*Mexikaresistance.com Note: We need to be celebrating our OWN holidays which reflect OUR cultural inheritance and history as nikan titlakah timazewaltin!Perhaps you were shocked this month when you read that years ago, thanks to its association with international workers and the anarchist movement, May Day was officially named Loyalty Day by the federal government to avoid the appearance of condoning dissent. It's creepy and Orwellian, but it's not that unusual.
In fact, naming in general in the post-9/11 era, as in the Patriot Act, the Department of Homeland Security and more has reached particular heights of absurdity. And now, in post-corporate personhood America, we also have the grand pleasure of watching everything, from stadiums to streets, get new names after the same companies that try to woo our dollars and influence policy.
But this isn’t a new American tradition. A simple search of other official national and state holidays shows that region by region, we have some pretty appalling holidays on the books. Here are just a few.
Loyalty Day: May 1, the anniversary of the Haymarket Massacre, was originally commemorated as Labor Day or International Workers day. Later the American government tried to counterbalance this with an Americanization day that later, under President Dwight D. Eisenhower, morphed into “Loyalty Day,” — “a special day for the reaffirmation of loyalty to the United States and for the recognition of the heritage of American freedom.” On Loyalty Day, flags are supposed to be flown and celebrations of America held. But not this year, when May Day celebrations came back and took the streets.
Patriot Day: Not to be confused with Patriot’s day, the New England holiday that commemorates the battles of Lexington and Concord (and the Boston Marathon and Fenway home games), Patriot Day is the official designation for the anniversary of September 11th, 2001. As a born and bred New Yorker, I certainly will never let that anniversary go by without remembering–and I don’t object to its being a recognized observance — but it’s another Orwellian name, one that prioritizes duty to country over memory of a loss. To me, 9/11 is not really about honoring national borders, but the opposite.