This Labor Day comes in the midst of multiple crises facing working people in the U.S. This Marxist IQ looks at the history of Labor Day and its meaning.
1. The labor movement considers Peter McGuire, a late 19th-century trade unionist, to be the most important leader of the movement to establish Labor Day as a national holiday, McGuire was which of the following?
a. An early leader of the first socialist party in U.S. history (the Social Democratic party in 1878 which preceded the Socialist labor party).
b. A leader of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters who called for a day of demonstrations to build labor solidarity and confidence from 1882 on to the establishment of Labor Day (1894).
c. A major supporter of the 1886 May 1st demonstrations for the eight-hour day, which resulted in the Haymarket massacre and the call by the Socialist Second International for annual international May Day demonstrations for the eight-hour day
d. All of the above
2. In the U.S. conservatives in the labor movement sought to outlaw socialist and class-conscious trade unionism. Which of these labor leaders was not one of these conservatives?
a. Samuel Gompers
b. William Green
c. William Z Foster
d. George Meany
3. The Communist Party USA, struggling to develop class-conscious and socialist-oriented unionism, played an important role in the creation of
a. the industrial unionist and anti-racist CIO in the 1930s.
b. the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists from the 1970s to today.
c. the Coalition of Labor Union Women from the 1970s to today.
d. All of the above
4. Since the post WWII cold war–inspired purges of Communist and other class-conscious trade union activists, the U.S. labor movement has seen
a. a long-term rise in overall living standards.
b. a steady increase in membership.
c. a sharp decline in both union membership, real wages, and social benefits.
d. no change from where it was in 1945.
5. The following statement was made by which of these Republican presidents in the first year of his administration to Congress: “Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.”
a. Herbert Hoover in 1929
b. Abraham Lincoln in 1861
c. Ronald Reagan in 1981
d. Donald Trump in 2017
Source: Communist Party U.S.A.