The Radical History of Labor Day

The Radical History of Labor Day

By Bob Small

When my wife and I worked as State of Pennsylvania drones, one of us usually marched in the Philly Labor Day parade, to show solidarity with our union, the Pennsylvania Social Services Union a.k.a PSSU.

Exactly how did all this Labor Day marching get started?

Matthew Maguire and Peter Mcguire conspired to create Labor Day, and the first Labor Day parade was held in New York City in 1882.

Theses articles, here and here, point to Matthew Maguire not being granted “Father of Labor Day” status due to his strong socialist leanings, including being the Socialist Party candidate for president in 1896.

Grover Cleveland made Labor Day a federal holiday in 1896, hoping to make amends for sending in the military to squash the Pullman Railway strike.

Grover Cleveland did not become the first president to serve three non-consecutive term However, Grover Cleveland remains the only President to serve two non-consecutive terms. That could change next year.

 Grover Cleveland jailed socialist Eugene Debs, who then ran for president from jail.

Eugene Debs: The Socialist Who Ran for President From Prison – Men

Both of the purported founders of Labor Day are buried in New Jersey. The Peter J. Mcguire Memorial and Gravesite lies in Pennsauken.

The Matthew Maguire gravesite, sans museum, lies in the Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Totawa.

The Department of Labor was founded on March 4, 1913, by President William Howard Taft, on his last day of office.

For a more philosophical discussion of Labor Day and the new socialism from an Austrian perspective, see this article from the Mises Institute.

 The author proposes that “over the past thirty years, international bureaucracies have played a growing role in making the world a better place for socialism.”

Nowadays, rather than discuss the Pullman strike of 1894, we discuss Labor Day sales and barbecues, and we no longer march. One might say capitalism has won.

The Radical History of Labor Day

The Radical History of Labor Day

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