5.01.2009

A bitter worker's holiday: May Day 2009

Socialist Labor Party seal carved in granite at the Barre Labor Hall.

May Day, 2009 is a rather bitter worker's holiday, the real unemployment rate is probably somewhere between 15% - 20% and still rising, millions of jobs have been lost in the present severe downturn. Does the wealth of America act as an opiate that prevents people from pouring into the streets in protest about inequality and limited access to healthcare?

My own feelings are confused, I feel a revulsion against the truly unseemly (and ever increasing) concentration of wealth in America that has been a defining characteristic of my adult life (page with some cheerless statistics about this here). But I am also suspicious of state sponsored solutions to many problems, a ideological position that differentiates me from many of my neighbors, who support self-proclaimed socialist Bernie Sanders in droves. I am caught in a maze of contradictions and feel increasingly stressed from the constant barrage of bad news.

I will say this, however: This site, it's not very overtly political and is largely unread, except when by some chance I post about something topical that generates a trickle of traffic via google searches. I also don't bother reading many blogs regularly, there's far too much content out there to wade through it all, and a good part of it is quite uninteresting and predictable. What makes this site absolutely unique, however, is that it is written by someone (ie, myself) who at one time worked on the floors of various factories throughout Vermont, from Hubbarton Forge in Castleton to the Lydall plant in St. Johnsbury -- which is in the process of closing. I've noticed that many (perhaps most?) of these places have had layoffs in the current downturn, and this is what I am thinking about today, the 'worker's holiday', and I just wanted to acknowledge this in a small way.

Previous May Day posts:

Primo Maggio 2008

"Se la Pietra Sapesse Parlare" (2007)

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