|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE |
Milwaukee, Wis. — On Tuesday, April 18, 2023, the Wisconsin State Assembly voted to proclaim May 1, 2023 “Loyalty Day” in Wisconsin. The Milwaukee Democratic Socialists of America condemns this bill and urges Governor Tony Evers to reject this naked effort to silence serious discussion of our country’s foreign policy and economic systems.
The authors of this bill did not attempt to disguise its political nature. They acknowledged that this effort started as “Americanization Day” at the height of the first Red Scare in 1921 to combat “political extremism.” This period was characterized by a wave of illegal detentions and unwarranted searches of American citizens. The fact that elected officials would mention this era with a positive undertone should be cause for alarm for all Wisconsinites.
To add insult to injury, our elected officials are declaring Loyalty Day on May Day, also known as International Workers’ Day. These politicians are not only using their platform to demand our unwavering “loyalty,” but also to erase the memories of generations of American labor activists who put their lives on the line for workers’ rights. These brave men and women were met with violence from the institutions to which our elected officials are demanding we swear our loyalty. This day should be used to commemorate these brave workers, not to demand deference to a country that calls itself free.
State Representatives Darrin Madison and Ryan Clancy issued the following statement about the vote: “‘Loyalty Day’ is a legacy of the worst, most reactionary history of our country and state. It’s rooted in the Red Scare and McCarthyism and the demonization of the left and organized labor. Rather than slapping a veneer of patriotism on on it, we should underline our support of May Day, International Workers’ Day, which this alternate holiday was explicitly created to replace.” ###