The following piece is from ‘Industrial Unionist’, the paper of the New Zealand IWW. Labour Day at the time of writing was more of a parade of floats, products and the odd union banner, as opposed to a celebration of labour’s struggle. Not much has changed.

LABOUR DAY: vol 1. No. 10, November 1913.

“NZ ‘Labour Day’ is the bosses labour day. Each year we have seen unions set up ‘Labour Day Committees’, months before, to waste much time organising for what is virtually a street display of goods; a cheap advertising method for employers. We have known wage-workers to spend many evenings before hand getting ready, in some cases to stay up all night on the eve, doing up the horses, etc – all for a pat on the back or a few beers from the boss. ‘Labour’ Day in NZ has been more like an acknowledgment of subjection than an assertion of dignity.

The workers’ day of the near future will be the first of May – INTERNATIONAL LABOUR DAY. Advanced organisations all over the globe recognise that day as one on which the Workers of the World shall lay work aside for twenty-four hours and with international fraternal spirit assert their power. The International Labour Day heralds Labour’s triumph. Let us hold this in mind and set all other dates aside. The FIRST OF MAY is the real Labour Day, because it is international.”

Advertisements