Monday, May 04, 2009

Days we should remember

They seem like distant and unrelated memories. First, May 1886:

and May 1970:

The bloodshed on these distant May 4ths though evolved from common threads. The protesters rallied for things that we should no longer consider to be controversial--an eight-hour workday in Chicago and in Ohio, the end of America's unholy war in Vietnam. What had begun as peaceful demonstrations turned into violent confrontations in both cases from an unfortunate combination of arrogance and incompetence. Those in power used similar phrases to refer to the labor activists and the antiwar protesters. Both were dirty, un-American anarchists viewed as somehow less than human. The results, tragically but predictably, are Haymarket and Kent State.

1 comment:

I'm Not Ned said...

Very interesting parallels and quite insightful Peter.

Odd that in both events some of the strongest values that America stands for were under attack by the "government of the people, by the people, for the people."

More disturbing is that our rights to a safe work place and freedom of speech are still being attacked from within.