Sacked is ‘Soiled’ once more
“The existing economic system has placed on the markets for sale man’s natural rights … A free man is not for sale or for hire.” – Eight-hour workday agitator Albert Parsons.Happy May Day.For some, this underrated holiday means the start of spring, celebrated by dancing around colorful poles and giving baskets of candy to the neighbors. But if we are to celebrate the true meaning of May Day, we should be telling the boss he isn’t getting more than eight hours from us today – or any day.Thanks to Albert Parsons and a few other anarchists in Chicago who were executed as a result of their efforts, eight-hour workdays became as American as baseball and apple pie. Our modern celebration of May Day evolved from the struggle for the eight-hour day in 1886. May 1, 1886, saw national strikes in the United States and Canada for an eight-hour day called by the Knights of Labor. In Chicago, police attacked during a citywide demonstration, striking workers and killing six in what is known as Haymarket Square.Today we see tens of thousands of activists embracing the ideals of the Haymarket martyrs and those who established May Day as an international workers’ day. Ironically, May Day is an official holiday in 66 countries and unofficially celebrated in many more, but rarely is it recognized in this country where it began.I doubt this history lesson amuses my new bosses here at The Aspen Times. For me, May Day means I hang up my column and become a legitimate journalist again. Starting today, I’m The Aspen Times’ city reporter, a job that no doubt will require much more than eight hours a day. So much for anarchy.I know few people who work eight hours a day. The world moves way too fast, and the majority of us run around trying to keep up with it. Truly, history has a lot to teach us about the roots of our radicalism. When we remember that people were shot so we could have the eight-hour day; if we acknowledge that homes with families in them were burned to the ground so we could have Saturday as part of the weekend; we should fully embrace May Day.And that is exactly what I did this past Saturday with Steve Skinner, my competing columnist in the “other paper.” When I worked with Skinner at the Aspen Daily News years ago, we referred to our fun time as “peeling back the layers.” The latest Skinnerism refers to it as “hitting the reset button with a sledgehammer.”And reset we did. There’s nothing like a river trip to slow you down and forget that the outside world even exists. We managed to peel back the layers several times during our float down the Colorado from Loma to Cisco. Nearly 40 miles of floating along the banks of some of the most beautiful country out there will do wonders for your head and heart.Bald eagles, blue herons, seagulls, ducklings and lush green Cottonwood trees set against a blue sky and orange canyon walls were our scenery for three full days. The raging waters of the Westwater rapids were the crescendo to the trip. Everything else that happened in between can’t be printed in this publication but I refer to “Soiled” in today’s ADN for more details.If there were anyone who supports less work, I would say that it’s Skinner, currently employed as the general manager at KDNK Community Radio. He laughs that he has yet to find an employer that can adhere to his “flexible schedule.” I first met Skinner, a true anarchist on the topic of work, in 1995 when I flew to Aspen for the day for a job interview at the Aspen Daily News. I walked into the office in a business suit and heard a voice coming from the bowels of the newsroom: “You here for a job?” Skinner asked me, his wild red hair protruding from behind the pole he was sitting next to. I replied in the affirmative and he responded by saying … (continued on page 6, Aspen Daily News)Carolyn Sackariason’s e-mail is email@example.com.
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The past sneaks up on us in the strangest of ways, and I don’t mean bounty hunters flashing those “Wanted: Dead or Alive” posters in our faces.