Are you enjoying May Day? Despite the origins of the holiday coming from events in Chicago the holiday is officially ignored in the USA. Outside the US celebrations are common in most major capitals in the world.
After the questionable trial and execution of anarchists for alleged involvement in a bombing in Haymarket Square in 1886, solidarity movements sprang up around the world and International Workers’ Day or May Day was born. The US government recognizes Labor Day in September a behavior started by President Grover Cleveland in 1887 to thwart attempts at linking May Day with the labor movement in America.
Workers and activists who protested in Chicago in 1886 were objecting to the economy and conditions of the Gilded Age – where the top 1%’s wealth and consequential political power so dwarfed the 99%’s that the American people questioned whether they had a functioning republic. Sound familiar?
Social science has advanced somewhat since the 19th century so today we have clear evidence the sepsis of plutocracy that effected the Gilded Age has flared up again. A study by Princeton University demonstrates thoroughly that the US has become a de facto oligarchy while field experiments confirm that donors rather than voters have the power. All this while the Supreme Court, a body ruled by nine lawyers who have never successfully run for public office, continues to gut restraints on money in politics.
We are in a new Gilded Age without a doubt so will there be another social movement that lays the groundwork for a Teddy Roosevelt to take on entrenched moneyed interests? Or has the resilience of corporate power and imperialism sucked America into a death spiral with which there is no escape?
Should we keep fighting or is it time to embrace the suck?