May Day. The forgotten history

May 1 as a holiday for workers began in the United States. That’s right, the United States. It was born in, and commemorated, the struggle for the eight hour work day.

In the late 1800’s the union that became the AFL, along with anarchist organizers, were pushing hard for an eight hour work week. Strikes ensued. In 1886, police fired into a crowd, killing a striker. Workers protested the next day at Haymarket Square in Chicago. At the end of the rally, a bomb went off. Anarchists were blamed, several were tried in a kangaroo court and hung. In 1893, the governor pardoned all of them, saying they were innocent.

The unions went on to win the battle for the eight hour day, even though some paid with their lives.

When other countries began celebrating May Day, it took on a socialist flavor, so the U.S. changed the date here to Labor Day. Thus, most don’t even know the International Workers Day started in the U.S.

It is not surprising that the state, business leaders, mainstream union officials, and the media would want to hide the true history of May Day. In its attempt to erase the history and significance of May Day, the United States government declared May 1st to be “Law Day”, and gave the workers instead Labor Day, the first Monday of September – a holiday devoid of any historical significance.

May 1, considering its historical importance, seems an apt date for the upcoming immigrant workers boycott.

[tags]May Day,international workers day[/tags]

  • One of the anarchists arrested denied the hangman and committed suicide in prison.

  • Below is an article from my A Critic It is called “May Day, what’s it all about?
    May Day, Labour Day, Workers Day, our day, a day when we the ordinary people of the world can celebrate the heroes from our ranks. Paying homage to the men and women who dedicated their lives to the cause of working class emancipation. People who sought nothing for themselves, many dying for their beliefs, individuals that sometimes stood like colossuses astride the political scene, others that worked tirelessly in the shadows, all for the greater good of all peoples, not more for themselves. Their statues, their plaques are no where to be seen, the establishment has them airbrushed out of history. Instead, the powers that be litter our public squares and parks with grandiose statues of arrogant warmongers, empire builders, kings of industry, rich merchants, all who made a fortune on the back of slave and/or cheap labour or the bloodshed of ordinary people. The establishment wants us to forget our heroes, no statues, no plaques, we mustn’t be allowed to think that fighting for the betterment of ordinary people is a worth while cause, much better to try to convince us that it is more honourable to be a self-centred arrogant pursuer of power and wealth at the expense of others. We mustn’t let this happen, we have to keep alive the names and deeds of that legion of men and women who dedicated their lives to our future well being and that of our kids.
    MAY 1st. Must always be a festive day, a day of celebration and pride, a day when we can all come together and wave our banners, party, and remember those names and deeds. A day to revive that spirit of co-operation in struggle and hopefully push our cause to a higher plain. Always on May 1st. not some conveniently arranged employer/union date, the nearest Sunday or Monday holiday, so as not to upset their production. It is our day, always claim it as a day of family fun, festivities and remembrance, a day of hope for the future of all the ordinary peoples of the world. Glasgow, like most cities, is fortunate in having its own legion of working class fighters, a legion that stretches back through the industrial age and beyond. To pick a few at random, names like Thomas Muir, George Barrett, Tom Anderson, John MacLean, Helen Crawfurd, Guy Aldred, Ethel MacDonald, Jenny Patrick, William McDougal — and the names go on and on and on, events such as, The Cotton Spinners strike, the rent strikes, the first world war peace movement, etc, etc, etc. All names and events to be justly proud of but difficult to find recorded, all the more need to celebrate MAY DAY and keep alive that part of our history, our culture.
    Take to the streets this MAY DAY, bring the family, bring colour, bring music, bring the spirit of the working class, have fun, remember why we are there, be proud and strengthen your resolve to do more to push the cause of co-operation in struggle with all our people. Keep alive the names and deeds of our past, not those of a corrupt, brutal, exploitative system. Keep alive the dream of a society of free association, voluntary co-operation, and mutual aid, a system of seeing to needs and not to the greed of the few.
    Ann Arky.

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