by Alton H. Maddox, Jr.
Like in 1860, there are blue states and red states today. A major issue in 1860 was employment. Today, the issue is unemployment. Blacks have been hit the hardest. In 1860, the issue was the form of employment. For Blacks, there was “full employment” during slavery. Blacks were chattel slaves, however. In 2012, Blacks are mostly unemployed.
Until slavery was ended in the United States, it was impossible to celebrate a “Labor Day”. There was slavery in the red states and unorganized labor in the blue states. Anything that is unorganized in the United States is susceptible to exploitation. This is especially true for Black labor.
During slavery, there was an imbalance in the labor market. Slavery maintained this imbalance. There was “free labor” in the red states and “plea bargaining” in the blue states. These were more pleas than bargaining. This would continue until labor was organized. The United States is also a union as described on the “Great Seal”: e pluribus unum.
The right to bargain is the dividing line between organized labor and unorganized labor. Workers who refuse to organize are not entitled to collective bargaining and to representation. Negotiations lead to a contract for organized workers. A contract defines the rights of the parties. Blacks have no rights because they never intend to enter into a contract with whites and, afterwards, to enforce it.
This year, most Black voters, who intend to go to the polls, will vote for the re-election of President Barack Obama without entering into a contract with the Democratic Party. This was also our predicament on the plantation. We are still promoting the same bad habits that we practiced during slavery. We have gone from involuntary servitude to volunteer slavery.
One of the major institutions in our lives today is the prison-industrial complex. It exceeds higher education for Black males. Plea bargaining fuels the prison-industrial complex. It is all pleading and no bargaining. Blacks are routinely punished for attempting to bargain with prosecutors. This is a “badge of slavery” and it violates the Thirteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
In the area of politics, Blacks still refuse to form a bargaining; unit that is, a political party as was initially suggested by Sen. Charles Sumner of Massachusetts during Reconstruction. This would have been doing for self. Instead, Blacks chose whites to speak for them. Since Reconstruction, the Democratic Party and the Republican Party have been involved in a “Mutt and Jeff” routine.
The Republican Party is now defunct. It has been consumed by the Tea Party. Cong. Paul Ryan is riding shotgun and he has a .357 Magnum stuck to the head of Mitt Romney. Everyone saw a “bait and switch” in Tampa. “Bait and switch” is political fraud. Romney and Ryan are wolves in sheep’s clothing.
On this “Labor Day”, everyone should give attorney John Patterson Green, who was Black, his due. He authored the first legislation for a “Labor Day”. He was a member of the Ohio General assembly. This was in Ohio in 1890. President Grover Cleveland picked up this theme for the nation in 1894. This makes Green the “Father of Labor Day”.
Green was not only an able lawyer but also an effective legislator from Cleveland, Ohio. He was the first person of African ancestry to become a judge in Ohio. As a trial lawyer, he was virtually unbeatable. President William McKinley appointed him to a position in the United States Post Office.
Given that the “West Indian Day Parade” also occurs on Labor Day, it is a distraction. Samuel Gompers in 1898 called it “the day for which the toilers in past centuries look forward, when their rights and their wrongs would be discussed … that the workers of our day may not only lay down their tools of labor for a holiday, but upon which they may touch shoulders in marching phalanx and feel the stronger for it.”
While there may be at least three million Black revelers on Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn this “Labor Day” they do not have the foggiest notion of the history of Labor Day. This is a sad commentary. When it comes to having fun, most Blacks have no history of a holiday. This has been an effort of Dr. Jack Felder to correct. We should all hope that he succeeds.
The number one issue on anyone’s political agenda is unemployment. While Blacks are more unemployed than employed, Blacks in New York will celebrate or honor Labor Day by running through the streets drunk, half-naked and dancing in the streets. Afterwards, there is no plan for historical, cultural, economic nor political recovery.
Too honest for the White Press and too black for much of today’s Black Press; bullet columnist Alton Maddox upsets the same people and status quo as he did as an uncompromising Defense Attorney. He is also a founding member of the Freedom Party. Please sign his Petition to save “Like It Is.” Contact him at c/o UAM P.O. BOX 35 BRONX, NY 10471