Daniel De Leon editorial : International Labor Day

International Labor Day
by Daniel De Leon
from _The Daily People_, May 2, 1904

As reprinted in The People, April 22, 1995

The COMMUNIST MANIFESTO, the immortal work in which Marx and Engels outlined the basic principles of socialism more than half a century ago, declares that:

"The bourgeoisie has through its exploitation of the world's market given a cosmopolitan character to production and consumption in every country. To the great chagrin of reactionists, it has drawn from under the feet of industry the national ground on which it stood."

In no country is the truth of the above statement so well illustrated as in this. The American bourgeoisie, or capitalist class, has been compelled by its colossal system of trust production to seek foreign outlets for the surplus products not absorbed by "the home market." As a result, it has exported the products of American labor to the remotest parts of the world, and taken their imports in exchange. It has, in order to protect its interests in foreign markets, engaged in international conferences for the regulation of the financial, political and economic problems of world capitalism, such as the Brussels monetary, The Hague arbitration and the very recent steel conference; and it has become involved, contrary to Washington's warning against foreign entanglements, in various international controversies, of which the Spanish-American war, the Chinese war and the Panama affair are the most conspicuous. In brief, to the great chagrin of the reactionist, the ground has not only been drawn from under the feet of national industry, but of the nation itself. No longer is "Americanism" triumphant; internationalism reigns in its stead.

At this season of the year, when International Labor Day is being celebrated far and wide, this fact is of great significance. It leaves no vestige of reason for the continuance of the spirit of nationalism among the working class. The bourgeoisie, in giving a cosmopolitan character to production and distribution, has also given a cosmopolitan character to the struggle between capitalist and laborer. To the great chagrin of the labor reactionists, it has drawn from under the feet of their labor -- misleading industry the national ground on which it stood, and made the workers of the world what they really are, viz., the victims of international capitalism, who, in working for its overthrow, have a world to gain, and nothing but their chains to lose.

"Workingmen of all countries, unite!"