Labor Day Without Rest

La Voz de Galicia – May 1, 2020 →

Cristina PatoRaquel is a school teacher, and she is also mother to Quela, my mother’s only grandchild. During this month and a half, every time we call her, she is playing the violin with the little one, or helping her with homework, or doing cartwheels on the couch, or working on a report for the delegation, or preparing her own classes while trying to reach those students she knows don’t have access to digital means. She does not complain–she knows she is fortunate because she has a home and a job; but like so many parents, I suppose she must be exhausted…

The truth is that I don’t know what families with children do to organize their lives at this moment. Those who have jobs, I imagine, do whatever they can to reconcile an impossible situation, and those who no longer have jobs, I suppose, are asking themselves, anguished, what tomorrow will be like. But I cannot imagine the lives of all those families that already had no access to anything, the ones who already lived on the verge of poverty and social exclusion…

This is a May 1 full of contradictions, and on a day like today, more than a hundred years ago, workers organized to ask, among other things, a workday comprised of «eight hours of work, eight hours of leisure, and eight hours of rest,» perhaps something impossible during this confinement. But we cannot forget how close poverty is, how difficult it was to achieve these rights we have, just like we cannot forget that most of the workers of the world (and around us) still don’t have these rights. We have so much to improve upon, so much progress to make!

Today, for some, it is a Labor Day of work without rest while for others, it is a Labor Day without work.

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