Labor Day Smoke Break: A Tribute to the Struggle

by Sep 1, 2021Smoke Signals0 comments

Labor Day Smoke Break: A Tribute to the Struggle

by Sep 1, 2021Smoke Signals0 comments

Labor Day — it’s not all hotdogs and ketchup. There’s blood on that damn weenie. 

Men and women fought and died to make the proverbial Wilco-Woody Guthrie soundtrack to your day off. Enjoy it.

The fact of the matter is, Labor Day was earned by sweat, blood, and tears. 

In the 1800s, 12-hour days, 7 days a week were what’s for breakfast.  Children as young as 5 sweated in mills, factories and mines, earning the Jeff Bezos’s of their generation penis tipped cigars to light their way to the moon.

They literally locked the fire exits. And when the factory caught fire, the windows were a long way down.


“Chim chim cheree. When you’re chimney sweep, you’re in glad company,” sings Disney’s nostalgic dyslexic. A Van Dyke drunk Dick dance number almost makes you forget the kids stuck in all the capitalist chimneys circa 1800s. 

Children were the only ones small enough to crawl through chimneys. The practice became outlawed in England in 1875 when 12 year old George Brewster got stuck in a chimney and died. Not that child chimney death was uncommon or wasn’t known for centuries. It just took that long for people to finally do something about it. 

Except in America, where chimney sweep childhoods remained the stuff of ball-busting internships long after England abandoned the practice. (Literally — if the children managed to survive into puberty, they usually caught cancer of the scrotum. You had to cut it out with a knife to save their life.) 

And in America, those jobs were almost exclusively for black children (but it’s illegal to teach  that to kids in Texas). 

The point is unions died for your sins. Give them thanks — take the day off and tell the Capitalist pigs to fly a fucking brick.


Molotov Luck

“Chim chiminey

Chim chiminey

Chim chim cher-oo!

Good luck will rub off when

I shakes ‘ands with you

Or blow me a kiss

And that’s lucky too.”

Fortunately for the 40 hour work week and Saturday morning cartoons, working people of the 1800s got tired waiting on luck. They unionized and went on strike. Worker strikes led to police shootings — police shootings led to riots — riots led to rights, freedom, and the 8 hour workday.


The Haymaker’s Riot was actually a response to a police killing of striking workers. Chicago police killed and wounded several during a strike the day before at the McCormick Reaper Works. While unions protested those killings, someone threw a bomb, nobody knows who, into the police. Cops struck back — blood poured through the streets. On not one pinch of evidence, seven men were sentenced to death for starting the riot — four were hanged, one committed suicide, and two had their sentences later commuted due to the public outcry.

That riot is commemorated as International Labor Day on May 4, a day celebrated by the Communist Party. That’s also when Europe celebrates Labor Day.

But you can’t let the communists and anarchists have all the fun. To give the unions a day off that wasn’t a commie holiday, President Grover Cleveland named the first Monday in September the U.S. Labor Day.


Rage Against the American Dream


Not that the battle’s over. We’re still pissing in jars in an Amazon warehouse. Americans work harder for less money.

“Americans work more hours than their counterparts in peer nations, including France and Germany, and many work more than fifty hours a week,” writes Jill Lepore in the New Yorker. “Real wages declined for the rank and file in the nineteen-seventies, as did the percentage of Americans who belong to unions, which may be a related development.” 

Working men of all countries, unite! Karl Marx may sound like he’s in a punk band — but he’s right.

Rastaman Smoke Break


The Rastaman work ethic, rolled up like a spliff of herbal vibration:


“The sun shall not smite I by day

Nor the moon by night

And everything that I do

Shall be hopeful and bright”


Working on the night shift, with a fork lift.  Possibly the most underrated cut of Rastaman Vibration, Bob Marley’s “Night Shift” is the Labor Day anthem of the workday Rasta.

Work hard, play hard — you need a break. Working men and women built this country. We sacrifice every day to plant the seed that grows the ganja in the garden. Bear Blend honors this tradition with the proverbial smoke break. 

This Labor Day, take a smoke break: Roll up some herb, whether cannabis or Bear Blend or a mix in-between, and guide the record needle onto that track, because “if it’s all night, it’s got to be all right, got to be all night.”

Warehouse, you’re empty. By the sweat of your brow, it’s a state of mind. Eat your bread.

Matt Gallagher

Matt Gallagher

Wordsmith Specialist

A freelance writer for hire, Matt Gallagher is the face and voice behind Web Copy Magician. He enjoys Bear Blend as a tea to spiritually reconnect with nature and the therapeutic wonders of chlorophyll.


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