Many summers ago, just freed from the enforced boredom of high school, I signed up for a course on Marxist economics. Andy, the teen I worked with, asked if I would accompany him. I envied him his dad, a transplanted Marxist Scotsman, and I relished the transgression I was invited to undertake, especially as a recent apostate from Catholicism.
The May Day domestication of the Beltane celebration and the vital role of the maypole, which the event literally revolves around, veils more than its pagan origins. The history of the maypole includes its little known place in the popular festivals of revolutionary France at the end of the 18th Century.
Free Time: The Forgotten American Dream by Benjamin Hunnicutt
We are living in a time of dis-ease when the millions who are consistently working long hours pass by the millions of unemployed as ships in the night. The former, physically exhausted from overwork, share with the “chronically unemployed,” themselves psychically drained from months of fruitless search for work, the continuum of employment as the extremities – from none to too much.
The American workaholic culture cannot tolerate idle pursuits, and so when not at work Americans diligently pursue their leisure as strictly as a doctrine of faith. Gone are the late afternoons when saloons would fill with the local workforce having a drink or two and engaging in a chat with mates before heading home.
It seems plausible to imagine that workers, no matter how abused they are in their workplaces, would rally around the work ethic during moments of national catastrophe. During WWII US productivity advanced as industrial workers “enlisted“ in the war effort. We have all seen those old newsreels with hundreds of workers streaming out of factories looking noble and, of course, at a brisk clip – wouldn’t you if you just spent 10 hours manufacturing war materiel?
I suspect that more than a few people would accept as historic fact that Stalin created May Day, and to checkmate Stalin’s evil, communist attempt to influence US workers, FDR initiated Labor Day. Two utopias in conflict: the Workers’ Paradise vs.