The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Editorial:
Vacations!
We All Need Them!

Jul 28, 2008

Had a vacation lately? Not likely. Even AAA estimates that vacation trips are way down this summer.

Bosses are cutting vacations and holidays. Even when we do have time off, more of us feel the pressure to work right through it, because we can’t pay the bills. Or when we do try to get away, we can’t afford it. The skyrocketing prices for gas, food, flying, come to a small fortune, especially for an entire family.

So, when we do get a few days off, more of us are just staying at home. Some clever journalist even invented a new word for it – a “stay-cation.” Obviously, even if you don’t have to go to work, a “stay-cation” is not the same thing as an actual “vacation.”

But even when we take them, our vacations are being downsized. We have less time, stay closer to home, and cut back on all the little things that make a vacation a little more special.

Needless to say, there are more and more of us who are getting plenty of time off. But then we have no way to go on vacation, because we lost our job and have no money. Feeding the family and keeping a roof over your head takes precedence over a vacation.

Yet, vacations are not a luxury or a frill.

With all of the tensions and pressures on the job, the longer and more aggravating commutes, everyone needs time to get away. We need to decompress. There is less strain and fatigue. It’s good for the heart and health. Doctors recommend it.

Vacations allow people to live longer. That’s a simple fact.

There’s also more to enjoy. On vacation, just buying food can be different. Instead of dashing through the same old super market, there is time to stop and savor different tastes and smells.

A change in scenery is a time of discovery. It also opens up conversation between loved ones and friends. We make new friends, or discover relatives we didn’t know even existed.

Yet, today, bosses are tossing our vacations in the trash can. Just like the cuts to our jobs, wages, health care and pensions, the bosses expects us to sacrifice our vacations, too.

Sure, the bosses have an armful of excuses to justify these attacks: “competition,” “China,” “globalization,” “rising energy costs,” “ the credit crisis.”

But it all boils down to one thing. They tell us over and over that it’s just the way things have to be.

That’s dead wrong!

Workers are not losing out because of a lack of wealth or possibilities in the society. Workers have never been more productive. Society has never been wealthier.

No, the ruling class, boss and company, are keeping more and more for themselves. And they are getting it from what the working class produces.

There’s more to life than what the boss says. There’s plenty to do, to learn and to enjoy. But it should be open to everyone, especially all of us, whose labor makes it all possible.

We need the time to do it. We need the money. And when the boss doesn’t give it, we have to be ready to fight for it, and fight for it together.