEW YORK CITY, September 1 — In a feeble response to workers’ anger at the bosses’ financial crisis, this city’s Central Labor Council (CLC) has this year labeled the hollow ritual of their patriotic Labor Day Parade a “march” for healthcare reform and union rights (meaning Obama’s healthcare bill and the Employee Free Choice Act, EFCA). The parade, led by Grand Sellout Lillian Roberts, is also “supposed” to honor the eleven-month strike of the Stella D’Oro workers, now fighting to keep their jobs as the bakery threatens to shut down and move. But following the militant lead of the Stella D’Oro bakers does not mean parading behind the CLC fakers, nor supporting the bosses’ attempt to eke out just enough medical care to keep us able to churn out their profits and fight their wars — while making us pay for it.
The Stella workers’ unity across racial and gender lines, their solid rank-and-file organization and determination to fight on, their resistance to scabs and cops (“scabs in blue”) and ability to win other workers’ support are indeed models to follow. But their union relied on a legal strategy to win the strike. They did achieve a victory in the labor
courts — but then what?
The bosses’ laws are geared to protect the capitalists’ right to do what they want with their property. So they can run away looking for lower-wage workers, or just close down and dump workers in the street. Now Stella workers are up against the essence of capitalism, the bosses’ ownership of the means of production.
PLP calls on all workers to back the Stella D’Oro bakers all the way, with all the strength of our class.
Unknown to many, the U.S. Labor Day holiday originated in Canada, but its original significance was turned on its head by U.S. bosses and their union flunkies. In Canada, workers launched it in the 1870s as part of the fight for the 9-hour day. A U.S. labor “leader” attended it in Toronto in 1882 and brought it back to the U.S. on September 5, 1882.
When the International Workingmen’s Association, led by Karl Marx, saluted the U.S. working-class’s May 1, 1886 general strike in Chicago for the 8-hour day by establishing May 1st as an international workers’ day, marches were held worldwide, including in the U.S.
Then May Day in the U.S. in1894 erupted in street battles between workers and cops, so two months later the bosses, fearing a militant workers’ movement, had the U.S. Congress establish Labor Day as a federal holiday on the first Monday in September that same year as an “answer” to May Day.
The first half of the 20th century saw militant May Days, most led by communists, drawing tens of millions around the world. In 1947, the U.S. Communist Party (CP) organized 250,000 to march in New York City. But soon the CP sold out its principles and abandoned May Day. However, in 1971, PLP picked up the banners of May Day and has organized marches every year since.
Meanwhile, the bosses’ Labor Day became a holiday completely bereft of any working-class content, mainly “saluting” the corrupt labor misleaders, servants of the bosses. Despite these fakers, and their counterparts internationally, May Day remains the true celebration of working-class solidarity and anti-racist unity, pointing towards a future of workers’ power when the bosses’ Labor Day will be tossed into the ashcan of history.