Happy Labor Day!

The Labor Day extravaganza starts with a lengthy excerpt from the1886 Platform of the Knights of Labor.  It is a good reminder that the sruggle has been going on for a long time.


The alarming development and aggressiveness of great capitalists and corporations, unless checked, will inevitably lead to the pauperization and hopeless degradation of the toiling masses. It is imperative, if we desire to enjoy the full blessings of life, that a check be placed upon unjust accumulation, and the power for evil of aggregated wealth. This much-desired object can be accomplished only by the united efforts of those who obey the divine injunction, “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread.”

Therefore we have formed the Order of the Knights of Labor, for the purpose of organizing and directing the power of the industrial masses, not as a political party, for it is more — in it are crystalized sentiments and measures for the benefit of the whole people, but it should be borne in mind, when exercising the right of suffrage, that most of the objects herein set forth can only be obtained through legislation, and that it is the duty of all to assist in nominating and supporting with their votes only such candidates as will pledge their support to these measures, regardless of party. But no one shall, however, be compelled to vote with the majority, and calling upon all who believe in securing the greatest good to the greatest number, to join and assist us.

Declaration of Principles

We declare to the world that our aims are:

1. To make industrial and moral worth, not wealth, the true standard of individual and national greatness.

2. To secure to the worker the full enjoyment of the wealth they create, sufficient leisure in which to develop their intellectual, moral and social faculties; all of the benefits, recreation and pleasures of association; in a word, to enable them to share in the gains and honors of advancing civilization.

Next up is a reminder to attend the South Central Federation of Labor LaborFest, at the Labor Temple (Park and Wingra).  Lots of good people, activities for all ages, good food and drink and music from Mel Ford and Paul Cebar and the Milwaukeeans.  You can download a flier here.

While on the topic of reminders, the pending bill requiring that labor history be taught in Wisconsin schools could use your support. Find out more here and also check out the other great things that the Wisconsin Labor History Society has to offer.

Last, that labor classic “I’m Sticking with the Union” as performed by a stellar cast at Pete Seeger’s 90th Birthday concert.

Last year’s Labor Day post, with more music and history can be found here.

Thomas J. Mertz

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Filed under Blast from the Past, education, Local News, National News, Take Action

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