Sunday, May 01, 2011
May Day 2011
"Proletarians of All Countries, Unite! First of May, the Holiday of the Victory of Labor" reads this card from the early days of the Soviet Union in Russian and, I think, Turkish. It's really a shame that seventy years of Stalinism masquerading as socialism ruined the language of socialism, because even though words like that cause most people's eyes to blink and glaze over, it's really an admirable sentiment.
The point of May Day, the real labor day holiday, set to the date that was in Europe once reserved for a joyous spring holiday, was for regular people to celebrate their connections to other regular people across the borders of states and nations. The theory was that kings and princes and big businesses divided the world into countries jealously trying to get what the others have, pitting the working people of one country against the working people of another, usually in the end benefitting only the rulers and the war profiteers. But working people in all countries have more in common with each other than they do the parasites at the top of society, so why not put down the national colors and extend the hand of friendship, unity and equality? Socialist internationalism is really that simple. People just want to live their lives in peace. That would be a whole lot easier if the governments and politicians of the world were made to stop trying to control the population and made, to coin a phrase, to serve the people. That's what rational government is for: not to protect the profits of rich people.
The propaganda ideologues of capitalism have tried hard to turn words like "labor," or "workers" into scary-sounding special interests. But that's because there are more of us than there are of them. It's only by believing in their ideological prison that we give them power over us. It's the American dream, right? One day even you or I could be as rich as...Donald Trump? Or one day you or I could be eating catfood out of a garbage can too. It's a fucked up system that benefits the people at the top at the expense of the people at the bottom by design.
We, the American people, are not the ones bombing and invading countries. That would be They the government, doing so not in our interests but the interests of big business and their rules, their needs. We should be extending our hands in friendship with the sisters and brothers — just like us! — who just want to celebrate life.