Labor Day should celebrate labor

Shame on the Asheville Symphony and partner Pack Square Park Conservancy for its concert at Diana Wortham Theatre.

The repertoire was distinctively non-labor and slanted toward militarism. The concert began with the “Star Spangled Banner,” with a uniformed military color guard at attention, holding American and military flags.

The conductor midway through the concert made a reference to the impeding 10th anniversary of 9/11. No quarrel with this, but why Victory at Sea and especially why the total failure to recognize the heroic labor struggles in this county? One day a year honors labor, but not in Asheville.

Remember Joe Hill (executed by a firing squad), Grapes of Wrath, that this year is the 100th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City that killed 146 young-woman garment workers. We shall not forget Dr. King was killed in Memphis during his last campaign: supporting striking Memphis municipal sanitation workers. We need to pay tribute to the Wisconsin public employees and their unions decimated by a Republican-controlled government.

Next year, on Labor Day, may this progressive community sing out for workers. Sing the songs of Pete Seeger, John Henry, Woody Guthrie. Begin our labor celebration singing "Which Side are You On" and conclude with "Solidarity Forever."

Watch this great town do our labor celebration on Sept. 3, 2012. The challenge to this community, to Just Economics, to our workers and their unions: Let's get our Pack Square permit now and celebrate our blue collar and shout out — we have not forgotten the long continuing labor struggle for justice, decent wages and benefits and collective bargaining.

— Curry First
Asheville

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