Singing the Internationale on Labor Day.


After Eddie (Sadlowski) Fest and Labor Day Parade in Sue Sadlowski Garza’s Tenth Ward, we stopped for lunch at a neighborhood spot on the north side.

I still had the the button on my shirt that I had bought from Rathke.

Rathke is an old teacher union staffer I’ve known for years.

A good guy for sure.

Rathke was marching next to the Mother Jones float and asked if I wanted to buy a button for a buck?

I picked the one that said, “You ain’t got a thing if you ain’t got a union.”

It was perfect for a Labor Day Parade in the Tenth Ward.

It looked perfect on my bright red shirt that Candy gave me.

Later at lunch the server commented on my Mother Jones button.

“I really like that button,” he said.

“No union here,” he complained.

He returned later to clear some dishes.

We had been talking about the latest news from Greece where anarchists and police had been clashing over squatters in the Exarchia neighborhood of Athens.

“I have comrades in Exarchia,” the server told us.


In Greece?”

“I have comrades all over the world.”

And then he began singing a very loud version of the Internationale.

Arise, you prisoners of starvation,
Arise, you wretched of the earth.
For justice thunders condemnation.
A better world’s in birth.

Then he walked off with our dirty dishes.

Nobody in the restaurant even looked up.

Don’t try to organize a union.

Don’t even think about $15 an hour.

But you can loudly sing the international revolutionary workers’ anthem in the middle of lunch hour in a crowded restaurant on the north side of Chicago.

And nothing happens.

Nobody even takes notice.

4 thoughts on “Singing the Internationale on Labor Day.

  1. Ha, ha…most people wouldn’t know “The Internationale” from, well, “G-d Save the Queen” (double sarcasm, here).
    & the same for Mother Jones–who was she–?!
    (I am greatly saddened to say that some people I know don’t even know what I.C.E. stands for, or what I.C.E. does.)
    GOTV!!!! &–vote ONLY on Election Day; paper is safer.

  2. BTW–I love that button. I will be going to visit relatives at Waldheim soon, & I hope the bookseller will be out in the workers’ section & will be selling some of those.

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